Friday, August 28, 2009

"Anyone who can't make money on Sports Night should get out of the money-making business."

If you ever want to know if a show is going to get cancelled or not, just ask me if I like it, and if I say yes, then you know that it's not long for this world. I have a tendency to get attached to TV shows that end up being cancelled for one reason or another. I'll start watching a show and it will be really good and I will like it a lot, and then it will get cancelled because no one else is watching it.

This has been happening for years. Fox's Andy Richter Controls the Universe was a brilliant, imaginative, damn funny series that was cancelled only to be replaced by a show called (I kid you not) The Stupids. The live-action version of The Tick was just as funny and just as cancelled, and while I think that shows like it and ARCTU would survive today, they just didn't have a chance ten years ago. Of course, it's well-documented that Fox doesn't know how to treat new shows. It's truly a miracle that Arrested Development somehow managed to hold on for three seasons. And I'm only talking about shows I watched when they were on the air; there are plenty of other series (Firefly, Wonderfalls) that, had I watched them when they were originally aired and not years later on DVD, I would've been crushed when they were violently removed from the schedule after only 11 or 4 episodes, respectively.

And it's not just a Fox problem. Over on ABC, they're just as clueless. Sports Night limped through two glorious, low-rated seasons before getting the axe. The Clerks animated series, a direct precursor to the style of humor that Seth McFarlane has run into the ground and easily ten times as funny as the best episode of Family Guy, aired only two episodes before being cancelled. And after debuting its first season with very strong ratings, Pushing Daisies lost its viewership and was canned, though this was not ABC's fault, as PD was a clear casualty of last year's Writer's Strike.

This problem that I have is not strictly limited to TV shows. Invariably my favorite comic book series are always the ones that no one reads and that end within a year or two of their start (Hourman, Manhunter, Gotham Central, Nextwave, Sleeper, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Breach...I could go on). Even the toy lines that I collect seem to hobble along until finally they just fade away.

It doesn't always end badly, though. NBC's Chuck came close to suffering the same fate as Pushing Daisies, but thankfully was granted a third season, and I couldn't be happier. I think, though, that that's the most stressful part of watching TV for me at this point: worrying about whether the shows I love are going to get picked up. Sure, we all know The Office isn't going anywhere, and The CW will absolutely never let Smallville die (I will stick with you until the end, Clark, no matter how bad your adventures are), but everything else is up in the air. I love Chuck and I really got into Dollhouse towards the end of the season, and I am ecstatic that both are returning for another season, but I sincerely hope that their ratings improve next year, not only because I want to make sure they can come back for more, but also because I just cannot handle the constant stress of not knowing whether a show I enjoy is going to be unceremoniously killed. When the announcement came that Pushing Daisies had been pulled from the schedule, I was sad, but I have to admit I was also a little relieved. I had closure, and no matter how heart-broken I was, I could at least move on. I suppose watching these constantly on-the-bubble TV shows is a lot like being in a really unstable relationship.

And yet I'm magnetically drawn to these shows, for one reason or another. Sure, they hurt you sometimes, but the good times are so good that it more than makes up for the bad. At least, that's what I tell myself. Really I think I might just be a glutton for punishment.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It's TV Week over on The Collective, and in yesterday's post Kat mentioned her love of The Kids in the Hall. This led me to reflect on my own enjoyment of those lovable Canadian scamps, and I decided to look up my favorite sketches on the interwebs. So here are three of my favorite Kids in the Hall sketches:

3. What's all the hoopla?

2. My favorite zombie chase scene ever.

1. The Eradicator!

Thirty Helens agree: The Kids in the Hall are awesome.