TV

Wonderfalls Cancelled

Posted by Sulkyblue (4th Apr 2004, 10:43) - http://www.buffistas.org

A new series from Tim Minear (Angel, Firefly) and Bryan Fuller (Star Trek, Dead Like Me) that was heralded as the best show on the air by dozens of tv reviewers and Fox has cancelled it after 4 episodes.

I'm absolutely spitting furious over this one. The show had real potential, some great concepts, interesting characters, beautiful filming and sets and genuinely laugh out loud funny moments. I can't believe a show that's getting such spectacularly rave reviews (ok, not great ratings, but give it a chance) is cancelled after just 3 hours of air time!

They've filmed the entire series of 13 episodes that form a complete story, and Tim reports that he's looking for somewhere to get them broadcast - hopefully someone will see sense and either buy the show up or do a nice dvd release.

RANT This die hard tv fan is approaching the point of giving up. TV is turning monochrome, you have your CSI spin offs (including various cloans like Cold Case and NAVY CIS in there). Don't get me wrong, I love CSI, but with each itteration they become worse (David Caruso - hiss, spit). Then there's the other hard dramas like ER and 1/2 dozen Law and Order. At the other end of the spectrum we have mindless sitcoms (trust me - Everyone Does NOT Love Raymond) and reality tv (how many variations on a theme of Pop Idol and Big Brother can people watch?).

TV used to be about escapism, now it's all about watching other real people, or at best, series that could be real people. I don't wanna watch tv about what's going on in the world every single day, I don't want to be shown that people are stupid and do horrible things to each other. I want to see extraordinary stuff, westerns in space, talking animals, vampires with souls, little blond girls saving the world, all of which make comment on the world today in intelligent, but above all SUBTLE ways. I am not an idiot and there are a lot of people out there who also are not idiots (although apparently not in network executive offices). We can get metaphore and for a good show, we are more than happy to rewatch an episode to see what we missed. Hey execs? Doesn't that give you ratings for reruns? Isn't that a good thing? Oh and hey, and these non-idiot viewers going to be the ones with the high end incomes to buy all the dvds?

The problem is that shows like that take time. As a premise they don't necessarily look interesting "Typical All American girl gets called on to slay vampires and save world". Sounds pretty dire doesn't it? And the name, hell, it put me off for 3 years. Finally word of mouth spread and a friend of a friend told them to watch it. Then said friend told me to watch it. And I did. And I LOVED it (i was actually watching a dvd episode before I felt the need to rant), and my mother loved it, and 1/2 dozen people I've told about it loved it. I still love it and miss it. But if you go back and look at the ratings for the first four episodes, they suck! You do not get a cult hit in 4 episodes, a cult needs to gain a following, this is what the internet is for.

For Wonderfalls particularly it seems that Fox (who've already cancelled Angel this season and Firefly 2 seasons ago) were never going to give the show a chance. Airing started on Friday nights, notorious for poor ratings. They moved time slot something like 3 times in the 4 episodses, finally ending up on Thursdays up against new episodes of CSI and The Apprentice (current top reality tv show). It doesn't come as a huge surprise if they get a fairly abysmal 2.1 million people tuning in. Apparently Fox cares purely about numbers, and not for instance looking at who those 2.1 million people are! They are some of the countries most popular reviewers (Hercules at (www.aintitcool.com) (4.5/5), USA Today (3.5/4), Wanda from E-Online, Entertainment Weekly (A-) and LA Times "everything clicks here"), they are people online with loud voices and determination. They are a healthy proportion of the people who watched Angel that have thus far raised over 17 thousand dollars in an attempt to save their show ( (www.savingangel.com)).

I strongly believe that Joss Whedon and the group of talented writers, directors, producers and crew he has gathered around him are some of the best people in television today. They look outside the box. They RESPECT the fans. They want to do new and innovative stuff pushing the waytv treats subjects and the technical ways this is done. Network execs listen up - you will lose them if you don't respect them. Talented people will not keep being shot down (I suggest you try talking to J Michael Straczynski) and see how he feels about working for you again), you can't keep expecting people to put their blood, sweat, tears and souls into shows and having them cancelled before being given a fair chance. Intelligent audiences will not stay around either. People won't bother watching the beginning of a series and getting invested in it if you have a history of cancelling stuff after 4 episodes, there's a limit to the number of times we want to be disappointed. With the wonders of the internet we can wait 2 months to see if a series lasts and *then* catch up.

Like a LOT of people out there, I'm disillusioned, angry and sad. And you know what? It doesn't matter, because the people who make the decisions don't care. Sucks doesn't it?


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 Discussion

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read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 4th Apr 2004, 17:49, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.buffistas.org) - more comment from Tim Minear


 Oliver Sinden ( 5th Apr 2004, 20:50, Rank: Spoo )  reply

I agree entirely, I loved the first 4 episodes of this. I wonder how many others like myself, (and presumably, yourself) are not counted in the ratings because we're downloading the show. Still, only four episodes for crying out loud. At least Fox let Futurama run for four seasons before killing it prematurely. Bastards.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 6th Apr 2004, 10:05, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

Absolutely! I think in cases such as these people who download can actually do good things for shows. Eg people in other countries can show their support, but also people can recommend the show to others who can catch up with missed episodes quickly. However it's becomming increasingly important to download responsibly so that you *do* contribute to the ratings if you possibly can. (I'm not exactly sure how they calculate the ratings in America).


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 6th Apr 2004, 10:23, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.voy.com) - The Canadians loved it and are apparently looking at buying up the rest of the series "at the very least". Go Canada! Yay!


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 7th Apr 2004, 10:10, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271|87353|1|,00.html - Comment from Bryan Fuller (creator), looking at other networks. "The important thing is, we're not dead, we're in ICU."


read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 9th Apr 2004, 11:40, Rank: Patrician )  reply

People won't bother watching the beginning of a series and getting invested in it if you have a history of cancelling stuff after 4 episodes, there's a limit to the number of times we want to be disappointed. With the wonders of the internet we can wait 2 months to see if a series lasts and *then* catch up.

Looking at this from a UK perspective, isn't this an argument in favour of not downloading episodes? This isn't related to my general opinions on downloads, it's more of a pragmatic approach. If you wait six months for a series to show up on Sky then you'll know whether it's going to last more than 4 episodes, whereas if you're watching episodes the day after they're broadcast in America then you risk getting unpleasant surprises like this. The longer the lead time, the more you'll know.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 9th Apr 2004, 20:28, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.buffistas.org) - It's been picked up by a Quebec channel which will show all the episodes this 'fall'. Unfortunately in French.
John: Yes, I can see your point, but i wasn't really talking about UK viewers, who frankly, the US networks and producers don't care about. Overseas sales and viewers are a bonus but really not what they depend on and consider.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 13th Apr 2004, 10:26, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.tvguide.com) Interesting comments and responses from fans and Matt Roush from TV Guide. (also stuff on Angel and an eeny bit of Farscape down the page). Much woe at the state of tv.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 16th Apr 2004, 10:59, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.eonline.com) - Warner Bros will apparently be reviewing an episode of Wonderfalls at the same time as it reviews other pilots. Which *could* lead to a full season pickup. UPN has apparently passed it over for the same reason it did Angel - it no longer wants to be paying for scraps from other networks (plus they basically can't afford anything).


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 21st Apr 2004, 11:47, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.buffistas.org) - Tim Minear briefly commenting on the Warner Bros dream. But he's confident that the filmed episodes will get out somehow/somewhere/somewhen.


read biography for - Sulkyblue

 Sulkyblue ( 24th Apr 2004, 10:40, Rank: Nazgul )  reply

(www.buffistas.org) - WB pickup is considered a long shot by all concerned (big surprise) but there's apparently a lot of interest from cable channels.


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