The Series Television Paradox
TG brings up an interesting point. Shows like Lost not only require that you watch each week so you know what's going on, but it basically ruins its own chances of new viewership. We all know that it's the kind of show where, if you weren't on board during the first episode, you can pretty much forget jumping on now. Especially now that the show is into its second season, there are a ton of things that you don't know that you need to if you're going to understand what's going on. Also, they're going to be answering a ton of questions, and if you don't even know what the questions are, where does that leave you? I'm so jealous. I really want to watch the show, because it truly looks interesting, but would I stand a chance? Perhaps you Lost viewers out there could let me know. Although I have a point of confusion - how does that fat guy stay fat? Even Tom Hanks lost weight when it was just him and Wilson.
I felt the same way about 24. I thought the concept was great, but for whatever reason, I couldn't sit down and watch it when it first aired, and now it is most definitely too late. Does a show hurt its chances if it procludes the chance of new viewership? Of course, with the invention of the DVD, you can go rent the prior episodes, but that's another committment. Do I really want to sit in front of the TV for hours on end, just so I can start watching a show? Do I even have that time to begin with? The answer is no, and so I won't be jumping on either of those bandwagons. But I will add that I wish I could. I feel like there's some club that everyone else belongs to that I don't...and I'm jealous.
Then, the other angle is, how do you know when a show should be watched from the beginning? What if you start watching a show like, oh, I don't know, Head Cases, only to have it cancelled? Or another show, only to find out you spend all that time watching it, and it sucks? There's no way to tell with television. On a side note, Everybody Hates Chris beat almost everyone in the ratings - shocked, anyone?