I LOVE/HATE Television. This is my first post that is truly a love/hate. In general, I am a big fan of TV. I spend way too many hours a day in front of its HD goodness. And there are several shows that I look forward to week after week. Between Modern Family, Parenthood, True Blood, Entourage, Hung, Lie To Me, House, and The Daily Show (to name a few) we keep DVR pretty busy.
This last season, we said a bitter sweat goodbye to two of our favorites. Of course Lost may have given us the biggest series finally of our generation and I feel they ended it about as well as any show like that could. The other major show that saw its end was 24. Jackie and I had watched every episode of both of these programs and enjoyed a satisfying ending to each (keep your eye open for a 24 movie in the near future).
So where is the Hate? Ever hear of a show called Flash Forward? Yeah, me too! It was my favorite new addition to the fall line up. It hooked me from the pilot and it gave me something to chew on each and every new episode. And then ... it was cancelled. What?! Do they realize that there are 3 CSIs, 2 NCISs, and 3 Law and Orders (they lost one this year but, don't worry, Law and Order: Los Angeles is on the way this fall). I get why it got the axe, viewership went down from 12.5 million at the premier to about 5 million by the finale. However, it carried that 5 million viewers for about half of the season. Mad Men, by the way, gets less than 2 million viewers an episode (more on that later). OK, I get it, Law and Order gets around 10 million an episode.
Here is what gets me wanting to throw the remote through the TV: When a show is based on mystery and unanswered questions, LET THEM END THE SHOW!!! There needs to be a law that if a network cancels a show, they must be allowed to tape at least one more episode to wrap up the storyline. When shows know that they are going off the air, you at least get something to keep fans happy. Just look at the series finales of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Alias, and The X-Files to name a few.
But for every Lost, there are 4 Flash Forwards (Invasion, Jericho, Heroes, Journeyman, Life, Kings, John Doe ...) So, I have a few suggestions to everyone. To the networks, give the shows a heads up. I get it if you have to cancel a show but let them know with enough time to tape a "wrap it up" episode. By burning the 5 million viewers still loyal to Flash Forward you are making us look elsewhere for our episodic entertainment. To the shows themselves, know when to say when. Lost wasn't canceled, it chose to end. The creators knew it couldn't go on forever and were able to give it the conclusion it deserved. More shows should take a hint from this type of forethought. I'm looking at you Dark Angel and The 4400. And to the viewers, it's time to check out what cable has to offer. As I said earlier, Mad Men survives on less than 2 million viewers an episode and will almost certainly be allowed to end on its own terms. My new obsession, Rubicon, is not for everyone but I feel comfortable devoting my time to it as I am sure AMC will let it run its course. Between Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, and everything on HBO and Showtime, there is tons of great programing out there on cable that probably won't get canceled before its time.
I leave you with this; Will "The Event" get cancelled before I find out what "the event" actually is? It is a good sign that they are pouring tons of advertising dollars into it but I do feel like I am asking for a mid-season rage fest when it goes on winter hiatus never to return. Only time and a devoted fan base of more than 8 million will tell.