I got the first season of the short-lived ABC series, Sports Night via NetFlix and have added it to my list of great shows that didn’t make it. It is further proof that if a show involves your brain and a good story it is doomed on our airwaves. Shows like Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Marshall spring to mind. I heard that Sports Night was cancelled because the writers were hired away to do The West Wing… I could see that because it has the same frenetic pacing and witty repertoire.
I was blown away this weekend when I watched Hairspray for the first time and saw a very young Josh Charles (Dan Rydell on SN) in his first role. Peter Krause‘s (Six Feet Under) portrayal of co-anchor Casey McCall is also good.
And you know what the bad thing is about the cancellation of good shows like this one? It is because WE are not watching them. We are watching The Swan, Wife-Swap, Elimidate, and a thousand other piles of mindless crap. I lump myself in here – I never watched Sports Night when it was on the air… I assumed it was going to be more crap. (This is usually a very safe assumption.) Just like everyone assumes that a Japanese car is better than an American, we assume that in order to get quality television, we have to turn to cable or satellite. So what happens? A decent show finally makes it past the network execs and nobody watches.
What’s the solution? Heck if I know… I am not going to martyr myself on the television cross and screen every new show just so I can help the good ones succeed. Maybe though – just maybe – when we find a quality show, we can do our part by telling that story at the water cooler instead of the story of the redneck woman who swapped families with the uptown model. If not – then enjoy the next heaping helping of crap piled on in the new season.