The Slaughter: Vetting Anime for Broadcast

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — October 5th, 2011
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All television networks schedule their content, ostensibly in accordance with expected ratings. The segments of a single episode or film are scheduled much in the same way, each according to their expected impact. Some segments get moved up or back. Not every segment makes it on the air. One of the most interesting examples of content vetting in TV production is a little show that airs live every Saturday night from the building called "30 Rock" in New York City. Every week, Saturday Night Live production begins with little more than newspapers and ends with a complete sketch comedy show, the makeup for which is altered constantly on a bulletin board. Sketches live or die as index cards on the board, if they even manage to pass the laugh test.

In 2006, Aaron Sorkin took us behind the set of a fictional sketch comedy show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Each Friday night before going live, the fictional show's head writer and producer removed sketches from qualification by various means, e.g. throwing darts, or simply removing index cards from the board — an activity they dubbed, "the Friday night slaughter." Well, the name stuck with me, and now I'm turning it into a little anime activity, one which I may do myself or drag members of the staff in on.

Starting tonight and throughout the month of October, I plan to numb myself with sedatives and watch no more than four episodes (or the full duration, if a movie) of as many anime as possible. I will then assemble the winners in my own hypothetical program schedule, spanning an as-yet undetermined length. I'm going to be ruthless. I won't look kindly on shows that need their entire run to get anywhere — in fact, if a single episode that I watch doesn't manage to offer anything of value, then let's just say the show's standing will be in jeopardy. I will lavish praise upon shows that don't pander to me, and that treat me like an adult of at least moderate intelligence. I don't expect a single one to wow me, but if any do, I'll be sure to mention it.

How many shows will make the cut? Watch this space and find out!