Ask Dayton 60 – They Cancelled Leverage
Last year was a good year for genre films, with surprises like Looper and huge success with The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, but we also saw the cancellation of several series, capping with Alphas being cancelled this week. What is your view on the constant failure on TV of sci fi/fantasy? Is it simply cost because “reality” is cheaper, or is there really no ratings due to such a fragmented viewing audience?
Don’t you just hate the constant cock-teasing that is watching TV? You get all hot and bothered for a new show, dedicate valuable DVR space and however many of your precious minutes to watching it every week, and then they go and cancel the thing. THOSE HEARTLESS MOTHER FUCKERS, HOW DARE THEY?
I’ve been there, dude (or dudette). I feel your pain. I long ago quit trying to keep track of all shows I thought deserved a better fate than the one given to them by their studio or network. One show that was new for this season, Last Resort, got yanked just as it was getting good. Last year, we had stuff like The Firm and Combat Hospital—not the greatest shows ever made but entertaining in their own way—cancelled. Eureka recently ended its run on Syfy, but perhaps the gravest sin came courtesy of TNT, when they cancelled Leverage. FUCKING LEVERAGE. GONE? THAT IS BULLSHIT.
Okay, let me pause to take a calming, restorative breath.
Anyway, sorry to hear about Alphas. I wasn’t a regular viewer, but anything with David Straitharn is worth checking out. Why was it cancelled? Well, it happens for the same reason most television series are cancelled: Some studio big wig finds out the star is fucking his wife.
No, wait. That’s not it.
Oh, here it is: Not enough people were watching it, and it was too expensive to produce if not enough people are watching it. Simple math. Alphas fought the math, and the math won.
Why do such injustices keep being visited upon us? Why is it that whenever a show comes along trying to do something different end up on the scrapheap of short-lived series, while undiluted dogshit like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo keeps getting churned out? As you already guessed, such shows are cheap to make, and people watch them. That’s right, somebody out there somewhere thinks Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is the greatest fucking TV show ever invented. Hard to believe, right? And while I’m certain the number of people with the nuts to make that claim likely is pretty small, there’s a larger group into which I’m willing to bet a lot of us fall: The group that says they think a show is shit, and yet they watch it anyway.
C’mon, raise your hands: How many of you watch crap like Jersey Shore or The Bachelor, or perhaps even less harmful stuff like Survivor or Ghost Hunters or World’s Dumbest Criminals? I’ll admit I have a soft spot for shows like Deadliest Catch, The Amazing Race, or Pawn Stars. We have only ourselves to blame for the proliferation of cheaply-made reality pabulum that now pollutes the programming landscape. The more we watch, the more producers look to fill time slots with some twice-removed clone of something, or the more they’re inspired to push the envelope as far as they can.
The sub-genre of reality TV that hinges on exploiting some group of people the producers feel are ripe for poking fun are particularly heinous. You know the shows…basically anything set somewhere in the South where every line of dialogue is subtitled because you can’t understand what the fuck they’re saying. Swamp People, Bamazon, Gator Boys…who the fuck pitches shows about this sort of thing in a meeting?
And then, of course, there’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which if I’m the commander of an invading alien armada, is more than sufficient reason to crush Earth into a fine powder for sprinkling on my Raisin Bran. How, exactly, did that pitch meeting go down, anyway? Holy shit is that kid going to need seven different kinds of therapy. Can you imagine what she’s going to be like when she’s a teenager, after a life lived where every little thing has been handed to her on a silver plate and she’s surrounded by people agreeing with every inane thought that falls out of her head? “No, Mrs. Teacher, I didn’t do my math homework, because I’m the star of my own cable series, so you can go fuck yourself with the blunt end of a Louisville Slugger.”
Yeah, that could be fun.
Bottom line: We need to stop watching shit, and maybe the TV fuck sticks will stop making the shit. Right now, they have no incentive to change if the Nielsens and other stats show that us lemmings are watching any old crap the studios pump out. Take a stand, damn it. Stop watching the shit. If there’s a good quality show trying to gain a foothold and we like it, then we need to encourage people to watch it. Watch it when it’s broadcast, or within the window for which DVR recording stats count.
Unless we’re talking about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. We watch that shit live, by golly.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.