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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: The Quick and the Canceled – Fox Cleans House

May 10, 2011

Fox cleaned house announcing the cancellation of Human Target, Breaking In and The Chicago Code. The Chicago Code is the second series from veteran showrunner Shawn Ryan (The Shield) to see its fortunes unceremoniously reversed. Fox didn’t have a strong roster going into the fall and many of their freshman shows are long gone

Of the three Fox announced today, I’m most disheartened by the cancellation of The Chicago Code, which I was waiting for DVD release before getting thoroughly invested. It was one of the few midseason replacements that looked any good. Shawn Ryan had just recovered from the sting of his previous show Terriers being shitcanned by FX. However, after viewing the pilot, I wrote of The Chicago Code and why I didn’t think it was going to work:

The problem isn’t Beals’ performances – she’s usually on point – the problem lies with her characterization. Basically, the reason the highest ranking law enforcement officer is a woman (not sure how Beals’ character is racially coded) is because Alderman Gibbons (Delroy Lindo) believed she would function in the role as essentially a puppet, which looking like Jennifer Beals seems entirely plausible. So this dramatic detour by her character Teresa Colvin, acting in her capacity as police commissioner rings false, and capable as Beals might be, she basically wilts in scenes with Lindo’s Gibbons. Nothing about her character suggests she’s that much of a bad ass.

Actually, the female characters are under written, peripheral – not a single Det. Kay Howard or Capt. Zoe Callas in the bunch – or throwbacks to the kind of damsels, harpy exes and chatty hookers, which used to populate 70s cop shows and seem woefully anachronistic. Now this only the first episode. These characters and their stories do need time to develop and given that Shawn Ryan has never come whack on an old school track before, I’m inclined give Ryan a wider berth than I would another showrunner.

It seems my initial assessment of the series and its characters was apt and the show never found its rhythm with the audience. Sadly, Fox seems to believe if a show can’t do American Idol numbers it’s not worth having and perhaps that has more to do with the cancellations of these shows than the quality of the programs or quantity of viewers.

This just in: Fox has canceled Lie to Me!

What’s your reaction to the flurry of cancellations announced by Fox.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2011 9:31 am

    Aw I liked Lie to Me. But I guess my waiting to watch a full season at a time on Netflix wasn’t really helping Fox woo advertisers. These networks need to figure out a better strategy for doing smart, scripted shows that doesn’t depend solely on broadcast ratings.

  2. May 11, 2011 9:38 am

    Lie to Me‘s cancellation was a real shocker on Twitter last night. I knew the show was on the fence but since Fox doesn’t have a strong roster of shows that aren’t American Idol I figured they’d let it go one more season. I guess not. The third season wasn’t very good apparently and Fox saw its chance. Interesting, nobody’s stepping up to rescue LtM from its fate.

  3. May 12, 2011 12:43 am

    I am bummed about Lie to Me, the only FOX show I watch. I was looking forward to a good rally in Season 4, as the writing in Season 3 was sloppy (exceptions were “Funhouse,” and “Saved” -and possibly “Veronica.”) It’s especially disappointing because the last two episodes were real stinkers, possibly the worst of the entire series. I kept checking Hulu for weeks for a new episode because it was too hard to believe that was the end of a season, nevermind a series. What a crap way to go.

  4. May 12, 2011 12:49 am

    Lie to Me lost me when it kept featuring episodes centering on “the war”, which were often preachy in tone, despite being lightweight on messaging. And honestly, after a while I got tired of Cal and his problems, his annoying daughter and his obnoxious staff. Only Foster was tolerable and well she wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. It should have been a 2 season show.

    Fox thinks edgier programming means putting uglyish, unpleasant male characters in situations where they’re rewarded for being bastards and they get to bang a lot of chicks.

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