Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Casualties, and The Survivors (Returnees for the Fall 2009 Television Season)

By this point, pretty much all the speculation about what genre shows are coming back next season is over, the final announcements having already been made in every case (perhaps excepting NBC's Kings, the first season of which is currently in limbo, but which is basically as good as dead).

The round-ups are already starting to appear. Here's mine.

Along with Pushing Daisies, My Own Worst Enemy, Knight Rider, Life on Mars and Eleventh Hour, FOX's Terminator didn't make it, the news ironically announced the same week that Terminator: Salvation hits theaters, where it is widely expected to rake in "boffo B.O.." More surprisingly, NBC's Medium also didn't make it on its home network (cancellation compelling it to go over to CBS, where it will run after Ghost Whisperer, also a survivor, in the 8-10 PM Friday slot).

Lost is, of course, coming back for its sixth and final season-if only because of earlier arrangements. (Were it not for these, the show's falling ratings-which dropped below 10 million as season 5 progressed-would have put it in real danger of cancellation.) J.J. Abrams's other show, Fringe will likewise be returning.

Dollhouse narrowly made it, and so did Heroes. Chuck just managed to squeak by, the show getting only a 13-episode commitment, and a lower budget to work with. And as Variety reports, even this is apparently dependent on a tie-in deal with the Subway shop chain, which famously ended up playing a role in the fans' "Save Chuck" campaign.

Will we again hear Chuck and Morgan discussing sandwiches for four-hour stretches? I wouldn't bet against it.

And while having a much more marginal claim to genre status, TV's "other fake psychic" show, CBS's The Mentalist (apparently the most-watched of the fall's new crop, period) is of course coming back.

In the end, a lot of shows went down, including some that were very well-liked by their followings (in many cases, because they were more creative and interesting than most of the competition). The roll of the fallen is not quite so long as could have been the case, but many of the survivors squeezed by only at the last minute, or conditionally.

Having got by now, can the fans of these shows hope they be able to move off life support anytime soon, as they will have to if they are to have much longer lives? Maybe, maybe not, but in either case next season will prove decisive for many of those just hanging on, in particular Chuck, Dollhouse and perhaps most beleaguered of all, Heroes.

The "Big Four" networks aside, the CW is keeping Supernatural and Smallville, but cancelling Reaper. Sam Raimi and Terry Goodkind's syndicated Legend of the Seeker is coming back for season two. And on cable, HBO's vasmpire-themed True Blood is due to return next month, while Eureka returns to Sci-Fi-excuse me, SyFy-in July.

Naturally, next season is increasingly the topic of discussion, and SF Universe is currently offering an overview of what ABC will offer a few months hence.

No comments:

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon