Many of us got our first taste of Portlandia via Hulu.com. Episode one posted for nearly a week and then poof, it vanished. Was it a tease? A little taste of the laughter? A snippet of potential from a new comedy? The question I pose is this: Will Portlandia live past six episodes, especially if us fans don’t have easy access to it?
Episode 2, guest starring Kyle MacLachlan as Mayor Sam Adams (and Mayor Adams as his assistant), will air Friday, January 28, at 10:30 PM on Independent Film Channel (IFC). The episodes are re-aired several times a week, and even several times a day – see the IFC line up. But without easy access to a larger audience, those without cable (Comcast was the first bill cut in my house due to a tightening budget), can the show get the backing necessary to extend to a second season? Or has the show been set up for failure.
IFC does not appear to have a relationship with Hulu, therefore episode one must have been a marketing ploy. Did IFC think people would run out and sign up with COX or COMCAST just to watch one series. Don’t they know cable costs more than $60 a month in most cities, even Portland? Do they not want to partner with Hulu on a long-term basis because they are “independent?”
For a channel to say its “independent” makes me question its programming. The Larry Shandling show aired eight times today. Scorsese’s Gangs of New York aired tonight. Curse of the Golden Flower, a Chinese epic film by Zhang Yimou starring Chow Yun-Fat, aired at 10:15 am and 5:15 pm. First, does the channel have such little content that it has to re-air a show over and over again? What makes any of these shows and films “independent”? Curse of the Golden Flower’s director, Zhang Yimou, is the Chinese Scorsese. He is world renowned and recognized as one of the Fifth Generation Chinese film makers. Since 1987, his films have been selected to screen at some of the most prestigious international film festivals including Venice Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. As far as I can tell, he isn’t produced by an independent label.
According to IMDB, Curse of the Golden Flower’s budget was estimated at $45,000,000 and earned $711,336 on its 60 screen US opening weekend, 25 December 2006. It went to gross $6,565,495 in the US (25 March 2007). Those are not figures consistent with low-budget, independent productions.
I can only hope that IFC has a strategy for Portlandia that includes making it viable for future episodes. Most programming is based on viewership and advertising dollars. If the viewership is high, the advertisers will come.
Come on Pacific Foods, Seventh Generation, Tazo Tea, Hain Celestial Group, and other companies whose target market are alternative folks with a sense of humor. Start buying the ads. It’s up to all of us to tell IFC they need to partner with Hulu.com and produce more episodes. We need to laugh more, and Portlandia offers us laughter through a new and different lens.
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Write a review on OregonLive.com:
- IFC’s portlandia: “put a bird on it!” (designspongeonline.com)
- Catch A Sneak Peek Of IFC’S PORTLANDIA (geektyrant.com)