Surprise! I’m Not Tuning In & Watching Law & Order Criminal Intent

Music ‘It’s My Life’ by Talk Talk

I admit it freely. I am not currently watching LOCI.

In fact I haven’t watched it on a network TV broadcast since sometime in Season 2 (the last episode I remember seeing in sequence is ‘The Pilgrim’).

You’re probably thinking I’m a bad VDO fan, right?

Well maybe that’s a wrong idea…

A little while after I got myself booted from DASH and got annoyed with the censorship on my own Yahoo! LOCI group, I realized that if I wasn’t going to hang with and talk to ‘fangurls’ or LOCI fans online, it didn’t matter whether or not I religiously parked my carcass in front of the TV set every Sunday night at 9 PM (8 PM Central) and tuned into NBC (and anyone in the early days of LOCI viewing will remember NBC’s utter lack of committment to its LOCI fans in Season 1 where if you got to see one new LOCI ep per month on the usual Sunday schedule, you considered yourself lucky). 

For one thing, going incommunicado means no one can inadvertantly ‘spoil’ by discussion an episode you missed mostly because they’re not talking to you (and you’re not talking to them). And you avoid some of those ‘I’m a bigger fan than you are’ competitions that fans can engage in where the yardstick is how many LOCI eps you have seen and how early you have seen them. So when I realized I could watch LOCI episodes pretty much anytime I wanted, it was a life-changing revelation. 

But my not watching LOCI like a fan is expected to is about more than just getting out of a fan ratrace. 

A lot of people in Hollywood (and New York) are freaking out right now because movie attendance (and television viewing) is at a low point. The bigwigs at the entertainment corporations are (finally!) noticing the reductions in income and are wondering what the hell is going on. 

Well, to them I say welcome to the real world, gentlemen (and the odd lady or two, because there just aren’t that many women at the top of the entertainment industry). 

My best friend (whom I have gotten interested in LOCI) wonders if these executives ever go to a movie theater or actually sit in front of a TV set anymore. And I think he’s got a heck of a point. The people who are supposed to be buying theater tickets (or the products advertised in the multiplex or on the networks) could tell them volumes and are finally starting to get the chance to do so. 

In the case of movies, polls have been done and the results delivered to both the studios and the news media. 

With movies people complain of the high prices (“for $20 I can get two adult admissions or a DVD”), the hassle (“I gotta get to the multiplex, get a sitter for the kids, deal with my hectic schedule and the hectic schedule of my movie-going companions…”), the atmosphere (“The floors are sticky, the drinks and snacks are too expensive, the seats are often in disrepair, the sound system is too loud…”) the audience (“Other people take cell phone calls or provide running commentaries during the movie, other people are too cheap to get sitters and take too young children to R rated films, other people let their kids run wild and/or be noisy and disruptive”) and what I call ‘corporate crassness’ (“There are too many trailers and ads before the movie actually starts”, “the prices are too high”…).

Also even the coveted teenage boy audience (you know them, they’re the reason why “The Dukes of Hazzard” and a thousand other equally dumb films got made in the last several years) has basically told movie makers that they’d rather “do stuff on the Internet, play video games” and delay watching movies targeted at them “until they’re released on DVD with all the cool extras at home (Can you imagine deleted car chases and shots of Jessica Simpson in the privacy of your own living room? A 15 year old boy can…but I’d rather not)” . 

With broadcast TV, the networks have scheduling issues (telling people that LOCI is on Sundays at 9 PM (8 PM Central) and then *not* actually regularly showing LOCI episodes at 9 PM (8 PM Central) on Sundays is beyond moronic and not a good way to build loyal viewership), audience issues (not everyone wants to see Jessica Simpson or a physically similar woman in a dearth of clothing and with a dearth of acting ability every week — if that were true, there would be only one TV channel/network called ‘Desperate Housewives’) and corporate crassness issues (an hour of TV programming is now 15 minutes of *loud* TV commercials not counting the time compression of opening and closing credits and the excessive usage of logo bugs, crawls and computer graphics that are thrown on top of the remaining 45 minutes of an actual program). 

So it’s not just 15 year old boys who love DVDs. 

Of course I went out and dutifully bought the first season of LOCI on DVD on the Tuesday in November in which it went on sale. I even bought a second copy for my best friend (who is now a LOCI fan too). I also bought a Season 3 set of LOCI for myself but I won’t watch it until NBC-Universal releases Season 2 of LOCI so I can catch up in the way most people would like to catch up: chronologically. NBC-Universal pulled that DVD release stunt hoping to get people who weren’t watching LOCI *at all* caught up in time for Season 4 by skipping Season 2 and releasing the ‘most recent’ episodes at the time, the Season 3 episodes. Once again, the faithful LOCI viewer and fan was blown off by NBC, and even the recent converts have to wonder why they can’t see Season 2 on DVD either. 

I don’t think I have to tell you that the people who are running NBC-Universal’s hove video division are not well acquainted with logical thought. 

You might think it’s dumb to pay money for an entire season of a television show on DVD you can see for free on a broadcast network. But if you don’t pay for your entertainment with money, you get to pay with your time (assuming you actually get to see a show at its supposedly ‘(ir)regularly scheduled’ time) and your attention (if you can concentrate on the show with all the distracting advertising going on). To me that $40 is cheap compared to the frustration inflicted on me by the networks. Being a fan isn’t supposed to be a miserable experience; if it is, you either have to change your individual fan circumstances (like stop communicating with ‘fangurls’ and stop watching TV broadcasts that are almost epileptic fit inducing) or stop being a fan. 

And the coolest thing about watching LOCI on DVD? NBC and its advertisers don’t spoil my viewings with commercials, logo bugs, goofy computer graphics promoting other NBC shows, time compressed credits, etc. What a refreshing experience it is, to watch however many LOCI episodes I want to watch, when I want to watch them, free of all the commercial clutter. Plus sometimes I even get extras for my money (i.e. DVD bonus materials).

So riddle me this: is a ‘good fan’ someone who does only what is expected of him or her by other fans and the providers of the subject of the fandom or is it someone who figures out how to get maximum enjoyment (and minimum annoyance) from whatever strikes his or her fancy on his or her own terms? 

Besides, watching LOCI this way means I have more time to write blog entries. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing… 

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