During this age of prestige television there are a lot of great shows available. FoMO, fear of missing out, leads to Series Fatigue. This ailment is seen globally but cases are at epidemic rates in Europe and North America. Its symptoms include vitamin D deficiency from marathon viewing, sleep deprivation/insomnia, weight gain, poor job performance and neglected family and friends. In severe cases, job and home loss has been noted… Is this disease real yet? LOL!
There are no fewer than seven zombie-like shows in 2016: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, The Strain, Z Nation, iZombie, The Returned and Empire of the Dead. How do you choose which you will view? Selection could be based on star power, availability, quality, interest, recommendation, scheduling, popularity… Do you watch the entire season or catch a show when you can?
Most viewers speed date shows instead of forming long-term monogamous relationships or marriages. Series can’t find large and loyal audience regardless of their uniqueness, quality or medium (television, cable or on-demand streamers). It is the rare show that finds just the right formula to capture sustained interest, fandom.
There will never be another Law and Order. The longest running show on television aired for twenty years, delivering four hundred and fifty-six episodes. The ubiquitous theme music, particularly the two beat chime following the show’s opening has been called, “Thunk thunk”, “Ching Ching”, “Chung Chung”, “Doink Doink”, “The Clang” and “The Dick Wolf Cash Register Sound” . Everyone knows this sound and the opening line of the show. “In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.” This show has become a part of popular culture. How many television shows can you quote? Less than five and your Series Fatigue may be in remission.
Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS and Supernatural have aired for thirteen, twelve, and eleven years respectively. Have viewers watched every episode of these long running shows? These shows are familiar cat-nip. They have fallen prey to repetitious story lines and plug and play formulas actors sleep walk through en route to a movie during hiatus. But fans have propelled these shows into the orbit of syndication while other shows die early.
Art is difficult to commodify. Great shows are often canceled and lousy ones are greenlit to pilot or renewed. It is rare for a series’ rating to increase after the third year. This feat belongs to Game of Thrones which has gone from an average of 2.52 million total viewers in season one to 7.5 million in season six. For most series, by the third year we tire of the concept, the actors and the plot. The once engaging story lines lose their appeal, resulting in shows that resemble week old bread. Pretty, aesthetically pleasing, but stale and uneatable. The syndication wheel has pushed unpolished and glossy shows into the zeitgeist. These shows are enticing. They troll us with crafty and culturally relevant plots and dialogue that sit on the tongue like pop-rocks, firing quickly and leaving us unsatisfied and fatigued!
To combat Series Fatigue, tune in to shows in the same way you eat. Balance your diet with things to satisfy all of your cravings but pull away from the table when you are tired even if it is grandma’s famous sweet potato pie. So, no I won’t be watching all seven zombie shows from season premier to finale but I will sample from the menu and chose one or two to commit to fully.