Friday, May 19, 2006


I like TV, but I'm not obsessed with it. I have a few shows that I try to watch every week, but no more than 2, usually... besides that, I watch TV sporadically- when I'm bored, doing something else at the same time, forced to be in a room with little else to do (such as when watching the puppy), or when someone else in my family or my roommate decides to watch. I do watch a fair amount of movies on television, and there are a few sitcoms I'll enjoy if they're already on, but for the most part... I watch a couple of shows.

I've already talked about America's Next Top Model (I missed the series finale, dang it... I was on my way home and forgot entirely that it was Wednesday night). This show is currently on UPN. My other favorite show- my very favorite- is Everwood. This show is currently on the WB.

For those of you who haven't heard, these two networks- UPN and the WB- have merged to create the CW. The CW's schedule recently came out, and while many favorite shows- including Top Model, Veronica Mars, Smallville, and One Tree Hill- have returned, Everwood is strangely missing from the schedule. Even 7th Heaven- which had its series finale last week, has somehow returned for another season.

I started watching Everwood three years ago because I watched 7th Heaven and Everwood came on right afterwards. I missed the first season, but started watching at the beginning of the second season and got hooked. (Plus, 7th Heaven started to really suck- somehow half of the plot had nothing to do with actual family members and everything became predictable and cheesy and downright ridiculous.) I received the first season of Everwood on DVD for Christmas, so I've now seen all 4 seasons of Everwood and stopped watching 7th Heaven all together.

Why, you might ask, do I like this show so much? Well, this critically acclaimed series covers many important issues, but often chooses to focus an entire plotline spanning a few episodes at least on the issues, rather than glossing over them in a single episode. Better yet, the show will often present more than one view of an issue, rather than forcing one opinion on viewers. There are some really big but very realistic problems facing the characters. I can't tell you how many times I've cried because they hit the sudden-loss-of-a-parent nail right on the head. One of the main characters had to struggle with finding out he was a parent. Sometimes things are dramatized, to be sure; there aren't that many high school girls who lose their boyfriend to a coma and then for good in a later surgery. In most episodes, though, there is very much a sense of realism. None of the characters are impossibly rich (or at least show it); Everwood is a small, conservative town. The focus is not just on teenagers, but on adults and sometimes children as well. There is still plenty of relationship drama and, of course, most of the characters are good-looking, but overall the show feels more mature than most dramas out there, especially on the WB.

Besides the issues it brings up, Everwood has plenty of entertainment to bring to the table. The two doctors have abounding quick wit and sarcasm, while Bright makes ironically dumb comments in nearly every episode. Some couples in the show seem to 'fit' together and you almost can't help but root for them to get together. I'm not sure the cinematography could be ugly; the town of "Everwood" is in the mountains of Colorado (actually, it's filmed in Utah), and the scenery is gorgeous. The music, similarly, is outstanding- often poignant and fitting for the situation besides being enjoyable. There's also lots of beautiful piano music (Ephram, one of the main characters, is a piano virtuoso who at one point was attempting to audition at Julliard). There are a few things that make the series a little more multicultural, too, despite the mostly white conservative town- the Brown family is Jewish, and Edna and Irv are a biracial couple. Both of these are rarities in television. Basically, though, Everwood has made me laugh and made me cry; it's entertaining television with engaging characters and thought-provoking plots that keep me coming back week after week to watch it.

Four more weeks, though, and I may have to resort to watching my Season 1 DVD's over and over (I would watch the other seasons as well, but they haven't been released). I understand that some shows have to be cancelled, but I have a few beefs with this show in particular being cancelled.

1) The show has traditionally had low ratings, despite critics loving it. But somehow, instead of aggressive marketing or placing the show in a less competitive timeframe, Everwood has had to fight for viewers with popular shows like 24 and (I believe) The O.C. Is this really giving the show a fair shot?
2) In a recent interview with Dawn Ostroff, president of the CW network, Michael Ausiello of TVguide asked about the connection between 7th Heaven's return and Everwood's lack thereof:
Ausiello: One of the theories going around is that the moment you decided to bring 7th Heaven back, Everwood died.
Ostroff: (Crickets) It was, you know... It really came down to those two shows. It was such a tough call...
Ausiello: I hear the decision to renew Heaven was made after the ratings for the finale came in. True?
Ostroff: It [drew] over 7 million people. It's hard to ignore that.
So, it came down to Everwood, or 7th Heaven, which just had its series finale. It bothers me that Everwood is being compared to the series finale ratings of a show that had been running for a decade. Of COURSE lots of people tuned in to see how they tied up loose ends on 7th Heaven. I nearly did, and I haven't watched the show in the last few years. More people always watch a series finale... just because 7 million people watched the series finale doesn't mean 7 million people are going to watch 7th Heaven next year.
3) Ausiello: No, I'm talking about leaving Everwood where it is at 9 pm after 7th Heaven.
Ostroff: We wanted to put a new show on the air and Runaway is a really good show. We couldn't have the whole schedule of returning shows.
Okay, because leaving Everwood there means an entire schedule of returning shows. I don't even understand why that's a problem. If you're going to have to draw people into a new network, I would think it'd be easier to keep shows with a dedicated following...

Basically, I'm just frustrated. Everwood isn't a soap opera of spoiled rich kids in the sun... it's different. It's one of only two shows that I really really try to watch every week. And now, because of some politics and a show (that's already been on long past its prime) being continued again, this is its last season. Rawr. I think I'm going to find this Dawn lady's address and write to her, because I am not happy, and most of her reasoning in her interview with Ausiello (here, if you scroll down) made me even angrier. Shows that I feel shouldn't have been renewed were brought back to fill in precious space over Everwood, and I don't think the WB has ever done much to fight for viewers for Everwood... so I'm *quite* angry. I wish there was more that I could do to save my favorite show. :-
To make me even angrier, Everwood was previously on the schedule and even had a space on the CW's website. Grr!

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