Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some surprising good news, and some unresolved no news.

Fox has decided to keep the Joss Whedon show Dollhouse and cancel the lead-in show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Neither show was getting stellar ratings, and both were rumored to be on the chopping block. The tea leaf readers thought Dollhouse was likely doomed when the show was scheduled for thirteen episodes, but only aired twelve. Tim Minear, a writer and producer who has worked with Whedon on several shows, says that this was intentional all along, the thirteenth episode was always planned to be an extra to entice obsessive fans to buy the first season DVD.

As a spokesperson for fans of sci-fi TV shows, we object to being called obsessive. We don't disagree with the characterization, we just don't like it much.

Why Fox gave the show a reprieve, especially after giving the show the same shabby treatment the network gave to Arrested Development before it was canceled, might be explained by a sudden rise on Amazon of sales of Firefly, the previous Joss Whedon show on Fox that was pulled from the air before all thirteen episodes were shown.

TV executives don't completely understand obsessive sci-fi fans, but they know there is a buck to be made off of them. They just have to figure out how.

While one show I like is getting a second chance, another is struggling to get even a fair shake at its first chance. The NBC show Kings will begin airing again on Saturday, June 13. Five episodes have already been shown. On imdb, titles are given for the sixth and seventh episodes, but not the eighth through eleventh. Episodes 12 and 13 are called The New King, Parts 1 and 2, respectively. The story is going to follow the basic outline of First and Second Samuel, so David has to become king eventually. For my money, if this means they have to get rid of Ian McShane as Silas Benjamin (name changed, but the character is based on King Saul from the Bible), I might not even be interested in a second season of this show. McShane, the guy in the grey suit, second from the right, is the best thing on the series, and the younger cast in the middle of the photo is a lot less interesting than their elders. There is some small hope that instead of killing Silas, he might be sent into exile. Silas put one of his rival kings in the war of unification under house arrest while telling the world he had been killed. This gave the writers a chance to re-unite McShane with Brian Cox, who showed up for too brief a time in the last season of Deadwood.

I have a couple of shows I look forward to over the next few months. Besides the continuation of Kings, AMC gives us the next season of Mad Men, and a mini-series remake of The Prisoner, starring Jim Caviezel as Number Six and Sir Ian McKellan as Number Two.

As for what will thrive and what will fall, we will just have to wait and see.


dguzman said...

Go, Joss! Go, Eliza!

Utah Savage said...

I fell madly in love with Ian McShane in Deadwood. I thought it was the best written show I've ever seen. I watched episodes over and over so I could finally speak the words of the actors like some teenaged geek. I have never heard profanity spoken with such Shakespearian grandeur, such natural rhythm. And even the most odious characters were interesting. It made me so furious that HBO canceled it I canceled my cable service. Then the same writers did John From Cincinnatti and it was good. They canceled that. What idiots! TV execs are nuts.

Kings doesn't have the punch that Deadwood had. It seems just short of insipid to me.

Matty Boy said...

I'll agree that Kings isn't Deadwood. Still, I like the palace intrigues, the comic relief guards, the roles played by Dylan Baker, Wes Studi and Eamonn Walker.

If the end of the first season is killing off Ian McShane's character, then one season is all they deserve.

Karlacita! said...

Okay, I think I'm calling bullshit on Tim Minear. If they always meant the 13th episode to be on the disc, then why is the first season finale such a mess?

The last scenes look like they were pasted on the end of the show with the dried bit of glue stick at the very bottom of the tube. You know you should throw it away and get a new one, but you can see the freaking glue in there, and dang it, you're gonna use it! You press the glue tube really hard, or move it back and forth across the page, and I'm sure some more will come out. Wait, I'll dig some out with this pen ...

What was my point?