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Wiktionary said:
exposition: (writing) A technique used in fiction, including novel, play, and movie, by which background information about the characters, events, or setting is conveyed.
Top quality TV shows from around the world draw-in viewers with intriguing, careful character and plot development using incidental, oblique exposition for deliberate effect.

Annoyingly, network TV pilots, judging by the current crop so far, are in a very big hurry to prep potential viewers, with no time to spare on literary essentials. What are the writers to do? In some cases, all that can be done is to back up a dump truck of "instant background" and hope that some of it sticks. Some of it stinks.

Such character exposition usually involves one person reciting to a new partner all that he/she has researched about the other's brilliant career, "top of the class" education, and personal history, while walking briskly down a corridor or driving maniacally during a vehicle pursuit. Note: it may not always be flattering - it is often done by an annoyed supervisor to show that the person in question is a loose cannon, lone wolf, trouble maker, etc. who will get in big trouble if the supervisor's blood pressure goes up any further, etc. etc.

Rapid character exposition on TV is likewise done when a new team member is introduced into a busy squad room or similar open setting in which members refer to each others' pasts in the same fashion as above, while twirling in their chairs to accomplish many high-tech tasks at once. In a sitcom it can be quite painful. In such settings even a quickie comment from a passer-by can be loaded with exposition: "Way to go Matt, you sure saved the Senator's election campaign when you took out that sniper in the produce section!"

So, with such a trite, well known plot device in such common use, how did this new crop of pilots do?

Chase - a "U.S. Marshals" clone, with gung ho camaraderie and a standard police procedural format - don't really care for the format and the truck load of exposition but will check it out again to see if there is hope

Lone Star - good concept with misleading title (not a Western) - toned down for network TV - intriguing and fairly original - shades of "My Own Worst Enemy" - will watch again

The Event - familiar elements of Lost, FlashForward, X-Files blended with enough hooks to keep viewers interested... only for awhile if it cannot create and maintain a devotion to its own story arc

Hawaii Five-O - oh please, could they have crammed even one more ounce of exposition into that pilot? A show with so much potential has begun as little more than an action-cops-buddy-film clone. Time will tell, but...

Outlaw - one glaring downer is the young, female P.I. character, so brash and over-the-top as to be ridiculous, particularly while The Good Wife's Kalinda Sharma (played by Archie Panjabi) has set the bar so high. Otherwise, the show has promise.

Shattered - love it (see existing thread)

More to come as I see them.
 

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Hawaii 5-0 Reloaded. What can I say... Many items were borrowed from other series.

- A guy who went to the Army, Navy, Seal, whatever, is being instantly recruited for a mission while attending a family funeral, immediately refuses then reluctant accepts. Deja Vu on Knight Rider 2 years ago.
- The common enemy state on all agencies blacklist that our hero persues for years: too many series.
- The pace of the show and the usage of the hottie in a dangerous situation reminds me of NCIS:LA.
- It's expected that the majority of the episodes will follow this pattern: The army hero pursues the terrorist of the week, some explosions and kills will occur, and in the end they'll catch or kill the bad guy.

CBS still have confidence in Alex O'Loughlin after the fail of Three Rivers.

Oh, and the cargo with Chinese people inside, where have I seen that storyline recently? Shattered episode 2?
 

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I watched the season opener of Chase. What a POS, considering it comes from Jerry Bruckheimer. Tired dialogue and cliched stereotyped characters.

I'm not convinced this show will survive a season.
 

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I only watched The Event, and 10 minutes of 50. I agree with both your summary. 50 may last only because of the scenery and Hawaii is not bad to look at either.
 

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Hawaii 5-0 Reloaded. What can I say... Many items were borrowed from other series.

- A guy who went to the Army, Navy, Seal, whatever, is being instantly recruited for a mission while attending a family funeral, immediately refuses then reluctant accepts. Deja Vu on Knight Rider 2 years ago.
- The common enemy state on all agencies blacklist that our hero persues for years: too many series.
- The pace of the show and the usage of the hottie in a dangerous situation reminds me of NCIS:LA.
- It's expected that the majority of the episodes will follow this pattern: The army hero pursues the terrorist of the week, some explosions and kills will occur, and in the end they'll catch or kill the bad guy.

CBS still have confidence in Alex O'Loughlin after the fail of Three Rivers.

Oh, and the cargo with Chinese people inside, where have I seen that storyline recently? Shattered episode 2?
An episode of the Wire dealt with Russian Hookers inside a container
 

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Somewhat OT but three or four years ago I gave up on watching any new shows from the major networks until they at least survive the first season. I got tired of getting into a show only to have it abruptly canceled, often after only 4 or 5 episodes had aired. If a show isn't an instant hit they kill it and it seems to get worse each new season. The "rapid character exposition" as you describe it is another unfortunate side effect of this. There's simply no time to allow a show to build and develop properly so they try to cram it all in in the first one or two episodes.

The specialty networks will at least give a new show one full season to catch on and often a second season even if a show is only getting mediocre ratings. They will take the time to tweak the writing and the characters and allow the show to build a following. The major networks just keep throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick.
 

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I liked The Event, and was so-so on Chase and 5-0. Didn't watch Lone Star due to scheduling conflicts, but FOX is reairing it on Saturday nights in The Wanda Sykes Show's old spot so I plan to catch it then

From Sunday, I really liked Call Me Fitz and was intruiged enough by Boardwalk Empire to catch it again.

From series that premiered earlier this season, I have already dropped Nikita, but will continue to watch Hellcats, World Of Jenks and season one of Burn Notice. The Big C is another favourite in our house.

So far, the favourite has definately been Call Me Fitz though.
 

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Started to watch Call Me Fritz......turned it off after ten minutes.....piece of garbage. My humour meter does not register sex on a hoist. Is this the new standard for Canadian/American produced shows.
Enjoyed H-50 as the scenery is quite familiar to us. Dancing with the Stars is about the same.....worth one viewing.
The Event lost us with the multiple time changes.....almost like a flashback for us to the sixties.
Enjoyed the CBS comedies allthough Charlie is borderline gutter talk and look forward to the return of Rose.
All in all not a spectacular night. Thank goodness for the PVR as the shows on City were ruined by the Rogers bean counters. Who said that commercial sells were down!
 

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Fall 2010 Cancellation Watch

Now the new season is underway, we know some shows won't make it. I thought I would start this thread to track shows that have a high chance of cancellation, so we don't invest too much time on them. I suggest keeping them on the PVR for a while before watching until the networks decide their fate.

What show will have the dubious distinction of being the first cancellation?
 

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I will give the "The Event" another week. It is hard to follow, almost seems a FlashForward, but doesn't live up to the Lost/24/X-Files hype.

The Chase - not bad, but not a "must watch"

I have yet to watch Lonestar, Hawaii 5-0, or Mike and Molly. Only so many hours in a night.
 

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5-0: Didn't bother with it.. Not a fan of the actors and really not a fan of a lot of remakes of series that faded away..

Boardwalk Empire: Finally got to watch it lastnight. It had its dull points but was entertaining. Could just have been 1.5 hours and seemed like a movie which needed an ending. Will watch the next few episodes to see how it goes but definaly worth a look.

Call me Fitz: Both episodes were mildly entertaining. Might take a few more to decide and see where its going but looks like a series that could do 1 season and be done and nobody would really care. Not sure how far a story can be taken with it really.

Up until today those were the only ones that really sounded interesting. Although i'm becomming an HBO type series junky latly. I guess the lack of commercials and no real censorship helps.
 

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LoneStar is an awful show, and the way the job market is down in the states.


What a aweful show and the timing of this shows also sucks. I'll give it till Oct 15th. tops.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Only major networks here

Remember that this thread & forum concerns major networks in Canada and the U.S., so specialty channel pilots are unfortunately off topic here.
 

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Lonestar and Chase both did horrible in the ratings last night. Lonestar got beat by all of Two and a Half Men, Dancing With the Stars and The Event, while Chase got killed by Hawaii 5-0. I think that those two won't last long at all.
 

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I just watched the pilot for The Event. It was certainly a bit confusing to start off, jumping back and forth in a two week period with lots of characters and multiple settings. It seemed to get better towards the end and now I'm intrigued to see what will happen.

The whole thing of an airplane disappearing to nowhere and flashbacks made it seem like a bit of a Lost ripoff though.
 

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Hawaii 5-0

Awesome! Loved the action, and the line... "what kind of cops are you guys?... reply... " we're the new kind!"

Good mix of cheese, action and plot. Bravo!
 
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