Notes from the Kraken: October 2nd 2016

In All, Notes by David

Welcome again to We Have Always Live the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.

FX is bringing it, and nothing can stop it now.

How do you determine what the best network on television is? Do you go with a network who has the biggest show in town, ala Game of Thrones on HBO or The Walking Dead on AMC? Do you go with a network that has unparalleled depth, but not necessarily a sure fire hit, ala FX? Do you go purely based on the financial success and pure popularity of its shows, ala CBS? Where do you even start to count streaming places like Netflix or Amazon in this equation? This has been an ever changing question as we continue to wallow in peak TV, and networks have to make sure they know exactly who they are and what they are pushing, or they will be left behind (well, except Netflix, which can basically be anything, because money). HBO has mostly long enjoyed its place on top of the television pyramid (other than falling to a spirited Mad Men and Breaking Bad led run by AMC), and has done so on the back of shows like Deadwood, The Sopranos, The Wire, and now Game of Thrones. Even with Game of Thrones being the show and the HBO comedy block still firing on all cylinders, HBO has started to show sign of wobbling, and that has left things wide open. Netflix (and Amazon to an extent, though it has yet to show the willingness to throw money at the situation the way Netflix has) would seem to be best poised to take advantage of this, as this the streaming service has a huge library of programming, and is flexible enough and rich enough to keep going at this problem until the job is done.

But I can’t stop looking at what FX has done. Over at Hitfix, Alan Sepinwall looked at the evolution of FX (yeah, kind of like what I did with Syfy, but better), and he brings up many good points. FX is on an incredible hot streak right now, and the network is willing to go places creatively that almost no other network has been willing to as regularly. The network is the first to fully embrace the idea that television ratings are an archaic relic of the past without having sweet sweet subscription money to fall back on like HBO. This has allowed FX to flourish as a network that provides a wide variety of shows that appeal to so many different people, but still feel like they are connected under one brand. It is an impressive feat that must be commended. The question now is, will other networks follow FX’s lead? It took years of patience for FX to get to this point, as well as an uncanny ability to pick and support the right projects (other than Terriers, which died a swift and painful death). Will other networks be willing to follow FX’s lead, or will they refuse because it is way too difficult to bother with? The answer to that question may be the key to how far peak TV can really take us.

Killtoberfest is upon us, so make sure to check the blog and our Twitter @insidethekraken to see what Kyu has for us this year.

Things are going to run a bit differently during Killtoberfest, as we are leaving the day-by-day structure behind until November. With that said, from the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.

Killtoberfest: Josh will keep this updated to let you know what goes up during the week.

Here’s what the rest of us lazy bums have to offer (also will be updated throughout the week as necessary).

  • The TV Roulette wheel is still getting its act together, but decided to spit out one more name it demands in tribute before it will be fully operational again, as David takes a look at ABC’s reality hit Dancing With The Stars.

Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.

David: With the broadcast television season really ramping up this week as The CW joins the mix, I felt I should recommend a new show, so I offer up Fox’s Pitch. One of my favorite ideas from the recent pilot season and by far my most anticipated new show on network television, Pitch so far has delivered. The acting, led by Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, has been superb, the aesthetics of the show have been top notch, and has Pitch has used being a sports show to its full advantage. This show seems primed to deal with the real issues that the first woman playing in one of the four major sports league would deal with and how it relates to the treatment of women as a whole. Check it out now, especially since soon you’ll have time to catch up while Fox’s schedule takes a back seat to the actual World Series unfolding on its channel.

Keskel: This week I recommend the movie Six-String Samurai. It’s an almost indescribable mish mash of ideas about the nature of wandering heroes. It’s absolutely worth experiencing, even if you aren’t a fan of samurai films or westerns.

That’s it for this week. This entire month is wear-a-costume to work day, so have something ready or the Kraken will reprimand you to the Hall of Whispers (Jerry has never been the same since he got sent there).