from whence they came?
April 2, 2005 5:42 AM   Subscribe

there have been grass roots campaigns. there have been various petitions. some even tried reverse psychology to try and convince fox to renew arrested development for a third season. now, 15 episodes into the shortened 18-episode season, fox got around to starting its own "save a.d." website. is it too little too late?
posted by Silky Slim (32 comments total)
Here's an article on Defamer where David Cross talked about the show being cancelled. Here's the meat of the article...
" …the programmer admitted, at the end of his discussion with Cross, that FOX’s fall lineup is atrocious, and FOX knows it. If FOX were to cancel A.D., and put out its ongoing slate of shit, the TV critics would have a field day."

Basically, Arrested Development will get saved because Fox sucks. I personally don't watch much television, about 5 hours each week here and there, but Arrested Development is the only show that I watch every single week.
posted by Arch Stanton at 6:00 AM on April 2, 2005

I like the show, too bad it's getting booted so quick but something else will come along. The sad thing is you have these folks creating websites, organizing grass roots this and that and in the end, it probably won't save it. Going after Fox isn't the answer anyway. FOX doesn't care if you like the show, they care if their advertisers will continue to pay exorbitant fees for ad space. These people can bang on Fox's door all day long but they really need to get to the advertisers.

How many shows got hurt because some whiny shit called an advertiser to complain? In contrast, if people want to save the show, they need to write the advertisers and stroke the particular marketing director who was "genius enough to attach his wagon to this thoroughbred of a show"! (don't forget to call him a genius).
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:04 AM on April 2, 2005

Another casualty of Nielsen. With DVR's becoming more widespread, maybe within five years there will be a more accurate representation of what people do/don't watch.
TV has escaped a serious blow by having a sample approach to what viewers watch. The internet had much more accurate information on what people were putting their attention to, all the way to whether they actually bought something from an advertiser's site.
With TiVo's gathering similar information, maybe that rare good show which doesn't spread evenly across the right households can hold its own.
posted by Busithoth at 6:31 AM on April 2, 2005

but something else will come along
and how long will we have to wait?

I am now reluctant to watch new shows because I'm afraid I'll get attached to something good, only to have the network cancel it.
Let's all started with Sports Night. Then Freaks & Geeks. Undeclared lasted a little while. The one that will still make me cry is Firefly.

So, something else may come along, but it probably won't be next year. And chances are it'll get cancelled too. Because that is what happens with smart TV.

Oh, and we got the chance to do Neilsen ratings during sweeps and let me tell you I think their system for Tivo users is very bad. You only write down those things you watch that were recorded during that week. It goes Thurs to Thurs. So if you record Lost on Wed night and watch it Thurs, you don't write it down because it wasn't recorded and watched in the same week. I let them have it on that one.
posted by evening at 6:47 AM on April 2, 2005

arch, that link looked very reassuring until i got to this part:
Cross then ended this by saying, “Keep in mind, this is FOX, so all of that could be true, and they could still go and cancel it.”
posted by Silky Slim at 6:47 AM on April 2, 2005

The sad thing is you have these folks creating websites, organizing grass roots this and that and in the end, it probably won't save it.

yes, america as we know it is already dead.
posted by quonsar at 6:52 AM on April 2, 2005

evening, sports night is recent, at least.
long ago, I learned the cruel world of Nielsen from the cancellation of
Tales of the gold monkey.
posted by Busithoth at 7:10 AM on April 2, 2005

I think HBO should buy the show from FOX. It would be a great compliment to their lineup.
posted by n9 at 7:23 AM on April 2, 2005

This is the only show I try to remember to watch... probably not a terribly exciting demographic for marketers. "Let's see - he doesn't watch TV. He doesn't do much discretionary spending outside of music and food. Let's go after him!" When I mention the show to other grad students, they just blink at me in confusion... I imagine I jinxed it when I decided it was the best show that had ever been on television. Sorry.
posted by Slothrop at 7:31 AM on April 2, 2005

Malcolm in the Middle just got renewed and it's ratings are worse. So, who knows... there still might be a third season of AD on Fox.
posted by yupislyr at 7:34 AM on April 2, 2005

I think HBO should buy the show from FOX. It would be a great compliment to their lineup.

That's exactly what I've been hoping. Anyone know the odds of that happening?
posted by blendor at 7:42 AM on April 2, 2005

I imagine I jinxed it when I decided it was the best show that had ever been on television.

Probably so, since Homicide: Life On the Streets is actually the best show that has ever been on television.
posted by justgary at 7:44 AM on April 2, 2005

I can't believe they'd renew Malcom -- but it has at least this much over A.D.: The stinkin' camera stays still. If the producers of A.D. spent less energy wiggling their camera around, they could concentrate more on writing funny scripts. On the other hand, even if they did keep the camera still, they'd have to exhaust themselves flogging their labored premise, so there's probably no hope for that turkey.
posted by Faze at 7:48 AM on April 2, 2005

Homicide: Life On the Streets is actually the best show that has ever been on television.

Homicide was definently good, great even, but the best ever is still The Prisoner. Arrested Development is one of the best and most original things ever on, but it did decline noticably with the second season. It's one of those shows that, bad though it is to say it, maybe would have been better done as a limited, one run series.
posted by berek at 7:57 AM on April 2, 2005

Fan and critic agitation does work ... with HBO. The renewal of The Wire for a fourth season was almost certainly due to an upsurge of support from those quarters. It's harder to see how Fox would be wanting that kind of input.

The "HBO will rescue it" strategy has been touted without success for pretty much every critically-adored, audience-neglected sitcom of the past five years -- Freaks and Geeks, The Job, Undeclared, etc. Never has worked. A different premium (like Showtime, which has never gotten any steam under its original comedy lineup) might be a better target, but Arrested Development isn't going to be the right starting point, because of the cost of the talent.

Yupisyr, the situation with Malcom in the Middle is very different. It was a huge hit for a few years, and that's fueled a reasonable degree of syndication success. It makes sense to keep making new episodes that are effectively pre-sold in syndication. Arrested Development, alas, has never been a huge hit. It'd take quite a leap of faith to suppose that it will find a strong audience in syndication. If the 8:30 p.m. Sunday audience for edgy humor is small, the 6:30 p.m. Tuesday audience isn't likely to be bigger.
posted by MattD at 7:57 AM on April 2, 2005

I thought the first season of A.D. was the funniest single season of any sitcom ever made, including the Simpsons, Seinfeld, any of the pantheon. The last comedy I felt so strongly about was the 1.5 season long "Andy Richter Saves The Universe", so clearly my tastes are well in line with getting things cancelled.
posted by jonson at 8:04 AM on April 2, 2005

The trouble with using DVR's to measure ratings is you get incredibly precise, accurate readings of what people are watching… in the lucrative "fast forward through commercials" demographic.

That said, I think Nielsens suck, TiVo is God, and Arrested Development is great.
posted by designbot at 8:09 AM on April 2, 2005

Arrested had its chances seriously diminished when Gail Berman left the network for Paramount. Gail was the old president, and this fledgling sitcom was one of her "pet" projects -- allowing the show to withstand some poor ratings.

Now that there's a new president, there's a very good chance the show gets cancelled. The new FOX pres. gains very little by keeping the show on the air -- the show's performance will likely remain as-is with the viewers, and network presidents rarely get lauded for standing by the work of their predecessor.

Of course, it all comes down to the pilots FOX has in development for next fall -- or whether or not they give in to the temptation to put American Idol on seven nights a week.
posted by herc at 8:17 AM on April 2, 2005

A friend of a friend just became a Nielsen viewer, so my friend is gaming the readings. I suggest we mere mortals call and e-mail the advertisers as SaveOurBluths suggests.

What pisses me off is that I can't have a good "Hey isn't that show awesome?" conversation without someone reminding me that it'll end soon. Sometimes I just want to bask in the hours and hours of brilliant footage.

And then do it again to catch the jokes I missed.
posted by NickDouglas at 8:28 AM on April 2, 2005

To heck with Arrested Development, what about Carnivàle? Save Carnivàle!

to heck with your favorite show, let's obsess about my favorite show!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:43 AM on April 2, 2005

Herc, that's a great point -- but I kind of wonder.

The new president of Fox is the current president of the FX Network, who put together an incredible string of critical and (in basic cable terms) audience darlings in the last few years-- The Shield, Nip/Tuck, and Rescue Me. He'd up his already considerable cred with the creative community to renew Arrested Development -- and, if he could make it a hit, he'd be lauded by the business community as the Next Coming.
posted by MattD at 8:44 AM on April 2, 2005

Wow, for once I mostly agree with justgary. As for Arrested Development being picked up by HBO, I don't see it happening. After reading the trials The Wire went through to get on HBO, it seems HBO is very focused on not putting on shows that you could see on network tv, and therefor Arrested Development would already have a strike against it.

Fox has some of the worst programmers of any network. Half the shows that I wouldn't mind watching are only on once or twice a month, or constantly changed time slots- for example Futurama or Andy Richter...
posted by drezdn at 9:26 AM on April 2, 2005

Man, you guys REALLY like Arrested Development! I also enjoyed "Tennessee", but I can't figure out why 13 years later you guys are trying to save them now.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2005

Doesn't any one else think that its at least a little bit sleazy that Fox is trying to launch a "grassroots" campaign (complete with loyalty oath) to "save" a show on its own network?
posted by grapefruit at 10:29 AM on April 2, 2005

Shh, grapefruit, don't say that -- I want the pretty video clips of Tobias stripping.
posted by NickDouglas at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2005

I hadn't heard about Berman going to Paramount, but that makes Showtime even a better potential landing pad. Paramount owns Showtime, and this would give them a starting point on building a comedy line-up that management's already familiar with.
posted by aaronetc at 11:21 AM on April 2, 2005

I had a dream where I was pitching a TV show about a world where Americans put as much effort into saving their country from itself, as they do in saving their favorite sitcoms. I woke up in a cold sweat, thanking God and Country the remote control was on the bedside table, within safe distance.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:11 PM on April 2, 2005

Something that never seems to come up in these Arrested Development discussions is that the show, with few exceptions, has almost entirely sucked this season. The first season was brilliant, but lately the writing has tailed off, the plots have become more absurd, and the setups take longer and deliver less. Last week's show was the first in a long time that actually made me laugh more than once.

I really don't want the show to be cancelled because I hope it someday returns to its Season One standards, but if it keeps up like it has been, I couldn't really blame FOX for wanting to kill it.
posted by notmydesk at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2005

This season's more polished, slicker than the first, so it lost the fresh energy that started it, but in exchange we've gotten a rich continuity, lush scene variety, stellar guest stars (Martin Short excepted), and revitalized plot lines (when Tobias' latent gayness came to a head a few weeks ago, they upped the ante with the crossdressing).

The writing was tougher because the plots have inevitably tangled with each other, so I doubt we'll ever capture the "how are we getting away with this" fun of Season 1, but this is still in the top 10% of network comedy.

Incidentally, what's the outlook for Kelsey Grammar's three-episodes-and-running sketch show? Am I its only fan?
posted by NickDouglas at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2005

posted by punishinglemur at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2005

I was unable to watch more than five minutes of KG's sketch show. Horrendous.

If AD wants to make money, it should solicit us torrent users. I don't have cable tv, I will never have cable tv, end of story. If the television entertainment business wants my dollar, they're going to have to entire me via torrents and some sort of payment system that charges bugger-all to view, and lets me leave an appropriate tip.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2005

Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Greg The Bunny.
Family Guy.
The Tick.
Arrested Development never had a chance. No matter how good a new show is, if it's on Fox, you might as well wait for the DVD to come out and save yourself the heartbreak.
posted by obloquy at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2005

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