Four cancellations

The four’s coincidental. Cynics might suggest that I’m writing this post because I should be adding notes on some Ariadne 10th-anniversary articles to Library Stuff for the next C&I, and am procrastinating. (Well, extremely knowledgeable cynics might suggest that…)

Anyway, I had some random thoughts about four TV shows that were cancelled this season. These really do qualify as random thoughts…and, although Fox deserves at least a small foot up the ass for their treatment of Arrested Development (yes, I’m watching That 70s Show slide badly through its final season, just as I’m watching the final decline of West Wing), this isn’t a “save these shows!” post.

Arrested Development: We’ve watched it from the beginning. We’ve laughed a lot. We’ll watch the final four this evening as Fox burns them off opposite the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, a final act of indignity for a badly-treated series…that maybe didn’t belong on broadcast TV anyway. Sure, we found it hysterical at times–but in a plate-spinning/juggling flaming torches mode that’s never worked very well for a mass audience. We caught on to the “Next time on Arrested Development” gimmick in a week or two (but then, how many half-hour sitcoms do “next time” segments for real?). If Showtime picks it up, well, we don’t take any premium channels, and we’re seriously considering dropping back to basic cable. It was fun while it lasted; I won’t say it was “too good” for TV, but maybe it was too peculiar.

Love Monkey: I don’t watch shows starting at 10 p.m. (I’m a morning person, and don’t tape on a standing basis if I can help it.) But we loved Ed and gave this one a try. My wife didn’t bother a second time. I did–a second and third. And still couldn’t decide whether it was worth the time to watch. The network’s made that decision; I can’t say they’re wrong. It was a little too much “inside baseball” in the music industry. Tom C. will be back, I’m sure…

Emily’s Reasons Why Not: Watched the first episode. (Heather Graham, book publishing: why not?). Wife gave up before the episode was finished. Network gave up not too long after. They were right. Lovely star, pointless show. I don’t remember whether there was a second episode; I clearly didn’t care enough to check.

The Book of Daniel: This one’s a curiosity. Didn’t watch it at the beginning of the season, even though the outrage of certain “religious” groups might have been reason enough to try it. Finally watched an episode in a hotel room during the Midwinter/MSN trip…apparently the final episode. Based on what I saw during the hour, I don’t think you can blame pressure groups for killing this show. It was a total mess. Not because Jesus was chatting with the priest–but because it was a total mess.

I’m sure some of you will disagree with one or all of these comments. (I can’t imagine too many of you are going to stress the comedic depth and skilled dialogue of Emily’s Reasons Why Not, but I’d guess all the other shows have devoted fans, including some who feel that everyone would love Arrested Development if they just gave it a try. We’ve never assumed that other people either should or shouldn’t share our tastes; it never bothered us that Buffy never had big viewing numbers, and it doesn’t bother us that Desperate Housewives does have big viewing numbers. We like[d] them because we like[d] them: Simple enough.) After all, if everyone had the same viewing preferences–or even if everyone’s viewing preferences boiled down to two or three patterns–we’d still have Three Big Networks and shows with a 30 share would be in trouble. As it is, no network program gets a 30 share.

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