…or rather, let’s just take a moment to remember a show that re-shaped what people thought was possible on network television. Twin Peaks aired for the last time on June 10, 1991.
It had a visionary bend beyond its years, and was the first in a long line of examples of network execs killing shows that they didn’t understand.
ABC kind of redeemed themselves with LOST, but you can just look at a veritable pantheon of shows that have been cancelled because execs don’t understand that a devoted fan-base willing to part with cash for merchandise is just as valuable as ad dollars. Get a piece of the action, son, and then let the advertising be an after-thought. WB seems to have done that for Clone Wars, and they’re killing with it in respect, money and awards.
If FOX had learned anything, they wouldn’t have wronged Firefly or Futurama. Or Arrested Development. They over–compensated with X–Files, but I’d almost rather have too much of a good thing than not enough (although The Sopranos is an elegant argument against that point too).
My hope is that we’re witnessing the tipping point with Netflix and Amazon opening up the streaming markets, and the cable nets willing to live off the niche fan bases (Tron: Uprising just started on Disney XD), and traditional ratings will become less important. It’s a dream I can have, at least.
But for now, let’s remember our first piece of dramatic license so rare that 21 years later, a silly nerd would write about a show that lasted only two seasons. Unlike Star Trek, there was no 40-year franchise built on our cancellation. There was no movie to wrap up things like Firefly got.
Someday. Someday someone can wise up and at least start a book series. Or a reboot.