Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by RoJoHen, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Sometimes I think about some of my favorite canceled shows. The easy example on this forum is Firefly. It was this little scifi show that only lasted half a season before it was canceled. Then, through some weird TV miracle, it continued to gain popularity. I personally never saw it (never even heard of it) until long after it had been canceled.

    Over a few years of raging fans and sci-fi conventions and increasing DVD sales, the show was allowed to come back in the form of a movie in order to wrap up the story. The fans WON!

    Now I think about Netflix and what they're doing with "Arrested Development." A new season will be available in May, and if it does well enough, we will also be getting a movie. Other shows that come to mind are Farscape, Futurama, and Family Guy (all were canceled and then brought back due to fan reactions).

    It just makes me wonder: what if these shows were popular when they aired? What if all these fans that discovered these shows post-cancelation had discovered them when they were brand new? Where would these shows be? How many seasons more seasons would they have lasted? Would any of them still be going strong, or would we be complaining about how Firefly "jumped the shark" back in Season 5 when Zoe got turned into a Reaver and Jayne hooked up with YoSafBridgHelenBethany?
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Hey, Season Six of FIREFLY was worth it for the musical episode alone . . . .
     
  3. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Personally, I very much enjoyed the Farscape musical episode, "Once More, with Frelling".
     
  4. jayceee

    jayceee Commander Red Shirt

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    Conversely, one could also look at "what could have happened" type scenarios, where a particular tv show was canceled sooner.

    For example.

    - What would have happened if the original Star Trek never had a season 3 ?
    - Would Star Trek have become as popular? (Or would it have become another forgotten 60's tv show?)
    - Would tv stations have aired any Star Trek reruns, with less episodes?
    - etc ...
     
  5. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    I think My So-Called Life jumped the shark with the 10th season time war.
     
  6. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek is an especially tricky one. If it had lasted any less than 3 years, it would run the risk of having too few episodes to be successfully syndicated. If it had run any longer than 3 years (and assuming that Season 4 would have been as dodgy as Season 3), it would run the risk of running itself into the ground.

    As for Firefly, my current theory is that most of Joss Whedon's failures stem from an inability on his part to create a succinct sales pitch for his own work. After all, people tend to love all of his stuff. The difference between his successful & unsuccessful work is that the successful stuff can usually be summed up in one sentence.
    Angel-- It's about a vampire who runs his own paranomal private detective agency.
    The Avengers-- It's a bunch of superheroes.
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer-- It's in the frickin' title!

    On the other hand, I've watched nearly every single episode of Dollhouse and I still can't really explain what it was about. Even the show itself seemed to struggle in each episode to try to explain its own premise to its more dense viewers.

    Firefly & Serenity can't really be explained briefly without sounding kinda stupid. Plus, the titles do nothing to convey what it's about.
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If only Heil Honey I'm Home! had succeeded, I'd be dating a supermodel now.

    Because Chaos Theory.
     
  8. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well said. I've seen the first four eps of Firefly and Serenity, and I have no idea what that franchise is about. I'm not sure it's really "about" anything. Seinfeld in space?
     
  9. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Firefly/Serenity is the embittered Confederate veteran roams the West (of Space,) until the South Rises Again....and Wins!
     
  10. Finngle Bells

    Finngle Bells Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always wondered about if FOX left Sliders alone and let the show run normally without any meddling. Would it go on for more than five seasons with all of the original actors. It may mean Jerry O'Connell wouldn't have showed up on Jerry Maguire, and that John Rhys-Davies wouldn't have been in the Lord of the Ring movies. I don't know if a more successful run would prevent Sabrina Lloyd from being part of the cast on Numb3rs which would have been years away.
     
  11. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it's not about nothing. The episodes do have distinct plots. It's just that its too complicated to explain to a neophyte exactly what the show is and what kind of good guys these are. "Like, the Serenity is basically a cargo ship but many of the crewmembers are criminals or fugitives or veterans of the losing side in a civil war. Sometimes they steal things but only for good reasons. And it's in space but it's the old west and people often swear in Chinese for no reason. And there's this woman who's like a prostitute but she insists that she's really a 'companion.'"

    For that matter, there's a certain vein of prostitution in Dollhouse as well. And, again, the show really tries to sidestep the issue because Joss Whedon seems oddly interested in the idea of women who have sex for a living yet can't bring himself to actually vindicate the sex trade.

    In fact, one of the big problems with describing either show is trying to sort out whether the main characters are heroes or criminals. While moral ambiguity is fine, I don't think you can make that the very 1st impression that you're show makes. I mean, even though Buffy & Angel had their own dark sides, you never doubted that these were heroes who were always at least trying to do the right thing.
     
  12. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Firefly is basically the same as Farscape - a ship full of squabbling, charismatic losers/outsiders bop around space and try to survive, while dodging The Man. Just goes to show that if the situation, characters and style are different enough, you can do two versions of the same premise and both are perfectly welcome, without any glaring overlap that makes you wonder why there needs to be two such shows at all.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm not sure you really need to explain all that at first. How about:

    "The colorful and vaguely disreputable crew of a small commercial spaceship try to make a living among the rough-and-tumble frontier worlds on the outer fringes of an interplanetary civilization."
     
  14. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Lovable bandits on a spaceship?
     
  15. FarStrider

    FarStrider Commander Red Shirt

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    Let's see, if you consider Mal the primary hero, then this is a good logline: After fighting on the losing side of a civil war, a disillusioned smuggler is forced to revisit his ideals by a pair of innocent fugitives as he hides them from the oppressive government.

    If you consider Simon the primary hero, then this could work: A naive, young doctor must trust mercenaries and smugglers, giving up everything he once believed, if he is to save his damaged sister from the government that made her into a weapon.

    Either way, it is not that hard to boil Firefly down to one sentence.

    ~FS
     
  16. Sephiroth

    Sephiroth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    wow, season 3 of TSCC CHANGED TV, man, a whole season, set in the future war, with John growing up,defeating SKYnet, getting killed by the resurrected Cameron, who then goes back to the past in grief to try to atone to John
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    "The slightly shady crew of a ramshackle spaceship try to keep flying, while staying one step ahead of the law . . . ."

    Trust me, just about any plot can be boiled down to three paragraphs (or less) of back cover copy! :)


    To be fair, though, I do remember arguing about Firefly with a friend who kept demanding to know what the crew's "mission" was, as though he couldn't get invested in the show and its characters unless they were defending the galaxy or fighting to overthrow an evil empire or searching for the secret of the universe or whatever.

    He needed it to be "about" more than just keeping body and soul together out on colorful frontier worlds.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The long-term plans for Threshold were suppposed to be that the alien invasion became progressively more powerful, to the point there was even to be a name change each season. This would have been interesting.

    Kings would have presumably have kept on taking plot elements from the Old Testament.

    And Miracles would have revealed Skeet Ulrich's father to be a demon (or the Devil himself,) I'm pretty sure.
     
  19. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    I suppose. The issue, IMO, isn't so much whether such a synopsis is possible. The issue is whether a show can be easily boiled down to one idea by a common viewer in a way that he can tell outsiders what the show is. Buffy & The Avengers both had an advantage in that they were part of familiar genres. You don't have to say much before people start understanding what you're talking about because it evokes ideas of things they've seen before.

    BTW, Mr. Cox, you can summarize Firefly. But can you distill Dollhouse?
     
  20. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So did Seinfeld episodes. But on that show, AFAIK, the writing seemed to understand that most, if not all, of the main characters were immature morons.