Why Is The Internet Poison For Television Shows?

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It is said that the road to Yahoo Screen is paved with good intentions. There might also be a Community tombstone on that path. The NBC show sort of bounced oddly along for five seasons and then got cancelled, and resurfaced for a sixth season on Yahoo. But the question is, now that the finale has dropped — should it have gone online?

With low ratings for the series, it languished rather than led, joining other television-to-internet sensation Arrested Development on the “Welp, that sucked” pile. Of course, like Arrested Development, it’s also considering opting out of a seventh season to do a movie instead. Somebody ask Entourage if that’s a good idea.

Series creator Dan Harmon seems bearish on the possibility of a return. On Monday, he posted to his Twitter:

Clearly, he feels the burn. So what gives?

While it’s obvious why folks push so hard to save their favorite series, shows like Veronica Mars, Firefly, and Family Guy, there’s a sort of Frankenstein element to the ones that do come back.

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Family Guy wasn’t great after it returned years ago, Arrested Development’s much hyped fourth season basically became an apology after it was unveiled, and now we all sit uncomfortably pretending that Community died a year ago.

What is it about resuscitation that causes cult favorites to die online? If anything, you’d think there would be a renewed interest from the cast/crew/writers. You’d think they’d think “Wow, so much support, let’s kick it up a notch!” But that hasn’t been the case so far.

Whether it’s a diminished budget (like it or not, digital shows can’t compete with television budgets financially yet), or the fact that there’s an air of eternity to the shows — if it’s online I can watch them whenever I want, not just when they debut — remains to be seen.

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Maybe it’s just a case of fans being unwilling to look around that next corner — they’re afraid they won’t find anything better. But as we’re living in the Golden Age of Television, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Hopefully the fans learn from the history lessons and we aren’t doomed to a future of half-life shows gasping for air, lost on the internet.

Or maybe streaming platforms online could step up their game and we’ll finally be able to kick off the Golden Age of STREAMING Television?

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