Why is Firefly's Cancellation So Unforgiveable?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Andonagio, Sep 18, 2009.

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  1. Shakaar

    Shakaar Captain Captain

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    The problem with Fox is that they don't learn their lesson. They had one of the biggest sci-fi shows ever in the X-Files, a show which had relatively minor ratings at first and no one expected to last long. It wasn't until the second and possibly third season that it became a ratings monster. Then, Fox continually put these new sci-fi shows on hoping to duplicate the success of the X-Files but refused to give them the same opportunity. Leaving aside the whole out-of-order, pre-emption and scheduling issues, many of these shows, like Firefly, didn't even get a full FIRST season, let alone a second. Following this logic, the X-Files would have been history almost immediately.

    Then, after all of this come 24. Another show that didn't have stellar ratings at first. It was almost cancelled, but FOX decided to keep it. It turned into a phenomenon in many ways. Yet despite this, FOX still continued to cancel shows before giving them equal time. Now some of those shows, even many, may have been bad, but who knows what another season or even a few more episodes could have done? We could easily have had another major breakout show that everyone would have talked about for years. Hell, even TNG had a pretty bad first season.

    Oh, and to the poster complaining about how many times the word Firefly appeared in threads: How many of those mentions were of the negative variety from posters who either don't like the show or it's fans? You can't lay those instances at our doorstep.
     
  2. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes but one thing you have to understand the tv business is different then it was in the early 90's. With the cost of production soaring and audience levels dropping (and ad rates not increasing like cost) networks don't have the financial cushion that they once had. They can't give shows a large amount of time to find an audience.

    There are a few exceptions, some shows manage huge critical acclaim (Firefly wasn't one of them,it was liked by critics but was not a critical darling). Or they see signs of growth in important demographic groups.

    Without us (and we didn't, it wasn't readily available to the general public during this time) being able to track the demographic detail of the audienceweek to week, we can't judge anything besides raw numbers and frankly those don't tell the full tale.

    For examples you can have a show with 10 million viewers make less money then a show that has 5 million viewers on the same network. If Firefly's audience didn't fit the demographic makeup that Fox is seeking for its advertisers then Fox isn't going to pursue that property.

    For example both Enterprise and Voyager had typically the oldest average age audience on UPN. THose two shows typically made (per viewer) less then almost any other show on UPN. THus they needed to provide much larger sized audiences to be worth while to UPN.

    If Firefly for example was similar then it would need to have a much larger then average sized audience. Of course they could have had a young audience, I don't know (again that data was never made public). Of course then their is the gender breakdown (also important) and then the income. Both of which have importance.

    You also then have to look at the whole schedule Fox has. Shows live and die on not only their own fortune but the success (or failures) of the rest of the lineup. You would have to see breakdowns of each of those other shows also.

    Without that data no one can rationally make a legitimate argument about whether Fox should have kept Firefly. You simply can't.

    You can be upset, and hurt. But you can't judge Fox without seeing the full reason why they made their choices.

    To do so is utterly foolish.

    Of course now days we do have a lot more access to that information. We can usually see demo breakdown among gender and age. They occasionally release ad rates for each show per minute, we also get some info on income level of audience, audience loyalty, more info on foreign rights, ect. We don't get a full complete picture but we get about 8 times the data we used to see.
     
  3. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TNG didn't have a bad first season in viewers (quality was awful). It just wasn't a huge success, yet.
     
  4. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Y'know, considering tv is all about 'ratings' these days, I'm surprised none of the networks have announced 'Celebrity Bikini Hot Oil Wrestling' yet.

    Kinda like how I wish people would STFU about football.
     
  5. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    And that list wasn't even complete. (Tru Calling was canceled before that Family Guy episode aired but presumably before it was finished.)

    The one I still don't understand is Wonderfalls. I mean, the show clearly had a difficult to describe premise and was going to rely heavily on word of mouth. Yet they canceled it after 4 episodes, choosing to never air the other 9 episodes that were already in the can, and squelched any opportunity for word of mouth to build.

    It's interesting how quickly the TV business has changed. It was experimental when FOX released short-lived canceled shows like Firefly & Wonderfalls on DVD. Now it's standard practice. I can't help but lament that 7 Days would be out on DVD right now if only it had aired 6 years later than it did.
     
  6. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Eh, I'll take that back. I'm probably wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  7. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow! 28 threads in 24 hours contain references to "firefly." As of this moment, looking only at the Main Bridge, Engineering, Astrometrics and Promenade sections, there are some 49,250 active threads. The oldest active thread in the General Trek forum received its last post on August 21. For the purpose of discussion, let's assume that all active threads stopped receiving posts on August 21 -- about one month ago.

    I just searched for all threads in the last month which contain references to "firefly." The answer: 46.

    46 out of 49,250. In other words, on a message board which largely caters to fans of science fiction television and features, 0.093% of threads within the last month contain references to "firefly."

    I suuuuure wish those Browncoats would shut up so that it would be easier to avoid references to "firefly."

    :p
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    And how many of those threads contain references to that damn annoying "Star Trek" series? :lol:
     
  9. mswood

    mswood Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the case of shows that are quickly cancelled, its usually due to them performing terrible, and having considerable drops in the next 2 episodes. Doing so bad that reruns of cheap filler like Cops performs stronger.

    The thing about it, is most shows fail. And even if you gave most shows a longer period to find an audience, most never will.

    It becomes a guessing game,to what shows might, just might break out to be marginally or hugely successful.

    Now days at least they have things like itunes that at least give a barometer on how many people will drop cold hard cash for programming. And unlike DVD sales its immediate. DVD sales never start in the US until after the 1st season is complete, by which time studios have already had to make next years schedule. Then you have no idea of what will be popular overseas,and that usually takes over a year to get the first data back from.
     
  10. Orintho

    Orintho Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This is the main point for me - incompetence. Why is such level of incompetence tolerated continually in an industry where the right creative gamble can literally yield millions.

    It is incompetent because whoever is/was making decisions at Fox lacks any real knowledge of their own products.
     
  11. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nothing against the fans, but that's a terrible choice of collective nickname. Sounds like "Brownshirts".
     
  12. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    There are only so many colors that it makes sense to use for a coat.
     
  13. EnsignRicky

    EnsignRicky Commodore Commodore

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    FOX will usually lets a crap show flop around for at least a season or two. In the case of Firefly, they took something that was so obviously good from the start and offered so much potential, and unceremoniously dumped it in just over a dozen episodes. Forget everything else, that's just poor judgment; That's FOX.
     
  14. Dusty Ayres

    Dusty Ayres Commodore

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    Exactly why we need antitrust to break up these monopolies.

    The X-Files was a show for mundanes; that's why it lasted a long time. It wasn't made for sci-fi fans, just mundanes. See any weird aliens in it? Anybody like G'Kar or Zhann? No, and the mundanes liked it that way. Why didn't the Paul McGann Doctor Who movie make it on Fox? For the same reason.

    Never underestimate the power of a director/writer who made the most popular high-grossing movie of all time:vulcan:

    But that doesn't negate the fact that it's a shitty network all the same, that treats sci-fi like crap.
     
  15. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Still doesn't explain why Fox didn't renew the show once it exploded onto the DVD market (warranting a 30 million $ movie).

    It showed there was tremendous amount of word of mouth (i was responsible for at least 5 DVD boxes bought and had friends telling me of this "awesome show they found" only it to be revealed that it was Firefly :lol: without ever having a run on mainstream german TV) and there are very few people who really dislike it.. i sure never have met one who wouldn't watch it.

    This right there could have been a gold mine.. interest was there, all the actors were available yet Fox passed on a good show.

    This is what i can't understand.. i can understand an expensive SF show being axed for it not being a huge success and watercooler talk for the next day but after it having gained widespread recognition once the DVD box was out and not bringing it back seems like waste.
     
  16. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Fox has canceled more than one great show in it's first season.
     
  17. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Networks don't really like the idea of bringing something back once it's ended. *Especially* for live action, when there are matters of set rebuilding and the like, and the actors are likely to make higher salary demands the second time around and so on.
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Godwin Award!

    "Shirts" and "Coats" sounds nothing alike to me.
    If "Browncoats" sounds like "Brownshirts, then "Redshirts" must sound like "Brownshirts to you too?" Or is no one ever allowed to wear an item of brown clothing again thanks to something that happened 70 years ago? How about affectionately calling someone "Hey, browneyes"? Should they think you're calling them a Nazi?
     
  19. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Is it any real surprise that Captain Kirk let so many British musketmen die on his watch? Face it, Kirk hated British people.
     
  20. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, Browncoats is not that far off from brown pants, which carries an entirely different connotation. At least the FF people have a catchy nickname, which is more than some big franchises can say.
     
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