NBC announced they would be trimming the fat following low ratings for a few of their shows. Most of the series mentioned are not surprising, but one show had a longer history and will be missed, at least by the writer. NBC has cancelled Revolution, Growing Up Fisher, Believe, Crisis, and Community, all of which were under a 2.0 rating, but only the last will have fans mourning. Audiences will see if fans can save it again.
Revolution started out strong. It got on the science fiction bandwagon with good marketing design and an interesting concept about nanotechnology taking over the world. The first season focused more on survivalist post-revolution North America, with “improbably clean” characters trying to figure out why everything that used electricity had simply ceased to function. As the story got deeper — and the show lost its boost from airing behind The Voice – Revolution lost a good deal of its audience. Designed to appeal to Hunger Games tweens it might have found a better home on the CW.
Growing Up Fisher also had a lot of promise in the pilot, directed by David Schwimmer of Friends fame. The stars, J.K. Simmons and Jenna Elfman have resumes that stretch from Law and Order to Spiderman; Dharma and Greg to Damages. Further, Jason Bateman of Arrested Development provided the voice-over. Unfortunately, no one mentioned that voice-overs were last popular when Arrested Development was on the air in 2005.
Believe had several fundamental flaws. It was not unique: Stephen King came up with something like this years ago called Firestarter; Drew Barrymore starred in the movie. Nor was it well received: it has a Metacritic score of 55 and reviewers do not speak well of the pilot. The most obvious issue is it would have needed a major revamp as the actress playing Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) outgrew the character. Game of Thrones audiences might notice the issue with Arya Stark – she’s supposed to be the same age she was four seasons ago, but that show is successful so audiences will cope. Crisis was the other show in this group of rubbish that had its fair try and failed. As a mid-season launch around the same time as Believe, Crisis barely got off the ground. Better that NBC cancel these shows, including Community, and allow some brief time for mourning rather than letting fans or producers suffer; at least Revolution got two seasons in.
Community was a different case than the other shows the network cancelled. The show was in its fifth season and its original producer, Dan Harmon, had just returned. It did really well when it premiered in 2009; NBC extended the series by a few episodes based on this success. Unfortunately, ratings peaked around the second season and difficulties around the end of the third season may have proved Community’s downfall. The original producer left the show, as well as several writers and executive producers. Chevy Chase departed as well, making for some awkward on-screen explanations of his character’s absence. This coincided with the indefinite extension of a mid-season hiatus in preference for 30 Rock, a move that prompted a December 2011 flash mob of Community fans outside NBC offices in Rockefeller Center.
No one says television execs are infallible. If that were the case, they never would have approved Crisis or Believe. Executive decisions were made to cancel the original Star Trek, Futurama and Family Guy at one time or another, all of which went on to become huge money-makers. Maybe fans will see versions of Community on Netflix, or on cable. #Darkesttimeline and #RIPCommunity started trending on Twitter as cast and crew broadcast the announcement; now a twitter image of a Netflix rep:
The question is, do the hash-tags of mourning mark acceptance of the NBC executive decision to cancel the show, or will fans revolt again and save Community? Seems like some are already reaching out to other parties to pick up the show and an online petition is already up and can be signed below.
Opinion by Aliya Tyus-Barnwell