Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog post (from readings) #16 (Due Monday, April 15): Davies, Maire Messenger and Pearson, Roberta. Star Trek - Network to Syndication;” Erickson, Hal. “Syndication in a 150-Year Nutshell.”  Post thoughts or questions about the reading to the class blog for discussion. What struck you as interesting? What did you learn that you think you might remember five years from now?


  1. As someone who has never seen an episode of Star Trek in her life, I found this reading to be really interesting. I was obviously aware of Star Trek's cultural significane because of all of the television series' as well as the recent movies made. When reading the first piece I found several things interesting. Star Trek: The Next Generation was the first drama series to ever go into syndication. Syndication is what really sent Star Trek to new audiences and ultimately responsible for all of its fans across several generations. The reading also makes a point to say that Star Trek was "ahead of its time". In the 1960s, the reading explains there was a need for television shows to appeal to a very general audience, and according to NBC, Star Trek was not doing that. It's itneresting to see how successful it has been with other generations though. I think its realy interesting that shows that "aren't sucessful" the first time they air can have an entirely different effect on a different generation of viewers. Surely, our kids will be watching old shows that we deemed unsuccessful. it'll be interesting to see.

  2. I enjoyed how the Maire Messenger Davies and Roberta Pearson article deconstructed the history of syndication using Star Trek as its prime example.

    One face that I will remember five years from now:

    “NBC’s Sales Department worried that the Mr. Spock character, with his pointed ears and slanted eyes, would be seen as “demonic” by “Bible Belt affiliate station owners and important advertisers.””

    I have seen a couple episodes of Star Trek and never was concerned that Spoke was demonic. Maybe it's just me.

    After reading the Hal Erickson piece, Syndication in a 150-Year Nutshell,
    I’m just glad I wasn't around when flubbing one line meant having to rerecord an entire set.

    I also did not know that Joe Namath had a talk show. I can’t imagine it was good. In fact, it was probably terrible, but I'm kind of interested to watch it.

    I was surprised to learn that the “most popular syndicated series of all time was the 1980’s version of a time-tested NBC network game show, Wheel of Fortune.” I prefer Jeopardy.

  3. We had talked in class how important syndication was but these readings really put it more in perspective. To see that Star Trek was such a cult show that appealed to a certain demographic yet wasn't doing as well as the network had hope is interesting because a lot of shows are like that. Yet, because of cable, targeting a demographic became easier. Now shows that may not have the best ratings but still have supportive loyal fans last longer than before. Particularly if they bring in the most ratings for lesser watched networks. It's interesting because syndication feels so pervasive now. A lot of the shows I watch are on syndication and there seems to be a lot of money made from it.

  4. It always surprises me just how much of a stranglehold the original big three broadcast networks had on American audiences and viewership before the advent of cable television programming. The fact that 98% of all possible audiences in the 1960s watched these networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) is startling, as I'm assuming given all of the programming options available today that that number has drastically decreased. Additionally, I found it interesting that syndication has really given shows with a smaller following or that were originally unsuccessful a second chance so to speak, as well as the ability to tap a wider audience.

  5. We said in class it’s evident a show has a cult following when the TV plays reruns. Star Trek is definitely one of those shows. I didn’t even know that NBC was the first to televise the series. I was surprised they canned Star Trek after three seasons. Although the reading said it was struggling, a cult fan base was already growing. I remember seeing a God-awful scene (watch here: where William Shatner fights some creature. I don’t mean to offend the “Trekkies” out there, but that was hard to watch. After seeing that scene, I don’t know how NBC went ahead with the show to begin with. But I’m in the minority, I know. I definitely respect the success Star Trek had. The reading said that “Star Trek was a series ahead of its time.” I definitely agree. While the fight scenes in the 1960s lacked the special effects to be compelling, it was still able to get a strong following. Star Trek capitalized on America’s captivation with space, and “what’s really out there?” It created a path for many other shows to try and feed off its success.

  6. Even though I've never seen an episode of Star Trek, I also can't remember a time when I didn't know it existed at all. It's become a sort of pop culture mainstay. I had never given much thought to its history or conception, but after reading about its road to syndication I'm struck by how many factors were the result of chance. It was also humorous to read about the students at MIT who attributed their desire to go into space to the show, and interesting to read about Whoopi Goldberg's appreciation of a black female officer character. Syndication clearly saved the series and expanded its appeal--as I am one of many on this campus who is awaiting the next movie installment.