Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Best Show That Nobody’s Watching

I’ve been a big fan of Arrested Development since partway through the second season. I started watching a few episodes and realized that it was probably the funniest thing I’d ever seen on television. Brinestone and I snagged the first season on DVD from the library (hooray for the Salt Lake County Library System) and watched them all in a weekend. We’ve been hooked ever since.

Unfortunately, however, it seems that not many other people are hooked. Ratings have been disappointingly low, even though DVD sales have been good—even though it’s won all kinds of awards and has been lavished with critical praise. What gives? The problem, I think, is that Fox has no idea what to do with a show that smart. They’ve held on to The Simpsons even though the quality has tanked, and then they’ve gone and killed off great shows like Futurama and Firefly.

Fox’s solution to the poor ratings was of course to cut back the number of episodes for the second season. When that didn’t work, they moved it to a different timeslot and then almost halved the number of episodes for the third season. Inexplicably, the show still failed to take off. So what did they do next? They embarked on a brilliant endeavor of not showing it. That’s right: for weeks it was preempted by reruns of Prison Break or House.

Meanwhile, of course, they’re promoting the heck out of Skating with Celebrities, which sounds like the worst reality TV show concept since . . . well, ever. Their next bold move to try to save Arrested Development is to pit the last four episodes of the show, all back-to-back, against the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It’s almost mind-numbing in its brilliance. Fox marketing executives will surely be patting themselves on the back for this one.

Rest in peace, my dearly beloved show. You were too good for this world.

Blog 8 Replies to “The Best Show That Nobody’s Watching”
Jonathon Owen


8 thoughts on “The Best Show That Nobody’s Watching

    Author’s gravatar

    Back-to-back during the Olympics? Wow, that’s about the worst thing you can do to a show, especially a good one that’s dying.

    Anyone want to go beat up some Fox executives for me?

    Author’s gravatar

    Yeah, I’m not a fan of what Fox does after I heard what happened to Firefly.

    Author’s gravatar


    Since this is still on top, I thought the least I could do was agree with it.

    Author’s gravatar

    Cicada, you’re a fan of Firefly? Who knew!

    th.: Even though I don’t really know you, I appreciate the display of solidarity.

    Author’s gravatar

    So, I guess that’s another good US series that will never hit our shores?

    DVD it is.

    Author’s gravatar

    I should add – we get lots of *bad* US shows. Some I guiltily enjoy.

    But the good, yet underrated ones get shown off season, sometimes out of order, and then discontinued when ratings resume.

    Author’s gravatar

    Now I’m curious as to which bad US shows you like.

    (I watched about five minutes of The Bachelor last night before I couldn’t take any more and turned it off.)

    Author’s gravatar

    What! Are you telling me you’re not a fan of Skating with Celebrities? How could you not be intrigued by the inherent brilliance, showmanship, and danger???

    On a real and non-sarcastic note: I too was saddened by the demise of Firefly and if I had ever seen Arrested Development I’m sure I would have been saddened too. Let me add my RIP to yours on behalf of the lovely shows that Fox has killed.

    P.S. I hope that my HTML tags will work on your site. I’ve never actually tried them here before. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever commented here before.

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