Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Powers That Be

Back in the television season of 2006-2007, I stopped trying to watch new shows because, invariably, whatever I liked got cancelled. Either I had really terrible taste or I was the kiss of death for network series. It was several years before I could open my heart to newcomers again and let pilot season excite and enthrall me.

Studio 60 was a Sorkin show. It starred Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitfield. It was a behind-the-scenes look at an SNL style variety show. It was timely in its humour, cleverly self-referential, and had lots of attractive women and the cuter Corddry brother. It had all the earmarks for another long-running hit from the chatty, brilliant brain that had spawned Sports Night and birthed The West Wing.

For a variety of reasons, some having to do with the ratings, NBC jerked around the show's scheduled airings starting before Christmas (Happy holidays!) that year and then all over the spring schedule until they finally officially pulled the plug in May (Happy birthday to me!) of 2007. The shirt was a souvenir from the NBC Store in New York City after the cancellation. 

Good shows often get good runs. Awesome shows often get killed off early with only a brief, brilliant season or two to glow in the memories of its fans and following. Firefly, Cupid (which was apparently re-booted in 2009 and I didn't even notice), even Snoops with the uneven Gina Gershon deserved more than their short, mutilated run. The brutality of the spring up-fronts are such that many freshman shows are afraid to build in a cliffhanger ending in case the renewal fairy doesn't visit. Last year, I was given the chance to eulogize one such single-season casualty online - the late, great Chicago Code. Since then, I've been purposely more jaded about new offerings and was pleasantly surprised by the renewal of Scandal. It's all about expectations and I've gotten to the point where good writing, engaging characters and a clever concept means it'll probably be gone by morning.

All right, readers, give it to me with both barrels: You have the power to reverse the cancellation of one show in all of television history. Not a reboot but an actual contiguous extension from its untimely demise in the time and context that it was gunned down. What do you choose, hot shot?