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The BLOGFlume—Summer’s Here

Sea World's new show, ABC sells out, and virtual Disney

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: June 1, 2005 at 7:23 PM

On the Horizon
Orlando Rocks 6/1/05

The newest show at Sea World Orlando has taken its first bow, and from a couple of first impressions, it looks like it may be a big hit. Blue Horizons is a highly detailed dolphin show that combines your standard dolphin show with elements of Cirque d’Soleil and bird shows. The story is set in the imagination of a young girl, where dolphins, false killer whales, exotic birds, and human performers astound the audience with mystifying acrobatics and stunningly beautiful sets and costumes. From the pictures and video, the show looks somewhat similar to Viva at Sea World San Antonio, but takes it to another level. The show has been created by a Broadway set designer who wanted to infuse some of the dramatic elements normally reserved for a lavish musical production into this water-based spectacular. Over the past few years, Busch Entertainment has worked hard to bring top-notch professional entertainment to their parks in shows that would normally cost people $50 or more to watch at a traditional venue. Irish Thunder, Imaginique, Katonga, Viva, and now Blue Horizons have raised the bar of theme park entertainment to give guests a glimpse of superb, professional entertainment. Some other parks are beginning to upgrade their shows to move away from the standard “theme park fare” that seems to inhabit about half of the American Idol auditions. Guests are beginning to expect more than cheesy singing and dancing numbers, and theme parks are slowly starting to respond with a more interesting and elaborate form of entertainment. With Busch leading the way, a high schooler singing a top 40 song will soon be a thing of the past as theme parks bring guests shows that you would normally have to trek to the theater to see.

ABC Soars
LA Times 6/1/05

Stemming from the incredible success of new series Desperate Housewives and Lost, ABC has sold all of its “up front” advertising time with a revenue increase of 30% over last year. The increase represents an extra $500 million in revenue, as the Disney-owned network was the first to sell all of its available advertising slots for the upcoming fall season, faster than even industry leader CBS and young-demographic leader Fox. It is clear that the once-doomed network has rebounded quickly from its demise just a couple of years ago. ABC was being beat by cable programming on some nights when Who Wants to Be A Millionaire was run into the ground saturating the prime time lineup. Without any original shows to fill the gaps when Millionaire began to fail, ABC plummeted to the bottom of the ratings. However, this past season, ABC has been able to resurrect itself with two of the hottest shows on TV. While I’m not a Desperate Housewives watcher, tens of millions of other Americans vaulted the sexy show that plays more like a soap opera than a prime time dramedy to the top of the ratings. ABC also launched Lost, possibly the biggest “cult” hit since Twin Peaks or X Files. The show that stranded the survivors of a plane crash on a creepy island may be one of the most entertaining and frustrating show of the year. The season finale created more questions than it answered, but did answer the question of when ABC would return to ratings respectability. ABC has now become an asset instead of a burden to Disney, and ads for the 50th anniversary are starting to reach a wider audience. This success could not have come at a better time, and Robert Iger, instead of taking over a clunker, is taking over a well-primed machine.

Crack
Virtual Magic Kingdom

Disney has done it now! The Internet may never be the same, as Virtual Magic Kingdom has reached the beta test stage. The online immersive experience allows users to take a trip to a Disney park without leaving their computer, and never taking off their pajamas. The experience is similar to the Coke Music V-Ego program where users play games and interact with other users in the program to earn points. With the points, users can buy virtual items that they can carry around or decorate their “rooms.” The Disney version allows users to ride attractions and interact with other park guests. As the game expands, the line between simulation and reality will be blurred as users can physically visit a Disney park and complete quests to earn points and exclusive items for the virtual game. Online “viral” marketing has become increasingly popular as a cheaper and more effective way of advertising than print or media advertising. It gives guests a challenge while still luring them into being bombarded by suggestive advertising. This online experience is very addictive, as my wife would attest, and as it spreads, all of the Disney Dorks out there will not get any work done- they will always be in the game. Despite Disney’s over protectiveness (the dictionary of words that can be “spoken” in the game is extremely restrictive, not even allowing any numbers), the concept is pure genius, and adds a new layer of interactivity in visiting a Disney theme park. Just as you thought the pin trading phenomenon was cooling off, a new, more addictive Disney obsession is ready to take its place.

Readers' Opinions

From Jason Lester on June 2, 2005 at 10:11 PM
Gotta love Lost. It's the best show on TV and you all should watch it when it returns in September.

Very good finale by the way.

From Ben Mills on June 3, 2005 at 8:36 AM
Lost still hasn't started over here yet. Apparently it will do in the next couple months. It's kinda funny seeing all the Christmas episodes airing here in the middle of May, though. Makes you realise just how far behind we are on everything...
From Adriel Tjokrosaputro on June 3, 2005 at 8:16 PM
Did you mean Lost that lost in a "living island"?

Disney got to build the ride!Place it in Animal Kingdom,or maybe build a land on theme park,with theming "Mysterious Island".

From Kevin Baxter on June 4, 2005 at 2:00 AM
Ben, do yourself a favor and stay far away from Lost. A promising start which devolved into absolute retardation by midseason. The three main characters, who were all supposed to be involved in a love triangle and carry the show, have all become such irritants - due to pisspoor writing - that they have basically given up on both their moronic triangle and in making any of them a sympathetic character. These writers SUCK. Their dialog challenges George Lucas's for sheer lameness. Plus, there are all kinds of relationships being created on the island and ONLY ONE works... and that's the already married couple. Michael and his usually absent son? Fake. That son and freako Locke? Over before it began. Charlie/Claire? She barely exists. Sayid/Shannon? Maybe if she could act. Locke/Boone? What? The most interesting and the most annoying character on the show? Shannon/Boone? Over-the-top sibling crap and THE MOST DISGUSTING TWIST IN TELEVISION HISTORY!

It is so obvious that JJ Abrams is telling the writers whatever "clues" need to be revealed each ep, and the inept writers then are forced to fill the other 90% of the show. At least 75% of every single show ends up being pure filler. And the finale? NOT ONE SINGLE MYSTERY SOLVED! Critics, blogs, tv sites, viewers, are mostly all pissed at the finale. Ratings are going to drop next season, as they did throughout this season. This thing has Twin Peaks written all over it.

Desperate Housewives on the other hand, started off good, got really REALLY stoopid, then started paying attention to what people were saying online. It was so obvious how the show started paying attention to the biggest complaints about it. Yeah, Susan is still retarded, Bree has become more hated than ever, Gabrielle is still a spoiled bitch and Lynette is still THE WORST CHARACTER IN TELEVISION HISTORY, but the show has made these facts work for it. Its finale, on the other hand, was what a mystery serial's finale should be: it solved the mystery people wanted solved most, which left them satisfied enough to want to know what will happen next year. Lost has cried wolf so many damn times without EVER answering one of the biggest burning questions, like what's in the hatch, who the Others are, why they are here, what the numbers mean, what "No, WE'RE the survivors of Flight 815" means (and why they changed the line in the stoopid clip show), not to mention what's up with Walt, Hurley and Locke's selective weirdnesses. In fact, the show just keeps ADDING mysteries without solving any of the previous ones. What a recipe for disaster. How long before this becomes as convoluted as the damn mythology surrounding The X-Files? GRRRRRR!

Anyhow, the whole ABC being first is useless information, as usual out of ABC. Being first doesn't mean they will make the most. CBS, still number one, will make far more than ABC will, as this is all totally based on ratings. Fox, having won the younger demographics crown, will also make far more, per show, than ABC. If anything, I think ABC just made deals as quickly as possible before its summer season got under way, because THAT is not going to be pretty. While CBS and NBC will cruise through summer with their crime show repeats, ABC has NOTHING of repeat value (Lost and Housewives performed HORRIBLY in reruns during the regular season) and will have to rely on a lackluster reality schedule to sell their new shows. Not good, considering ABC's new shows are almost all going into problematic spots.

But at least ABC is making money. Not the billion-plus it was making when Disney bought it, but better than zero, which it WAS making.

From Jason Lester on June 4, 2005 at 10:38 AM
Lost is far better then the other crap on TV. The point of the sure is to be mysterious and have mysteries take a backseat sometimes. If you don't like character development then go watch Desperate Housewives and see what I care about it. Lost is a quality show with a large following and fanbase and that speaks for itself. As for not having enough revealed in the finale would you rather they tell you everything and then leave you sitting there with nothing to think about. We found out the Others actually exist for one. And we know they're human. Before they could have been whispers in the jungle. We also found out the monster can shift shapes. That's new. Before nobody had any clue what the monster was remotely like. And we got to see Artz explode which was the best moment of the finale.

Don't whine about because enough wasn't revealed. Just sit back and go along with the ride. As for the Shannon/Boone thing, it made it much more emotional for her when you know what if you watched happens. Sayid and Shannon is kind of creepy. Okay. But it goes to show the show isn't predictable. So go watch Desperate Housewives if you want. I'll stick with Lost.

From Kevin Baxter on June 5, 2005 at 1:30 AM
I give a detailed explanation as to why Lost became sucky and I get a "Well, I like it!" comeback. That would be a perfect example as to why people have been abandoning the show all season. The show averaged about 7th place the first half of the season, and ended it in 15th. Only 20 million watched the finale, far less than finales for other shows, like Grey's Anatomy (22.2M), Two and a Half Men (24.2M), CSI: Miami (23.0M), Without a Trace (21.4M), and this doesn't even mention the blockbuster finales of CSI (30.7M), Everybody Loves Raymond (32.9M), Housewives (30.6M) or American Idol (30.2M). You can tell if a show is doing well if it does much better in sweeps. Until the finale, Lost actually had fewer viewers than for its debut. Not good.

You may be willing to accept a show that gives full of boring characters and neverending mysteries, but history proves few others do. Enjoy it while you can, cuz this one has a short future.

From Jason Lester on June 5, 2005 at 11:02 AM
Have you even visited the Lost board on imdb.com because I advise you to. You will see the show has numerous fans. It may go the way of Twin Peaks or the equally good show Dead Like Me which Greenblatt chose to cancel when he came to Showtime. But ABC hasn't had a hit TV show in so long they'll keep Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives as long as they can. I had hope for the fall's pilot Invasion until I saw a promo so here's to hoping ABC keeps Lost and realizes what a quality show it is.

Maybe I do like boring characters and slow developing mysteries, but then again, at least I'm not alone.

From TH Creative on June 7, 2005 at 7:27 AM
I agree with Mr. Baxter. The problem with 'Lost' and 'Desparate Housewives' is that they are suffering from 'Joan of Arcadia' syndrome. Interesting concept with no legs. The premise of these shows is so narrow that inevitablly become less than interesting. I mean, can anyone see 'Lost' lasting more than three seasons -- if even that long ("They're still on the island").

Then again, Disney executives didn't like the concept to begin with. So maybe I am jumping to the same erroneous conclusion.

From TH Creative on June 7, 2005 at 7:33 AM
Disney ought to hire Daniel Handler (Snicket) to write a creepy kids serial a la 'Lost.' He would be able to keep it funny and fresh and create interesting story tangents.
From Jason Lester on June 7, 2005 at 8:59 PM
I can see I'm going to be alone in defending Lost here.

All I can say is, it appears that it's not for everyone.

From TH Creative on June 8, 2005 at 8:29 AM
Hey, I thought 'Lost' was an interesting concept. I enjoyed the show. I just don't think it will last more than two (three at the most) seasons.
From Jason Lester on June 8, 2005 at 10:55 AM
You're probably right about 2 or three seasons. I think 3, but I hope it can make it 4. JJ Abrams said he had 6 seasons planned out. As much as I'd like to think so I doubt it will go that far.
From Kevin Baxter on June 10, 2005 at 1:50 AM
There's a scary thought right there. If Abrams had planned for six years, then that means he doesn't plan on solving the main mystery FOR FIVE MORE YEARS. That will not cut it.

The peeps behind Lost are apparently reading the same boards I do (imdb's boards are the tv/movie equivalent of a Disney Dork site) because they are already in the media promising quick resolutions to the hatch cliffhanger, since viewer unhappiness over that is overshadowing the more interesting raft cliffhanger. (It's unfortunate because I think I know what's going to happen to the remaining rafters and setting that up would have quelled the hatch uproar a bit.) And the fact that these guys don't seem to have a clue how to keep from pissing us off is what makes me too scared to watch next season. Think about it... instead of that retarded final shot of the endless hatchway, they could have ended that story with the Arzt explosion. Only have all five on that quest fly away from the blast. Then we go into the summer wondering, "What's going to happen to those eight people? Will they all be back?" instead of, "No monster! No hatch! NO FRIGGIN' WAY!"

THC took the words right out of my fingers. Normally I would say two seasons, which is the high end for shows like this, but I think ABC will drag it back for one more season because we know how ABC doesn't believe in pulling shows until we are absolutely sick of them AND because I think they will make Abrams tie everything up so viewers won't once again abandon the channel.

From TH Creative on June 10, 2005 at 5:00 AM
Mr. Baxter knocks it out of the park. I believe that 'Desparate Housewives' will also suffer the same fate.

What the series do for ABC/Disney is generate big revenue for a couple of years. ABC was smart to only sell half the ad time for these shows at the beginning of last season. That gamble paid off -- not only because they could jack-up the prices on the second half of the first season, but also because it made it easier to sell out the second season.

And, as Mr. Baxter has noted several times before, if Disney can get ABC cranking, the revenue the netowork will make would far out pace anything the parks could generate.

From Jason Lester on June 10, 2005 at 7:40 AM
Think about it for a second Kevin. If the episode ended with Artz, then what would come before that. The previous episode had left off with them at Black Rock so what was going to come before we went back to them. And then people would be agnry we didn't even hear about the monster or hatch and that would make them complain. It's kind of a lose/lose.

Now if they do soldier on for 6 years, I'm guessing they'll solve all of now's mysteries including the hatch and maybe give us a lot more about the monster, possiblew show it before giving new mysteries. The island's location might be the only one to stay unsolved until the end which I think works.

Now for the quality level of the show, I hope it doesn't go 6. 3 or 4 is fine with me.

From TH Creative on June 10, 2005 at 11:37 AM
Something else to make note of, the actors on lost could suffer from "Harry Potter Sydrome." The events on the show take place over a few months (or is it weeks?). If the show did last for six years, how will the producers handle the actors aging?
From Kevin Baxter on June 12, 2005 at 2:39 AM
Which may explain why most of the actors are in their 30s, the period in which we age the slowest. (This might also explain Walt's disappearance, so when he reappears DURING SWEEPS, it won't seem so insane that he has grown six inches and has a full beard!)

Well, ending on the hatch has gotten them nothing but ire, so I think ignoring the hatch in the finale couldn't have been worse. In fact, if they weren't so damn obsessed with the hatch, they could've turned the Black Rock into a much more exciting and dangerous expedition. Finding the dynamite was one of the few goals this show actually accomplished, so it certainly could have been made more exciting.

Then the ending with the explosion could have easily been pushed to the final minutes, creating a real cliffhanger and not one we've actually hungered for all season. Honestly, would a little more excitement have hurt a show with more than THIRTY MINUTES of airport scenes that added ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the episode? This was an hourlong episode that was forced into a two-hour timeslot! Almost every episode has been like that. Five minutes advancing the plot, five minutes of action, fifteen minutes of boring conversation and twenty minutes of usually boring backstory (save Locke's, Hurley's and the one with Sawyer's uh-oh).

Abrams is still in makeup mode. They've already announced the addition of Michelle Rodriguez - which most of us knew already, since why else would she be in a single STOOPID airport scene otherwise? - and are hinting other name actors might be hired soon too. More actors means more deaths, which this show really has to do if it wants to survive. If we don't fear for these people, half the reason for the show goes out the window. Plus, they could kill off Claire, Shannon, Michael and probably Kate and Charlie too and nobody would care. (Hell, some of us would celebrate for most of that list.) Replace those people with actors of Rodriguez's caliber, and I might actually tune in next season.

As for Housewives, I don't think it shares the same fate. Season-long mysteries with actual endings are more satisfying for the public. And next year's will probably be better than this one as they will undoubtedly spend several episodes uncovering what the mystery actually is, meaning clues will come a little more quickly. I do think the endless hype will hurt it somewhat, but I don't see it falling so far that it will be canceled in the next four years.

As for ABC doing well... I'm all for it. As we all know, whenever the film division was doing badly, money was taken from the parks to make up for it. Now when the films do poorly - and BOY are they sucking this year - they can take the money from ABC and hopefully leave the parks alone. Imagine, a decent DCA is possible in our lifetimes!

From Jason Lester on June 12, 2005 at 7:39 PM
Michelle Rodriguez should add an interesting dynamic to the show and gives us a mystery solved. By casting her it becomes apparent that the back half of the plane survived. There. Mystery solved.

I see what your saying with the Artz thing being pushed back, but I can't say if it would or wouldn't have worked. We'll never know.

It was rumored the final 30 minutes of the finale would be commercial free, which they weren't. Maybe this would've helped pacing.

And I think they might have to come up with a twist for the strange aging.

From Kevin Baxter on June 13, 2005 at 1:00 AM
Yeah, I don't think Michelle Rodriguez can all of a sudden be introduced as one of the Lostees that have been roaming around in the background, so it is another clue that I am right about where the rafters are heading. Remember how Rose wondered if the other half of the plane's survivors were out there believing they were the only survivors? Well, don't be shocked if a well-known black actor is suddenly cast! And since the Jack/Kate/Sawyer thing did NOT work, and Kate seems to be on the way to becoming a villain, expect some nurse-and-soldier-style "bonding" between Sawyer and Rodriguez, and a jealous Jack when they are all reunited (not to mention a tearful Rose/Mr Rose reunion). Unfortunately, this twist gives us lots of hyper raft-fixing from Michael, as this show LOVES their characters to fret. And I wouldn't be shocked to hear one of Jin's dad's minions was on the plane (the guy in the airport?) and he helps Jin learn English REALLY QUICKLIKE.

Of course, we have wretched upcoming scenes involving Charlie and the "horse" he rode in on (I'm so clever!) and the continuously boring Claire, and the wretched acting of whoever plays Shannon. And they keep threatening us with more Boone and more Arzt too! Gawd, this show is going to have 30 stars if they don't start gutting people!

From Jason Lester on June 13, 2005 at 3:00 PM
I agree people need to start being killed off to re-establish the sense of danger. And not characters like Arzt, I mean main ones. Boone was even a little to out of the loop. I wouldn't mind to see Claire or Shannon going, but seeing as the whole psychic thing in Claire's backstory hasn't been cleared up, she porbably will survive.

It hasn't been said the all rafters will return alive. Sawyer's fate is in the air if he truly is wounded, same goes for Jin and Michael who are out to sea, litterally. And Walt's fate is a bit 50/50. I think he will return to camp changed. And not in a good way either.

As for Rose's husband, there were Samuel L. Jackson rumors floating around IMDB, but they were cleared up as false. Who knows though?


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