Family Tools gets the ax (but really the whole workshop is in disrepair)

Most comedy pilots aren't great. And let's face it: Family Tools is no different. I made it through the first five or six minutes without hating it, and felt a few moments of mild amusement of that safe-broadcast-network-family-test-grouped varietal.

Maybe the ABC single-camera sitcom would have improved with time, but we'll never know because the show was cancelled just a few episodes in.  

This tiny story – one that's only important for a brief moment to TV addicts – put me in the mind to think about the massive changes taking place in both the television and technology industries. For decades, broadcast networks routinely blow many millions of dollars on developing TV pilots that never make it to air, and even more on shows like Family Tools that make it to air for a few episodes before getting cancelled.

Broadcast networks of course have been facing increasing competition from a growing list of comers: premium and basic cable (both groups of which have vastly increased their original content programming in recent years), web video, original programming on set-top box devices, and that's to say nothing of the dizzying array of home entertainment choices these days: gaming, Internet, and on and on.

And while this has been going on, basic cable has steadily encroached on broadcast network's once dominating position by producing shows that appeals to niche audiences, some critically acclaimed (The Walking Dead), and some… not (Duck Dynasty).

So while ABC and the like are burning off scripted series ahead of the summer reality onslaught (also see: the horrid-looking Save Me on NBC), we also have Netflix making noise about doubling down on its success with House of Cards, and Steven Spielberg developing a live-action Halo series for the next generation Xbox platform.

Bottom line: the competition for viewers is only going to get fiercer as a larger number of distribution channels offer more and higher quality original content offerings. Expect this trend to last for the foreseeable future.

So while most serious fans of high quality television will be picking and choosing offerings from broadcast channels when they surface (examples even from the beleaguered NBC: Hannibal, Parks and Recreation), there is just such an abundance of choices available that cater to every taste.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back to re-watching the at times brilliant The Straits on Hulu. 

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

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