Big Media gets smart?

"The River" - this year's "Lost" or the new "Flash Forward".

In a development which probably isn’t a harbinger of things to come,  ABC Studios have partnered with iTunes in the UK to bring new mystery series, “The River”, to UK viewers a day after it debuts in the US.

This is partly down to the awkward but undeniable fact that no UK broadcaster has picked up the show yet, despite reviews of the pilot like this one from io9.

Something which makes me slightly nervous about this show is the involvement of “Paranormal Activity” creator Oren Peli and Steven Spielberg as producers.  Spielberg’s record on TV isn’t the best – for every “Band of Brothers” or “The Pacific”, there’s a “Falling Skies” or “Terra Nova”.  Neither of those shows is an out and out stinker, but they’ve always seemed to me to be feature projects which couldn’t quite hack it and ended up on telly.

I have to say that I wonder if this is going to be the shape of television to come – buying a single show season pass on a platform like iTunes rather than shelling out for a pricey tv package which has only a few series that you actually want to watch.   The pricing probably has to catch up to make this model of viewing attractive – I’m not sure that I want to commit to a show from the outset which might never get beyond twelve episodes – but as I find myself watching fewer and fewer hours of TV each year (a number which will decrease  yet further when “30 Rock” ends its run), perhaps taking a punt on the new JJ Abrams or Ron D Moore show will seem like the way to go.

 

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