I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge fan of serialized storytelling, whether it be in book form, television or movies. I like series. So, in a non-COVID world, I would anticipate the launch of new years to see what was coming up as premieres, try to watch all scripted shows to see if they were any good, or more pointedly, worth adding to my “must watch” list. From there, I would make a list of premiere dates, watch an EP or two, and decide — keep or ditch. There was no cross-walk between my decision to keep something vs. my prediction if it would succeed. Lots of shows hold no interest for me, but I can see why they might get picked up or renewed. Other shows I watch fully expecting them not to make it to renewal, but I’ll watch while I can.
And then each Spring, I see what gets cancelled to see if I care. About 8-10 years ago, networks stopped announcing cancellations early in seasons. Shows might be dead, but often there was no formal announcement. So, now, come spring, the only “announcement” is that they aren’t on the list for next year anymore. However, there are sites that track these non-announcements too, and one of my favourites is TV Grim Reaper. For 2022/23, there was a surprising number of cuts.
I rarely care about what ABC does. They cancelled Promised Land, Queens, and black-ish, but I don’t watch any of them. They renewed 9 other series that I also don’t watch — Abbott Elementary, Big Sky, Grey’s Anatomy, Home Economics, Station 19, The Conners, The Goldbergs, The Good Doctor and The Wonder Years. I gave most of them a try without much interest, although I confess I didn’t give Home Economics a fair shot (started later than the premiere) and passed on Abbott Elementary as zero interest in a “cute” comedy about teachers.
I used to watch A Million Little Things, but gave up on it earlier this year. Maybe I’ll binge it, but it was way too soap opera-ish recently with too many cliffhanger moments instead of the real conversations they were known for in season 1.
And yet I have no credibility at all. I like Nathan Filion and I like The Rookie. I fully admit that I have NO idea what happened to the last six or seven episodes of the season, don’t know if it was COVID protocols or something, but they had the “very special episode” for the celebrity cop who people thought killed his best friend, and then he disappeared. There was stuff with the defense lawyer, all leading up to him maybe becoming a prosecutor..,umm, okay? On again, almost off again things with Nolan and his girlfriend with the ex-husband / stalker / weirdo that was resolved way too quickly. And the final episode of the season was gunfight at the OK corral mixed with lookalikes for Chen and Bradford, leading to them having an excuse to kiss, with ZERO resolution of their case storyline at all.
But it got renewed so I’ll watch it next year, every week.
CBS cancelled six shows and I should be upset as I watched three of them. But honestly? Not really. I don’t even remember Good Sam or How We Roll, and while I gave United States of Al a try, it wasn’t particularly funny and I found too many of the themes almost racist. Certainly offensive in their attempts to appear not racist. Kind of like “we’ll show you that these foreigners don’t fit stereotype X, hah!” by painting them as stereotype Y instead. Umm, pass.
I loved the initial premise of Bull…weekly legal case, jury science to tell the right story with the help of having truth on their side so they don’t make it look too cynical, great. The plots were pretty obvious though, the twists telegraphed way in advance, and almost zero character development for any of them that reflected any depth. Sure, they had things “happen” to them, but nothing that led to growth of any kind. The one possible hook of a love story got kiboshed early on. And if you add in all the public drama with the series? Not very compelling of late. I stopped watching early in the season.
I’m mildly disappointed by the cancellation of B Positive. Not because the show was awesome, it wasn’t, but more because it didn’t live up to its promise. In Season 1, the idea was off the wall crazy that he needs a new kidney, goes to a high-school reunion and meets an old friend / acquaintance who was a party girl (she slept with just about everyone EXCEPT him), and she says, “Hey, you can have one of mine.” And surprise, they’re a match. (Don’t ask, suspend disbelief). But his little “nest” of friends were other dialysis patients. He’d chat with them, they’d interact, he geared up for donation surgery, and S1 ended with him good to go. There was obvious flirtation that might go somewhere, but it never did, it was ONLY season 1 after all. You can’t have characters get together in S1, right?
But then the obvious question. He’s had his donation. What the heck do they do in S2? Well, they had her inherit a bunch of money, a little corny, but why not. Then she buys the retirement home she works at so that she can run it properly. Cuz of course, the only reason a retirement home WOULDN’T be awesome was simply the intent of the owner. Uh-huh. Anyway, whatever. Down went the dialysis patients as regular characters, and up (way UP!) went all the retirement home residents as potential guest stars. With some amazing potential, great weekly characters. And since the main guy, Drew, was a therapist, they worked in so that he could be a therapist at the home to give him a reason to be there. It wasn’t a smooth transition, but it relatively worked. I missed one of the previous actresses who was awesome, but it was okay.
And then they had the “kiss” where the two mains had a kiss, but she was drunk, and he said no, and the next day, it was like it never happened. Standard fare. But then the show went wonky. They had no idea what was going on with Drew, he bought an RV, was going to travel. It was like they were creating a whole new show about her and the retirement home. Which if that was the initial premise, maybe it would have worked. But it was just one too many changes for me and I kind of faded. Others did too, although it still had viewers. In the end, they killed it. A bit of a surprise against traditional ratings numbers, but not a surprise overall.
I am a little more disappointed that they cancelled Magnum, P.I. Some of the initial series’ writing, the first half of S1, was clunky and amateurish. Like most shows, it takes a while for the characters to find their groove. The secondary characters of Rick and TC never did really hit their groove, although Rick came closest this past season. Katsumoto as the “cop” liaison for them was all over the place at times, a giant disappointment for watching Tim Kang. I loved him as Kimball Cho on The Mentalist in the original storyline and the reboot storyline. He was great playing restrained and even better playing a bit more open in the reboot season and a half. But here? Meh. Similar for other support characters.
But Higgins? She was almost always solid from day 1, and Magnum improved through S1, not bad for S2, decent for S3, and then nailed it for S4. The relationship between the two of them was fantastic this past season, lots of great teamwork that would have been awesome to see earlier in the series, a lot less angsty or silly, just two partners working together. They had a bunch of those stupid miscommunication moments more suitable for RomComs than a detective-procedural, but hey, you take what you get. There were still EPs with ridiculous plots, you could almost see who was up for rotation in the writers’ room, yet the relationship improved. All leading to the final EP, where of course, Higgins realizes she has feelings for Magnum, he is ready to tell her that he has feelings for her, and the final scene is they share a kiss.
What would have been interesting to have seen was whether the two of them would have had ANY chemistry together as a romantic couple or not. Lots of shows have put couples together and found out that the pre-coupling flirting and sizzle turns to “meh” later (I’m looking at you Remington Steele!), rather than finding a way for the romance to still work (yo’, Castle!). I suspect they wouldn’t have. So where it ended was probably the best they would ever have.
But I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t more S4 and less S1-3 examples.
CBS had already renewed five shows early (Equalizer, FBI, FBI: International, FBI: Most Wanted and Young Sheldon) but I don’t watch any of those so not much cause for celebration. I confess I’m still relatively shocked that Bob Hearts Abishola, CSI: Vegas, and The Neighbourhood are still on and going longer, but I’m not the right demographic for them, so my lack of interest is likely expected. Seal Team moved to Paramount, but I never made it out of season 1, episode 1.
I used to watch NCIS: LA, but stopped a few years ago, just for volume. I tried NCIS: Hawaii this year but it didn’t really resonate with me. Nothing wrong with either, just not “draws”. I normally have watched NCIS in the past, but with Mark Harmon exiting, I kind of fizzled earlier this season. Similarly for SWAT, except for it at least, I can freely admit the writing and acting are relatively terrible. It is NOT a great show. But I would normally watch. Right now? Meh.
The two renewals that I am happy about are Blue Bloods and Ghosts. I like Tom Selleck as the police commissioner, and Bridget Moynihan as the ADA. I’m less thrilled about the other characters, although I like them when they have larger storylines in an episode…I don’t like the constant jumping around. But Ghosts? I really quite like. I won’t say that I’m laughing hysterically, but I enjoy the storylines. I keep meaning to try the UK original to give it a go, but haven’t got to it yet.
I’m not Fox’s demographic normally, and I didn’t watch two of their shows they cancelled (Our Kind of People or Pivoting) nor ten of their renewals (9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lonestar, Bob’s Burgers, Call Me Kat, Family Guy, The Cleaning Lady, The Resident, The Simpsons, Welcome to Flatch, and Duncanville). It is likely telling that three of those are shows that I’m not even sure I’ve ever heard of let alone tried.
Andrea and I did watch The Big Leap and were enjoying it up to about EP 6 or so. And then they started dealing with the one character dying of cancer, and we decided maybe that wasn’t the show we wanted to watch to distract ourselves from her own cancer treatments. I kind of wish a show like that COULD make it, but I fully expected cancellation from the beginning.
I am pleasantly surprised to see The Great North be renewed. Kind of Simpsons in Alaska (or perhaps any family sitcom of the last 20 years but set in Alaska), it is fun to watch, some decent moments, but not a must-watch for me. More like “binge later”. Still, happy to see it continue.
I suspect of all the main networks, NBC is probably closest to targeting my demographic. They cancelled Kenan (okay maybe not ALL about my demographic), Mr. Mayor (that was still on????), Ordinary Joe (interesting premise but maybe too hard for some to follow consistently), and the EndGame (shrug). No great losses, from my perspective.
This Is Us was previously announced as ending, and New Amsterdam gets a half-season next year. I like NA, but it was too bonkers for me earlier in the season…was he leaving, was he staying, what is going on, yawn, can we get back to the medical question of the week?
But if NBC is more my traditional demographic, shouldn’t I be more interested in their renewals? American Auto (shrug), Chicago Fire / Med / P.D. (triple meh), Grand Crew (no idea), Law & Order / Organized Crime / SVU (future binge maybe) and Young Rock. None of them are “draws” for me. They should be, but they’re not. Just nothing to pull me in.
I also fizzled on The Blacklist this year. Maybe it’s the death of Elizabeth, maybe I couldn’t make the jump from the explanation to caring why they’re just a task team targeting VIP criminals, but I lost interest. Again, bingeable, not “must watch”.
And La Brea got RENEWED? How is that possible? The initial EPs were ridiculous. Maybe the storylines improved, maybe they caught the “Lost” zeitgeist, but I passed early on and I fully expected it to be gone in 4 EPs at most. But RENEWED? Really????
Okay, here is where EVERYTHING I know about television goes off the rail. Everything they do is generally about generating enough EPs to run in syndication or sell for binging services. And based on their cancellations, I wasn’t their demographic anyway, with them generally targeting young 17-35 or so.
- 4400 – Didn’t watch, but saw the potential appeal to others;
- Charmed – I like the original series, didn’t care for anyone in the new one;
- Dynasty – Gave it an initial shot to see if it had any of the charm of the original, but it didn’t;
- In the Dark – Shrug;
- Naomi – Shrug;
- Roswell, NM – Didn’t watch the original, didn’t care about reboot.
So that seems good, right? Not my demo. Except I was watching some of their other cancellations. Batwoman, despite horrible writing and acting. I binge DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, agreeing with the actors that it took them 3 seasons to realize they’re more spoof than superhero show. And I was watching Legacies, which is DEFINITELY not the most obvious show for an old fart to be watching. Hogwarts for vampires, werewolves and witches. Angsty crushes. It was fun. Riverdale is ending next year, but I’ve not gotten into it…yet. I fully expect I will, but haven’t.
When it comes to the renewals, it is like they read my inner child. All American is Legacies with football instead of magic, but it’s highly watchable. Kind of a more soap opera-y Friday Night Lights premise. I didn’t even know “Homecoming” was a separate series, haven’t tried it, but I will now. Kung Fu SHOULD be one that I would watch just like watching SWAT or Magnum or the promise of Equalizer. I like the actress, hate the show. Same goes for Walker. I should be watching every week. Fights at the end of every episode, law enforcement, like the actors, and meh.
I really enjoy Superman and Lois but I try to watch it with Andrea and Jacob and it ends up being more of a binge one for me. If I was just watching on my own, I’d probably watch every week. Same goes for the Flash. Andrea and Jacob really enjoy it, but I don’t often watch at the times they are, so I tend to skip it and binge later. It’s also one of my least favorite superhero shows as it is too vanilla sweet. I like a bit more darkness. It’s not as bad as Supergirl, but well, it’s a tossup which one has worse acting and Supergirl was cancelled last year.
Yet the one that I’m most happy about probably of all the shows is that Nancy Drew is continuing. It makes no sense for me to be the happiest about that show, but I like their weekly mysteries and the lead is highly watchable. I could ditch a few of the Scooby gang and be a lot happier, but her as a detective? I’m happy. And I’ll watch the spinoff next year with Tom Swift. Or at least I’ll start.
Where does that leave me?
My watching patterns for current shows have REALLY dropped in the last year, spending more time binging old shows than watching the new ones. Of the 82 shows tracked, 28 were cancelled, with 10 that I’m not even sure what they were, which is almost unheard of for me. I try EVERYTHING. Another 11 were ones that I had tried and passed on. Which left seven that I actually watched. I’ll slightly miss a couple, but no great losses.
A whopping 54 shows were renewed, and again, 42 of them are ones that I really don’t care about. Of the 12 that I do watch, 8 of them are bingeable shows only, I don’t really care about that enough to watch. Which leaves only four shows remaining that I’m glad are continuing. The Rookie cuz I like Nathan Filion, Blue Bloods for Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynihan, Ghosts cuz of the ensemble cast and that it’s different, and Nancy Drew as she has actual mysteries to solve (and because they stopped trying to show us how grown up she was after EP1’s sex scene).
No great loss, and four that I like. I guess the bloodbath wasn’t so bad for me.