Episode 255: Reacting On The Recent TV Show Cancellation Apocalypse


What a rollercoaster ride of emotions I felt recently. A scant few days ago, I used my phone to check for something online and I was greeted with a headline that I didn’t expect. It wasn’t something earth-shattering like the cure for cancer was discovered or aliens have just destroyed a major city. It was something a whole lot more mundane but it affected me deeply as it was a big shock and something I didn’t expected.

Fox decided to cancel Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

It was a horrible surprise because Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a really good show! Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought so as the reason why its cancellation was blasted into my phone’s browser was because there were a lot of fans who expressed outrage on Fox kicking the show to the curb. Fans took to social media to whine and cry about it (I mean that in a good way) and all of that whining and crying paid off somewhat as NBC decided to pick up Brooklyn Nine-Nine, albeit for a protracted 13-episode season instead of the regular run of 22. Still, this is much better than not getting anything at all.

The weird thing is that, while all of this was happening, I didn’t even think about checking on the other shows that I watch to see if they got cancelled! I guess I got swept up in the moment of those 3 days while the entire brouhaha was happening. I eventually did realize that, if a show as good as Brooklyn Nine-Nine could get cancelled, what about the other television programs that I like so much. Sure enough, I did a little research and it wasn’t just Brooklyn Nine-Nine that got the axe.

Another Fox show that found its head on the chopping block was Lucifer. A show that even features the Devil’s name was even aired at all is kind of a minor miracle if you think about it and I will admit, that was part of the draw for me initially. But as I watched the show, which is about Lucifer leaving Hell and working with the police to solve crimes, I grew to love the characters more and more. Lucifer may feature “evil incarnate” himself but the way that the character is portrayed is just deliciously intriguing as there is hardly a hint of malice in him, most of the time. The rest of the cast also really grew on me, especially during Season 2 when Lucifer’s mother decided to break out of Hell. I don’t remember learning that in all my years studying in a Catholic school but I just rolled with it!

Right now, there is also outrage against Fox for cancelling Lucifer as, once again, the show is really good and yet they decided to take it off their schedule. I did a little research and it does seem like Fox has their reasons for giving those shows the axe. Those shows may have a solid fanbase but they weren’t really drawing in high numbers, which did surprise me. Also, the network just made a deal with the NFL so they had to let go of some shows to make room to air more football. Licensing also factored into the decision to give these shows the axe since Fox don’t own the shows themselves and I guess they don’t want to pay another company when they can make their own television shows and reap all the rewards. Finally, thanks to Roseanne’s success, it looks like Fox is going to concentrate on making shows for what they call the “middle America” demographic.

The really silly thing is that none of these reasons have to deal with the quality of the shows! Like I said, I, and a lot of others, think Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Lucifer are excellent shows, which is why we watch them week after week. Unfortunately, you can’t really quantify “good” but you can count how many viewers a show has and how much money they make from a television program. I do understand the economics of it all but just because my brain can comprehend the reasons, that doesn’t mean that my heart can!

I want to focus on the entire focus on “middle America” part because, honestly, this kind of thinking does tick me off a little bit. I think it all stems from Roseanne’s success, which, in my opinion, was going to happen because of the nostalgia. I will give the show credit since it’s actually funny and the characters are likable and I can understand their motivations. Those are the reasons why I like watching Roseanne, not because of its “middle America” setting and roots. It looks like Fox is only focused on the setting, a single piece of the puzzle of why it became a hit, instead of the whole picture. It feels shortsighted to think this is the only reason why the Roseanne revival hit gold.

By the way, Fox isn’t the only network that cancelled shows that I watch. CBS cancelled Scorpion, about a thinktank of geeks who use their ingenuity to create unconventional solutions to solve problems. I grant you that Scorpion was never on the top of my list of favorite television programs. I find it kind of insulting at times as they portray the characters to be the stereotypical nerd/geek prototype most of the time. But I do enjoy the science aspect of the show, where they would “macgyver” their way out of a sticky situation. I’m not sure how scientifically accurate things scale up but I appreciate the attempt to make science, even if it is “fake” science, entertaining. However, I do think it’s hard to justify bringing Scorpion back on the air for another season as the show has gotten a little stale and repetitive.

This leads me to why I think a lot of shows lose viewers in later seasons. It’s not that the show drops in quality. It just that they become formulaic and predictable. You may think it’s bad but, from my point of view, it’s not. After all, it’s that very formula that got you hooked on the show in the first place, isn’t it? The issue becomes when the formula doesn’t seem fresh anymore. People crave new things, especially in this age when we have so many entertainment options. You would think the solution is for shows to do something different so it can be less predictable, right? But they can’t make changes because that would make the show not the show you like any more. I understand cancelling shows is necessary to let in some new content for this reason. But I don’t get cancelling a show that actually still produces good content.

I’m glad that Brooklyn Nine-Nine got a abbreviated new lease on life on NBC and I’m still grieving over the loss of Lucifer and I am a little bit saddened by the loss of Scorpion. But at least I had a good run with them.

What’s your favorite show that got cancelled recently? Let me know in the comments section below!

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