Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When the Screen Goes Blank

The past week was one where I saw nearly half of the shows that I watch on television get the axe in favor of the half-baked concepts set to replace them in the Fall. It was the week my DVR died and the one that finally put the nail in the coffin of my cable subscription. Granted, unlike years past, it isn't all that heartbreaking when a show ends. There is such a wealth of television production that there are always things to watch. Too many. Also, many of the shows had admittedly run their course, but not all.

I won't miss Suburgatory, which was a complete dud this season, but The Neighbors and Super Fun Night were two well-written comedies that had been gaining momentum. Community, though it had been the chopping block basically since it debuted, also finished its finest season in years. Believe was a show with a great premise, but lackluster execution. While I enjoyed it, the plot was going absolutely nowhere, which is the perfect recipe for cancellation in this day and age. Rake was one of the best new shows on network television this year. It's the kind of show that could have been built into a mainstay on AMC, but just couldn't pull in the kind of numbers needed to keep it on FOX. So why do the networks even try? Why bother putting on anything other than the thirteenth incarnation of CSI or yet another attempt at remaking ER? It's frustrating investing time in a show and its characters only to have them disappear in the blink of an eye.

The most frustrating cancellation for me was Revolution. I was fine with it going off the air. The story idea had seemed to run its course, and it had been an entertaining two seasons. Two seasons is enough in this fast paced culture with a million new ideas popping up. But the frustrating part is when the network doesn't give the show advance warning. At least let them wrap up a big concept show with a satisfying conclusion. This was a season finale, not a series finale. For crying out loud, it ended with a cliff hanger for the next season which will never be made! I never understood why, in cases like this, they don't allow the producers to make one final episode to reward the fans who watched. If nothing else, it would make the DVD package more inviting to future buyers if they knew they were getting an ending and not just a never-ending pause. 

Having read about the pilots that will be hitting the networks in the Fall, none of the comedies sound even the least bit compelling. They all feel like a show produced around a one note marketing fad. The drama's are more of the same old same old, with the possible exception of Gotham, though if S.H.I.E.L.D. was any indication of comic book cinema going to television, my expectations are not very high. Thankfully, the cable networks continue to get better and better...and Wilfred starts up again in few weeks, so there's no reason to be cranky.

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