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SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: 33rd Edition

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Hello everyone and welcome to another WRT! Just when I thought the Olympic Weeks would be boring the dear world of TV entertainments threw news at as like they are free. Today I'm (MK) joined by Jimmy (JR), Samantha (SJ), Milo (MI), Beth (BW), Jamie (JC), Winston (WM), Katherine (KM), Joey (JD), Angela (AN) & Jaz (JZ). As always sit back, enjoy the read and join the discussion down below.

1. Ryan Murphy signed a 300mil deal with Netflix. Is he really worth the money? His projects vary with quality and numbers? Will this pay off for Netflix or did they shot an autogol.

JR: There’s likely a lot of inside info we don’t know. Netflix wouldn’t have thrown $300m at Murphy if they didn’t believe a payoff was possible. Even though Murphy doesn’t generally work in the genres I’m interested in, I wish him and Netflix the best of luck.

SB: I feel as though the Netflix Execs have googled a list of high profile showrunners & are just throwing money at them so they can shove it in people's faces, but without actually thinking it through. To an extent I understood snagging Shonda because regardless of whether I like her shows or not, they're still on top, 9/10 times she strikes gold, brings the stars & has a solid team behind that keeps her shows running like the well-oiled machine they are. Ryan Murphy is the complete opposite of this. The first season of his shows is ok. After that, they're basically rearing off a cliff. If he's using source material then the show might just fare a little better, but that's a heavy emphasis on might. All of his shows after a while just blur together, and not in a fun way. Obviously we will have to wait and see what he brings to Netflix, but I'm not expecting it to end well for them, and think they need to focus more on a solid plan for the programming they want to bring out & giving them all an equal promotional path so they have more chance of succeeding, instead of just throwing money around & hoping it works out well.

MI: This feels like Netflix taking a massive gamble here and it will be interesting to see whether or not it pays off. They've been putting the focus on their original series for a while now ever since networks are starting to embrace their own streaming services more and more and Murphy certainly adds a high caliber talent to the line-up. It'll be interesting to see what he can do with a higher budget.

BW: I am thinking all these 'high profile' showrunners boarding Netflix has to do with the company wanting to have all original programming. I wonder if this move with Ryan Murphy will help in the short term but with the actors he brings in and their salaries, it could cause some financial issues down the line.

JC: I think the Ryan Murphy deal could potentially be a waste given his track record. He starts off great but goes wayward and the shows never recover. I thought his anthologies would be immune, but AHS is always a mixed bag. So far he is 2 for 2 with ACS, so I'd be interested to see what kind of productions he does for Netflix and I'm sure I'll check them out because he certainly has a flair for initially pushing the envelope with his shows. But if you're going to ask me who I'm more excited for when it comes to Netflix, I'm still going to lean towards Shonda.

WM: I think the Ryan Murphy deal could potentially be a waste given his track record. He starts off great but goes wayward and the shows never recover. I thought his anthologies would be immune, but AHS is always a mixed bag. So far he is 2 for 2 with ACS, so I'd be interested to see what kind of productions he does for Netflix and I'm sure I'll check them out because he certainly has a flair for initially pushing the envelope with his shows. But if you're going to ask me who I'm more excited for when it comes to Netflix, I'm still going to lean towards Shonda.

KM: Not worth it. I realize that he's popular, but I've never been fond of his storytelling style. It seems like he's all about shock and gore when he could use words to tell his story. I like a more psychological approach, to feel the fear and suspense rather than constantly being shown something over-the-top every time. Maybe the deal includes syndication rights to his current and past shows as well? That could sweeten the pot financially for him and Netflix both. I think that we'll be seeing more deals like this as the number of channels looking for a storytelling "edge" try to lock in proven talent. I hope it doesn't mean that they'll overlook lesser-known writers and producers as well.

JD: He’s worth the money in the sense that TONS of people are going to watch something just because Ryan Murphy’s name is on it, so they’ll certainly see a bit of return. As far as quality, we’ll see if something is different at Netflix. I loved the first season of Glee, but things steadily went downhill from then on, and I still haven’t finished the final season because it feels like a chore. Every season of AHS is a gamble, and I personally have only truly enjoyed about half of them. He’s got great ideas that sometimes go really well, but other times they end up being poorly executed and don’t reach their full potential. I will 100% be watching whatever gets put out, but I’m not going in with high expectations.

JZ: As someone who really loves Ryan Murphy, I think it’s money well spent. It’s not only his creative genius that Netflix is buying, but also his Rolodex of amazing talent that work with him or want to work with him.
Ryan’s vison for his future shows is to hire more women and diverse talent as well as providing women with equal pay. I think Netflix is the perfect home for him to do so as they have an interest in producing more diverse shows and have the wallet to provide reasonable salaries.

I also find the deal curious seeing as Ryan Murphy said that although he was concerned, he was still willing to work with FOX post Disney buyout. I wonder what (besides the money) changed.

2. CW finally expands to Sundays. Reasonable decision or a too ambitious move from CW's side? Also who do you think will get benched/elevated to Sundays? Is it a curse or blessing?

JR: This is big news for sure. I did see one of CW’s advantages as being more of a boutique broadcast network because of its limited schedule space leading it to focus on quality rather than quantity. As for how it will perform on Sundays, time will tell.

SB: I am extremely excited for this and my only question is why its taken The CW so long. It's obvious with the huge programming slate & the pilot orders that Pedowitz has a vision for The CW. In order to make the Sunday night successful, I think he should move an Arrow-verse show there, perhaps with a new show or one that is lower-rated so there aren't a huge amount of expectations because I don't expect them to come close to winning the night. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if at first, the ratings are super low because it will take time for viewers to adjust to an extra night of programming. With the huge programming slate though, I do think certain shows need either shortened s

MI: A good decision from CW I think, provided they are smart with what they air and don't go up against the heavy-hitters. Again it's too early to tell. Shows with a dedicated enough fanbase like Supernatural could survive the switch to Sundays if it turns out to be a negative thing, because as we all should be aware of by now, Supernatural will be around long after we're all dead and gone. But I'm cautiously optimistic and this does provide room for more shows even it may lead to more cancellations.

BW: This a smart move. They can expand programming and maybe start finding their new niche instead of superhero shows. I think it is tricky but their lower rated shows like CEG and JTV should be on Sundays because in the fall they will be up against football and some other programming and their ratings clearly haven't been a factor in renewal for a few years now. The expanding of this day could be a blessing for older shows to finish their runs as well.

JC: If it means there will be fewer cancellations in May than I'm all for it. I think it's a smart move. Most networks air shows on Sunday so why shouldn't they. As for which shows will end up there. I guess it'll depend on how much viewers they'll be able to rank in. If it ends up being the Friday slots they might dump their less successful shows there.

WM: I'm trying not to be too excited about Sunday on the CW until we see what gets picked up and renewed and what goes there. We don't know enough right now if they are trying to turn it into another failing show night or truly trying to launch it as a success. What I will say is that it was a bold move and a great business strategy for them. Plus adding the mystery that more shows could return gives their viewers hope that they actually care about their loyalty. I just wish the CW would make some comedies and put those on Sunday because aside from Fox, no one else is. I think getting a big name older star to lead an ensemble comedy on Sunday's could draw some eyeballs, but they seem to be sticking to dramas. I hope it works out for them and it isn't a loss, and I'm really curious and excited to see what they put there. CW really is the network to talk about because each year they do something unexpected.

KM: I'd like to see what they have in mind. Shows that are "shuffled" to Sunday may be more fan faves with not the best ratings that would have a chance to live on for another season or two. Maybe they'll go with completely original programming, which could also be interesting. We also don't know how many shows they'll be putting forward. Maybe they'll do only two hours of Prime Time programming on Sundays, or maybe three. That could be a mix of half-hour and full hour dramas. I'd like to see more another animated series, at least. Something intelligent.

JD: I think this is a great move, but that could be just because I’m excited to get two more shows out of them. It feels like every pilot season I’ve noticed a struggle of them being passionate about more shows than they physically had room for, so this will definitely help them out a bit. I kind of have a feeling that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was partially factored into this decision. They love that show (and so do I) but it’s hard to keep justifying it taking up 13 weeks in their schedule with its low ratings when they can take a shot at something that might hit more people. I’m glad they’ve continued to stick with it, and I’m sure this move will help them justify a final season for the show. I think in the beginning Sunday will be a low-expectation night, but they’ll eventually end up stumbling onto something that a wider audience will show up on a Sunday for. It’ll be an inevitable happy accident.

JZ: Hey, the more the merrier! Ever since Revenge, I haven’t had any real Sunday viewings to watch. With network scheduling becoming more confusing than ever I think it’s a good idea that the CW would just add another day of programming.

I don’t know how they’ll play Sundays if they’ll keep ratings flops like JTV or CEG to send them off, put stable shows in its place or if they’ll put some freshman shows on.

3. Final Seasons! With some long-running shows ending this year like OUAT, Scandal, the Originals, and Nashville.... What is the formula for a satisfying finale? and what does not work in a final season?

JR: A strong last season is really critical to the reception a series finale received. I haven’t found Scandal’s final season to be up to scratch this far, but each to their own. Knowing you’re definitely heading into a final season lifts viewer expectations, and the showrunners have to lift as well.

SB: I think the only formula for a final season should be wrapping up all the storylines in some form. I really hate when showrunners know that they're in their final season & decide to make the series finale ambiguous, with the potential for a spin-off or revival that we know won't ever happen. That's not to say I expect all shows to finish happily ever after because that would be unrealistic, but solve all your mysteries/drama, showcase the character progression from the beginning of the show & make sure the audience can feel satisfied that they haven't wasted their time getting into the show.

MI: Out of these I'm only watching The Originals, having tuned out of Scandal in season six but may return to catch up for the crossover with How to Get Away With Murder and because I'm a completionist when it comes to TV shows (albeit a slow one). For me it doesn't matter whether or not a character dies in a season finale (chances are, we're not going to see these characters again, after all), but it's important that the ending must be a memorable conclusion of the series' storylines and character arcs.

BW: I am suffering through Nashville right now and it is the same issue I had with TVD, they have introduced too many new characters no one cares about. This is plaguing OUAT as well in my opinion and every bit of news I hear about The Originals tells me they will follow this pattern as well. I get that some actors may sign up for fewer episodes in the final season, but that doesn't mean they need to overload us with new people! Expand the stories for the remaining cast and for the love of everything, don't obviously recycle old storylines and then try to dress them up in a different costume as new.

A satisfying finale for me ties up storylines in a way that makes sense. It does not have to be all happy endings but I feel sometimes characters we've watched get neglected until the last moment and have a rushed end game like Bonnie on TVD. I also believe a good penultimate episode is a key to the finale does not feel like a sprint to the finish.

JC: Well, what doesn't work is completely ignoring all the progress that was made during the show's run because the writers want to stick to the ending they envisioned in the beginning. cough HIMYM cough Honestly, what I want from a series finale is to see everyone's storylines wrapped up, without unnecessary deaths (due to not knowing what to do with the character), no loose ends. It's also nice for old characters to return that we haven't seen in a while so that we can get some closure there. Sometimes I feel like series finales focus too much on the final battle and we don't get enough moments between the characters. I feel like this needs to be split 50/50. Also, don't overdo it with the flashbacks. It takes up too much precious time.

JD: The only thing I ever really want from a finale is for them to tie up their story in a way that brings the essence of the show to a close. Scrubs season 8 (which I will always consider being the official end of Scrubs) did what I consider a perfect job of ending a show. Everything was tied up nicely in a bow, just as every episode of the show was. Desperate Housewives also did a fantastic job but in a different manner. Every episode ended with something to make you want to head back to Wisteria Lane every week to dive deeper into the secrets of suburbia, and their finale wrapped up everything for our characters, while still ending with something to make you wonder what secrets are still unfolding in that neighborhood. As for a great final season, I’m open to pretty much anything, to an extent. If they know they’re on their final season and they have something they’ve always wanted to do with the show, I’m completely behind them going for it, as long as they can work it in with some sort of explanation. Even just one sentence with a character saying “Gee, isn’t it weird that this is happening” is good enough for me. It’s their art, and their baby and they deserve to be able to take a risk on something if they want to

AN: I don’t know that I’d say there’s necessarily a “formula”, so to speak, for finales, because a good finale can depend on a lot of factors, and different types of shows will lend themselves to different types of endings. But I do think, for the most part, a satisfying finale is one that answers as many questions as it can, wraps up the characters’ storylines in satisfactory ways (and I don’t necessarily mean “satisfactory” as in “good”, just “satisfactory” in terms of staying true to the character and their journey), and if it does leave some things open-ended, then do so in a way that makes it feels like the story/characters’ lives are continuing on, and we’re just not going to be watching how it all plays out anymore. And we can imagine for ourselves what happens next.
As for what doesn’t work in a final season, well, ignoring the characters who’ve been there from the start, introducing new people without giving them an actual purpose and role in the final season’s events, things like that certainly don’t help. And not working towards any sort of wrap up would be bad, too. The only exception would be is if the show’s writers don’t know it’s the final season, but even if they’re sitting there unsure if they’ll be back, they should do what they can to try and at least close up a few aspects of the story, just in case.

JZ: Trying to solve the unsolvable (looking at you GG and HIMYM) would be examples of what NOT to do. For me, a good finale ties up all the main characters current arcs but leaves a little bit of “hope” in the end. When I finish a series I always like to know that they’re well and moving onto their next journey, one that we’re not able to see.
One of my favourite finale endings was Nikita, where they joked about Michael and Nikita ending up together on a beach sipping drinks, but then you saw them saving a child soldier.

4. Pilot season is still in motion but the casting announcements are slower than ever and dominated by PoC. Does this change feel forced to you or is this how it should've been all along?

JR: I’m not too concerned because with streaming services increasing in popularity there’s always something new coming and interesting news coming from that part of the industry. The networks will sort it out eventually - the delays are probably a sign of the industry changing with the times.

SB: I feel like it's both? Of course, I want more diversity in shows & am glad that Networks are bothering to cast POC. But it does feel really forced and as though they're doing it because of the huge backlash that has been seen not just in the TV industry, but in movies as well over the majority casting of white people. When articles are coming out that Networks are trying to tie down as many high caliber POC actors as fast as they can because they know other Networks will be vying for them? That's not a good thing to me. I don't want a bunch of shows filled with POC this pilot season so the Networks can pat themselves on the backs & show them off at upfronts, just to have a pilot season next year again filled with a majority white casting. That's just extremely counter-productive. I also don't think there's much point in trying to diversify your cast if BTS is still filled with a majority of white people. And I also don't want Networks hiring for the sake of it if the actors aren't actually good (which is a complaint I also have about white casting). As for the casting announcements being slow, I think that's more to do with the fact ideas put into development at the beginning of the season weren't very good. It's a bunch of revivals and remakes with a dash of procedural. Hardly any of the ideas are original, with the same old producers, instead of injecting some fresh blood into it. And I'm also still waiting with baited breath to see who is gonna be cast in ABC's Grand Hotel remake & be our new Julio (won't be as good as Yon though)

JC: It's about damn time is what I say. I'm so sick of shows with a mostly white cast and that one token PoC that gets killed off eventually. The world is diverse and TV shows should reflect that. And while we're at it, they should get paid the same as a white actor too.

KM: I don't really care what color someone is as long as they create a character that resonates with me in a show I care about. I think we aren't used to seeing PoC as show leads or with a strong supporting cast and a white lead (or as part of a lead team) because they haven't been the norm before.

JD: This is definitely a forced change. Needed, but forced. I’ve seen too many articles about networks being so proud of themselves for how diverse their casting choices are this season, which really just calls out the bias even more in my opinion. I’m super happy that the networks are all recognizing their lack of diversity, but right now it feels like they’ve set quotas of “we need this many people of this race and this many of another race” so they can pat themselves on the back for creating parts just for those races. The results are great for all the talented people who may not have gotten the opportunity otherwise, but true equal representation isn’t about filling quotas. There should be more of a push to write parts that are not race-specific and giving equal consideration to all races for the part. Yes, different races do have specific stories that can and should be told by them, but they should be told out of a pure desire to share that story and not just because a network says “oh yeah, we don’t have any of them yet”, which is essentially what I feel like is happening at the moment, and is still pretty much discrimination.

AN: I can totally understand some people being wary about how a show will treat any POC cast it has, and I think there’s a valid point to make about networks trying to act like they’re so forward-thinking when they’ve had issues with POC casts in the past. But I certainly support any opportunity to get more variety and diversity on TV where possible, and hopefully some of these new upcoming shows will bring some new perspectives and types of stories that deserve to be heard, and will prove successful besides.

JZ: Maybe I haven’t been paying attention (or the shows that I’m interested haven’t been cast) but I don’t feel like there has been an “overwhelming” charge of diverse casting. It’s been fairly same old, same old especially among the cis/white network shows.
That being said I do think there will be more coming up and I think that’s due to the number of diverse writers and producers we have this pilot season. Diverse casting in these cases don’t seem forced than it does natural as diverse casting will be essential to their stories and at least you’re guaranteed their characters are going to be portrayed as authentically as possible.

Hope you've enjoyed this edition and join the discussion in the comment section. Till next week. . .

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