By Carlie Evans
The number of television addicts is growing worldwide, which seems to be helped by how often new shows debut as well as the increased popularity of television streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. This summer of television brought along many new breakout-hit series like ABC Family’s “Twisted” and “The Fosters,” and NBC’s “Camp.” There were a few epic twists and turns on the most popular shows this summer as well, such as the season finale of “Pretty Little Liars” which brought up a lot of questions. “Is Allison still alive?” asked Jamesville-Dewitt High School senior Leah Ifraimova. “Is Ezra ‘A”?” wondered sophomore Taylor Peters. “Ravenswood,” a knock-off of “Pretty Little Liars,” premieres on ABC Family this fall. Viewers at J-DHS are hoping for the same success as PLL and also are looking forward to this fall’s season premieres of their favorite shows.
One comedy series, “Modern Family,” has many loyal viewers at J-DHS. J-DHS junior Joe Lawrence says “Modern Family” is “funny and surprisingly accurate with how families get along.” Sophomore Owen Volk agrees with Lawrence that the show is funny, and adds that “there are good actors that make the show enjoyable.” “People would be amused by the characters and how they react to certain situations,” continued Volk. Freshman Ben Wilson agrees with Lawrence and Volk, but adds that “‘Modern Family’ shows the true spirit of the American family.” A comedy similar to “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” is moving from ABC to ABC Family this fall. Junior Lilli Proe is excited for the season premiere. “I can relate to the plot lines because it’s about a middle-class family and the problems they face,” said Proe.
J-DHS students can’t wait for other returning series. Senior Alexis Cantor is excited for “The X Factor.” “I like the judges. They are really funny,” said Cantor. “It’s very inspirational. The auditions are cool and the eliminations are always suspenseful,” she continued. Sophomore Lauren Spicer enjoys “Awkward” because of it’s humor and accurate depiction of reality. “The characters are played by good actors and you’ll laugh a lot,” Spicer said about the MTV show. Freshman Dae Darling finds a horror series, “American Horror Story” “hilarious.” The series will return this fall with a new focus; Coven. “I would recommend the show to people who like paranormal stuff--- Oh, and the characters are hot,” said Darling. If other students haven’t seen these beloved series, with new programs like Netflix and Hulu, they’ll be able to catch up before the series premiere this fall.
Netflix started out as a movie-rental-system which was accessed through the Internet, and when a movie was chosen, the company would send it in the mail, then you would simply send it back when you’re done. This system gave you unlimited rentals from their choices, with a small fee each month. Although the company has been around since 1997, the mail order service did not become popular until 2007. In 2009, Netflix added movie-streaming from their website. In 2011, the site added TV series from co-operating networks. Today, Netflix can be accessed from not only the Internet, but mobile devices, tablets, video gaming systems, and smart TVs. “This has really revolutionized the way people watch TV,” said Volk. “There is so much more access to TV shows in different areas, on-the-go,” he continued. “I have football practices and work-outs that keep me very busy. In my free time I can watch shows on Netflix that I’ve missed and catch up,” said senior Rasheed Baker, a running back for the J-DHS Football team. Eventually, this will give the premieres of the next seasons more viewers on live TV.
On the other hand, J-DHS students believe that live TV is not nearly as popular as it used to be. Lawrence believes that one of the reasons has to do with Time Warner Cable’s DVR, allowing you to record a show and watch it whenever you want. In addition to DVR, TWC also has On-Demand channels that allow for the same thing. “Live TV has a lot of commercials and because the TV is only in one place, it is hard to multitask while watching,” said Volk. Spicer agreed with Volk saying it is an inconvenience to watch shows on TV.
Darling and Wilson believe that live TV isn’t as popular because of the Internet and what it offers; social networking, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. “I think it is still pretty popular, but there is competition with Netflix,” said Proe. “With live TV, you have to sit down at a particular time, and there is a specific show on that you may not want to watch, I’d rather choose my show on Netflix so that I don’t have to worry if it’s a series I don’t like” she continued. “I spent pretty much a whole day watching the series “Merlin” on Netflix,” said freshman Elliot Turner. “It was easier to watch Netflix because it’s on my time,” continued Turner. Cantor simply believes Netflix is easier. Spicer said “one of my friends doesn’t even have cable anymore, she just uses Netflix.” Similar to Turner, Baker used a whole day to watch Netflix because he couldn’t find the show “Futurama” on cable. “I like that I have Netflix to watch a whole season that I’ve missed,” he said.
Does Netflix affect the specific cable networks’ ratings? Apparantely, this summer, according to Andrew Wallenstein, digital Editor-in-chief of Variety, “Breaking Bad’s” season premiere doubled it’s last season’s amount of premiere viewers. J-DHS students say they still watch TV, through popular cable programs like TWC and Verizon FiOs that air their favorite shows, on their favorite networks.
When turning on the TV, there are usually specific networks people prefer to watch, even for their favorite re-runs. “USA is the best, they always are playing “Castle,” one of my favorite shows,” said junior Sam Diamond. “I definitely watch ABC the most,” said Lawrence. “MTV, definitely,” agreed freshman Zoe Pipines and Hannah Williams. Cantor likes how A&E plays crime shows like “Law and Order” and “Criminal Minds.” For the same reason, Volk and Darling like ION. Preferring comedy over crime, Wilson spends most of his TV time watching Comedy Central. “I like the late night shows on Adult Swim, they are so random and funny,” said junior Dan Chamberlin. Spicer agrees with Pipines and Williams saying she likes MTV because it is relatable to teens. For the same reason, Proe favors ABC Family. “I love to cook, that’s why I’d have to say I watch the Food Network most often,” added Ifraimova.
Regardless which network J-DHS students prefer, they can all agree that TV continues to grow and change. Netflix and Hulu are becoming more popular, and the cable networks are adjusting by making deals with these up-and-coming programs as well as creating new series that will appeal to their viewers. “You know Netflix is getting more involved when it starts making its own series,” said Wilson. Wilson is referring to this fall’s series premiere of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” and the previous break-out series “House of Cards,” which received an Emmy on Sept. 22 for Best Director prize in David Fincher. Amol Sharma and Alexandra Cheney of The Wall Street Journal wrote “if Hollywood wasn’t already taking Netflix seriously, it is now,” in their article “Netflix Makes Some History With Showing at Emmys.”