In the issue of TIME that went on newsstands Friday, I have a page on the biggest—arguably the only—network-TV hit of the 2008-09 season:
We all know by now the problems with major-network TV. There are too many other channels, other media, other diversions. The audience has been sliced and diced into confetti, and it is no longer possible for a new drama to get tens of millions of viewers to sit down on their couches and watch the same thing at the same time.
And then there’s The Mentalist…
Read the rest here. It’s sort of the corollary sidebar to my death-of-the-networks piece, because The Mentalist is an example of one of the few kinds of show that still can draw a huge audience: either live watercooler shows like American Idol, or old-fashioned TV shows for viewers who still have old-fashioned TV habits.
I had a good time writing this piece, because it’s more satisfying sometimes to write about a show that people watch but critics generally ignore—rather than, say, trying to find something novel to say in the 1,000,001st article about Mad Men. A while ago, I asked readers on my Twitter feed what shows that critics don’t obsess over, but that people actually watch, I should write about next. So I put the question to you too. Any suggestions? Extra credit: any suggestions that are not also on CBS?