Wave of cancellation

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Well, maybe cancellation isn’t the right word. Marvel’s Siege miniseries ended this month and has ushered in the new Heroic Age for the company. As a result, the current line of Avengers books: New AvengersMighty AvengersDark AvengersAvengers Initiative, are all ending. All four are being replaced with: AvengersSecret Avengers, a relaunched New Avengers, and Avengers Academy. While the sum total of Avengers books is remaining the same, it’s strange to see all of these high selling books stop publication. I suppose after all the events they’ve spawned or been spawned by, they’ve run their course.

In the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe, the ends of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy weren’t even announced.  These books lead directly into the upcoming Thanos Imperative mini-series and there’s no word on whether they’ll return in some form or another once that series wraps up. In a way, I’m kind of glad they ended, as I was thinking of not continuing with each of them anyway.

It’s odd for so many books to end in the same month, but the endings are not limited to comics. The last few weeks saw the cancellation of a number of television shows including Scrubs, Better Off Ted, Flash Forward, Law and Order, and Heroes. Combined with the ends of 24 and Lost, the line ups this Fall look to be changing quite a bit. While I understand that they couldn’t last forever, it is both disappointing and somehow comforting that 24 and Law and Order were having their strongest seasons yet. It’s not all cancellations though as Chuck, Human Target, and Lie to Me (all shows I enjoy) have all been picked up for another season.

The last few years have produced a lot of TV and comics that I’ve really enjoyed. I can’t help but think that what takes its place just won’t hold my attention at all. It was kind of an aberration that there was so much going on that I followed to begin with.


Return to the Dollhouse

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Tonight begins the final run of Fox’s sci-fi human slavery action drama, Dollhouse.  I think I like this show, I know I want to, but it hasn’t been easy.  There’s always been something really cool and really creepy going on, but it’s been a slow build to where the show’s finale seems to be heading.

I think a big part of this has come from attempts to broaden the appeal and ultimately generate ratings.  Creator Joss Whedon has a very loyal fanbase going back to his Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, but his most recent TV series Firefly and Dollhouse have struggled to put up big enough numbers to survive.  Part of the blame falls squarely on Fox for airing the show on Friday nights, but I think just as much has to go to the writers.

If you look at some successful Fox dramas (any network really) there’s a definite single episode done-in-one production ethic behind the series.  House, Bones, Fringe, and Lie to Me all seem to fit this mold.  Sure we learn something about the characters along the way, and there are some threats that loom for a few episodes, but mostly you get everything in that hour.  A notable exception to this is 24, but Fox has made every effort to compress the timeline on how things play out for the viewers by only running from January to May.  I think Dollhouse tried to use this approach, but given the morally questionable nature of the weekly “adventures” it did little to get viewers invested.  Once they came in with the big threat that was building (which happened in the DVD/digital only final episode of season one) it was too late.

After a hiatus 4 episodes into this season, Fox churned out 3 2-hour blocks in December and are dumping the rest in January starting tonight at 9PM.  I will be watching.  The 6 episodes in December were great.  In many ways the show is great, but in other more accurate ways the show is cancelled.