Friday, April 27, 2007

Requiem for TV shows too young to die

Before I get into this, I should mention the new release schedule for Rogue Wolf comics. I looked at the stats and, for the most part, y'all are only checking the site once a week anyway. So we're changing our page updates accordingly. Nocturnal Essence is Monday, Redshift is Wednesday.

So... Guh. Fox.com is spinning the cancellation of Drive like a special event. "Last two episodes this summer". Wh... wha? And then the other day I hear that Dresden Files may not get renewed.

I don't get it. Every show that I really like either disappears before it deserves or gets killed out of the starting gate. I am so out of touch with mainstream audiences.

The phenomenon actually started before I was born. I used to love the syndicated reruns of the old campy Batman show when I was a kid. But then this one episode made me jump up and take notice. That's Bruce Lee kickin' Robin's ass! And this dude in the trenchcoat is freakin cool. Who are these guys?

I eventually came across episodes of The Green Hornet years later and was totally hooked. Only to find out it lasted all of one season. -_- It was decades ahead of its time in its realistic portrayal of superheroes with next to zero camp. It didn't have a prayer.

In the 80's I used to be a fan of Spenser: For Hire, but I didn't watch it for Robert Urich's character. I watched it for his ultra cool "sidekick" who was worlds more interesting than Spenser himself. Avery Brooks played this eloquent, slick as ice, disarmingly soft spoken, stone cold badass who packed a .44 automag and went simply by the name Hawk.

ABC made a mid-season replacement spinoff, A Man Called Hawk. This show was brilliant by detective show standards. We learn that Hawk has this crazy spiritual side. The story took us the east side of Washington DC, a much gritier part of the world than we were used to seeing in these shows. I watched it faithfully.

But in 1989, mainstream America wasn't ready for this strong and stereotype shattering of a black leading character. It lasted its 13 episode to finish the season, but didn't get renewed.

The pattern died down when network television turned out a decade of garbage on prime time. But now that the networks are getting a little more experimental, the trend has returned.

Farscape, axed without warning. John Doe, one season. Over There, half a season. Blade, one season. Day Break, not even half a season. Painkiller Jane, scrapped after the pilot and rewritten into something unwatchable. Dresden Files, may not get renewed. Drive, two freakin episodes!

And yet CHARMED ran for EIGHT! fucking! years!

Alright, technically not "all" my favorite shows die early deaths. Angel had a good five year run. Babylon 5 squeezed out an extra season it probably shouldn't have. Alias got to finish its story before it ended. I'm pretty sure '24' is going to get a day seven.

Still... It is almost a mystery how shows like Lost and Heroes manage to survive. Knock on wood.