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September 27 2008

(SPOILER) "Terminator" future looking grim. Monday night has not been kind to Summer Glau and Co. according to Ausiello .(Spoilers for other TV shows in link).

"Question: How bad are the ratings for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? -- Dean

Ausiello: Armageddon-like? An SCC insider tells me that if the show's numbers don't start to climb, Fox is unlikely to order any additional episodes beyond the 13 currently in the pipeline. At Saturday's EW pre-Emmy bash, Thomas Dekker remained hopeful that they could hold off doomsday at least until the end of football season. "Wešre up against Monday Night Football," he sighed, "which is tricky because we have a lot of football fans."

We can always hope that some other Fox show fails dismally and they need TSSC to fill out the schedule. Lack of programming, I'm guessing, weighed heavily in it getting renewed in the first place.
This is quite a shame because I feel the show has been improving in the second season. Then again, this is FOX.

Makes me very worried about "Dollhouse." I know, taking ten deep breaths and crossing fingers left and right. Well, you guys understand.
If TSCC fails, it might give FOX the investment they need in Dollhouse.

That is a sentence which kills me a little to type, by the way. The next episode of TSCC is super.
Madhatter- We do indeed.

Gossi- But if this is an issue with it's timeslot, which I personally believe it is, what's keeping the same thing from happening to "Dollhouse" since it's taking "TSCC"'s slot in January?

I wish they had kept TSCC on Sunday night. I really believe that's part of what helped it last year. Monday is just too busy. This season started off strong rating-wise but it also started before any other show, and as all the other shows have been coming back week by week, the ratings started dropping :/
To be really secure it was always going to need to do a bit better than last year I think so this is bad news but not that surprising.

Dunno why folk haven't taken to the show, if you're a Terminator fan it has pretty much everything you're looking for from the "franchise" IMO (with a few metaphysical spices added for flavour).
My interest in this show keeps falling with every episode. They just don't seem to be going anywhere with it. The strike probably had a lot to do with this, but still. I can only watch them narrowly escape from that same idiot Terminator so many times before I start to wonder if there is anything better on.
Saje - The bigger problem is it's dropped in the ratings. If it were at least doing the same as last year, things might be more optimistic.
Personally I think the problems with TSCC are obvious - they need to get the audience more invested in the characters, and FOX needs to take it's pedal off the "action network" thing (which is where all their problems stem from). The show seems to follow this formula every episode:

- John Connor does something stupid 'because he's a teenager' and nearly gets killed...
- ...by the same Terminator who wants to kill him. Every episode.
- Cameron makes pretty eyes at John.
- John makes pretty eyes at Cameron.
- John's hair gets stupider by the minute.

If the show had a focus, characters you loved, people would be so incredibly invested in it. It'd be must see, talked about TV.
If TSCC fails, it might give FOX the investment they need in Dollhouse

Whoa, gossi, think you better explain that statment please.
I've not been impressed by the new episodes. I thought the Cameron gone bad was not explained in any satisfactory way, "I'm all right John, I'm all right now, I'm good, I'm good." Then after deactivating her, they turn her back on again. How can they ever trust her again? Will she go bad again? I still like all the leads but I wonder how much more time I need to give it to, as someone upstream said, get invested in it again.
Damn me and my slow typing fingers. Yeah, you're right. If I may add, it would be nice if Cameron started to develop a'tude.
- ...by the same Terminator who wants to kill him. Every episode.

Episode 1, Cameron tried to kill him/them. Episode 2, the evil Terminator at the power plant tried to kill him/them. Cromarty's only actually had a proper pop in one episode so far this season (ep 3). John does do dumb teenager stuff but he also does very un-dumb saviour of the human race stuff too - as he gets older the balance will shift from one to the other (but he has to be shown to be head-strong and independent or else he couldn't grow in to the John Connor).

And I think having a single big-bad for the arc that you can get used to hating is a good idea personally, part of having characters you love is having villains you love to hate - if it was just A N Other interchangeable Terminator every week it'd start to get really old IMO but with Cromarty you get the chance to wonder at his motives (or wonder if he has any at least) just like you do with Cameron.

I thought the Cameron gone bad was not explained in any satisfactory way, "I'm all right John, I'm all right now, I'm good, I'm good." Then after deactivating her, they turn her back on again. How can they ever trust her again? Will she go bad again?

Well yeah but surely that's precisely the point ? Will she ? And how can they ? John does but is he basing that on his hormones or on reason or even "just" a hunch but with the Connor intuition behind it ? I don't think it's meant to have been answered satisfactorily, I think it's still an open question.

Personally I don't think it's doing too much wrong. The major issue I have is that it's 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles' and yet we almost never get to see Sarah do anything cool or that bad-ass - the ostensible star of the show is arguably its least interesting character.

Saje - The bigger problem is it's dropped in the ratings. If it were at least doing the same as last year, things might be more optimistic.

Ah, that's not good then. It was hovering around 7 million (rising to 8 for the finale) last year IIRC, lower than that is well into the danger-zone (but without Maverick there to save them all ;).
I don't know, but I don't think Dollhouse will have much better ratings... What do you think?!?
I didn't want to get into this show at all precisely because it's on FOX (see, eg, Drive, axed after only 9 days). But I decided to give it a chance anyway and got caught up via DVD over the summer. It figures they'd return to their usual tricks.

That said, while I've been enjoying the new season, I've been watching it on the web a couple of days after broadcast. If it were on a different night, I might watch it live. Given the timeslot it's in, I suspect that a lot of others feel the same - and will until football season is over.

The good news, if there is any, is that the show was up against both MNF *and* the two-hour premiere of Heroes this past week. Small wonder the ratings were bad. But they won't have to compete with the latter show (with which they share a lot of fans) again any time soon.

[ edited by Vague That Up on 2008-09-27 21:26 ]
Episode 1: 6.34 million (#2), A18-49: 2.4/ 7
Episode 2: 5.49 million (#3), A18-49: 2.0/ 5 (#1t)
Episode 3: 5.81 million (#4); A18-49: #4, 2.2/ 6

I don't really see much hope for it, unfortunately. Ironic that it was premiered out of and promoted by football, and now it's up against it.

ETA: No it wasn't up against the Heroes premiere. It was up against a Heroes clip show which, sadly, also outrated it.

[ edited by hacksaway on 2008-09-27 21:28 ]

[ edited by hacksaway on 2008-09-27 22:46 ]
Personally I think the problem for both Terminator: SCC and Heroes (the latter's ratings were down 25%!) is that Monday night is too full. The viewers can't watch everything (unless they have TiVo, do most people have that? I didn't think so).
I like T:TSCC and am annoyed it's on the rocks already - I wish some of these new shows would air in the UK 1st where they could pick up a following, but alas that is wishful thinking in these modern times.

I fear that Dollhouse will go the same way as Fox doesn't see a good show, they just see ratings - if Dollhouse doesn't catch an audience straight off and keep it, it will be doomed before it can get going.

So, is there a 'Save our favourite Terminator' petition?
It was up against a Heroes clip show which, sadly, also outrated it.

I stand corrected; you are correct on both counts. Which kinda makes my point: A lot of people who are in the fanbase for TSCC were watching the Heroes "party" (I watched just enough of it to realize it was poorly scripted, slilted, and lame, then switched over to MNF whichere the game was just starting). It will precede Heroes from here on out, so it should be able to recapture some of those viewers.
Sorry to say it, but this season hasn't deserved good ratings.
Yeah but in fairness, people couldn't have known that when they didn't watch episode 1 ;).
Personally I was watching Big Bang and HIMYM (which were both very funny), recording Terminator:SCC, and then switching to watching Heroes and wondering what I'm going to do when Chuck and Samantha Who? start their new seasons. I wish some of these shows were on later in the week, or on the weekend when there is absolutely nothing on TV.
Vague That Up: "It will precede Heroes from here on out, so it should be able to recapture some of those viewers."

Are you kidding? It's up against Chuck now, which is as good or better than Heroes and leads right into it! If I didn't have two VCRs, I'd pick Chuck over TSSC any day.
Well, why don't we give it a couple more episodes and decide then?
I stopped watching the show in the middle of the first episode this season, and haven't gone back. I wasn't all that taken with it last season.

Everything that Gossi says is right on the mark. I just can't get into this show no matter how I try. Summer is the best part of it, but she isn't enough to overcome everything else that is wrong with it.

"Dollhouse," on the other hand, is likely to involve people from the first moment, and keep our involvement. The actors, even ones that may be sub-par (if possible) are likely to take off with the material, because the writing of Joss (and the others) is so extraordinary, it makes everyone involved look like a genius.

I just worry about it being up against heavy competition.
Weren't the absolute viewing numbers up a little for the third episode over the second? I loved the first season even though you could see where the writer's strike was causing pacing difficulties, thought Samson and Delilah was amazing, the second episode was poorly plotted but with excellent character moments (especially between Cameron and Sarah) but the third was tight, moving and occasionally hilarious. I also love Sarah. She’s hardened but human, a survivor, a fighter and a mother. Lena Heady’s performance has a charismatic but entirely real quality to it, which makes it not only believable that John Connor thinks she the best and that other people follow where she leads but also that she was once just an ordinary waitress working her way through college. If Fox are going to cancel it i just hope they release all thirteen of the episodes that have been ordered.
Also worth noting, by the way - all the shows are down this year. And I mean all of them - Heroes, Emmys, House. You name it, it's down since the writers' strike. It turned people off TV, which is exactly what happened during the 80s WGA strike.

Networks will keep making shows as normal. So this isn't the end of TSCC. I'd file it under 'on the rocks', though. The fact it even came back for a second season at all is all credits to the management at FOX - I think in previous years, it wouldn't have returned.
(sigh) I'm so bummed. TSCC has improved a lot over last year and I have been very entertained. I am doomed to like content that seems to go over the masses heads.
So odd. I think it's staggeringly bad compared to last year, which I quite enjoyed. I found more entertainment in one episode of this year's Chuck than in three of SCC.
The 'Chuck' panel at Comic-Con sold me to watch that show.
gossi: "Also worth noting, by the way - all the shows are down this year."

I betcha 10 bucks (5 pounds!) Chuck is up.
The problem is that the show just isn't that great. There are certainly good episodes -- next week's could be wonderful based on the preview -- but then you get clunkers like episode 2 of this season, which was wretched. It opened huge last season and then tanked when people didn't like it.
Despite its shortcomings I quite enjoyed S1 of TSCC, starting from around the time Derek first appeared, but nowhere near as much as I've enjoyed anything Joss has done. I've never managed to care about TSCC characters the way I care about the Scoobies or Mal's crew. And, ultimately, success of any show, whatever the genre, depends on whether the audience cares about the characters.

Just because one SF show is failing doesn't mean that the alarm bell is ringing for all SF shows. I just hope Fox gives TSCC creators the opportunity to wrap up the story properly.

[ edited by Effulgent on 2008-09-27 23:16 ]
I enjoy this show immensely, but I really think it is in the toughest timeslot of the week. MNF, BB/HIMYM, Chuck, Dancing with the Stars. Impossible to compete. I'm pretty sure it will be gone after 13 eps. Then Summer can be on Dollhouse. :)
I betcha 10 bucks (5 pounds!) Chuck is up.

I'm not too optimistic about Chuck either, so I'd take that bet...
I'm willing to bet everything I own that Chuck is down.

I think The Dark Shape is pretty on the money. The problem here, for me, is the writing. Not the production. Get great writers, have great show. As evident by the odd great episode they throw out.
This really disappoints me, I found the first season of the show a bit hit and miss but I've really enjoyed all the episodes of season 2 so far. The new characters looked very promising, and although I was concerned about them finding the budget to pull off the inclusion of a T-1000, I'm very interested to see where its all going.

I don't really see any major problems with the show that people have mentioned so far, but maintaining the quality for a full 22 episode season might've been a stretch. If it does get cut down to 13 then I hope the writers manage to fit in everything they wanted and give us 10 more hours of great TV.
Network TV is down, period. Cable TV is way up. DVR and timeshifting is way up. If a show matches last year or is up it is an absolute miracle. The only legitimate comparison is how a show is doing against others in its timeslot. And then, it is really only important how it is doing in the 18-39 demo as compared to other shows in its timeslot.

Of course Chuck is going to be down. That doesn't mean that it won't destroy Terminator and take a big chunk of Big Bang/HIMYM's audiences.

Chromeshark, it has only been ordered for 13 eps. It won't have to be cut down.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-09-27 23:52 ]
Oh, that reminds me - seeing Busy Phillips cheered me up loads, and the character of Riley is lovely.
Absolutely loving TSCC. Must see tv for me. And I talk about it. In my head. I can't be bothered with Chuck. I would be disappointed if it was cancelled, but at least there are a good few more episodes to come.

The funny thing is I really didn't like the 'River' character and wasn't keen on Summer Glau in anything else I've seen her in. I thought it was going to put me off TSCC, but it hasn't.
Has FOX been promoting TSCC? Because if they have been, I don't really know it's entirely fair to blame them for cancelling it if it's not doing very well. But I don't know anything.
I love TSCC too and hope it lasts.At the very least,if it is canceled then it gets a conclusion with these 13 episodes.

I wonder if part of the reason the show was renewed was because a new Terminator film is coming out next summer and they see good cross promotion?
It seems to me that it has gotten good promotion, but maybe that's because so much of it gets linked here. :)
I'm pretty sure I've seen ads for it on Bones and I've definitely seen ads for it on skiffy. Can't remember about Fringe.
Jobo- They promoted TSCC a lot this summer. Almost every episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" had an ad for it.
Ignoring a ton of stuff in this thread because I'm too lazy to read through, I've been concerned about Dollhouse and it's Monday night slot, if only because Monday is so crowded. It's hard to judge this early in the season though, especially because everything has been down since the strike. Of course, there's a lot of competition now what with MNF and crummy reality programs (Dancing with the Stars anyone?) and they're not going to be much of a factor in the spring.

Then it just rests on how strongly Chuck comes back and if BBT/HIMYM pick up but I think they'll stay where they are and to be quite honest, may decline once Dollhouse premieres. It's no lie that many of their fans are bigger Joss fans. It'll be hard for me to give up Chuck but Joss and Lost are the only things that could tare me away from that (well, BSG too).

Personally, I'd love Dollhouse in the Wednesday 9PM slot after Bones, but won't that day get frakked up due to Idol? Maybe have it after Idol since that would be the best lead in one could hope for.

ANother problem I have with Fox is that they can't do lead ins right. They hit it with Fringe this year but in the past it's been horrible. You don't put a new show on before an established one. You put it on after.

As much as I hate to be the pessimist here, and I've really been cutting Fox some slack lately, I think that they could frak up Dollhouse and not through promotion but through scheduling. Putting it on the most packed and counter scheduled night is not right. However, it looks like Terminator and Prison Break will be gone this season so they'll need to keep something around. Fringe will stay and I think they'll keep Dollhouse as well.

What the heck was all that I just wrote? >_>
It's sad, but as so many people have pointed out, the timeslot, and the not so magical storyline is not helping the ratings. There's no mystery to this show, nothing to really keep you coming back each episode (well besides miss Glau of course)

And as someone above said, Mondays is just so packed. I think on my tv calendar there were 10 shows on Monday. Saturday is empty, Friday has one show. I know the weekend isn't a great time to put shows on, but surely someone can see that by cramming a lot of shows of similar genres on the same night, they're all going to suffer ratings drops, as well as increases in torrenting and tivo.
I wasn't around for the Firefly incident with Fox. Just became a Whedon fan in the last year or so, but if they don't give TSCC at least a full season, I'll understand what a lot of people say about Fox. Heck, I love football and TIVO it so I can watch TSCC, but I know I'm in the minority. Fox needs to give this a better time slot. I don't understand why they don't put it on weekend, or at least against easier competition.
There is a lot of stuff on Mondays that I would watch if they weren't on at the same time.

I'm not going to switch away from Chuck. I'm already invested in the characters.

I have no real explanation for my lack of interest in TSCC. But I think it might be Lena Headey playing Sarah Connor. I like Lena Headey and I love Sarah Connor, but not really Lena Headey as Sarah Connor.

I really hope they move Dollhouse to a different time. I guess it's going to be a DVR for Christmas.
Monday night killed Journeyman, too. I agree Monday night is a deathslot. The problem with Terminator is that they're holding back the drama. Let John confront his strange relationship (desire to date?) Cameron. Let the show develop a mythology for why John is important in the future (theory is because he knows about the time portal and knows to focus the entire war around getting control of it). Let the show determine what happens to Sarah Connor. The era when shows could hold back and just have random chases every other episode is over, because networks are not trustworthy anymore. Producers have to tell the story as fast as they can, before the suits pull the plug and put random crap on.
I agree with everyone on the Monday night being a deathslot. I loved Terminator during the writers strike, but now I watch more than one other show on Monday and TSCC is about 4th or 5th on my list of things to watch. If it was on another night I'd definetely be watching.
It be honest, praise to them for putting it on Monday. Anybody remember Firefly on Friday nights?
Yeah back when Friday was the deathslot ;).

(course, they can both be bad days just for different reasons - it was Friday because people didn't watch TV at all that night, they went out. Now it could be Mondays because people watch too much TV on a Monday night, so that the schedule's too full)
Now that NBC and FOX went in together on HULU.com, I can still watch TSCC and Chuck despite the scheduling conflict. Can even goto the NBC and FOX sites and watch both of those shows (personally, given the choice, I'll choose streaming online video programs over 'broadcast' TV any day). Which begs the question, does the HULU/Webcast viewership figure into their decisionmaking? If not, why not? Though, I imagine the first indicator that online viewership is starting to matter to the Networks is when they begin inserting multiple commercials and having commercial breaks last longer then 15-30 seconds.
I'm not sure, mangydog. I know TSCC is also on iTunes and I think it can be streamed on FOX's website (it could last year anyways). Add to that HULU, DVR recordings, and the Season one boxsets (came out in August) and there's a whole lotta numbers to crunch outside the ratings. But no one really knows how much weight they have because all the attention is on the (unreliable) Neilsons.
Hulu's got plenty of ads. Seems like those viewings should count for something.
I really like this show. I like the strong female leads; I like the morally ambiguous choices the characters have to make; I like that Brian Austin Green is a good actor now. I'm pretty resigned to the show being canceled. I plan to buy the dvds.
"does the HULU/Webcast viewership figure into their decisionmaking?"

Yes. The networks and the studios pay very close attention to those numbers as well as iTunes.

And calling Monday nights a deathslot is a total stretch. Yes, the competition is fierce but it is no Friday at 8. Or even Thursday at 9.
In general for me now, it will be Chuck on TV and T:SCC online later on.
Keeping with tradition.

Fox will preempt Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Monday, Oct. 13 in order to televise Major League Baseball's National League Championship Series.

Link:
It's amusing, really, because we moaned about Firefly going out on Fridays (a complete lack of viewers day), and now TSCC is going out in probably the best timeslot ever (massive amounts of potential viewers) and we're complaining. The same will happen when Dollhouse airs.
Simon, TSCC will be pre-empted but so will Bones a week later. Both will be pre-empted the next week and the week after that. This is the reason they start the season 3 weeks early and has nothing to do with the ratings of Terminator. I know you probably didn't mean to imply that, but I wanted to clarify before anyone jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Fox does this every year and it is planned long in advance what days the games are on.

This year all normal programming (from their highest rated Simpsons and Family guy to the lowest rated comedies will be pre-empted for baseball on the following nights):

Oct 9 Thursday
Oct 12 Sunday
Oct 13 Monday
Oct 22 Wednesday
Oct 23 Thursday
Oct 25 Saturday
Oct 26 Sunday
Oct 27 Monday
Oct 29 Wednesday
Oct 30 Thursday.
What does preempt mean in the television world?
What does preempt mean in the television world?

"Replaced By"
I had high hopes for TSCC, but this season has been a big pile of "meh". If it weren't for Summer I would have dumped it after the second episode. Not that she makes up for the craptastic writing and thin plot, but I do try and support my people.
I've thoroughly enjoyed this show from the beginning & I'll be seriously bummed if it gets canceled. It's no BSG (but then, what is?) but it has things I look for in a show that are really hard to find: genre, strong female characters (even Lena Heady has improved this season, she was the weak link in season 1, IMO), well acted by not just the main characters but the entire cast, right down to the smallest role,(I've seriously loved Dean Winters for a long time), good action sequences and special effects. And Summer, who is a goddess of stunning acting ability, beauty, grace and star presence.

WTF do people want in a show?? Oh .... reality shows where people make total asses of themselves, so Mr. and Mrs. Joe six-pack can feel superior, I forgot.
Call me an elitist, I have a brain and a modicum of taste.

I'll be back to my sunny self after the election. Either that, or suicidal, ;-)

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