A couple months ago the Movie House app added TV shows. Like the movies, 99.9% of these you'd never have heard of. Some I'm sure are from overseas and others just so small they're probably on local TV or YouTube or something. But sometimes I like to put one on in the morning as I make breakfast and stuff. I get 1-2% towards my total and some of the shows are kind of interesting. The ones that are most interesting also have good hooks, which is something writers are always struggling with.
Painting the Town: This is a pretty normal travel show where a dorky white guy goes to cities in the US and St. Thomas and talks to people, visits its main attractions, and eats at a restaurant or two. The hook is the guy is an artist and as he goes to places he does sketches of the people and places to eventually make a painting. The paintings are all kind of similar but it is a different spin on the travel show. Amazon Prime Video listed three seasons from 2015-2018 but none are available there. Here's the painting from the Baltimore episode. I took it off a TV with my phone so it's not the best quality:
There's kind of an 8-bit original Nintendo feel about the painting. They'd probably be good as jigsaw puzzles. Anyway, it's still a neat way to do a travel show.
Evil Knows: This is a show about science but it stars the bassist of the band the Bloodhound Gang. He does a lot of Mythbusters-type stuff then to prove or disprove things. There's stuff like getting punched by a boxer, pulling 7Gs in a Hawker Hunter aircraft, trying to elude a bloodhound, and going over 80 hours without sleep. Interspersed there are segments on other "evil" things like the most dangerous city in the world (surprisingly not Detroit), the biggest fire truck, and an airport in Nepal (I think) where the runway is so short planes often crash. Always one of the easiest and best hooks is involving a celebrity, even if it is a C-list celebrity. And if that celebrity is getting punched or hunted by a dog it's even better! If Keeping Up With the Kardashians had been Kim Kardashian being chased by a bloodhound, I'd have probably watched it.
Bad Jokes: This features probably lesser celebrities in comedians, pro athletes, and YouTube "influencers." It's a silly little show where a pair of comedians, athletes, or influencers try to make each other laugh by telling bad jokes taken off the Internet. Like crappy "knock knock" jokes and so forth. The influencers thing probably works better with younger generations than an old-timer like me. The NFL episode featured future MVP Patrick Mahomes and a couple of now-former Detroit Lions. They also had NBA players, NASCAR racers, and WWE wrestlers. So that's a good way to get attention for your show.
Rock & Roll Road Trip: Basically the concept of the show is rocker Sammy Hagar, known for hits like "I Can't Drive 55" and "Dreams," "When It's Love," Right Now," etc with Van Halen, travels to visit other 70s and 80s rockers like John Mellencamp and jam with them. Hagar is not a great interviewer or anything, but if you like that classic 70s & 80s rock then it's cool to listen to him play with some other greats. And as I said, having a celebrity is always a good hook.
Jam in the Van: So some guys got an RV-type "van" that they converted into sort of a studio and invite bands to play in it. Kind of neat idea. The problem is they really need more of a framing device with the guys who started all of this and to get more views you'd need bands people might know. It is cool to feature indie groups, but that's not going to make people tune in. One episode did feature one of the guys interviewing the band, which really would have been good if they'd done that for every episode. Another episode featured a band I'd actually listened to before: Blues Traveler, who had a couple of hits in the mid-90s. There were a couple of interview segments with lead singer John Popper and there was a duet with fellow 90s group The Spin Doctors on a reggae version of "Two Princes." The music on the others was mostly Americana, reggae, and jazz, usually recorded at some kind of festival or event and usually there are a couple of different takes because you can see the performers wearing different clothes and stuff. I did add a couple of the bands like Larkin Poe, Nickie Bluhm, Lukas Nelson, and the Wood Brothers to my Amazon wishlist to check out more of their stuff later. So to some extent the show was successful for the people on it.
Mixtape: I think this was a series by Spotify or something. They talk to an artist and assemble a playlist of songs that inspired that artist, which also provides sort of a "Behind the Music" about that artist. Most of the artists were older ones like Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, Todd Rundgren, Don McLean, Rick Springfield, the guitarist of the Eagles, members of Foreigner, and lead singer of REO Speedwagon, but I suppose they still have fans, right? I just wish they had interviewed some younger people or people in other genres because there's a lot of overlap in the "influences" part. I mean when you pretty much only interview Boomers, of course they're going to mention Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everyone alive in the 50s and 60s was influenced by them! So they really should have diversified a little. I don't mean skin color as much as in age and genre.
Put Some Colour In Your Life: This has a weaker hook but I suppose still somewhat of one. It's about an Australian guy who rides around on a motorcycle and visits different artists in the country. Then he talks to them about their art and inspirations. Like I said, it's not as good but still somewhat of a hook to see some guy riding around on a motorcycle talking about art.
By contrast, here are a couple that don't have as much of a hook:
Beyond Your Backyard: It's a pretty typical travel show where a schlubby white guy goes around to places in America (and Mexico and the Caribbean) to see the sights, talk to people, and eat the food. There's not really much of a hook, but it is as interesting as most other travel shows. Since I don't have money and now with Covid and all that can't really go places, I like travel shows to see what I'm missing. Sometimes that's even places I've been like Chicago or the Mt. Rushmore area.
Food Stories: This is really weird as it's basically this foreign guy with a strange accent very hurriedly giving an abbreviated history of several food items and providing some recipes. They do 3-4 foods per episode, which really seems a bit much. It ought to slow down and get someone who speaks English better instead of saying things like "Oh-ven." But maybe that in itself is sort of a hook.
Ancient Grains: This is pretty similar to the Food Stories one only it focuses on one grain per episode. And the weirdly-accented narrator is female. At one point she said "flerr" instead of "flour" and now I want to say it like that. Besides different pronunciations for words, you might also learn about grains like corn, wheat, barley, or quinoa.
Vegan: This seems to be just YouTube videos of "influencers" making vegan stuff. The videos are only about 5 minutes long and basically the quality you'd expect of something from YouTube.
The point here is if you want to attract people, it helps to have some kind of hook. There are a ton of travel shows, so if you can do something a little different like have the guy hosting the show gathering material for a painting, then it makes it more interesting. Similarly with books, there are tons of books about vampires or dystopias, so you should try to find something just a little different to get the attention of an agent or editor's minion going through the slush.
Of course the most reliable hook is having a celebrity involved. Again, even if it's not a huge name, anyone even remotely famous will get more attention than a bunch of ordinary people. That might be Evil but it's true.