Why Joan of Arcadia was canceled

Joan of ArcadiaJoan of Arcadia was an awesome show that was plagued by a fatal flaw. That flaw is in fact what the entire show was based on though you might not even know it. On the surface the show was about Joan and how god talked to her. Yet if you watched Barbara Hall talk about the show on the DVD you quickly learned something slightly different.

Barbara explains that the show is about Joan, the metaphysical warrior, as well as her father the cop, as the physical warrior. Barbara really wanted to play the two side off each other and form a balance of the world of god that you can’t fully grasp and the world of being a cop.

This view of the show puts more focus on the contrast of Joan and her father then on the fact that Joan talks to God. This is not necessarily bad but this was not what any publicity or even the opening credits focused on.

When ever a show gets canceled there is usually a fairly clear reason why. Shows get pulled because they are not getting the viewership they wanted. Who was Joan of Arcadia target audience? 50% of the shows focus was Joan and her friends. The other 50% was a about the Father who was a cop and his trials at work.

This 50/50 split seems to have been the problem. If you liked the kids the best then you did not care about the parents and if you liked the parents you most likely did not want to watch a teen drama.

Barbara was so focused on the contrast between the two that she did not see the fact that she was spreading her audience too thin. Not to mention that advertisers like to know who they are advertising too. An audience that was 50% adults and 50% teens is not an effective way to market to either. At the end of the day if a show can’t bring home the bread it’s going to get canceled.

I might sound a bit hard on Barbara but that’s only because I love the show so much. While it was flawed on such a basic level it did everything else right. The writing was snappy and very emotional. While I did not enjoy the parent story lines they were still well written and I would have enjoyed them more as a separate show instead on woven in to the same show.

The amount of character development she managed to pack in to thirty minutes (With the other half taken by the parents) for about 8 different characters was amazing. Yet there was still so much that could have been done. Friedman was neglected and kept as a flat character until the second season where he only started to shine. Even Joan’s brothers were left fairly flat until later in the first season.

A couple years back in college I ripped Memento, a move sequenced in reverse, and re-sequenced it in chronological order. I keep talking about trying the same thing with Joan of Arcadia and cutting out most of the parent scenes. I’m sure it would be extremely rough but it would be closer to a show that would have actually grabbed their target audience and kept them for season after season.

joanofarcadia, cbs, dvd

What MP3 player should I buy? – The Creative Zen Micro

I’ve written this email to enough people now that I really should just post it for every one else: I say if you want an mp3 player to go head to head with the ipod the Creative Zen Micro is great.

One of the decisions that should go in to buying any mp3 player is how much music you’re actually going to want to put on it. With most mp3 coming in around 3mb and a cd coming in between 40 - 70 mbs you should be able to figure how much music you want to have with you at all times. the more music you are willing to swap on and off the device the smaller hard drive you can get.

The Creative Zen Micro has 5gb of space which is roughly 1666 songs or about 83 hours of music.

Cnet has a great list of best of the best mp3 players and also navigation to change what type of mp3 players you are looking at. The most important categories are: Flash memory MP3 players | Hard drive MP3 players | Micro hard drive MP3 players

Flash memory is the hardest to break since it has no moving parts but has the smallest space. typical about 1gb.

hard drive and micro hard drive are easier to break (both the ipod and Creative Zen Micro micro hard drives) but have much larger storage. micro hard drives are smaller and have less storage then regular hard drives but stay about the same price as regular hard drives. regular hard drives have more space but can become annoying to carry around since they are so big.

mp3, mp3player, creative, ipod, cnet, review, guide

Designers at SXSW?

AmberThis week at Inside the Net Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte talked about SXSW. Amber actually made it down though I didn’t bump in to her at SXSW. What surprised me is that Amber was really surprised at how many designers were there.

Maybe it’s just me but SXSW has always been design first and technology second. Even when the panels are about standards the focus is design. Why Amer thinks this is just a Tech Web 2.0 conference baffles me.

Does any one agree with me? Designers own SXSW and though it’s fun to talk about business and technology the focus will always come back to design even if I have to get on stage and drag it there myself.

insidethenet, sxsw2006, sxsw, ambermacarthur, leolaporte

SXSW – reference


Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps (more)

How to Convince Your Company to Embrace Standards (more)

WaSP Annual General Meeting

Microformats: Evolving The Web (more and more)

Web Standards and Search Engines: Searching for Common Ground

Holistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams (more)

Web 2.1: Making Web 2.0 Accessible (more)

Demystifying the Mobile Web (more and more)

How to Make the Most of Maps

Sink or Swim. The Five Most Important Start-up Decisions

Tantek Çelik Presentation: Creating Building Blocks for Independents

How to Bluff Your Way in DOM Scripting (more)

How to Be A Web Design Superhero (more)

Traditional Design and New Technology (more and more)

OSX and Longhorn Development

Video Blogg Business Models

Ambient Findability

Learning From Comics

Craig Newmark Interview (more and more)

Standard Deviation

Cluetrain Seven Years Later

Creating Passionate Users

The Wisdom of Crowds

Opening Remarks: Jim Coudal and Jason Fried

How to do Precisely the Right Thing at all possible times

Bruce Sterling (more)

Dogma Free Design

Design Eye for the List Guy

Wasp Task Force (WTF)

CSS problem solving

Smaller, Faster, Lighter

Design and Social Responsibility

Starting Small: Web Business for the Rest of Us

Does Your Blog Have a Business? (more)

“Zero-Advertising” Brands

Serious Games for Learning

Digital Convergence

Cyberplace: Online in Offline Spaces – and Vice Versa

Book Digitization and the Revenge of the Librarians (still looking but here are some pannelist notes: here, here and here)


How to be a Web Design Superhero

Float like a butterfly (Ethan Marcotte)

Microformat slides

Design Eye for the List Guy

How to bluff your way in DOM Scripting

Traditional Design and New Technology (full post)


Joi Ito interviews people at SXSW (original post)


SXSW Podcasts

Avalonsta Podcast feed

Further Reading at Squidoo: SXSW 2006

sxsw, sxsw2006, notes, slides, reference