Alexis Bledel’s ‘Us And Them’ cancelled before airing

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Good grief.  The studio system does my head in.  (A warning up front – this rant is subjective, just this writer’s opinion.)

ridikkulus

A network insider confirms to TVLine that the six produced episodes of the Jason Ritter-Alexis Bledel romantic comedy will not air this summer after all.
Read the full TVLine article here.

I know. Let’s all stick to producing programming that’s anaemic and safe, that everyone will halfheartedly endure, rather than something that might divide an audience into those that don’t get it and those who LOVE it.  I’m being ironic.

The traditional studio system is bound to their shareholders and must ground all their decisions in the bottom line: Corporations are only concerned about how to make the most money, not how to create the best or most memorable entertainment. It must be so infuriating that there is no magic formula that creates smash hits and that they have to trust creative people and a volatile audience for their bonuses.  As a result, the gems that turn up from time to time are as much a surprise to the studio as the pundits.  That’s because entertainment is an art, that requires artists.  Studio need to learn that they have a better chance if there’s one captain to steer the boat without a committee driving from the back seat.  Look what you made me do, I’m so cross I’ve mixed my metaphors.

The seemingly committee-based and gutless cancelling of a show before it even airs appears to be a solid example of poor decision making. Whether that was the decision to review the series when they were halfway through filming, the decision to not give the show a chance to air, or perhaps even before that – the decision to re-make an already successful cult show ‘in American’. The definition of a cult show is that it isn’t mainstream but has a loyal and dedicated fanbase. I’m thinking that wasn’t enough for the bean counters and they got cold feet.

If they’re going to pull this nonsense, they shouldn’t blow a fanfare at the starting line.  

HBO and AMC have a different model that allows them the guts to see their decisions through to the end.  And what did we get from that system?  Off the top of my head… Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, The Wire, The Walking Dead, Girls, Flight of the Conchords, Mad Men, Band of Brothers

Amy Sherman-Palladino broached the subject during the first (and only) season of Bunheads, where Fanny (Gilmore Girls’ Kelly Bishop) tells potential financier Milly (GG’s Paris, Liza Weil):

Fanny: Art is not democratic.

The money must be compartmentalized from the art.  Michelangelo had sponsors but it’s unlikely they would have started making suggestions about the size of David’s feet.  The money and the art have to be kept separate so the artists can create.  Let them damn create, it’s what you hired them for.

Do chime in.  Was the show even on your radar?  Do you agree?  Do you think it was probably a considered decision and the show was probably awful?  Should we just be happy with the programming we get?  Do you think television has improved on the whole, over the past however many years?

Pic c/o TheWB.  Rant by Rich.

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Rich

Rich originally began contributing to GIlmore News as 'Dairyman' in 2013, a reference to the character Dairyman Dick in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, (call me Rich). Here in the UK we were late to the Gilmore party and I don't remember what made me watch my first episode - the one where Lorelai picks Rory up from the police station after she and Logan steal a yacht - but I remember watching it again immediately. And then again. Thankfully, the next show was on the next day and I watched that one three times too. And then the boat one again. I couldn't believe the dialogue was so quick and so funny and I pretended to myself that I was only watching it so I could figure out who I was more keen on - the mom or the daughter. I swore that Aaron Sorkin must have been involved but I couldn't find his name attached anywhere, even on the internet. So I watched and loved and laughed and cried and the day after the series finale, they ran the entire show from the beginning again and Rory turned into a baby so then I was all about Lorelai. Lauren Graham is astonishing ("Mother: Breathtaking") and the show was - and is - lightning in a bottle. It's a treasure for those who watch and get swept up in it, like I did and like the readers of Gilmore News. It's heartbreak and chicken soup, family dysfunction and blind optimism, lighthearted romanticism and balls-out brilliant. Thanks to Arieanna and gilmorenews.com for letting me squat and allowing my inner Gilmore Geek out for air. I worry how it would otherwise manifest.

One thought on “Alexis Bledel’s ‘Us And Them’ cancelled before airing

  • June 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm
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    It’s more than just about making the most money, it’s also about doing that while minimizing risk and having quick opening escape hatches if a project goes off the rails. In the entertainment field that usually means identifying the lowest social common denominator, and then mimic, mimic, mimic, mimic, mimic, until the projects are so dilute that they no longer hold up. Then move on to the next trend and don’t waste any time, energy, or money trying to be original.

    As to this project, I would have at least liked the opportunity to see the pilot and come to my own conclusion as to whether continued viewing was warranted. Since that is not going to happen, at least the actors got to draw a check for six episodes and avoid getting contractually obligated to a show that was probably no better than a one season and done anyway. After all, if BH was only permitted 18 episodes, it is a stretch to think this idea could have done better since it probably would have neen a pale clone of the original.

    Of course with the continuing dilution of the major networks and the flood of projects from nonconventional sources, there are still enough useful programs to watch and TV is better in spite of the major networks. I do not believe in the last two or three years that I have watched a complete run of episodes from any of the major networks. The plethora of good half-season shows on the minor networks that can pop up at any time of the year, and that flip in and out with multiple other shows over the course of a year have totally obsoleted the major networks business model. Additionally, with increases in CGI and other technological development like motion capture, it will only be a matter of time before us amatures can create our own programming based on past televised efforts. Thus, a lot of the dinosaurs in the entertainment industry are slowly but surely digging their own graves and I doubt if we will care to attend their funerals.

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