Ever wonder why a particular TV show got cancelled? Chances are one of these factors played a role in it’s demise.
Cute Kids in Danger Do Not a Show Make – not even when they have super powers, like Jake Bohm in “Touch” and Bo Adams in “Believe.” “Touch” lasted two seasons and “Believe” only one. People with supernatural gifts are interesting, and adorable kids in trouble are heart-wrenching. But neither can sustain a prime time TV show without a solid plot, stellar character development and convincing actors.
A Quirky Premise Only Takes You So Far – this is why so many TV shows based on movies fail. Just because a concept can sustain a two hour feature film, doesn’t mean it can hold up to thirteen episodes per season: Case in point, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The TV version “My Big Fat Greek Life” was cancelled after only seven episodes.
Stagnant Characters Equal a Stagnant Plot – writers and producers are often hesitant to let nature take its course in a series because they’re afraid of change, especially when the series is successful. They fear that if the main character gets married, takes a new job or moves away, audiences will lose interest.
As a result, they often choke the characters to death with indecisiveness and inaction or force them to behave in ways that are completely unnatural to their carefully crafted personalities. A great example of this was “Moonlighting,” a procedural drama in the ’80s about an unlikely pair of private detectives. The romantic tension between the main characters Maddie and David made the show successful, but the writers tried way too hard to keep the pair from getting together, and eventually killed the magic.
Some Interesting Characters Became Annoying Over Time – there’s a reason most comedians have two hour long shows and TV specials: their over-the-top personalities are engaging for about that long; then they become annoying. There have been a few exceptions. Bill Cosby toned it down enough to keep the “Cosby Show” appealing for eight seasons.
Sadly, for Robin Williams “The Crazy Ones” has been cancelled after only one season. It may have been too heavy on “crazy” and too light on substance. “Touch” also suffered from the introduction of irrational, wild card Lucy Robbins in Season 2. Her insistence on getting in everyone’s face with her accusations got old after awhile and thwarted many of Martins more thoughtful plans.
Just Because You Can Make the Character Do Anything You Want, Doesn’t Mean You Should – sometimes the writers kill perfectly viable shows by making characters do things that don’t make sense. A great example of this was “Smash” where the character of Ivy does a number of things that had actress Megan Hilty (who played Ivy) going “huh??”
“I would never leave the theater in full costume and then spend all night drinking and singing in it in Times Square,” she confided in a post Season 1 interview. Season 2 got even crazier for the veteran performer, when the writers gave Ivy a drug addiction to prednisone (which is a commonly prescribed corticosteroid, and not addictive), “There were times when I told them, listen, this can’t physically happen. Like, I’m on prednisone now!” she explained.