TV On My Terms: Chuck Raving Mad
Two TV On My Terms posts in one day? What can I say, sometimes the urge to say something strikes, and you have to do what you have to do.
For all TV Fanatics, the sad, painful truth is that, regardless of our feelings, TV shows end. Sometimes after a good long run, sometimes after only a season. Some shows are outstanding, some are mediocre; some go through so many changes over time that they cycle from the former to the latter - and only in the rarest of cases do they ever reverse that pattern.
Often when there is a show on the bubble, as they say, particularly genre shows with strong cult followings, fans start trying to think of all sorts of crazy ways to try and improve the viewership because they are convinced that life will not continue if said show should end up officially on the chopping block.
I'm not trying to make fun of that feeling, I've been there. I was one of the few stalwarts who thoroughly enjoyed Alias in its final season, despite some admitted unevenness in the stories. I would have been thrilled to see it renewed for a sixth or seventh (heck even on through to a tenth!) season, if ABC had it in their hearts to do so.
Regardless of any fan campaign that may have existed at the time, Alias was going to end, and I had to accept that. I'm aware that some shows have had some success in beating the odds due to fan response in the past. Yes, Roswell got an additional season due to incessant fans refusing to give up. I believe the same was true for Jericho, and even NBC's Chuck saw a measure of success in that regard (though I attribute the latter's success more to Subway's involvement early on and the horrible performance of other NBC shows over the last four years than actual fan power).
There comes a time, however, when fandoms go so stark raving mad over the potential loss of their television lifeline, they try to go after the absolutely unachievable.
The latest somewhat-organized effort by a few of the gotta-at-least-admire-their-tenacity-if-not-ingenuity Chuck fans to actively "recruit" Nielsen viewers to watch the show on Mondays has got to be one of the most far-fetched I've seen yet, not to mention poorly thought out. (An attempt to even mildly tamper with the Nielsen system of anonymity and statistics can't be good.)
The ratings have decreased season after season, and although seeming to have stalled at a borderline acceptable point in Chuck's fourth year, recently even those numbers have started to fall.
To put it bluntly, it's bleeding even its core fans at an alarming rate. I was once of them; a very devoted fan who enjoyed the escapades of a nerd dipping a toe into the spy world and hopefully getting the girl. It was a fun escape, even if on the more silly side. I won't go into great detail as to why I stopped watching, but essentially it boils down to a steep drop in story quality. You can't deny its there. Even some of the most diehard Chuck fans begrudgingly admit its not as good as it was two seasons ago. I love the actors, I'll always have a soft spot for the characters as they once were, but I no longer watch Chuck with any regularity, if at all. They lost me as a viewer.
My personal feelings on the quality notwithstanding, my basic point is to expect new fans to tune in en masse at this point is, frankly, ridiculous. It's not going to happen. Period. That ship has sailed. The fact that it's losing, or at least beginning to bore, even once-adoring fans should be proof enough.
My suggestion, welcome or not, to these fans mounting this ultimately ill-advised Nielsen campaign is this: let it go.
Even if Chuck gets a reprieve for one more season, it will not be due to your campaigning. Why go through the futile, frustrating efforts when there is no chance of achieving what you are setting out to accomplish? Instead, just sit back, relax and enjoy what time you have left with the show. That's really the best thing you can do. Watch it while you can. Relish whatever joy you get out of it. Discuss it with your friends and have fun with it. If you can talk a friend or family member into enjoying it with you, do it! And if you get a slight overnight ratings bump, celebrate that.
Then go outside. Get some fresh air. Smell a rose or two. Play with your kids. Kiss your significant other. Get some exercise. Enjoy your life in the three dimensional world. Remind yourself that life will go on without Chuck, or [ insert-your-favorite-show-here ] because, whether you like it or not, the end is coming, just as it did for my beloved Alias.
Before you know it, you'll find a new TV love that will fill the void in your heart without crowding out the memories of your former favorite, and you'll be just fine.
Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @TVOnMyTerms.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.