These days, TV shows are auf’d after as little as one episode if it’s not winning right out the gate.
So far this season, We Are Men, a show about men, and Lucky 7, about a group of lottery winners, were cancelled after a single outing. Ironside, the ill-conceived remake starring Blair Underwood, was gone after three episodes. And something called Welcome to the Family is history.
On the flip side, Dads, the Seth McFarlane show that was panned, kicked, spit on, and elbowed in the face by the critics just got the thumbs up for more episodes. It deserves every negative review it got. This is what passes for a joke on this show: “The Chinese are a lovely and honorable people, but you can’t trust them!” Side eye, blech, awful and gross.
You look at some of these shows and wonder how they even get on the air. Sarah Silverman was granted permission from Twentieth Century Fox to post what she calls the “failed pilot” of her sitcom Susan 313 on her website Jash. The show is about a songwriter (Silverman) who breaks up with her boyfriend of 10 years and now has to make it on her own. NBC said no to the show last year.
Is it possible that Twentieth Century Fox gave Silverman permission to post the show in the hopes of doing a little test to see if it gets any traction?
The show ended up getting posted on lots of websites, perhaps getting more views than the shows that were canceled after one episode. And Sarah Silverman has a name and a reputation for being edgy. She’s fresh off of the successful James Franco roast and she has enough of a following to have a comedy site that’s pushing out new content all the time. So, honestly, Susan 313 has a foundation that’s as good if not better than some of the shows that did get picked up, even temporarily.
To be honest, we didn’t find the show that funny. She’s doing the over-the-top, kind of awkward, provocative, self-centered thing, but it’s been toned down for network TV. The best part of the whole thing is a cameo by Jeff Goldblum, who could make a dentist visit wonderful with just a few choice, wacky words.
But it’s not the worse thing on TV by any stretch. And we’ve seen shows get saved from the trash bin before. It happened most recently to The Killing, which came back for a third season after AMC and Netflix joined forces. (It has since been canceled again, which is such a loss because Holder!)
So we’ll toss this out there: Given that cable TV is airing all the best material, networks are struggling to find just a couple of successful shows, and there’s a high cost to producing a scripted program with a name brand star, it’s possible that Twentieth Century Fox is testing the waters on social media before committing to what could be a pricey flop.