Sometimes you can learn an awful lot from the comments, even at 2am on a Monday morning! Earlier I'd written a long post about whether serial dramas were on their way out at the broadcast networks. My conclusion was not yet. And that's still my conclusion. But there were some interesting points made in the comments.
Commenter "thedemonhog" brought up an important distinction between heavily serialized shows and shows that also have a lot of complex mythology (like Lost). And commenter "Vincent" presupposed that DVD sales for serialized shows ought to be much better than for procedurals.
The data backs up the thinking.
In 2009 the top TV Show DVDs (based on revenue):
- True Blood S1 ($61 million)
- The Office S5 ($30 million)
- Lost S5 ($29 million)* (was only available for ~3 weeks during 2009!)
- Heroes S3 ($25 million)
- Grey's Anatomy S5 ($23 million)
- 24 S7 ($22 million)
- Family Guy S7 ($19 million)
- Dexter S3 ($17 million)
- Smallville S8 ($16 million)
- Southpark S12 ($15 million)
So it looks like there is something to be said for the correlation between serialized drama and DVD sales. How to explain The Office? One commenter, "Jrock" suggests that part of the popularity of The Office was that it is pretty serialized, at least as far as 30 minute sitcoms go. "The Jim and Pam love story had a great “hook” that kept viewers wanting more..."