The wags over at Splitsider have a take on how streaming video and DVR have actually served to make TV shows funnier. Or maybe more accurately, to give funny sitcoms a better chance of survival:
Dedicated viewers have a variety of ways to catch every episode of the shows they follow, and... newly inducted viewers have more than ample opportunities to play catch-up at any given point within a season... Writers of long-running comedies can now, more than ever before, realistically assume that their viewership is experienced and informed. They can play to the choir, and the long-term plot lines of short comedies have benefited as a result.
So while Arrested Development may have been to complicated to join midstream, a show like How I Met Your Mother can indulge in multi-season arcs because viewers have been able to catch up on their own time.
It's an interesting argument, well worth the read. And while it's fun to think of ambitious shows that have flourished in the era of content on demand (Community, Louis, Parks and Rec), it's equally depressing to think of all the Andy Richter Controls the Universes that were just barely ahead of their time. [Splitsider]