Bring Back the Legend of the Seeker
Thursday, January 5th, 2012
Why is it every time a great show gets on the air the networks drop the ball?
There are so few shows I’ve watched as good as The Legend of the Seeker, and yet it was not renewed. A great story, excellent cast, terrific writing (no campy dialogue), great effects, filmed in beautiful New Zealand, and after each episode is over you can’t wait to see the next one. If you haven’t seen it check it out on Netflix you won’t be disappointed, season 2 is even better than season 1.
So why didn’t it get the ratings it deserved?
Most of the shows I watch are on ABC, yet I never saw a promo for it. I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly and in 2 years time I never saw an article about it. ABC has been good about bringing interesting SCIFI and Fantasy shows to the air but lacks the commitment to its audience. I think if viewers knew they could count on them these shows would gain the momentum advertisers want.
Another case in point, do you remember Flash Forward? I watched most of the episodes, but as soon as I heard the ratings weren’t great I decided to give it up. My wife continued on and became emotionally invested in the characters and was annoyed when they canceled it. In other words it was a self fulfilling prophecy, once the talk of possible cancellation came up viewers left.
Alias is one of our all time favorite shows. Thankfully they gave us a satisfying series finally, probably because it was J.J. Abrahms, but they did everything they could to undermine it. They kept changing which night it was on and every time they did the ratings suffered.
Lost could have been another victim had it not been for the huge response in the beginning. The lesson is that these types of shows have the potential to be a phenomenon and the networks like ABC need to adapt to increase their shrinking viewer base.
So what is the solution?
Shows like The Legend of the Seeker need to have a 5 year commitment so the writers can plan up front a story arc that is meaningful and compelling. Knowing there is a plan, fans will be willing to become invested and actively spread the word. If it is even more successful they can always extend it or reinvent it for round 2, move to the big screen… etc. Seeker was smart enough to have single season arcs that were satisfying but left you wanting more.
Use the web, industry magazines, etc. to get the word out. Peoples lives are busier than ever now and conventional channels may not reach the right audience.
Don’t play ping pong with the schedule. With less and less leisure time people need to know when their favorite shows are going to be on. My wife and I had an unspoken agreement, we blocked out Monday night for Alias, then Wednesday night for Lost, etc…. and when they move to a different day, well now we have to rearrange our whole week. That is why we started using a DVR because it was easier to change the recorder than our schedule, not to avoid advertisers.
By the way, the economics would probably be better for the networks and the production companies. If you locked in a 5 year contract with everyone involved, you could get lower up front costs (giving it more time to grow) then use a profit sharing model on the back end based on the success of it. Granted there may be some that just aren’t viable, but with the good ones locked in for 5 years the networks won’t have to scramble to fill the schedule every season and can be more thoughtful about what they put on.
In the constantly changing media environment the Networks need loyalty to remain viable long term. Constantly disappointing their viewers is certainly not the way to do it.
For the Seeker fans out there don’t lose hope. Disney (the parent of ABC) renewed the series Kim Possible because of viewer write in, email etc. campaigns. The best thing you can do is get everyone you know to watch it and see what they were missing so they can join the ranks, then maybe we can get it back on the air. Here is a link to the online petition http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/LOTS3