How many times has this happened to you? You're watching your favorite show, which you recorded on your DVR, and right before the final joke or the big reveal, the recording cuts off and you miss the ultimate payoff? Why can't television get it right?
This piercing, "Noooooo!" I emit every time this happens is enough to wake the dead, and yet still, every time my show is erroneously interrupted I'm angrier than Snooki without a pickle. The reason you DVR a show is so that you don't miss a moment of each episode, and then this happens. Your trustworthy device becomes an unwitting co-conspirator in the TV network's ineptitude. Since like most busy, tech-savvy people, I watch nearly all of my television on DVR, I don't think I've ever seen a complete final joke on 30 Rock or Modern Family. Every week, as sure as my DVR taped it, the alignment is somehow off. The DVR also regularly misses the "next time on Melrose Place" preview of certain shows. Man, that really pisses me off.
Know what else is annoying? When the networks schedule shows to start at 8:31 and end at 9:01, so if you're trying to tape two shows that start at 9, the machine won't let you, because of that one minute of overlap. God, that's awful. Also, you run into the same problem if you use the DVR option to extend a show past its appointed end time to catch the final joke. If you tape as many shows as I do, there is no escape! Or TV shows that change their title every season, so your DVR can't figure out that Real World: New Orleans and Real World: Las Vegas are basically the same show and you don't know that your favorite reality show came back until your coworkers are talking about it the next morning.
And it's all the networks. When it's not ABC or NBC ruining their comedies, it's Fox ruining the final song on Glee or HBO cutting off the credits of True Blood. The one channel I've never had a problem with CBS. Old fuddy-duddy CBS puttering along in its Lark Mobility Scooter, is the only one who has figured out how to make technology work for them. NBC is by far the worst offender, at least in my experience. It's no wonder they're floundering above last place.
Cable and premium channels are pretty good with working with your TiVo or similar device, too. But even when they aren't, their shows are rerun often enough and go straight to their on-demand channel. You don't even need to DVR them in the first place—especially on commercial-free HBO and Showtime.
But the networks and their precious shows that are so amazing they can only air once, those are the ones that need to be recorded properly and they are the most elusive. Why is this?
Like everything, it comes down to money. If they make the jokes go over on 30 Rock then you have to record Outsourced to see Tina Fey's final salvo. They're hoping you'll stick around and watch that wretched Indian show. But you won't. No, then you just delete the remaining 29 minutes and 50 seconds. We don't want to watch Outsourced because it is an awful piece of shit, so stop trying to force us to. It must be that desperate grasp for ratings or, if you watch the first 10 seconds, it might counts toward their ratings of DVR views and they get money for that. I don't know, but I'm guessing.
As for the 9:01 gambit, why wouldn't NBC use its few popular shows to force you to abandon another one, preferably on another network? If they can't get more viewers for their wretched content, at least they can ruin someone else's.
Enough of this malarkey! All the networks should be required to make their programs end on the hour (or half hour) and make them fit into the allotted space. DVRs have been around long enough, and they are the future. Just in the same way that we're not going to go back to sending telegraph messages, people aren't going to go back to watching TV (and all those awful commercials) when it initially airs if they don't want to. The networks need to admit defeat and adapt or else they're going to end up like the saber-tooth tiger. Yes there will be appointment television, but the appointments will be on our schedule, not yours. Bucking that trend will only increase growing animosity and drive more people to cable, who likes to cooperate with technology and knows how to play nice with our DVR.
It's time to set things right, television networks, or we're going to do something even worse than DVRing your precious entertainments. We're going to start watching them on the internet, where you still haven't figure out how to make money off of them. Take that!