NBC: Good and Bad Decisions
Lately, the NBC broadcasting network has been amazing me. It has neither been doing so by its good decisions or its bad decisions, but by the ability of the network to make a slew of both. In the recent years, there has just been one thing after another; one day you might praise NBC for doing something great, but curse them the next for doing something incredibly stupid. This seems to be the only network on television that continually does these things.
Let’s start with some great news: Community has an air date. The critically acclaimed, hardly watched by the general public, amazingly funny show has finally been set to start airing its fourth season in February. This news comes with much excitement from me, but at the same time, anger at the network. Originally, Community was set to air sometime in September, having a fall start to its season like most shows. Unfortunately, NBC decided they wanted to push it back, find a better time slot for it, and try and promote it better to get more viewers. On paper, this sounds like a great idea: better promotion leads to more viewers, which lead to more seasons of the show. Now, maybe I’m watching the wrong channel, but I have not seen one advertisement for Community at all. Essentially, NBC has just been sitting on these first couple episodes without airing them one bit. They also decided to put Whitney back on, airing before Community; as I said, these are horrible decisions.
If you are like most of the world, you watch The Office. Well, let me rephrase that. If you are like most of the world, you used to watch The Office. Two seasons ago, Steve Carell decided to duck out of the show before it jumped the shark, and boy did he make a great decision. The season following his amazing and heartfelt departure was nothing but lackluster, unfunny, and angering. The lovable couple, Jim and Pam, started to become just plain annoying and episodes would just go by without producing any laughs whatsoever. Worst of all was the introduction of the character Nelly. She was the bearer of all things frustrating and unfunny. She was also backed by James Spader’s character Robert California, further enforcing the lack of laughs throughout the season. Lucky for fans, NBC decided that enough was enough, and the current season of The Office is its last. So far it has been great, bringing back what we loved about characters like Jim and Pam while trying their hardest to make Nelly a character that is likable.
There are many other bad decisions that seem to not have a bright side to them at all. The show Up All Night has been reported to come back with a laugh track next season. Whitney and Saturday Night Live are still on the air. It seems at this point SNL is only running because it is SNL. The drawn out jokes and poor writing of the sketch comedy show are even more prominent with the move to a primetime version of Weekend Update. This was the pinnacle of awful ideas. I have had the displeasure of seeing an episode of this and did nothing but stare in astonishment at how unfunny it was. With this set of bad choices, it seems as though there have been few decisions made that were good.
However, the greatest decision of them all has to come in the idea to make this current season of 30 Rock the last one. Don’t think this means I believe 30 Rock is a bad show; actually, in this case, it’s the exact opposite. 30 Rock is my favorite comedy on NBC and television in general, and has been for years. The reason why canceling this show is one of the best decisions they have made in a while is because it is still great. I would rather 30 Rock go out on top than go the way of, let’s say, The Office and have a full season of horrible episodes before it was decided to end. There has never been a lackluster season of 30 Rock, or a lackluster episode, for that matter.
With the end of this season of TV shows coming by the end of spring, it makes me wonder what the future of NBC looks like. 30 Rock and The Office are in the middle of their farewell seasons, and I would be very surprised if Community ends up being picked up for a fifth. The only thing that looks bright for NBC’s future is Parks and Recreation. This show is still going strong; what seemed to be a copy of The Office has not only surpassed The Office in every way, but has only become better. I hope it can last a few more seasons without ever hitting a rough patch. With a slew of shows coming to a permanent end and leaving all these open time slots for next year’s fall premiers, it seems as though NBC is the best place to pitch your sitcom for the coming pilot season. Maybe soon NBC will get their act together and start making nothing but good decisions, earning a top place in TV comedy.