Somewhere, deep inside a labyrinth of large offices and corridors, network executives are meeting to decide the fates of your favorite shows. The most popular, of course, are guaranteed to return, whether they’ve been officially picked up or not, while the woefully ignored have already or will soon find themselves looking for work. What’s left are the prorams in the middle, a blend of moderately watched efforts with track records of critical ambivalence and sparsely viewed programs with obsessive fanbases and/ or untapped potential. It’s their fats and their fates alone that are being debated as we speak. Some will get the big ugly axe, some will be saved for midseason and some will get full on renewals.
Here at Cinema Blend, some of our writers consume quite a bit of TV every week. So, we asked them, if you could save one single program in danger of being cut, which one would it be? Not surprisingly, we received five very passionate and very different answers. The fact that four of five of them turned out to be at NBC is worth noting, though coincidental. This week, we’re going to allow each one to present his or her case to the network heads and to their fellow fans as to why it would be an absolute travesty if their choice was given its walking papers. Below, you’ll find a short preview of what to expect.
All five of these shows are in jeopardy. They need a bit of luck, some good will and most of all, your frenzied lobbying efforts. Check back every evening until Friday night to hear why television simply wouldn’t be the same without these hidden gems…
Monday: Kelly West On Bent: Bent had a few great things going for it from the start, with Jeffrey Tambor and Amanda Peet among the leads. But NBC gave the series a late start, premiering it in March and unloading two episodes back-to-back each week against some steep ratings competition. This clever new comedy barely had time get anyone's attention, let alone build an audience. Hopefully NBC sees the series' potential and considers bringing it back.
Tuesday: Katey Rich On Up All Night: Even though Up All Night was moved to a prime slot on NBC's Thursday night lineup, it's having the same trouble with ratings every other show on that network has, and it doesn't have the benefit of a lot of seasons behind it or a vocal fanbase. But it's a mistake to ignore the power of this show, from the hugely talented three leads to its focus on a powerful but frequently ignored demographic: new parents who haven't given up on being young. Unlike the genre-skewering Community or the super-meta 30 Rock, Up All Night is a more traditional sitcom, but with all the right talent behind it to make it only more formidable after a second season.
Wednesday: Jessica Grabert On Awake: Positioning Awake after NBC’s struggling comedy block and against major competition on Thursday nights was probably not the best way to introduce a show that theoretically has everything going for it. Awake takes the average cop partner drama and spins it on its head, adding a brilliant psychological backdrop that has the potential to branch into science fiction, should the show get that chance. I know NBC has to make some tough choices when well-reviewed shows get bad ratings, but given the chance to work it on the right night, Awake could build the ratings the network desperately needs.
Thursday: Eric Eisenberg On Community: Since Community has returned from forced hiatus, we’ve seen the fast food chain Subway become a real person, an episode almost entirely spent in a room called The Dreamatorium, the most epic pillow fight of all time, and a main character getting hooked on recreating movie scenes with celebrity impressionists. Dan Harmon and his writing staff are coming up with some of the most inventive, harebrained and hilarious stories we’ve ever seen on television, and in a time where pop culture is constantly folding over and repeating itself, there’s nothing we need more than the level of creativity and imagination being produced by NBC’s best comedy.
Friday: Jesse Carp On Fringe: Nearing Fringe’s fourth season finale with still no word of renewal, the series deserves a fifth for countless reasons, mostly to continue to tell the boldest, sharpest and most satisfying sci-fi storytelling in this or any parallel universe. And hey, it’s not even the worst financial bet with that 100 episode syndication sweet spot inching ever closer. The number of Fringe fans may be relatively small but they are fiercely loyal and willing to watch on Friday. Renew it.