Every Spring there are a handful of quality shows on the brink of cancellation by the major networks. Here is this year's crop of worthy programs that may not live to see another Fall.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The network television season is wrapping up, and season finales begin to fly at us almost daily throughout the month of May. Along with the end of the tv season comes the network “upfronts”, when the five broadcast networks reveal their schedules for next Fall and set rates for their advertisers. It’s become tradition in the couple of weeks before the upfronts for tv critics and fans across the U.S. to mount campaigns to save shows that are “on the bubble”. There are always low-to-middlingly-rated shows that are of high quality, and many of these shows develop small but passionate followings. The tv junkies here at PopMatters are no exception. So here are five good shows on the edge of cancellation that could really use the help, but be forewarned, there are some mild spoilers contained within:
Predictably, the show was sort of a mediocre mess through those first five episodes. The premise, about a secret organization that takes people as blank slates, programs in whatever personalities and skill sets their wealthy clients require, and wipes them clean again at the end of an engagement, is creepy and off-putting. And Whedon’s infatuation with his lead actress, Eliza Dushku, seems unjustified because she doesn’t seem to be quite good enough to pull off the “different personality every week” thing. And yet, once Dollhouse got beyond those first five episodes, the show took off. Overarching plotlines came into focus, the writers started to play around with and slyly undercut their basic premise, and it became clear that the Dollhouse and its creators are not necessarily the protagonists of the show. The show is intriguing on a week-to-week basis now, and if the two-part season finale lives up to the last few episodes, this is a show that definitely deserves a chance to grow and expand in a second season. Maybe the lowered expectations of its timeslot will provide that chance, but it's not very likely.
Reaper, The CW -- I’ve only watched the first three episodes of season 2 of Reaper so far, and the reason for that is a noticeable drop in quality and overall fun from the first season. So it sits on my DVR, essentially in last place among the shows I like. Hopefully it has been getting better as the season has progressed, but I probably won’t catch up until the end of May or so. Still, I was happy, so very happy, last season when the show got renewed by The CW. And I think the show has a ton of potential that it was finally starting to realize in the last 1/3 of the first season. But Tyler Labine (Sock) has signed on to a pilot for next year and show creators Michelle Fazekas and Tara Butters have a deal in place at Fox to develop a new show. If the series’ stars and creators can’t be bothered to fight for their show, is it really worth the effort for fans to mount a rescue campaign? It sounds like they’ve already moved on, and that’s sad because Reaper often managed to be hilarious and interesting and the show is worth saving.