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SpoilerTV`s Weekly Round Table: 36th Edition

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Hello everyone and welcome to another WRT! Another eventful week is behind us and STV`s finest came out to talk about the good stuff the TV gods shared with us. This week I´m (MK) joined by Kolin (KL), Patrycja (PM), Jamie (JC), Claire (CS), Sam (SD), Milo (MI) and Yon (SJ). As always sit back and enjoy the read and don`t forget to stop by the comment section and share your thought`s on the topics ahead.

1. Fox wants to cut the duration of adds to 2 minutes per hour by 2020. How will this affect the quality of their shows ? Pacing issues and tight production schedules are already issues as it is now.

KL: Honestly, I don't think pacing issues are a current problem for individual episodes, at least for the shows I watch, but more for the standard 22-episode season. Way too high of an episode count. What I do find is a common problem for some episodes is that sometimes characters or the story are not fleshed out enough, thus, with the right team of writers, less commercial time could potentially work in a shows' favor. In essence, this will most definitely affect how writers approach their content and it is up to them to take advantage of the longer episode format.

PK: I hate adverts and a lot of people do so I think that this could work in their favor but only if done right. It could affect the quality of their shows if writers have to stretch out episodes in order to fill the time. If they manage to sort out the current issues they have with scheduling it could be a great thing.

JC: I have a habit of changing the channel if ads take too long so this it's definitely a good idea to shorten them. And from what I noticed when on vacation in the US is that your ads usually a. take longer b. are weirder (general observation) c. are more frequent. So I'm glad that the networks are starting to fix the problem. I don't think it'll effect pacing, though. A few extra minutes won't make a difference. The only way to fix pacing issues, IMO, is to shorten the seasons.

CS: Watching an episode of The Middle recently, I just about gave up after four commercial breaks. It was only a 30-minute show! Come on. It’s ridiculous and I think that with the advent of Netflix and Hulu, people are realizing that there are better options. I hardly watch anything on broadcast television anymore. And if I do, I DVR it and skip the commercials. Broadcast tv is a dinosaur. I grew up in the 70s with four channels and the quality of broadcast tv was greater then. I feel that most of the quality tv is NOT on broadcast, but on cable, streaming etc... Fox’s idea is too little too late, in my opinion.

SD: I was glad to hear Fox was cutting down on air time because I actually think it will help shows put out better episodes. Often, a lot of what they film for shows ends up on the cutting room floor because they don't have enough time to add it in. I think this will help writers more than hurt them because they have more creative room to put out exactly what they want in an episode. Since it is only a few minutes, I don't think it will affect season-long story arcs and make them drag out. This really just helps out individual episodes.

MI: This is a very good move for Fox I think. Sometimes shorter episodes can feel too rushed so this can leave to a greater chance for the showrunners to expand the content of their episodes and tell their stories better. Will be very interested to see how this affects the more established Fox shows if it leads to any extra delays, and whether the pacing changes to accommodate the extra minutes. Also, I'm curious to see which if any networks can follow suit.

SJ: I think the problem most Broadcast shows have is the high episode count rather than run time. I think the ad breaks on Broadcast Networks are too long, and the count does with a bit of a reduction but I don't see how a 2-minute ad break can be really sustainable for scripted shows. Live sports events sure, but script shows I just don't think it will work.

2. Life Sentence premiered this week and people aren't happy with Paul's rection to his wife's coming out. Where is the line between an authentic hurt emotional reaction and homophobia?

JC: I haven't actually gotten around to watching the episode yet but I did see some pieces of this on Tumblr, so I'm going to try to weigh in on this (but might be completely off base of what actually happened). I think it's normal that the guy is upset, who wouldn't be when your spouse leaves you after x years of marriage. But the blatant biphobia (immediately calling it lesbianism) and the fact that he said he wouldn't have been this upset if she'd left him for a man were probably the main issues. As for where the line is... Misinformation and stereotypes are things that would lean closer to homophobia. When the husband is more upset about his wife leaving him for a woman than the fact that she's leaving him, that's when it crosses the line to homophobia.

SJ: I feel like I'm supposed to be cheering for the bi rep, especially on The CW, but it's really nothing to cheer about. Paul's reaction to his wife coming out was understandable. It was a massive shock to the system, and a lot to process in a short amount of time, but to go on and say it'd be better if she was having an affair with a man because at least that way he could beat them up? That for me was uncalled for and I can't think what exactly the writers were going for with that line. It's fine to be shocked, have the characters be vocal in their surprise & I do praise the writers for the fact that even though his wife was initially confused by her feelings for the godmother, she did then go on to label herself as bi. Too many times with TV shows they'll just have a character be confused, claim they're not into labels etc, which fine every person is different, but it does tend to fall into bi-erasure. I'll be very curious to see where exactly this storyline does go, and if the more aggressive dialogue is fine-tuned.

MK: It was a bit too pushy at moments but it felt like an honest reaction. Dylan Walsh is such a genuine actor and he just resonates with so much emotion. Great stuff. And I have to agree with Jamie he is was pissed she left him period, not that she left him cause of a woman.

3. ABC pulls Black-ish episode over creative differences. Considering all the statements Black-ish made throughout its run is this a surprising decision? How contraversial is the episode in question for ABC to make this decision?

JC: I'm super pissed at ABC for pulling an episode of Black-ish. I really hope it leaks online somewhere because now I'm super curious as to what happened in that episode. They've never hidden the fact that they don't support the current administration so why is ABC suddenly pulling an episode that would've revolved around the current (political) climate. I can't think of a single show on ABC that's had an episode pulled for being too controversial. So what happened here? And is this something will be seen with other shows in the future as well? Are we starting to censure shows now?

SC: Again, this would only happen on broadcast tv. It’s a shame they won’t air it. Very sad. Censorship.

SD: I know broadcast networks have certain requirements and regulations they have to meet in order to stay in business and air their shows, but I've never known Black-Ish to push the envelope so much that they couldn't even air the episode. I don't like censorship especially when it comes to the important topics Black-Ish covers, so I don't agree with ABC on this decision at all.

MI: Black-ish hasn't shied away from tackling heavy subjects and this feels like a really bad move by ABC, especially since the show has shown itself capable of handling important topics with care and I think ABC should definitely trust them more in this situation. Hopefully, we get to see the episode at some point.

SJ: I've never really watched Black-ish, but even from not watching I know that political episodes is something this show does and very well. We're living in an extremely fiery political landscape, where one comment that the other side doesn't like can lead to huge tensions. ABC may claim to be diverse with its castings, but storytelling wise it very much plays it safe. I don't think it's right because if an episode script has been written, approved & then shot, the audience and actors deserve for their work to be seen. But again it goes back to tensions. We all saw the huge backlash that athletes received when they dared to turn their back on the National Anthem and we all see on a daily basis how ignorant particular groups are to the issues of gun control. I think ABC is just trying to play it safe & not alienate any of their viewers or have to deal with the political backlash which is their prerogative.

4. Freeform's PLL spin-off rounds out cast. Will this be a win for FF or another missed shot?

PK: I hope it will be another win. I actually really like the cast and I really think the spin-off has a lot of potentials if Marlene King does it right.

JC: If it's released in 2018 it'll just sail on the remaining PLL hype. I don't doubt that this will be a hit. As long as they stay away from the mistakes they made with Ravenswood (remember that?) they should be good.

SJ: I dislike everything to do with Pretty Little Liars (the show really shouldn't have been on the air as long as it was) and Kelly Rutherford's casting is extremely, I'll go with the word interesting. I can't understand how exactly someone like Marlene King still has shown on air, but I think the spin-off's success depends on how over Pretty Little Liars the audience is. The spin-off isn't staying faithful to the source material (Mona & Alison weren't in it) which could be problematic, but Freeform need to stop beating a dead horse. Pretty Little Liar's ratings towards the end weren't exactly the best since most of the audience had gotten bored of the nonsensical plots & twists. So the show really needs to hope it has a good team of writers behind it, and Freeform really need to figure out what kind of Network they want to be. Are they still catering to the teen-drama market or are they all about Supernatural/Sci-Fi dramas with a bit of contemporary adult stuff like The Bold Type and Alone Together. Either way, I would just really like to forget Pretty Little Liars & everything to do with it ever existed.

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

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