I am really curious as to my own motives lately for continuing to give network series a try, when they are more and more likely to be yanked off the air before a satisfactory completion. I’m talking to you ABC, whose takebacks reminded me of how upset I still am with NBC about My Name is Earl. And Fox, I see you trying to slink out, but you are also in trouble.
Here are just a few series off the top of my head that have been canceled in the last few years, THAT I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF WATCHING:
- Flash Forward – will end without any answers to anything. Thanks, ABC.
- Eastwick – almost had closure at the end of the season, but then introduced new characters as though I was going to get to keep watching it.
- My Name is Earl – seriously, NBC. This show had been on a couple of years, and ended with the discovery that Dodge was actually Earl’s son, and Earl Jr was not Darnell’s son. For future reference, NBC, that is not how you end a story.
- New Amsterdam – had some interesting twists that could’ve been explored more. Most importantly it had really attractive actors, which just isn’t something you find on cheap reality shows.
- Surface – this show was all about mysterious creatures that, unsatisfyingly, remain mysterious.
Sure, a TV series is “free” entertainment, and is similar to Facebook in that I feel weird complaining about something not working right when it’s not something I’m paying for. But let’s face it, I am invested emotionally. I don’t have a ton of free time, but I choose to park it in front of the TV when I can for some decent storytelling and a little escapism.
And no, these are not the best shows. They are admittedly pretty silly, but they all had something good about them that kept me coming back, including continuing storylines in which the characters were looking for answers.
Now I’m looking for answers. Mostly, why do I continue to invest time in something that could end without warning, and without closure?
I am tempted to say that I will not try any new network shows, that I will wait to see if they pan out and then possibly get them from Netflix. I am tempted to say I will not watch anything on network TV, except maybe Craig Ferguson, CBS Sunday Morning, and the occasional episode of House. But would that change anything? The networks don’t care what I do.
My feelings about this are culminating right here at the end of Lost. In a world more catered to my tastes, TV series would be designed in this way: a story arc that has a certain amount of time in which TO TELL THE WHOLE STORY, instead of either being cut short or dragging on forever (ER). In lieu of that ever happening, I will probably watch the last couple of episodes of Flash Forward while wondering why I bother.
And just in case anybody’s been watching Parenthood? I like that one, too, so don’t expect it to last long.