Television cancellations are no fun. This was proven today when Starz announced they were cancelling Party Down and Gravity. I never watched Gravity, but I did enjoy Party Down, so this made me sad. It was like a mini-Veronica Mars reunion, with hilarious characters and great one-liners.
It doesn't come as much of a surprise, really. The season finale only garnered 74,000 viewers, and this season, star Jane Lynch left to join Glee full-time, and Adam Scott's hilarious role on Parks and Recreation would likely cause scheduling issues. No disrespect to Starz, but I wish a show this good could have been on a network like HBO, where it could at least benefit from a bigger subscriber base and a bigger influence when it came to marketing.
On the bright side, the show did go out in prime form before it got the chance to die a slow, painful death (like the Office), so I'll choose to look at this cancellation as a bit of a blessing in disguise for the show's quality.
Since so few people actually have the Starz network, I'm betting that they probably watched the program on the Internet. Well, those who watch television shows on the Internet were dealt quite the blow today when the feds shut down sites such as TVShack.net and, my personal knight in shining armor, NinjaVideo.net.
I know the piracy argument. I understand it. To an extent, I can agree with it. But, for now, I would just like to say one thing.
Last week, I blogged about how I had fallen in love with Modern Family. Do you know how I found all 24 of the season's episodes, while helped me experience the show? Not Hulu or ABC.com, who only have five of the episodes, but NinjaVideo. I now plan on being a regular viewer of the show in the fall.
The same goes for season 2 of Chuck; season 1 was on theWB.com when I watched it last summer, which helped me really enjoy it (see? Official network sites pay off!), but it was season 2, which was on NinjaVideo, that really cemented my love for it. Subsequently, I bought both seasons on DVD. I began watching Spaced on there, and I proceeded to buy the DVD set.
Again, I can see the arguments against sites like NinjaVideo. But, it is just not rational that people are going to go out and blindly buy box sets of TV shows without previewing them. If official sites aren't going to offer them, people are going to turn to outside sources, like NinjaVideo. I watch whatever I can on Hulu or official sites, but they offer such a limited selection, they can only go so far. The Internet has helped me fall in love with television, and I would argue (and I doubt I'm alone), caused me to spend more money on the medium, because I never would have bought a big chunk of the DVDs I have without watching the shows online first.
Last week, I went to Cleveland and I found season 1 of the Channel 4 series Shameless at the library. I really love it; the problem is, there are 7 seasons of the show, and this is the only season of the show released in the US. So, I could buy season 1 here, but I would have had to have turned to NinjaVideo to watch the rest of the series. Now, I don't know if I'll ever finish it.
The Toledo-Lucas County Library, my home library, doesn't own season 1. I wouldn't have seen it had I not gone to Cleveland, so, how many people are now in the same boat? They don't have the luxury of previewing the show on DVD without buying it blindly, and have now lost a way to watch it in the first place. That could have been one more season 1 DVD sold.
Media companies should be willing to fully adapt to the demands of consumers, rather than turning to archaic methods to keep products away from consumers. 30-40 second ads on Hulu don't bother me, as I said, I try and watch as much as I can on there. But I'm not going to pay for it, and if I do pay for a full season of a show, I want a tangible DVD of it, a one-time purchase, which I can bring wherever I go, Internet or not. THAT'S portability. I will buy shows once I fall in love with them, not before I see them. I strongly believe that shutting down sites like NinjaVideo will prevent people from seeing TV shows, supporting them and giving them buzz.
I'm just really going to miss NinjaVideo. The video quality was amazing, and while I rarely watched new content on there, videos were posted so quickly after they aired. The site helped me discover so many shows thanks to its vast library. I wonder how many shows I would have fallen in love with on there had it not been removed, it's a shame.
Are you still reeling from the loss of a wonderful site? Are you glad sites like these are gone? Are there recent television cancellations that have brought sadness to your life? (Should I be terrified that the feds are going to bang down my door for admitting my love for NinjaVideo?)