Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take Me Back to the Blue Skies


Is it weird that I have favorite television networks?  Now that I say that out loud (or, as out loud as you can get in writing), I think maybe it is.  But it doesn’t change the fact that I do, and always have.

When I was a youngster, I was all about ABC.  There was a short period that NBC was at the top of my list, and for quite a while now, CBS has held the top spot of the broadcast networks.  But for several years, the cable network that has had my heart is USA.  Their original programming has been pretty consistently entertaining for a long while, and they have a pretty decent selection of syndicated programs, too.  When I want to browse the cable channels, my starting point is always USA.  When I’m at the gym and want to put something on the television to help distract me from treadmill monotony, USA is there.  It’s a habit that’s been built from many years of always finding something decent to occupy my time.

But lately, I’ve begun to worry.  It’s bad enough that programming that I’ve depended on for years has been slowly coming to an end—Burn Notice and Psych are already gone, and my beloved White Collar will be winding down soon (or as soon as they give them a time slot for the final six episodes). And even some of the new-ish shows that I enjoyed got the ax: Necessary Roughness, Fairly Legal, Common Law.  But, hey, things happen.  You can’t love TV as much as I do without a heartbreak or two along the way.

But the real problem with all these shows leaving the air is some of the things that are coming on to replace them.  But I will stop right here and tell you—in the interest of total transparency—that I haven’t seen the programming I’m about to gripe about.  And you know what else?  In most cases, that’s never going to change.  Chrisley Knows BestPlaying HouseSirens?  Thank you, but no.  Not the kind of shows I care for, and not what I’ve come to expect from USA. 

Even Graceland, which is probably the newest  USA show that I do watch, is edgier than the others, darker.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not really what I tune in to USA to see.  I want drama with a touch of humor; I want smart, fun characters; I want protagonists who are friends and who make me feel they could be my friends; I want the “blue skies” the network has promised us for so long; and I truly want characters to be welcome, even though it’s been a while since USA has used that particular catchphrase.

Oh, we’ve still got Royal Pains, Suits, and Covert Affairs, so that’s good, though neither Suits nor Covert Affairs seems to be as much fun this year as they’ve been in season’s past.  I’m a bit behind on my viewing, but that’s the impression I have from what I’ve seen.  And I suppose most of those shows I listed earlier that I don’t watch probably fit in with the “blue skies” theme, and they seem to offer quirky characters (I’m basing this on commercials), but they don’t seem as intelligent as the network I know and love.  So, I guess it boils down to smart fun, that’s how I see USA and it’s what I love about their shows.  And, it seems like that’s what we’re losing.   I miss it already.