Canceled:MadTV,Knight Rider,Samantha,Earl Kyle XY. Not Canceled:Scrubs,Ted,Chuck,Kath & Kim. Weird Status:Reaper, The Game, Futurama

The 2009 TV season was just all over the place. So many shows were coming and going that it was a little hard to keep track. I think the dust has settled and we can finally start taking stock and make some definitive statements about the status of a lot of these shows.

A very long time ago I wrote about Mad TV probably needing to go. It was a tough call on my part; I love comedy, people of diverse backgrounds were getting seen, the show taped 2 blocks from my LA apartment. So I wanted to be loyal but it just suffered from weak writing. Weekly comedy is hard. Hell, COMEDY is hard, but those folks had access to top resources and just weren’t willing to get out there and find a stronger comedic voice. So as much as people have maligned SNL they just do better. The final episode and season finale of SNL, ironically, chose a lot of similar topics.

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Man, a long time ago I also wrote about Knight Rider’s first episode and I had high hopes. But they fell into the young white guy is the hero of every scene formula and that’s all she wrote. Another cable show that got a little press The Beast and Nip/Tuck are gone too.

Kyle XY, well, I also wrote about this show just being too good and the network not knowing what to do. Hour long fantasy/sci fi shows have very loyal fans. And they’re a lot of them. But networks get INTO these deals and every single time they are surprised when they’re not making enough money on these hour long shows after 2 seasons and then start talking cancellation. Every time. Look at Battlestar that show is technically gone, but Caprica is on the horizon now because the networks have fans flooding them show interest. The fans TRIED with Kyle but SO FAR the networks aren’t listening.

But don’t believe everything. Case in point. They killed Family Guy and voila. It came back. They killed Scrubs and voila it came back. And this brings us to the strange new trend of Network Hoping. Networks with weak programming blocks are picking dropped shows. ABC took Scrubs. And CW just dropped The Game and now BET is pretty much locked in on finalizing a deal. FOX let Futurama go years ago. But did you know they’ve been making Futurama movies? Yeah, three of them. And fans like me have been collecting them. So now Comedy Central is renewing the show. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if a network like Lifetime picked up the recently canceled Samantha Who. It looked like something like that MIGHT happen for Reaper. But, poor Reaper, it’s gone for good now. It was SOOO good and at first CW just canceled it. Then there was this mailing in socks campaign by the fans. So they renewed the show but gave it a delayed renewal last YEAR and now it’s pretty much dead. I figure if the network can’t find another hit this summer they’ll bring it back. And if they bring it back I will update this article. But some cast members are already booked on new shows. But again; fantasy shows so rarely are giant hits like Heroes and that’s the only way they can make it.

Now a sad situation is My Name is Earl fiasco. As you may or may not know Chuck was canceled, but due to fans like me who made videos, the show got renewed at the last minute. The Earl group tried a similar tactic on Twitter, but it didn’t work out. Sad. Good show and I’m surprised because half hour comedies are cheap-for the most part. Earl was kinda filmic (not set in and around a living room like Rosanne or Family Matters) so it probably cost a little more to make.

Speaking of surprises. I PREDICTED the cancellation of Better Off Ted. But guess what? It’s staying on the air! I reasoned that the show was actually TOO funny and good for ABC, but what I forgot about was one of the stars being involved with Ellen and a network not wanting to ruffle feathers of a money maker. Totally forgot about that. It’s similar to the reason that Kath and Kim is still on the air-but they finally killed it! As awful as that show is, because Molly Shannon has a history with NBC they’re letting it live. The EXACT same reason they’re keeping Amy Poehler’s awful show Parks. Love Amy but man what a horrible premise for a show. Not the workplace but Amy playing one character. A dumb one too. Who the hell thought that was the way to go? Ah well, TV…

Reaper the TV Show Survives the Grim Reaper. Returning Next Year

So, like, it was pretty touch and go there about 2 weeks ago. It looked fairly certain that Reaper was going to be take off the air. And I was reading articles about where the cast member were going. But now, as the kids say, it’s all good. The show gets to come back next year . And I’m pretty happy about that. What I’m NOT happy about is that the scheduled return date isn’t until March 03 2009. But this article was written June 2008 so Reaper is canceled as of June 2009 the show is going off the air.

I loved the Loop, which also featured lead actor Bret Harrison. The Loop was set right here in Chicago (that term is also slang for the downtown area of town). Although here’s a strange coincidence; another show I liked that got canceled was Working. That show starred Fred Savage from the Wonder Years-AND, he’s from Chicago too. Hmmmm. Maybe Hollywood had a Chitown bias? Speaking of weird, Bret was actually named “Sam” on both shows. And speaking of dead shows I liked I even liked that ABC Sci-Fi show Invasion. That show of course featured as a cast member Tyler Labine who plays Sock on Reaper.

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But still, why does FOX (and almost the CW) keep killing off good shows? I mean when you look at an Arrested Development it’s almost mind blowing. That show was so good it was insane. And don’t get me wrong I like Reaper but it was no Arrested Development! So what is so good about Reaper? It’s fun. It’s a fun show. One of the Executive Producers is Kevin Smith and the echoes of his religion are woven into the show. It’s almost like a tangent view of Dogma. I liked that movie too! Dogma had these kids with scythes who were demons and could teleport around. And Reaper has this kid who’s soul belongs to Satan and now demons are beginning to populate the shows cast. Including great guys from The State Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino. And yeah, I know I wrote about them being on the show already but it’s great! I’m see them really added to the show and Ray Wise? Such a pro. Such great performances every week.

But I was certain the TV show was dead on the second to last episode when it didn’t come on until 11:30 at night! Turns out there was a baseball game. So when all hell broke loose and they started threatening to cancel the show a whole fan movement started. They sent in socks in reference to the character Sock. I can only imagine what type of socks that arrived in the mail at the “CW.” Good thing didn’t write my “it’s canceled piece” 2 weeks ago or I would have had to write a “I mean it’s not canceled” piece.

Reaper: The Clerks Guy The Stella Guys The Friends Guy and The Hot Fuzz Guy

Reaper is one of my favorite new shows. Temporarily the show was of the air because of the writer’s strike. And then almost got canceled ! As was another new, good, death themed show Pushing Daises (and that show was of course created by the Dead Like Me guy). But Reaper managed to get back on its feet and is finishing out the season. The show is becoming a weird, clearing house of other cool things.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that Reaper has Kevin Smith as an executive producer, and he just finished shooting his new movie Zach and Mira Make a Porno film (oh MySpace, what would I do without you). But the show has taken a twist that I’m pretty surprised about. For most of the series the “A story” has been that the main character, Sam, chases a demon and gets visits from the AWESOME Twin Peaks bad daddy Ray Wise. And the “B story” was initially Sam’s parents talking about selling his soul. Then it was his girlfriend/not girlfriend at work, then it was his new girlfriend. But last week a new storyline started.

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They brought in two guys from the fantastic, short lived MTV comedy show The State; Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black. Marino’s big character from the show was a guy walking around with golf ba lls yelling “I’m gonna dip my balls in it!” Maybe doesn’t sound too funny in print-but it was funny. And Black is actually one third of the current comedy group Stella, who and they had a show on Comedy Central a few years back, and of course 3 people from The State are the core of the Reno 911 show.

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All these connections! I feel like a gossip columnist. But its more mixed up than that. Check this out; Black ALSO just wrote a new movie called Run Fat Boy Run. And that stars Simon Pegg, who is no stranger to being a write and an actor, from the Shaun of the Dead movie and Hot Fuzz. And speaking of writer/actor/directors, Run was directed by Friends alumni David Schwimmer. How weird is that? I remember seeing what I thought was his first movie years ago. It was a movie about a guy who comes back to his home town for a friend’s funeral and ends up having some sex with the guy’s mother. The Pallbearer. Didn’t do very well, but I liked the color of the film. But I think he was in Twenty Bucks after that. I even remember him from the Wonder Years-I didn’t even know about Friends until it had been on the air almost 5 years. ANNNYYWAY, those are my connections for the night.

I would love to talk about this week’s South Park, it was SO good. They did a whole Heavy Metal movie spoof . But I talked about the show JUST last week, and I’m not trying to turn this into a SP blog!