Sunday, August 30, 2020

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

This Week In Dumb Ideas, CBS announced they're planning to air Star Trek: Discovery on regular network TV.

OK, for those of you who're blissfully unaware of Discovery (how I envy you), the series premiered in 2017 on the CBS All Access streaming service. It was meant to be their crown jewel, and draw huge numbers of subscribers to the platform (Narrator: It didn't).

Because the show didn't air on broadcast TV, it wasn't bound by network rules. It didn't have to conform to the standard forty two minute content limit for one hour shows, so episodes could be as long as they needed to be. Some were fifty minutes, some sixty five, etc. 

Discovery also didn't have to worry about censorship, so the writers immediately began peppering the series with tons of "shits" and "fucks." Words which up to that point had been alien to Star Trek.

Cut to 2020 and the end of the world.

Thanks to the pandemic, all TV series were forced to shut down production for the past sixth months. That's created quite a problem for the CBS television network, as their new fall schedule is full of holes.

In order to plug one of those unsightly gaps, CBS has decided to air Season 1 of Discovery on regular over the air network TV. That sounds like a GREAT idea!

First of all, Discovery's three years old at this point. Everyone who wants to see it probably has by now. So CBS is basically airing reruns. Why not dust off old M*A*S*H and Dallas episodes and air those two while they're at it?

Secondly, originally Discovery aired exclusively on CBS All Access, which ain't free. It's a paid streaming service. So people who shelled out their hard-earned cash to watch it are gonna be pissed now that it's showing on up free TV.

Lastly, the show's gonna have to be heavily edited for broadcast TV. As I said above, the episodes vary in length, so they're gonna have to cut out a ton of content to whittle 'em down to forty two minutes. There are no ad breaks on All Access either, so Discovery episodes don't ever "fade to commercial." I expect the breaks are gonna be clumsily and abruptly inserted between scenes.

Lastly, there's all the charming profanity that's so prevalent in the series. All those totally necessary shits & fucks will most DEFINITELY have to be edited out for network TV.* So how will they handle this? Cut out any scenes with profanity altogether, or bleep the offending words?

Add it all up, and these numerous edits are gonna make the already mediocre series even MORE unwatchable. CBS must really be desperate for content if they think this is a good idea.

* Yes, I'm aware that profanity's nothing new in Trek. Spock began cursing in The Voyage Home, and Data uttered a worried, "Oh, shit!" in Generations. In both cases though, this cursing was seen as out of the ordinary. Spock was attempting to "fit in" with primitive 20th Century natives, and Data was having trouble adjusting to his emotion chip. It wasn't seen as the norm.

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