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Cancelled — and that might not be a bad thing.

8 December 2011

I’ve finally started watching Terriers. Yeah, I know, it came out more than a year ago. But I just noticed it on Netflix recently, and really, that’s the best way for a show to get my attention.

I’m loving the hell out of this show, even though there are only 13 episodes. That got me thinking about a lot of other shows I’ve really liked — Firefly, for one. Also went 13 episodes. And it sucks when great shows are cancelled, but I’m starting to wonder… is that always a bad thing?

Some shows have made the mistake of going on too long. Some shows (or movies, see yesterday’s post) start off really strong, but then seem to not know when to quit. But these perfect little 13-episode series will never have that problem. They’ll always remain excellent, because they never got to the point where they made so many episodes they ran out of ideas and just said, “Fuck it, I don’t know. Evil twin episode? Yeah? Everyone good with that?”

Sci-fi shows in particular kind of benefit from these really short seasons, because science-fiction TV has a bad habit of recycling plot lines (the above “evil twin” episode, the requisite “body switching” episode, and so on). But detective shows… with so many of them on the air lately, they can fall into the same trap.

Firefly never did an evil twin episode. And it never will, because it’s perfect — frozen in time right where it should be. Sure, I wouldn’t have hated more episodes, but if Jane and River switched bodies in the third season… well, a little bit of me would have died, I think.

What about you, folks? Do you think there’s any positive benefit to a good show being cancelled “before its time?”

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 December 2011 1329

    Dunno. A pretty cute show that died WAY before it should have was “Wonderfals”. Another show that got cancelled too soon was “Pushing Dasies”.

    Sometime I think the problem is that if TV Execs don’t get it, the show is done. It has to be “dumbed down” for them to get it and to give it a chance (or it has to be about wrestling, or babes in space).

  2. 8 December 2011 2151

    There’s the TV execs, and then there’s the advertising. I think a mix of the two can doom a show — especially a good, quirky one — very early on. If advertisers can’t see how they can use it to sell to a certain demographic, and it makes the TV Execs feel stupid… well, 13 episodes is about all you’re gonna get.

  3. 9 December 2011 1147

    The TV industry is completely screwed up. Nielsen ratings determine which shows survive and are renewed. Nielsen ratings do not measure how many people watch the show, they measure how many people watch COMMERCIALS. So your DVR, time-shifting, online episode watching ways (you can always switch tabs for 30 seconds or mute the sound every time those annoying ads on the stupid network’s site pop in, interrrupting your entertainment) doom all sorts of shows. Because the only thing networks and advertisers care about is hostage eyeballs, not good story, not quality plot or making people think in a broader way, just: HOSTAGE EYEBALLS. (Hope this helps wiht the current Tweet_book in some way.

  4. 9 December 2011 1243

    Reaper. Dresden Files. Studio 60. I could go on……

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