ABC Provides an Update on “Cancelled” Day Break, The Nine and Six Degrees

January 15, 2007

Zap2It reported that the remaining Day Break episodes will be up at ABC.Com by end of February to bring that storyline to conclusion. The Nine and Six Degrees will supposedly return on the air before the end of the year. Six Degrees is still expected to be retooled but neither show will get more than 13 episodes.  For fans of The Nine this means don’t expect resolution on what happened in the bank since no new episodes will be shot.

This may give a sense of hope to fans of these shows so that they can continue to sign petitions and deny in comments on blogs like mine that the shows have been cancelled.  I appreciate the passion they have for their shows but for my 2 cents when both Six Degrees and The Nine do air it will likely be Saturday night and the chances of either getting renewed for next season are less than zero.

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Best of TV 2006 – Best Show Cancelled Before its Time

December 20, 2006

This category is to honour shows that the networks didn’t give a fair shake to find an audience and was cancelled in advance of completing a full season.

The nominees are:

  • Day Break
  • Kidnapped
  • The Nine
  • Smith
  • Vanished

The season started so promising with all sorts of new serialized dramas, a welcome change from the glut of procedurals, reality shows and game shows that have invaded the airways.  Now here we are part way through the new season and there have been lots of casualties.

I only watched the first few episodes of Day Break but I liked the premise, I liked Taye Diggs and even more important I liked that the show was finite – 13 episodes and it was going to be over.  The perfect way to fill in the time until Lost returns.  Still ABC couldn’t even commit to running the show for that time frame and ABC has no plans to air the remaining episodes.   It will air much better on DVD.

Kidnapped was also a great show with a finite premise.  I give credit to NBC for committing to finishing the show even after it was cancelled to provide its audience with closure.  After being exiled from Wednesday to Saturday night the show was taken off the air.  The remaining episodes are airing on NBC.com.

The Nine was selected by many critics as the best show of the year.  I liked the concept of a bank robbery which bound hostages together after the crisis was over and a mystery as to what really happened in the bank.  The show was supported by a great cast of TV actors including Scott Wolf, Chi McBride and Tim Daly.  It was also given the perfect timeslot after Lost.  The problem I had was in the execution of the premise which was frankly kind of boring.  Still, I would have liked to see how the show resolved itself.

Smith was a great show on the wrong network.  CBS doesn’t have patience for non-procedurals (the relatively mediocre Jericho being the exception) and this show was as far as possible from the standard fare that fits the CBS demographic.  With name actors, amoral characters and slick filming this show had great potential.  Unfortunately it got pulled after 3 episodes.  CBS put the unaired episodes on its web site and published the synopsis of the next dozen or so episodes but seeing what could have been only made the disappointment worse.

Vanished had some of the worst dialogue on TV, and acting by its lead that could at best be called wooden.  Still there was something that made me watch this conspiracy show week after week.  Just as they killed off the main character and replaced him with Eddie Cibrian who I like, the show got pulled.  The remaining episodes are airing on MySpace.

The winner is:  Kidnapped (NBC).


It Looks Like The Nine is Cancelled

November 26, 2006

Effective immediately it looks like ABC has cancelled The Nine.  I’m a few weeks behind on the show and actually was waiting to see if ABC picked it up before catching up.  This is one of those cases where I didn’t think no news was good news.

Personally I liked the show.  It had great actors and an interesting premise although I did think the narrative was moving a little too slowly.  My one concern with the show was I didn’t see how it would have legs beyond a single season.  There was no way for the central mystery of what happened in the bank to be drawn out beyond a year and I’m not sure following the characters for too much longer after that was going to be sufficiently compelling.

It’s too bad though.  Another risky serial show cancelled while unoriginal shows like Criminal Minds and the rest of the CBS lineup thrive in the ratings.  Fortunately I don’t think this will discourage ABC from taking risks with its programming next season given its success with Lost, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, etc.


Fall Season 2006 – How it’s Going So Far

October 30, 2006

In September I launched this blog looking ahead to a season that was ripe with promise.  Lots of new, interesting and diverse shows that catered to the TV snob in me who hates procedurals with their “fill in the blank” of the week premises and favours complex serial shows that require a weekly committment.

So here we are 6 weeks into the new season and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag using this moment as a checkpoint. 

Let’s start with the Good.  Two of my favourite shows on the air right now started this season – Heroes and Friday Night Lights.  Unfortunately at this time only Heroes has been given a full season while Friday Night Lights struggles.  Hopefully the order for extra scripts means NBC is going to give it a chance to grow.  Brothers & Sisters is also starting to grow on me after a pretty rocky start.  If you are not watching any of these shows, please start now, especially Friday Night Lights.

I’m going to give honorable mention to Jericho and The Nine, the first of which has been given a full season and the latter which also has a script order.  I like both shows but there’s something about each that keeps them off my “must see” list.  For Jericho, I love the premise and the mysteries beneath the show but dislike Skeet in the lead and the “crisis of the week that only Skeet can fix” is wearing thin.  The Nine is kind of the opposite.  It has an excellent cast but the premise and mysteries don’t seem like enough to sustain an entire season let alone a long running show. 

Now the Bad which I’m going to split into 2 categories, shows that I hoped would be good and aren’t living up to my expectations and shows that were good but got cancelled early.

For shows I hoped for better from, there is no better example than Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which I picked as my best of the year after seeing the pilot.  It turns out that it’s all been downhill from there.  Check some of my other posts to see why this is my biggest disappointment of the year.  I’m still watching but this one is on life support with me.  I also hoped Vanished and Six Degrees would have been better shows than they turned out to be.  I’m still giving Vanished another chance after the World Series but Six Degrees got dropped long ago. 

As for shows that I liked but got cancelled before getting a real chance to succeed, Smith and Kidnapped were both in my Good list.  Smith got unjustly cancelled after 3 airings (check out this posting for comments from lots of angry viewers) and Kidnapped got sent to Saturday night to finish off its 13 episode run.  Thinking about it a bit more, I’m going to move Kidnapped to the Good category and look at the show as a mini-series since it will actually have an ending and it’s a great show.  Pick it up on DVD next year, you won’t be sorry.

Now for the Really Bad.  In this category is Ugly Betty and The Class.  Ugly Betty lasted 1 episode with me and I have no idea what the critics who love this show saw in it that I didn’t.  The Class lasted two episodes but I knew after the first that it was off my list.  Neither of these shows have anything redeeming about them.  Check out some of my earlier posts on these shows to see what I disliked. 

So where does this leave me 6 weeks into the new season – with 3 shows that I love, 3 I like a lot, a couple I hope will get better before December and some that were either awful from the get go or just didn’t appeal to me at all. 

All in all a season that started with lots of promise but turned out to be the same as all the others.  Bring on the mid-season replacements.


Capsule Reviews: Survivor, Ugly Betty, The Nine, Lost

October 17, 2006

Survivor: Cook Islands – Episodes 4 & 5

After a promising start that emphasized the social game over the last few seasons’ increasingly complex (not in a good way) and lengthy challenges, we had 2 episodes that returned to the excesses of the past.  Of a 43 minute episode, more than 20 minutes was spent in challenges.  There’s nothing else to say.  If this continues another week, I’m dropping this show.

Avi’s Episodes Rating: B- 

Ugly Betty – Episode 1 and beyond

I finally got around to watching the first episode which is also the last as far as I’m concerned.  I would end this article right here except I have to express my confusion as to what the critics who are gushing over this show are seeing that I don’t.  Let’s start with the concept which I don’t think is enough to sustain a crappy movie let alone a weekly show – ugly girl works in fashion industry and shows that brains and inner beauty are more important than superficial appearances.   Nothing wrong with the message but this show takes this base concept and makes everyone in the show mean.  Now I admit I don’t work in fashion or pretend to care about fashion and maybe I’m naïve but I find it hard to believe that any workplace is as unprofessional as this one.  Even if I’m wrong about the fashion industry or even society in general, this show takes it one step beyond reality and common decency and mixes in even worse dialogue and background music.  Even despite these issues, I like to give new shows the benefit of the doubt and would have watched one more episode, until the last 5 minutes.  The big reveal that the believed dead editor of the fashion magazine is still alive, attached to a machine and conspiring with Vanessa Williams’ character to take on the CEO and his son (Alan Dale and Eric Mabius who both deserve way better) took this show into ridiculous soap opera territory and made me erase the remaining episodes off my PVR.

Avi’s Episode Rating up to the Last 5 Minutes – C+

Avi’s Episode Rating after the Show – D

The Nine – Episodes 1 & 2

 If you’re not watching this show, go right to ABC’s web site and get caught up.  The premise is a simple one – 9 strangers are held hostage in a bank robbery for 52 hours and emerge as different people who together now share a unique bond.  The mystery of what happened in the bank unfolds in short clips over each episode as the story follows the characters in the aftermath.  The cast is a “who’s who” of TV actors in particular the great Tim Daly (I miss Eyes) as the detective with a gambling problem who stepped up as a hero during the crisis, the understated Chi McBride as the bank manager who has bottled up everything that happened to him and his daughter, the ever dimpled Scott Wolf as a surgeon (like his former older brother now on Lost) who last episode killed the hospitalized bank robber and finally the outstanding John Billingsly as the formerly suicidal man who becomes a hero and finds a new lease on life.  There’s a lot going on and I don’t know how they can keep the show going for more than a year or 2 but I don’t care.  It’s a great show and I don’t know why more people aren’t watching.  Go watch now!!!!

Avi’s Episodes Rating – A-

Lost – Season 3, Episode 2

I enjoyed this week’s episode much more than the season opener.  Sun and Jin’s back story was great and answered the question (maybe) from last season whether Sun’s pregnancy is an island miracle or the result of an infidelity.  Kate and Sawyer’s chain gang adventure was lots of fun ending with Sawyer’s assessment of the Others’ troop strength.  It was good to see Sayid the hunter back in action and I appreciated the irony that generally passive Jin could be more dangerous than Sayid if he wanted.  Finally, the ending with Ben holding out to Jack the possibility of returning home made me hopeful that the show may actually have an ending.

Despite all these good things it finally hit me 5 minutes into this episode my issue with Lost.  The thing I like the best about this show is also what in my opinion is its biggest weakness.  I love the complexity of the show, the sprawling cast, the numerous mysteries and the large canvas where so many things are simultaneously happening I can’t wait to see what happens next.  The problem is with a cast roster that takes the first 10 minutes of the show to unroll most characters don’t appear week-to-week.  The huge mysteries and sweeping storylines unfold at a pace that I find frustrating when it only runs 22-24 episodes a season.  I want more.  I want to see all the characters every week.  I want lots to happen every week.  Unfortunately it’s just not possible in a network TV show.  To be clear, I’m not going anywhere.  I do, however, increasingly understand why some people like to wait for the DVDs where these issues become less obvious.

Avi’s Episode Review – A-