Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Doubt

This is the second time I've brought this up in about a week, but it's preying on my mind. Why did CBS cancel Doubt after only two episodes had been broadcast? They paid for and produced a full thirteen episodes. Two episodes? Really?

The show had a great cast, including Dule Hill, Katherine Heigl, Laverne Cox, Elliot Gould and Judith Light. The plots were solid, the storytelling was well-structured and smooth. As courtroom dramas go, Doubt was a good one.

CBS has been running NCIS and its various spin offs for eons and they are crap, in my opinion. Well, okay, NCIS: New Orleans is not too bad, but I only watch it when there is nothing else on and my internet is down. The various CSIs were good and ran for a respectable number of years. Criminal Minds could go on to become the longest running series in television history if the network doesn't screw it up, which they've tried repeatedly to do.

Bull is a pretty good show, but it seems a little fantastic that anyone could afford to hire a huge consulting firm to help them manipulate a jury. Once was great, like Leverage--twenty-six times strains my credulity. Still, I could watch it.

Sure, there is a bit of formula about Doubt, like Elliot Gould as the eccentric senior partner, but as Shakespeare said "there is nothing new under the sun." I think Shakespeare was getting a little tired of  NCIS also.

I know it's tough being a broadcast network these days. HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and cable channels like TNT are grabbing all the best scripts and the biggest audiences. I read recently that the pay channels are killing off broadcast TV. But then I read that Millennials are killing off pay channels by rediscovering broadcast and antennas. I've rediscovered antennas, because I live out in satellite television hell, but I'm still waiting to rediscover broadcast. A few good shows like Doubt would help.

What's killing broadcast television is a dependence on reality TV, game shows, talent shows, prime time news features, awards shows and an endless number of sports events that preempt scripted programs. Don't get me wrong, I have my favorite team, but thirteen college football games a year should be enough sports for anyone.

Out here on the fringes of civilization we watch a lot of reruns on ION television and we stay up 'til two a.m. to see our two episodes of Psych a night. It's possible that broadcast TV might make a comeback and start giving us some good dramas again, but I have my doubts.

Stephen P.

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