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May 11 2010

ABC pulls 'Happy Town'. Amy Acker's new show will get burnt off during the summer.

Grrrr. The pilot wasn't that great but the second episode was much better, and things were just getting interesting!

I really hate the world of television.

Actually? Money. I hate money.
Honestly? Those were two of the worst hours of scripted television I had seen in a long time.

Amy is much better off doing other things.
I do agree that the episodes themselves were terrible, but the show had a habit of making me VERY interested with the last 5 minutes of both episodes, enough to make me stick around no matter how disappointed I was.

I hope Amy gets to shine in Cabin though.
Wondering if I should even bother to watch it now.

It's a little annoying that the show that stopped Amy being in most of DH s2 has already been cancelled. I hope she gets a great new role soon.
Not surprised Happy Town was pulled so soon...
Getting cancelled this soon proves it was a good show....

(Sorry, that's my "guilty on grounds of acquittal" reflex, which I developed as a result of several umm famous jury trials, climbing into my TV viewing habits.)
What emmy said.
I watched the pilot, and thought it was pretty eh, but seriously, what's with pulling a show after it's been shown twice? Ugh.

But maybe we'll get some more Amy Acker in the next Doctor Horrible? No basis in reality on that thought, just pure hope.
I mean, it makes complete sense for ABC. Terrible PR and even after an aggressive media campaign with disappointing launch numbers and even worse numbers for its second episode. Same thing happened with Past Life (though I don't think the media campaign was *as* aggressive as with Happy Town).

It is rather annoying that we got limited Amy in DH season 2 for Happy Town.
We get Amy in Cabin, though.
I only watched it for Amy. The show was less than spectacular so I am not really surprised. :\
I agree with the comments about having to sacrifice Amy's time in DH season 2 for Happy Town. I'm sure it would have been some great stuff.
Not surprising, but they never should have picked it up in the first place.
Got to tell you, l got caught up in the trailer for the show, but the first two episodes were extremely disappointing.
Did anyone not seeing this coming?
Sometimes shows are simply bad and deserve to be pulled. This is one of those times.
Well, that was quick.
Will the remaining episodes be aired? I'd love to see that Amy centric episode that's been mentioned. Sad for Amy, but the show just wasn't that good. I've only seen the Pilot, and wasn't impressed at all. Makes me upset that Amy waisted her time with this show, when she could have done some amazing things with Claire/Whiskey on DH. Grr.
I didn't watch it. I didn't want to. But for Amy's sake I'm sorry it's pulled. Happy about Burn Notice though. I would love to see Nathan and Jeffrey do an episode together.
Faster cancellation ever goes to...
Well, at least they gave it a chance. Ahem.

Only watched the pilot but I felt slightly more favourably towards it than most here seem to. 'Twin Peaks' is the obvious, oft made comparison but the feel of it made me think more about Clive Barker's "The Great and Secret Show" crossed with small town Stephen King shenanigans as in e.g. "Needful Things" (the sheriff struck me as a kind of benevolent but now ailing wizard who'd been protecting the town). If it was aiming for that "everyday world hides magic underneath", Neil Gaimanish sort of thing then it had potential to be something cool despite an arguably less than stellar start.

Out of curiosity BTW, what is it that you guys thought was so awful about it after two episodes ? The acting seemed fine to me (or better - Sam Neill in particular was charismatically creepy for instance), the script maybe didn't fly but also wasn't dire (being, in the pilot, mostly about establishing characters and story anyway), the central mystery had potential and it had a pretty appealing cast (Amy, Sam Neill, Steven Weber etc.). So why the early judgement of worthlessness ?
According to Amy the show gets better and more revealy shortly. Well, it was going to, when it was due to air. Sorry, Amy. Here's to the excitement of the next thing.
So they reveal more after the first two episodes ? I don't see that approach taking off.
I dunno Deadlydevil, that's a bit over two weeks? I could have sworn that Drive was canceled after 8 days and three episodes. Wait, that was actually ten days and four episodes. I don't even know how that works. I'm sure there have been even faster though (and I'm not counting like those failed reality TV or game show attempts)

And of course I'm joining the legion of people bummed out that she couldn't have been in more Dollhouse. I imagine that must have been a contractual thing rather than actual availability thing?

I do wonder if they'll at least have a coherent story wrapped up by the end though. I can never understand why some shows will be cancelled mid-story but other ones they thankfully will film an entire season. (Like Wonderfalls)

[ edited by orangewaxlion on 2010-05-11 23:34 ]
'Drive' production was shut down 2 days after first airing, if memory serves. FOX held out 8 days before announcing it.
Wonderfalls was canceled pretty quickly too if I recall. Anyway, watched the two episodes for this show and thought it was really, really bad (not Amy of course but there wasn't that much of her in it)! So can't say I'm surprised but am sad for Amy.
For Amy Acker completionists, and/or those who are enjoying "Happy Town," please note that ABC has said they are pulling it from the schedule after this Wednesday's episode and running the rest of the series starting June 2. So it is on this Wednesday night (and for those who know/care who he is, this Wednesday's episode was directed by Mick Garris).
Orangewaxlion, Amy sad that most would be out in the open by the end of the first 7 so if they air them then yeah it should be okay!!
Hardly seems worth it for 8 episodes (particularly with no guarantee that it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger). Might watch the Amy centric one.

Wonderfalls was canceled pretty quickly too if I recall.

Yeah, 'Wonderfalls' was cancelled after 4 episodes aired. According to my friend Google they'd made them all because its premiere was pushed back so that production was well in advance of broadcast - kind of like if 'Dollhouse' had been cancelled after 4 episodes we'd still have the whole of season one because they'd already been made (same with 'The Inside' I think too).
And Buffy. The first season's production was completed well before it aired (if I remember right...).
I'm sorry to say that I have to agree this time with this particular cancellation. In my opinion, the show was pretty boring. I found myself reaching for my computer 20 mins into the first episode and didn't even bother with the second even though I was home and found nothing else worth watching. If not for Amy, I wouldn't have even put it on my DVR, hoping later episodes would get better. Now I won't feel so guilty taking it off my DVR. I, like everyone else, regret that this kept her from making more appearances on Dollhouse. Whiskey was a delicious character and even though Dollhouse didn't get past season 2, I would have loved to have seen more of Whiskey / Dr Saunders in that season.
Possibly the most annoying (scripted) show I've ever seen.
Wait, while watching 'V' I heard an announcement that 'Happy Town' will be on ABC tomorrow night... So why are they still running it if it is cancelled (or why are they still advertising it if it won't be run?)?
ember, it's airing tomorrow and then the final five episodes will air beginning June 2.
Wonderfalls was canceled after four episodes. They found out that the show did slightly better when they reran the pilot on a different night so they switched its timeslot unannounced, and advertised airing a fifth one but went ahead and pulled it anyway . (Wow, I'm still this bitter something like five years later?)

It's interesting in that case I sort of owe it to Joan of Arcadia for making Fox put off Wonderfalls debut? Before I used to slightly hold it against that series for having a vaguely similar but goddier premise and getting better ratings for awhile.

I'm guessing Embers that ABC just wanted to pull it for what's left of sweeps and then they'd burn the rest of the episodes starting next month. I don't know if that's since they're trying to save face and don't want the show dragging down that timeslot or if they already had enough programming alternatives in the wings that they want to get the numbers for those shows out there in the world?
Can't say I'm surprised about this decision. I watched the first episode only because AA was in the series. I didn't much care for it. I caught a few minutes of the second episode and decided it was not worth my time, even with AA in it (as little as she was).

I'm with others who would have preferred to see her stay with DH, although it did not look as though DH would have a second season at the time AA took this new job. So one can't fault her for jumping ship. But I'm sorry for her that this didn't work out.
Loads of people saying how awful it is but still nobody willing to say why ?



ETA: Apart from benisglory with 'boring'.

Possibly the most annoying (scripted) show I've ever seen.

Zoic_Fan | May 12, 03:44 CET



Clearly someone who's never watched 'Smallville' ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-12 06:57 ]
I wanted to like Happy Town since Amy Acker is in it, and in general I support shows that take a chance and try something interesting and unique.

However, after seeing the first episode, I had to watch Blue Velvet to cheer myself up...
I mostly watched this to see Amy Acker (the premise was interesting to me, though I was afraid it could go either way in practice), and I wasn't really impressed with the first episode. I think it was the pacing and something about the acting that I found jarring. Then suddenly something seemed to shift in the last five minutes or so, and by the end I was eagerly waiting for the next episode. The second one was a great improvement, and had some nice stuff in it, including that . Plus, Frances Conroy!

[ edited by alqualond on 2010-05-12 07:50 ]
Ouch Blue Velvet.
I'm actually with Saje, in that I don't think this show was as bad as everyone seems to be stating. I found myself really enjoying the first two episodes (although the second one was a lot better than the first). It managed to mix a whimsical approach to the old Twin Peaks style story, which continuingly bordered on parody, with a few neatly chilling and effective sequences.

Now I'm not saying there weren't problems: the dialogue particularly, was less than stellar. I certainly cringed a few times during the pilot. Most noteworthy moments of bad were during that 'romeo and juliet' teenage love sequence and during any and all conversation surrounding the little girl who everyone (including herself) seemed to treat like she was 3, when she looked more like 8-10 to me.

But to offset the bad dialogue (which is something that could surely have approved over time), there was a lovely, unique feel to the show and some good, quality acting. Sam Neill was patricularly strong, like Saje mentioned, but I also really liked the Sheriff and the annoying-yet-effective troupe of old women.

Something I was wondering on occassion, though, is if the subtle parody was intentional. But whether it was or wasn't, it seemed to work like a charm and lifted the show.

However, if it actually wasn't intended (but was just a byproduct of being really bad), I can see why some people are saying it was a show so bad it deserved to be cancelled this early. Regardless, I, for one, think it was intentional. We're probably all a bit too used to seeing a story told completely straight or - if it isn't - having it signposted by being completely, erm, un-straight. Even Joss, who often flies loose with the less-than-serious, only rarely uses parody (because it can so easily be taken as bad). I can only think of 'The Zeppo' as an example from the top of my head (and, ironically, in that case I didn't like it that much, because I felt it didn't mesh with the normal parody-free Buffyverse continuity, even if it was a lot of fun when taken by itself).

So, for what it's worth, I certainly found the ambiguity in the way the story was told on Happy Town confusing in a 'is this intentional' sense (but again: it seemed like they were having too much fun with it, for it to not be intentional), but I still found myself intrigued by the show and enjoying the ride. So I'm sorry to see it go, as I would've stuck around at least a bit longer.

[ edited by GVH on 2010-05-12 09:02 ]
I think the semi-parody element was deliberate personally. Or maybe not parody but more a sort of knowing whimsicality as you say GVH, that element was like 'Twin Peaks' (or maybe 'Twin Peaks' lite since it refused to be quite so bizarre in its depiction of the under the surface oddness that often accompanies the overlay of Totally Happy Normality™ you get in small towns, or small town depictions at least). Even the name 'Happy Town' has that playful sensibility of "We know it's not what it appears and you know it's not what it appears and also, we know you know".

But yep, as I noted with 'Dollhouse', sometimes it's hard to separate clever, original TV from bad TV (and nigh impossible to separate either from viewer hopes and expectations). Not a perfect show but it had potential IMO (without slighting anyone on here BTW I can't help but notice that we sure seem to pay a lot of lip-service to networks etc. giving shows a chance only to not, y'know, give shows a chance ourselves).
I've heard tell that one way to determine if a satire or dark parody is successful is whether the audience have to keep wondering if it is a parody or not. If they keep watching and can't really tell, then it has misfired. It's a hard thing to define, and even trickier to get right.

It is worthwhile to give the benefit of a doubt to a creative work, and mention the elements that do work well. Too often people are more ready to knock something than to mention the positive. However, when people embark upon a show ready to like it, and are left feeling dissatisfied, then perhaps there is something not working.

Actually, this show reminded me a little of American Gothic... but I really liked American Gothic right away.
I have to agree with Sage (which probably means an apocalypse is just around the corner) and GVH. I liked it and saw a lot of potential and definitely agree that in almost all cases, two eps is not really giving a show a chance.

Oh well, I'm really enjoying Flash Forward, so that will probably be next to go.
Actually, this show reminded me a little of American Gothic... but I really liked American Gothic right away.

Good show that. The kid in it seems to be popping up in a few places at the moment (saw him in a film called 'Legion' fairly recently, with Paul Bettany. Not great unfortunately). Maybe he's just finished college or something.

I've heard tell that one way to determine if a satire or dark parody is successful is whether the audience have to keep wondering if it is a parody or not.

I think that's how you tell with what you might call "First order satire" 11thHour i.e. satire where the creators are clearly saying "Hey, look at them, aren't they mockable" (it's true of political satire for instance). But when you're including a lot of your audience as the object of satire (i.e. where the them is also the us) then it becomes less clear-cut IMO (because the fact that as a viewer you can't necessarily tell either if it is satire or who/what's being satirised is part of the point). It's kind of like the old poker adage that if you can't tell who the sucker at the table is after playing for half an hour, it's you.

Similarly with 'Dollhouse', there were times when it could either have been just badly made TV or cleverly playing with the actual "grammar" of creating TV itself and what distinguishes a viewer from a participant. Hard to tell and very dependent on what you personally think you see (I still don't know with 'Dollhouse', probably never will for sure).

Which is a long way of saying, 'Happy Town' was either potentially very good and meaty or just plain bad from the get-go. Or maybe mediocre. Is that every base covered ? ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-12 13:26 ]
Can't say I'm wearing my surprized face, but I am disappointed. The first episode was meh but I enjoyed the second one, and liked the direction the show seemed to be taking. Plus, no Amy on my TV is sadmaking.
[S]ometimes it's hard to separate clever, original TV from bad TV


Nice point, this, and one that I think applies to most forms of art. Ever stood in an art gallery and heard someone (possibly yourself) mutter, "my five-year-old could paint better than that"? Speaking of, say, Jackson Pollock? Whom I love, love, love. (Not relevant, but I enjoyed hearing a teenager in the NYC MOMA look at a pointilliste-y picture of *The* Madonna and say, "Doesn't look anything like Madonna" . . . straight-up.)

Someone upthread mentioned Blue Velvet. I find it an incredibly powerful, moving film. But I once watched it at a late-night student showing in Leeds, and much of the audience were laughing throughout at what they evidently perceived to be a poorly-made and over-the-top movie. Sometimes the line between very good and meaty, just plain bad, and maybe mediocre is . . . well, not so straight, apparently.
Saje said:
"Good show that [American Gothic]. The kid in it seems to be popping up in a few places at the moment (saw him in a film called 'Legion' fairly recently, with Paul Bettany. Not great unfortunately). Maybe he's just finished college or something."

Lucas Black is the same age as me (28), so chances are he's long done college, but you might be right (lotsa child actors take time out in their late teens or 20s to get a degree or two). I always found that kid's name interestingly coincidental too, because his father in American Gothic, played by Gary Cole, was named "Lucas Buck". He was noticeable for being one of the best child actors on TV, at the time, Caleb on American Gothic was entirely convincing and not annoying like a lot of child characters. Sarah Paulson, who could really use a series that lasts 'cause I think she's a fantastic actor (Studio 60 and the new and still-short-lived Cupid were her most recent vehicles--oh, and Deadwood), played Merlyn Temple on American Gothic, Caleb's ghostly sister, and also ended up in Serenity as Dr. Caron, the doomed hologram-recorded woman on Miranda. Still a favorite show of mine, definitely one of the best-made of the `90s (was aired in 1995/96, my first well-loved live-action series until Buffy came along and discounting a few sitcoms at the time). Unfortunately, Universal messed up on the DVDs. They're the dreaded double-sided DVDs and the episodes are out of order. Not that it's a huge deal, but you have to do a bunch of flipping and disc-swapping to watch the series in the right order. Unless it somehow gets a release on blu-ray though, it's probably the best the fans are ever gonna get, so DVD's the only option for owning it, unless Universal has put it online for purchase.

If Happy Town's anything like American Gothic in tone, will definitely check it out.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-05-12 20:54 ]
Well, when I compared 'Happy Town' to 'American Gothic' it was in the most general, loose terms... meaning a small town that seems not quite rooted in the real world, a bit tilted out of time and out of reality. The inhabitants are also not what they seem, with secrets galore dark and deep. But the rest of any resemblance differs as shaped by those who create the production.

By the way, 'Blue Velvet' IS very funny if you totally give yourself over to the over-the-top creepiness, dark psychological artfulness, and decide whatever happens to anybody is okay because it's all a delirious hallucination...
Human Target just got renewed for another season. That show needs some estrogen. Maybe Amy could join the cast. Loved her guest spot and I don't think we've seen the last of that character.
No, I agree about the latent humor in BV, 11thHour. Over-saturated slo-mo images of happy cornfed people, off-kilter dialogue, and then our dashing and earnest young hero finding a human ear? It's all a bit crazy; and then you get hopped-up Hopper going absolutely batshit . . . it's at that point that I usually have to stop laughing, because it really is kinda terrifying.
Loved her guest spot and I don't think we've seen the last of that character.

Yep, me too and me too (the way "it" happened seemed open since what we actually see onscreen felt deliberately undefinitive). I was happy it got renewed, fun show.

...played Merlyn Temple on American Gothic, Caleb's ghostly sister...

Aha, course she did. That may have been where I first saw Sarah Paulson (before 'Serenity' she was a "that woman from..." - you know her to look at but you don't know exactly who she is).

And yep, maybe a bit long in the tooth for college (he may, in fact, have been working solidly but just in stuff I haven't seen, maybe theatre and whatnot). Good actor, Caleb had a real presence considering he was played by such a young lad.
I personally was very much enjoying the show. The mystery is what drove me to the show. AA being in it is what got me to ever hear about it. I figured it probably wouldn't last to a second season but I still will watch it when it returns in June.
Here here, Tamara! I doubt we've seen the last of Amy on Human Target.

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