May 9, 2009

Joan of Arcadia ... Bionic Woman ... Tru Calling ... Firefly ... Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles ...

Honestly, I apparently only like failing network shows. The only network shows that I will drop everything to watch are the ones that get canceled. Joan of Arcadia (CBS) was ended far too soon while the writers were building to a really interesting set of questions about what we believe. It was intriguing, it made me think. And, it was quite obvious toward the end of the final season (season two *sigh*), that the writers were really building to something fascinating for exploration in season three...

And of course, season three didn't happen.

Bionic Woman (NBC) was a show I thought I would hate because I'm a bit tired of all these stupid re-makes. But, the main idea of the show was actually pretty different from the original - I was surprised at how rich the show was. It really started getting interesting ... and then the writer's strike happened and sadly, Bionic Woman was made into a sacrificial lamb. I support the writers and what they needed to do ... but I mourn the loss of a damn good show. One that was complex and thoughtful.

Tru Calling (FOX) was a fascinating premise with some wonderful actors. I would go to turn it on ... and there'd be something else on instead. It seemed to move around ... and then it was suddenly gone.

Dark Angel ... holy shit did FOX ruin that show. Things out of order, ran previews for it all week and I'd turn on the TV with eager anticipation only to find something about St. Jude's Children's hospital ... the same show several weeks in a row instead of Dark Angel. There also started to be a bit of a buzz that the network was pushing the writers into some plot bits that well, wasn't what they had intended ... and the result was a very messy second season that really wasn't as good as the first - still potential, still interesting, still made you think...
So of course, they cancelled that.

Firefly ... don't even get me started on the IDIOCY that FOX displayed with that show. If they'd just aired the damned thing in order, first of all, and then not moved the program around, the ratings might have been more stable. And gee, look how well the movie did ... they really really blew it with that show. I mean, seriously, how fascinating a concept is it to have a Wild West- Sci Fi show starring "Han Solo" with a Western style ... and then have "Han" turn out to be a minor military officer of the losing side trying to be a hardass, but living in essentially poverty because he can't take jobs that are too dishonest. And a preacher who is all about love and peace ... but it seems likely he was once a government agent, possibly an assassin. Or the goody-two-shoes perfect young genius doctor who throws everything away and becomes a fugitive and smuggler himself and yet lectures Cap'n Mal for his sometimes slippery ethics?
Seriously, Firefly had me at the intelligent blending of good SciFi and western. Well, actually, Firefly had me at Joss ....

Now it's looking like the only two network shows that I'm really rabid about are also about to go under.

I have never seen a single Terminator movie. Mostly because I'm very particular about action flicks and I prefer my SciFi to be more SciFi than special effects & action. And I hate Schwarzenegger as an actor. (And his politics, frankly, but I hated his acting first.) But a friend got me to watch the tv show and I find it fascinating. It's got some really good actors playing some really interesting characters. It's just now built to the point where I really hate it when I get to the end of that week's episode and have to wait another whole week to find out what happens next. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has more than piqued my interest, it managed to capture my undivided attention (which isn't particularly easy - most tv is so boring I can only watch it while I'm doing something else). So of course, FOX moved it to Friday night ... its death spot.

So, of course, there may not be a next episode now ....

And the one show that has really built and exploded all season has been Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Guess what, that's another show on FOX. Guess what? It's another show that has some strong characterizations, some complex plots, tackles the big questions ... and guess what else? It's on the bubble along with Sarah Connor. Probably canceled, but we don't know for sure yet.

Dollhouse has a great concept and some wonderful actors. The season finale was mind-blowing - but of course, it aired the same night that most of the typical Dollhouse viewers were out to catch the opening of the new Star Trek flick. Brilliant planning on FOX's part. Let's blame low ratings on the finale on the fact that people aren't watching ... instead of the fact that it's a freaking Friday night and people are actually out of the house doing something. Not to mention, it was the weekend of the Star Trek opening.
The stupidity of FOX will NEVER EVER cease to amaze me.

So here's what I've concluded.
1) Despite being a prime demographic for advertisers, I'm not in FOX's demographic lights.
2) Despite the fact that FOX is more likely to pick up "risky" or Sci-Fi shows than most other networks, they want all of those shows to be X-Files.
3) FOX ruins most live-action shows it has.
4) I hate the FOX network for repeatedly teasing me into getting involved in a show, and then like Lucy with Charlie Brown, whipping the excellent show away from me. In fact, I think that's how FOX actually feels about viewers who begin watching things like Dark Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Tru Calling and Sarah Connor. They're doing it on purpose just so they can take them away again. "Oh looky, we fooled those stupid nerds again."
5) I am no longer watching ANY new network television shows and getting invested in them. I will wait until the end of the first season and get the show on Netflix or maybe Hulu (if streaming didn't constantly get interrupted, I might be more willing to do Hulu more often). At least by waiting until the DVD is released, I know if the show is going on to a second season and if it's worthy my time to get invested in the characters.


FOX, pull your collective heads out of your ass and let Joss have a second season of Dollhouse. Please.


Posted by Red Monkey at May 9, 2009 2:36 PM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Mark Stoneman said:

My tastes are simpler, but apparently still too interesting for some networks. ABC cancelled "Commander in Chief" (with a woman president) after one season. NBC is still making up its mind about "Chuck." Too often I run across other blogs that devote an enormous amount of energy to keeping a show on the air that then dies.

Catch 22? They want to get us hooked, so they build plots over time, but then they leave us hanging, making me wish individual shows were more like self-contained units. Of course, then they would be less interesting. Maybe there's a market for some internet site to keep producing these things? But how? They're expensive, the kind of thing that traditionally only broadcast media could afford. Only now broadcast media are competing with all kinds of other things.

Red Monkey says: yes, you're right - the shows I've liked the most are the ones with plots that last a whole series instead of a series of one-offs. I think that some of the cable networks are starting to catch on to this concept - Saving Grace on TNT has been just an amazing show to watch. They're taking a stab at the British model, I think, though. Short "seasons" more like the series of Brit shows. And they're running them in halves. Grace first started as a summer show, then a hiatus and then finished up say March-ish. They did the same thing for the second season of the show as well. It led to better story-telling, I think - fewer episodes, but an even stronger show. And of course, there's Showtime's Dexter which I've watch on DVD and gotten completely hooked. Almost hooked enough to splurge on getting the channel added to our DISH package.
But then I see the crazy wild success that Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog got and I wonder if the internet isn't a better way to go. There's also been great things said about
May 9, 2009 5:15 PM


Ian said:

Dollhouse has just started here in the UK and I can see already that I'm going to love it. I heard that it has been renewed for the second season. I think they have learnt from their awful decision with Firefly. No, lets not get started on that.

I enjoyed Dark Angel and Tru Calling when they were on.
Sarah Conner finished the second season a few weeks ago and now that's been cancelled :(

It's frustrating from here to get into a series only to find its already over.


May 25, 2009 4:05 PM
Free Pixel Advertisement for your blog