You only get one chance to make a good first impression. It is one of those throwaway lines that litter our lives, particularly in business.
But there is certainly some truth in the cliche.
And it seems to be increasingly the case in the world of television.
TV is still a dominant force in society, but there is little doubt that its position is coming under threat from other sources of entertainment.
As more people choose to go online for their viewing, listening and reading pleasure, the pressure on TV to get it right first time is arguably greater than ever.
The viewing public is being spread around thinner and thinner these days and in order to attract and more importantly retain their attention programme-makers need to get it right and do it quickly.
I’ve got sympathy with Graham Linehan’s views on those who criticise the first episodes of new series. He recalls how two of his biggest successes, Father Ted and The IT Crowd, got panned by a few critics during their first few episodes.
Both those series developed into big hits and he suggests new series deserve a more considered appraisal than they get from those who “dash off your sixty words about something that took someone a year to develop”.
It is a fair point, but (there’s always a but) is there any room left for slow burners these days?
So I decided to give both Bonekickers and Lab Rats a second chance after less than auspicious debut episodes.
Now Bonekickers is a case apart and considering the budget for this BBC flagship there is absolutely no excuses for such a hideous waste of money, time and talent.
But Lab Rats is a good case in point.
Having watched the trailers, ahead of the start of the series last week, I was optimistic. But after the first episode had aired I felt some of the best lines had been trailed to death in the days before broadcast and the rest of the show failed to live up to the promise the promos had suggested.
But because the trailers had been on so often, even those scenes weren’t as funny 4th, 5th or 6th time around.
There were some genuinely funny moments, most of them coming from diminutive Brummie Cara (Jo Enright), there were also some splendidly daft moments – the light bulb kept in the tin on the desk, for example.
And yet the overall impression was that Chris Addison (the star and co-writer) and the rest were trying too hard to inject the required silliness into the piece.
It wasn’t the greatest first impression, but I tuned in again last night (and slept on it before writing) and I’m still in the same place as last week. Aside from the odd flash of inspiration, it feels too forced to be funny.
Lab Rats is scheduled for a six-part run and we’re already two epsiodes down. I’m not sure how long viewers can wait before it starts getting it right.
Indeed, BBC2’s questionable boast that “Thursdays are funny” is continuing to look very shaky given the fact that Mock The Week is looking every inch the tired old formula and Still Game just doesn’t push any of my buttons.
If such programmes do take so long to develop, shouldn’t we expect something a lot more when they do finally get broadcast?
And these days, with most of us able to access the sort of entertainment we crave just about anytime, anyplace and anywhere, our expectation of instant gratification doesn’t fit too well with the concept of the slow burner.
I’m not saying that is right. I would dearly love the world to slow down a bit.
But there are harsh lessons to be learned by so-called old or big media about how we, as consumers, are changing and how they need to start keeping up with us.
These lessons are being absorbed the hard way by newspapers.
Those involved in TV need to start understanding they are directly impacting on them too.