As every TV season draws to an end each May, we always get some resolution and a few cliffhangers. And sometimes that extends to the life of the show itself! As usual, the networks have canceled a bunch of shows to make way for new stuff this fall. Here is a quick glance at what I think it all means for us the viewers:
1. Fewer terrible special effects!
As I mentioned last week, some shows have had terrible effects problems and like magic, they have all been canceled. The CW gave Ringer (winner of the worst effects of the TV season) the boot so I guess now we will never know which Sarah Michelle Gellar we were supposed to care about. ABC canceled Missing. Ashley Judd stopped for a second somewhere between Italy and France to catch her breath and I guess that is when the suits caught up with her to hand over the old pink slip. Nooooooooo!
To be fair, how long could she keep running after her missing son? Six years? ABC’s answer: Six Episodes.
Also gone: Terra Nova (a collection of cheesy dinosaurs and even cheesier storylines), Pan Am (the high flying Mad Men ripoff that crashed before it barely had a chance to reach cruising altitude) and The River (I couldn’t even finish the two hour pilot it was so filled with nonsense).
2. Younger Characters = Younger Viewers!
The TV networks are starting to sweat it out and it isn’t just the menopause! Older viewers are dying off and younger people just aren’t watching TV. Those few 20-somethings managing to afford to live on their own are not blowing a week’s pay on cable, opting to watch a few shows online or worse, just catching buzzworthy clips that drop conveniently on their Facebook pages. This has sent TV executives into the kind of panic that mainlining Metamucil at their desk can’t quell. So say good bye to Harry’s Law (aka NBC’s top rated scripted show) and it’s CBS style star Kathy Bates along with Desperate Housewives and GCB on ABC (who are taking their sexy 40/50-something stars with them) and say hello to multi-generational shows for the whole family to enjoy where no one is over sixty, like The New Normal where Ellen Barkin (58) plays a great grandmother.
Because playing a grandmother twenty years after you graduated from high school is the real new normal. (Warning to TV executives: Sharply skewing down ages didn’t save The CW’s Secret Circle from remaining a secret kept from viewers).
3. The Return Of The 90s Comedy Wars
NBC is wiping the slate clean of its high brow/low rated comedies (30 Rock and company get nice short kissoffs next season) in favor of a whole heaping helping of comedy all over its schedule. CBS, which has ruled Monday night comedy since TV was invented sees an opportunity on NBC’s old must see TV stomping ground of Thursday and is moving 2 1/2 Men (down from its peak but still strong) from Monday to Thursday to establish a new beachhead. Meanwhile, ABC is putting all of its scripted drama eggs back into the old Sunday night basket with a smart move of Revenge to that popular night along with new probably going to be canceled drama 666 Park Avenue if only because viewers like reverence toward religion (Touched By An Angel) not sly tweaks (Good Christian Bitches) plus shows with Manhattan addresses in the title don’t do well. After all, even Law & Order was populated with fake addresses that put some apartments into the middle of the Hudson River.
You look like a nice older couple, both lost and desperate! Can I show you an apartment on Central Park West? Or perhaps you’d feel more at home on CBS?
4. No More Complex Storytelling
Finally the networks have acknowledged that LOST was the exception, not the rule. And most of the time, a show with complex mythology either ends up pissing off viewers (LOST), falling apart (Heroes), or not catching fire and getting canceled without resolution (Alcatraz, John Doe, Awake, Journeyman, or pretty much anything Fox puts on that isn’t Fringe or Touch although Fringe is also getting a short sendoff season next year and I’ll be surprised if Touch makes it all the way to next May at this rate). Although actors from LOST never seem to stop getting work, or DUIs.
So look for more easy to follow soap dramas for the ladies (ABC), gussied up procedurals like Person of Interest or Hawaii 5.0 for the guys (CBS), competitive reality be it sports or singing (FOX) and comedy comedy comedy for the whole family to mildly enjoy (NBC)!
And may the best TV network win!