Bleats

Chucking Massive Hissy Fits Is The Best Way To Save Your Favourite Shows From The Bin

Get ready for a future of campaigning for your favourite shows, all the time.

We have seen some amazing campaigns in recent times to save people fleeing war and oppres… sorry, I mean “TV shows we like”.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was canned by Fox, only to be picked up by NBC after a few frantic days of activism. One Day At A Time was cancelled by Netflix after three seasons, but a fan campaign won it a new home at US cable network Pop TV.

Us, when we heard the news.

Fan lobbying meant Netflix saved the Fox series Lucifer for two seasons, and Sense8 (Netflix) and Deadwood (HBO) came back for series-winding-up conclusions they were robbed of by their sudden axing.

And streaming TV has been a key player in this. Netflix alone has brought back the likes of Arrested Development, Full House and Gilmore Girls, as well as the aforementioned titles.

And that’s great for fans, but don’t bank on that being the case forever. Yes, these services are doing more and more new content, but galvanising public support to keep a show on air might become the norm, not the exception.

See, subscription services don’t make new programmes simply because they love you and want to thank you for your continued patronage.

The big money is in new sign ups, and that’s fuelled by people wanting to see intriguing new shows that everyone’s talking about, not because they’ve heard that seasons six of Schitt’s Creek will be its last.

And that’s despite Schitt’s Creek being goddamn brilliant, despite its cringeworthy name, and that we’re totally invested in all those characters.

Shut up, David.

Also, the very idea of a sixth season might soon go the way of All Star Variety Spectaculars on the television watchscape.

A leaked (and disputed) document from Netflix reported that data analysis showed new shows drove new subscriptions, and that season two of a hot series was also a draw.

However, from season three onwards supposedly the viewers were people who were already on the service.

This has led to the suggestion that long running original shows may become increasingly rare on streaming services and that two seasons will become the norm.

And this, to be fair, isn’t dramatically different from what a lot of networks would do – it’s hard to think of too many Australian comedies since the 90s that lasted more than two series – but it does mean that you, the fan, has to up your game.

Like this.

In other words: if you love a show, you can’t merely watch it. You have to be an active cheerleader for it.

And it’s not just a matter of tweeting enthusiastically. Both Veronica Mars (soon to debut its new series on Stan) and Mystery Science Theater 3000 (on Netflix) were brought back to life because fans literally put their hands in their pockets and paid for a movie and a 12 episode new series, respectively.

So, love a show? Get ready to show it.

And seriously, don’t end Schitt’s Creek with season six. We all know that Moira has many, many more wigs to give.

I Think The Good Place Has Accidentally Ruined My Life Forever

Stupid smart show, ruining everything with its wisdom and terrible puns.

Spoilers for The Good Place ahead, obviously.

Damn you, stupid perfect show.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think The Good Place is the towering pinnacle of the television and comedic arts, and people who are wrong.

At least, that’s how I felt until living in the aftermath of season three. And yes, we’re pulling gently into Spoilertown so opt out now if you haven’t watched this show yet despite it having existed for years and which is about to finish with the forthcoming fourth series.

Haunting.

The big reveal of this series – sorry, one of the many big reveals of the most big reveal-heavy show on television – was that no-one has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years and that even the best person on the planet (according to the Good Place’s point system) didn’t have a hope in the bad place of getting in.

And this wasn’t because of a glitch in the system or because the Bad Place demons had corrupted the afterlife’s bureaucracy, but because life on Earth had gotten increasingly interconnected and complicated, making it impossible to do anything which is unambiguously good.

You and me both, Chidi m’boy. You and me both.

A call to your mum on her birthday uses a phone whose components are mined by slave labour. A visit to friends burns fossil fuels in a machine whose entire creation was an environmental nightmare. Everything has consequences which are not only unforeseeable, but unavoidable without making impractical sacrifices.

And it’s a great and complex idea – especially for a network sitcom – but also… oh god, they’re right. They’re so, so right.

Fair point, demon.

I mean, I could go vegan, walk and cycle everywhere and spend all my spare time researching cancer vaccines – things which I have not even come close to achieving, to be clear – and I’d still be falling massively short, not least because simply by working a job and buying things I am contributing to an economic system which devours the planet to fuel endless growth.

And recognising it does nothing bar make me ruin things which might otherwise perk me up. “Oh, South Australia’s entire electrical grid was fuelled by wind and solar yesterday, huh? Great! That’s a whole lot of greenhouse gas not pumped into the atmosphere… thanks to rare earth metals open cut forcibly mined under dictatorships.”

So thanks a bunch, The Good Place. I can’t even curl up with a television comedy without being made painfully aware that even the act of doing increases the heat on Earth by a tiny by measurable amount.

Say what you will about The Big Bang Theory, it didn’t make its viewers think about that. Or literally anything else.

The NBN You Paid To Build Now Thinks You Should Pay A Bonus 'Netflix Tax' To Use It

You have to admire the sheer gall of the suggestion, at least.

The National Broadband Network has, at the time of writing, cost Australians $51 billion dollars, is running years behind schedule, and fulfilled every warning from tech experts about how the final version of it was in no way fit for purpose.

These warnings ranged from “this hybrid tech plan put forward by the Coalition is inadequate and will definitely not work” to “fibre to the node is like building a highway that feeds onto a single dirt track and will be a disaster” to a series of high-pitched screams.

Another satisfied NBN user!

And so, after this litany of triumphs, now NBN Co. have a suggestion: Australians should pay to use it, for it a third time.

See, if you’re on the NBN you’ve paid to build the thing through your taxes, and then you pay again every month to access it through your ISP. And NBN Co feel this means you’re freeloading on the network if you’re using in a way that involves the transfer of data.

Especially if you’re streaming television, you monster. And thus their suggestion is that they charge for a two-tier internet where you pay more for access to the “fast” internet that can supposedly handle streaming TV and other things like “everything”.

Just an example of the sort of quality premium content you’ll be able to access on NBN+!

Presumably this would a premium slugged onto Netflix et al and passed on to you via increased fees, and it this sounds familiar it’s because the US has been trying to do the same for years and has been prevented thus far only via a strong domestic campaign to maintain “net neutrality”.

That’s the idea that usable internet shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of the rich, especially if we’re going to see things like telemedicine become the norm, and also that the providers shouldn’t be monitoring what you use the internet for and blocking your access based on how much you’re paying them. 

The NBN, yesterday.

It’s enshrined in law in Canada and Europe, and it’ll surprise you not at all that it’s not protected here because that would require parliament to understand what an internet is.

Anyway, the NBN will be releasing their review of how much Australians should be paying to access their own asset in November. And if you’re feeling outraged, now is the time to get involved with groups like Digital Rights Watch.

Or, you know, get ready to enjoy standard NBN definition, where shows are a series of blurry, static images to which you provide your own commentary. GET READY FOR A GOLDEN AGE OF INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT!

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