Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-12-10 Entry: "One Hit And One Miss"

I'm amazed. Of 11 shows, we've only lost two. Either the networks have seriously lowered their expectations, or something strange is going on.

Of course, I managed to successfully predict the first loss - The Night Stalker - which was so horribly bad I'd given up on it even before it was cancelled! I've not bothered to follow up on whether it was network meddling or whether it really was supposed to be this bad, but unless it gets a DVD release, I'm going to do my best to forget the show ever existed. Perhaps now Stuart Townsend is now free to make Tale Of The Body Thief. I mean, Paul McGann is hugely busy making three or four Doctor Who audio plays a year so I'm sure he's got time to reprise his role from the terrible Lestat film, and Stuart Townsend needs to come back and actually act in the role to redeem his lack of acting in the prior entry in the series. Was Pandora in Body Thief? In which case they need to find a suitable beauty to play her (and conveniently forget that they killed her off - or an identically named character played by Claudia Black - in Queen Of The Damned)...

Meanwhile, show two, should have been higher on my list considering its production staff - leave Brannon Braga in charge of a show, and he'll run it in to the ground (see Star Trek - Voyager, Enterprise (at least the final episode that I'm desperately trying to forget), or the film franchise). But I pegged Threshold in at number 7, and hadn't considered the possibility that they'd swap its timeslot with another show. It was clearly the weakest element of the Friday shows, and considering CBS are cleaning up this season, it's vaguely understandable that they'd have looked for a better fit between the extremely saccharine Ghost Whisperer and the lightweight procedural Numb3rs (not that I'm watching Close To Home). So Threshold dies a death, but considering the likely cost per episode, I'm guessing this'll see a DVD release fairly rapidly.

Meanwhile, the other shows haven't really stood out - Supernatural is still pretty so-so, Surface is still pretty rubbish, Invasion is sooooooooooooooooo slow, the Ghost Whisperer is too twee, Charmed needs to get its act together, Bones continues to dance around the Deschanel-Boreanaz love interest and the procedural is only so-so, and Numb3rs is only a so-so procedural - if I weren't a huge geek fascinated by the math in the show, I'd have dropped it by now.

The only standout is still my least likely cancellation out of the 11 - Prison Break. It keeps going from strength to strength, and the mid-season climax with the escape foiled by a new pipe was electric. This'll almost certainly make a DVD release, and assuming they can maintain the show through the rest of the season, it'll probably get a renewal... but I've still got no idea where they'd go with a second season...

Of the 11, the only show I haven't mentioned here is Criminal Minds - and it's the one I'm most undecided on. On the one hand, the cast is really good, and the stories continue to give us varied storylines, but they're pretty much covering new ground with each episode at the moment. How will the show manage when they've run through the deck and have to keep revisiting the psychological archetypes? I'm sure they've got material for a complete season, but if it's renewed (big if) it may well die very swiftly in the second season. Which is a pretty big upgrade in my estimation from where I originally called it my numer 2 most likely cancellation. Wasn't everyone supposed to be watching Lost?!

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