If you listened to this week’s live episode of Alpha Waves Radio, Bill Gorman of TV by the Numbers shared with listeners that networks can very much surprise us when it comes to cancellations and renewals.
And he’s right.
Two years ago, even Joss Whedon was preparing for life after “Dollhouse,” the low-rated Fox program that no one (except Airlock Alpha) expected to come back. But then it did.
This year, that “Dollhouse” will be “V,” a series that has lost more than half its audience since a pretty strong debut that ABC wants to give one more chance next season. And while I’ve been a bit wishy-washy on whether or not I am really enjoying “V,” I am happy about this news, because I think it means networks are not ready to write off science-fiction just yet.
If the networks were abandoning the genre, should anyone be surprised? “Lost” was the only series this season that did anything for science-fiction on network television, and even that suffered with audience erosion. But both “V” and its sister ABC series “FlashForward” really showed how audiences could be interested in a concept, but not willing to stick around long-term.
Then again, this was a very strange season for television, with the whole Jay Leno debacle and all, and there are some observers who say ABC’s biggest mistake on “V” was moving it from 8 p.m. on Tuesdays to the death slot after “Lost.” We call that a death slot for a reason, because nothing — and we mean nothing — has survived as a lead-out from “Lost.” New programs, moved programs, nothing.
With “Lost” off the schedule next season, that means there is room for “V” and even “FlashForward,” depending on how ABC’s current pilots fare. And maybe even in better time slots.
I think it’s worth letting “V” get its legs. Yes, it’s more cop drama than sci-fi, but sometimes shows need a season or two find its path. Look at “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Hell, look at “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
And I’m very happy with ABC for trying to give “V” a chance. It deserves it at the very least, and I can’t wait to see what Season 2 brings. Hopefully audiences will be there as well.