There was a more primitive time where television show renewals were based on the amount of viewership said television show received. It was pretty black and white, either people watched the show and we got more of it (yay) or people didn’t watch the show and we had to watch it get brutally executed on a grand stage (boo). I don’t think today’s generation understands the absolute crippling stress that would come with waiting to see if your favorite show would get picked up for another season. Today’s generation of television viewers will never understand being at work, with limited computer internet access, typing in things like Community or Fringe renewals into the Google search bar and then clicking the News tab to see if there were any updates because all you were able to read were the headlines. Today’s generation will never understand that purgatory and what it did to one’s mental stability.
Now, now I’m not entirely sure how shows get canceled or renewed. Honestly, viewership doesn’t matter like it used to. In fact, it mattered less and less once the DVR was invented. Suddenly people didn’t have to shift their plans around viewing and they could live their lives and watch a show at their leisure not when the network told them to. Some of you might want to argue that VCRs provided the same assistance but there was no way for networks to get “VCR Numbers” but they could get DVR numbers. And just a little side note about VCRs, I’m still a bit salty about their use after an ex said she would record the first episode of LOST for me while I played bar league softball and then forgot… twice (the encore presentation). Put my watching of LOST off a whole year. No wonder that relationship didn’t work.
There’s a pretty basic formula to cancelations, the series airs, people do or don’t watch it, do or don’t like it, the network/streaming service makes a decision, probably by flipping a coin. Rest assured if there’s money to be found then that show is getting renewed. Awards only get you so far. If the show does get canceled after its season, then there will be a whole lot of petitions for other networks to pick up the series while companies desperately shop the show around in the hopes of more storytelling. Sometimes it works, Community and You are two shows that found life on other platforms. Most recently Manifest found new life through streaming, got canned, and is now getting a final season over on Netflix.
Sometimes though, networks choose to not follow the formula and then openly execute their television series, like Ned Stark kneeling on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor, and any hopes it may have in getting picked up, by announcing the show is canceled mid-season. And Geeklings, let me tell you something, I haaaaaaaaaate that with the burning of a thousand suns or one really good rash.
Seriously, just wait until the season is over. That’s all you have to do. You can sit on the decision until then. What you’re doing by announcing mid-way through the season is not only is the show not worth your time but it’s not worth our time anymore either. Sure, some viewers may tune back in despite the announcement but the wind will be sucked out of the sails for the rest of the fandom. Why would I continue to watch and invest myself in these characters and story knowing full well that it’s not coming back? That’s hurtful, I might as well cut my losses now and move on with my life.
Your announcement also pretty much guarantees that the show isn’t going to be picked up anywhere else either. Why would it? The network gave up on it and aired the final episodes because #whatelsewouldtheyair and the fanbase gave up on it because it was canceled, yeah a new platform is going to be willing to invest money in what could only be described as a corpse floating down a river. Coooooool, thanks for that. It’s infuriating to me and a complete lack of respect to the people who have committed countless hours of their lives on this project.
FX just did this with Y the Last Man, a show I had watched three episodes of and was planning on watching the rest when I could binge them all because October has been nothing but nonstop horror movies. ‘tis the season and all. But for me, I love this comic book. I hold it in such high regard. It would make my Mount Rushmore of best comic books I’ve ever read and to see its adaptation canceled mid-season was so damn disrespectful. The show was fine. I enjoyed it. Clearly, it was finding its legs but it understood its voice which not a lot of shows can say. Being back in this universe was great and brought on all those feels from binge-reading the series. And while the show itself might not have changed the world, it deserved better than what it got.
Y the Last Man isn’t the only television series to suffer mid-season cancellation, I just hope it will be the last. If the show isn’t hemorrhaging money, let them finish the season with no distractions. Too many people worked too hard to be cut off at the knees like that. Networks can do better… and they should!