The term "byzantine," meaning something that has overwhelming complexity and detail, is rarely encountered outside high school history textbooks and rightfully so. Yet with a slew of television networks attempting to expand their reach into uncharted territories, it's time to throw byzantine into the daily lexicon in order to get the best bang for your buck.
Exploration is beautiful, especially on television. Pioneers such as Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s classic nature series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" and more recently producer SallyAnn Salsano with "The Jersey Shore" embarked us on ventures we had never thought before to experience. Whether that'd be the deep depths of the Yucatán or Seaside Heights' Club Karma, charming new realities brings people joy.
While the TV stock market allows for creators to paint new art at their liberty, they must also understand that they cannot stretch their overbearing and complex arms: byzantine at its truest, yet deceitful form.
With that in mind, here are this week's hot and cold television networks:
ABC: Trending DOWN
With favorites "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Grey's Anatomy" currently on the shelf, ABC has run into a problem.
Their heavily-pushed comedies aren't hitting.
"Last Man Standing," a Tim Allen-led family sitcom in its fifth season, has luckily kept loyal ABC followers clinging onto the ledge with a mere fingernail. However, with Ken Jeong's medical mish-mosh "Dr. Ken" having full support from execs, that valiant fingernail may very well be a cheap acrylic already nearing a point of fracture.
Last Friday's episode, titled "Ken's Physical," registered a 1.0 Nielsen rating and approximately 5.28 million viewers at the 7:30 p.m. time-slot. It beat out NBC's "Superstore," although from its shoehorned plot points and fizzling puns — capitalized by Dr. Ken fruitlessly getting a cough-and-turn examination by an attractive female physician — those numbers bare no weight.
Kate Simses, the actress that plays the aforementioned physician, Julie, is actually the bright spot of the show. Her high-pitched, snappy spunk takes me back for a moment to Jennifer Tilly, an actress that made an alluring 1990s run with roles in "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Liar Liar."
However, that is where it stops for the show and for ABC as a whole.
Travel Channel: Trending UP
While many go into a night of watching the Travel Channel to passively watch older, cultured men rattle on about obscure history or the best way to drink exotic booze, network president Shannon O'Neill has brought the channel's name to good use with the new "Planet Primetime."
The show is based around host Karla Cavalli who is responsible for traveling across the globe and experiencing hands-on what other countries' TV productions are like.
This new, in-depth exploration brings out a whole new dimension to the network, in the very same way "An Idiot Abroad" did under UK's Sky 1.
Premiering on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the 7:00 p.m. time-slot will help its launch, as "Dance Moms" and "Chopped Junior" won't be giving it much pushback.
The CW: Trending DOWN
Being attached to the hip with the DC Universe isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when the success of your network is contingent upon shows like "The Flash," "Legends of Tomorrow" and "The Arrow" having infinite amounts of draw with fans, there is some depth that is desperately missing.
This theory plays true and is evident with the currently-running historical fantasy drama "Reign." Born from the same mind that wrote for "Law & Order" and its various sister shows, Stephanie Sengupta and company has been unable to keep the shows' niche group intact, with Nielsen ratings dipping almost consistently in its three season run despite its favorable beginnings.
Add that to the fact that the third season was pushed under the rug due to a Friday night onslaught, it's appearing as though CW is looking to shed its old weight in an attempt to grasp for something more familiar.
For now, the outlook is murky at best.
NBC: Trending UP
Catching up with some of last week's stock, NBC has continued its long-awaited climb into the upper echelons of entertainment.
"Saturday Night Live," a sometimes trivial sketch comedy show with a loyal following, has skyrocketed this week with guest host Adam Driver ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens") killing it alongside musical performances by country singer Chris Stapleton.
Highlights of the show include a spoof of the famous magic carpet ride in "Aladdin" followed up by a "Star Wars"-infused "Undercover Boss" episode, which saw Adam Driver reprise his role as the dark warrior Kylo Ren.
Despite the Packers-Cardinals NFC Playoff game going into overtime and pushing the show an hour later than usual, "Saturday Night Live" was still able to take over the midnight hour with a staggering 3.0 Nielsen rating and a 15 share in the 18-49 demographic.
— Edited by Samantha Harms