On Nov. 28, 1993, Nickelodeon debuted a show that ran for only three seasons. It was last seen in reruns a decade ago, its third season never appeared on DVD, and it has yet to appear on any streaming service.
Mo Ryan talked to the creators of “The Adventures Of Pete & Pete.”
It’s not often that a recent Supreme Court ruling comes up during a discussion of a cult TV show, let alone at a Comic-Con panel that, for the most part, feels like a raucous rock concert. But such is the short, weird, extraordinary life of BBC America’s “Orphan Black,” one of the most well-received dramas in recent memory.
Maureen Ryan got the scoop on Season 2 of “Orphan Black.”
On Sept. 10, 1993, a show called “The X-Files” premiered on Fox, and just over 20 years later “Breaking Bad” will air its series finale on AMC. Those events have a lot more in common than you might think.
We’re rolling out a few special “X-Files” stories over the next few days. Check out this interview with “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan on how he learned everything from “The X-Files.”
I learned so much from “The X-Files.” It was the perfect job for me. I can’t give it enough credit for the success of “Breaking Bad” and everything else I’ve done since it ended. First of all, behind the scenes, it taught me how to be a producer, and it taught me how to be a showrunner. It taught me how to be a boss.
The new season is, like a Bluth-constructed house, built on a shaky and unsuitable foundation.
Maureen Ryan takes on “Arrested Development.”
After more than a week of pondering, I think I’ve finally figured out the point of Season 4 of “Arrested Development”: I can only assume the goal was to cure TV aficionados of wanting to revive any classic show, ever.
Much of the fourth season serves as an equivalent to the kind of scary warning the Bluth kids used to get from J. Walter Weatherman, the one-armed man who menaced them as kids. But instead of instilling terror as to what might happen if we put an empty milk container back in the fridge, Season 4 stands as a warning to anyone who’s advocating for the return of a show for which they had great affection: Be careful what you wish for, because the results can be deeply misguided.
What’s odd about “Happy Endings’” current situation is that it’s never been a cult-ish, niche object of adoration. It’s a bright, cheery show aimed squarely at the mainstream, and at first glance, it would seem to fit ABC’s brand, which is all about inclusive, upbeat worlds and the middle-class people who inhabit them. Sure, “Happy Endings” can be a dense, pop-culture-heavy experience, but that’s the speed at which many people live their social media-saturated lives these days.
Had it debuted only a few years ago, and had it enjoyed consistent network support over time, it might well have blossomed into the next “How I Met Your Mother,” which has grown into one of CBS’ most successful sitcoms. But is that kind of trajectory even possible any more? “HIMYM” debuted in 2005, well before online viewing and time-shifting became so prevalent.
But the deck may now be stacked against shows that cater to the very audiences that consume television in alternative ways. Also disturbing: The people most likely to give interesting comedies a chance appear to be the viewers who are least likely to be counted. If that’s the case, what hope is there for smart, non-family-oriented half-hour comedies on the broadcast networks?
Maureen Ryan takes a look at why “Duck Dynasty” is soaring in the ratings. Here’s one reason:
1. Time to develop an audience. This item may be the odd (ahem) duck on the list, but it may also be the most important element of the show’s gradual transformation into a hit. When it comes to Nielsen ratings for first-run episodes, “Duck Dynasty” started off with about a fifth of the ratings it has now. A fifth. A broadcast network wouldn’t have allowed a comedy that started out with fewer than 2 million viewers to hang around for three seasons, but A&E’s patience with the show — and its constant deployment of reruns — has allowed lots of people to get to know the Robertsons. “Bath Crashers,” “Storage Wars,” “Restaurant Impossible,” “Duck Dynasty” — these are all highly formulaic cable reality shows designed for lazy-day-on-the-couch marathons, which often lead to higher ratings for first-run episodes.