Fuckity bleep. The state of network television is such a shambles right now (network television viewership is off 10 percent since last season, which was already dismally low) that my radar detecting cancellations is severely off. It clearly doesn’t take a 2.0 rating point and 8 million viewers to save a show anymore. “Community” and “Parks and Recreation” were renewed last week despite historically soft ratings, and yesterday, Fox — the network that loves to shitcan — renewed the woefully rated “Fringe,” which last recorded a 1.3 and a mere 3.7 million viewers. That’s in the range of where the now cancelled “Sarah Chronicle Files” lived, and it’s not that much better than the ratings of “Dollhouse.” Maybe Fox just likes JJ Abrams more than Joss Whedon. Or maybe it’s because “Fringe” is a better show. And now that it’s renewed, and it seems to have all this energy behind it, I’ll probably stupidly return to the show, just four days after abandoning it.
I’m such a sheep. But I will remain steadfastly annoyed with the show’s inability to play by any set of rules. Also, with Anna Torv’s impression of Leonard Nimoy, which sounds like a generic female impression of Jimmy Cagney.
What does perturb me about the renewal, however, is that “Fringe’s” ratings are below that of “Lone Star,” the wonderful, fantastic show that Fox cancelled at the beginning of the season after only two episodes. That was a show that very well could’ve found a strong, DVD-buying audience, much like “Fringe.” And if Fox is going to support quality programming, they should at least be more consistent about it. Also, if “Lone Star” had remained on the air, we could’ve been saved from an Adrianne Palicki led “Wonder Woman.”
Meanwhile, in actual cancellation news, F/X has at least remained consistent, basing its programming decisions on actual ratings, cancelling the very decent “Lights Out,” a show that I very much like, but for the lead character, Holt McCallany, whose woodenness gets irritatingly under my skin. But, thank you F/X for both picking up the series in the first place, and for allowing the show to finish the entire season before shitcanning it. Really. Say what you’d like about F/X, but at least they are green lighting great shows (see also, “Terriers”), they are giving them a real chance to gain a following, and they are allowing them to run the course of their entire seasons. I’d have been really upset if F/X had cancelled either “Terriers” or “Lights Out” midway through the season.
Also, F/X is responsible for “Justified,” and word from Deadline is that the network is closing to renewing it for a third season. And it should: Combining all the weekly airings, “Justified” is pulling down 7.4 million viewers, which is twice that of “Fringe,” without the benefit of a network. Here’s a rare situation where ratings and quality coincide.