Last week, Topless Robot published their take on the 20 greatest shows canceled by FOX before their time. Hundreds of comments later — followed by the obligatory internet uproar that just happened to echo the author’s thesis that “the FOX Network is the f*cking devil” — this TV Addict thought it might be fun to see how it feels to, just this once, defend the network that cancelled some of our favorite shows (including FIREFLY, THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, BRISCO COUNTY JR, DRIVE) and ask: Are FOX execs in league with Satan… or paying the perhaps-inevitable price for thinking outside the box?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that anyone should thank FOX for cancelling [insert your own missed, mourned and lamented series here], but rather that they should be applauding for taking some incredible risks (such as putting SEINFELD alum Patrick Warburton into a giant blue bug suit and giving us the quirktastic comedy THE TICK).
Unlike other networks who shall not be named (CBS, ABC, NBC) who pat themselves on the back for having the “cajones” to launch such creative endeavors as CSI: NY, NCIS: LOS ANGELES or yet another medical drama (Quick… which’ll be cancelled first: TRAUMA or MERCY?), FOX has taken risks, for better (ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE) or worse (OSBOURNES: RELOADED).
In other words, FOX’s gambles may not always pay off, but at least they’re willing to take the chance on shows that occasionally change the way we look at television, such as 24 or even AMERICAN IDOL. And while folks love to take FOX to task for the cancellation of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, it’s worth noting that the network gave the show three season in which to try and find an audience. Think NBC would have been so patient?
As anyone who isn’t blind, deaf or dumb (in either sense of the word) no doubt knows, this fall FOX will be rolling out another high-risk show with the launch of GLEE, a genre-bending series with something for everyone… that could, in fact, prove to be not enough of anything for a mass audience. That seems unlikely given the initial response to the pilot, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a critical darling found a cult following but didn’t catch on with the formula-loving, originality-fearing, mind-numbed masses.
After all, those folks are gonna have a pretty full schedule, what with three CSI’s and two NCIS’ to keep up with.