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"They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses."
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May 10 2004

Hannigan's sitcom doesn't test well. Also, news that Dark Shadows may not be picked up by the WB after all.

I thought it was called Americana, shame it didn't test well, hope they still pick it up, glad Joey tested well, that, and the trailer during the Friends finale have made me look forward to it.

And Dark Shadows mightn't be picked up, ha ha ha ha hooray!!! That Levin really is a lying b*stard isn't he, when he said there was room for 2 vampire shows on his network he actually meant there wasn't room for any vampire shows. For someone evil he really aint that smart.
The article says the WB passed on the pilot, so what that says to me is that they liked the idea of a newer version of Dark Shadows (and to be honest, under different non-angel-cancelation circumstances, I'd have been intrigued) but when the saw the pilot it either was pretty bad, or else just not up to Whedon's Vampire standars and the PTB looked at it and said "We can't pull this off as an Angel replacement"

Well, all I have to say is that if the WB thinks they can keep their occult luvin viewers with just Charmed, they've got another thing coming.

So long, ratings!
Well until there is official word on Dark Shadows, it's still the WB 'may not' as opposed to 'will not' pick it up. And the WB fall schedule will be announced on the 18th of this month so we'll know for sure then.
I wouldn't be surprised if Dark Shadows didn't make it to the fall season, though they could hold off and say it might be a mid-season replacement.

Still, Levin did screw things up. I hope it haunts him for years to come. ;-)
Well we'll see for comedies - very few ever test well the first time out - like Sienfeld, Cheers, and Full House to name a few.

Actually I find it ironic if Dark Shadows is not picked up, (and my reason has nothing to do with Angel) but Bobby & Jack was picked up - which is produced by the other producer of the 'West Wing' Tommy Schlamme. I also think the guy that dirrected this pilot has a long tracked record of gettingevery pilot he has ever filmed atleast picked up by the network - even if they go on to bomb shortly afterword.

Even though I detest DS - simply for the sheer lack or originality - I do think it was not Angel's real replacement - I think that honor falls to 'Global Frequency' - if it gets picked up although it will not be until mid-season due to production issues filming had to be postponed until July.

Those who forgot GF - "A small screen adaptation of warren ellis' dc/wildstorm comic book that revolves around "an independent defense intelligence organization connected by a worldwide telecommunications web that uses ordinary individuals as agents around the world to fight black ops projects, unexplained phenomena and other problems the government agencies have struggled with"

Kinda X-Files meets Alias meets Buffy meets LaFemme Nikita - at leastthat's how I once read thetv show described - which actually seems to fall into Angel action territory.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer tested poorly, too.
Gut reactions:

1) Noooo! I want my Aly! (Sulks)
2) Tsk. Too bad about Dark Shadows. (Evil smirk; basks in schadenfreude)
Mwha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa! Although, I thought the WB was already obligated to pick up DS? But who cares! I wasn't going to watch the WB anyway!! *gives one finger salute to Levin*

cjl: "schadenfreude" is my new word o' the day.
Phase One of Operation: Destroy Levin is proceeding as planned.
Wouldn't Levin lose a little more face if they didn't pick up DS? Because that almost seems like "We didn't want aging Angel, because we have a NEW vamp show! Um, well...nevermind."

Or is it basically a slap in the face to fantasy fans by saying, "We don't really want your kind around too much. Here's Charmed. Go chew on that until your brain goes soft....."
Uhm, I'm about to go all over the map on this one. Try to stay with me. I'm going somewhere with this. Trust me.

I used to think West Wing was high quality television and if I didn't get something about it, it's just cuz I'm not smart enough and needed to ramp up my political knowledge in order to keep up. Now in reruns I'm questioning not only its quality but also its sensibility. Did it deserve my praise or is West Wing a pathetic waste which will not stand the test of time? I wanted to enjoy I'm With Her but had to admit on the outset that it was a guilty pleasure, and the more I look at it the more I see it's a wonderfully conceived idea executed more poorly than Caroline In The City and Suddenly Susan combined. I purposefully passed on Dharma and Greg, Mad About You and countless others when they were in first runs, but now in syndication and DVD, I'm kicking myself. They're great! So I don't know what's good and what's bad anymore. I can't trust my own instincts. Was Northern Exposure really as good as I remember? Why did I leave Spin City when MJFox did? Should I have given Sheen more of a chance? Should I pay more attention to Two and a Half Men? I try, but I don't get it. Is that my fault or is it really crap? I don't know anymore.

After last night's Charmed I'm tempted to give up the ghost and quit trying to defend it, or ANY tv show I happen to enjoy on any level, because I can no longer separate what I honestly find entertaining to what actually has artistic integrity. The plot has gotten too convoluted and the scripts keep getting sillier, which is shocking cuz I figured after the leprechans and mermaids they had nowhere to go but up, and they're writing themselves into a corner with this whole past present future storyline thingy with Chris and that magic teacher reject from Harry Potter... In someone else's hands this show might have kept my attention, but the committee they got writing it needs to be reassigned to producing children's television or reality game shows, since that seems to be their real interests. ...Besides, I preferred Rose McGowan as a redhead. So is my reasoning really artistic or aesthetic? Have I been blinded by the beauty? Is it perpetually crap and I just drool like Homer and a hot dog every time I see Phoebe sporting a tatoo?

I was not going to give this latest attempt to reboot Dark Shadows a chance regardless of what anyone said or whether or not it was intended as the replacement for Angel. Yet based on my past track record that may have been my own fault, missing out on something that could have been good because of my preconceptions and prejudices. I happened to be right on the money about the Battlestar Galactica ripoff, but there have been other times when I let principle get in the way of my having a good time, and I alone suffer for my own conceit.

Not that a network cares personally whether or not I choose to boycott them. The WB will surely lose no Nielsen points because I refuse to give One Tree Hill the time of day. The WB has insulted their 'vampire niche' audience and I for one question whether I should continue to support any of their programming. Same with UPN or FOX. However, what do they care? If we all refused to tune in, would they even notice? And if they're not noticing you and me, who the hell are the Nielsens and why are they tuning in to Extreme Makeover? How can we stop them? Or are we secretly our own worst enemy?

If Whedon WANTS a 'home' and the networks refuse to give him one, maybe we should just throw our televisions out the window and scream at the top of our lungs, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Or maybe that's just what Network wants us to do? *smirk* Or maybe Whedon doesn't want a regular vehicle on network tv at the moment? Maybe he's ready for early retirement in that field? He has been at it for over a decade one way or another, and is still banging his head against a wall trying to talk sense to network suits. He's already moved on to other projects outside tv. Perhaps this is for the best. For him. What about us? And is it that we don't get a chance to decide for ourselves whether or not Hannigan or Brendan or Carpenter should get their own star tv vehicles, or do the networks really know us well enough to know that we wouldn't have tuned in anyway?

With Friends and Frasier going away, and last I heard Everybody Loves Raymond still in levels of uncertainty, the tv landscape looks bleak, not that this past year's been a high point in its history. According to Jim, King of Queens and Still Standing look to me like the same scripts with slight alterations, produced and performed by different people. Law & Order, CSI, and so-called reality programs in general hint at a lesson poorly learned in tv city from the heady days of Star Trek: the franchises. If something hints at working - clone it to death. Like that hasn't completely left a bad taste in our mouths at the very thought of Happy Days. News magazines like Dateline and 60 Minutes 1 & 2 and 20/20 remain steady. Is this because we like the smell of dirty laundry, or do the networks just think we should? Lawyer dramas, cop dramas, and sitcoms with a couch in them. Why are these proliferating and why do they seem to come and go like weeds in spring? Is it because networks have the money to throw away, or is there actually an audience for them? Are WE to blame for this lunacy? What I've seen of Joey indicates to me it's going to be more of the same. Although it's too early to tell for next season, what little I've heard has not instilled me with hope. Tru Calling surviving Wonderfalls. Joan of Arcadia thriving while Kingdom Hospital struggles and Crossing Jordan gets revamped into a soulless shadow of its formal self. I'm surprised they didn't rename it CJI: Crossing Jordan Investigations.

This past weekend I saw a 'tv movie' on the PAX network which was called Mermaids and looked like an (I hope) unsuccessful pilot for a tv show about three mystically enchanted ladies from the seven seas who fight crime and seek out justice and revenge. Think Charmed meets She Spies on a Mutant X shoestring budget. Last November this tv movie allegedly got PAX some of its best ratings of the season. If this Mermaids thing was passed over by every network other than PAX and PAX only bought the pilot without an option for the series, that means the system does still sometimes work, because Mermaids stunk like rotting fish. I wish MST3K would come out of retirement just to roast it. If we see Mermaids this fall, it means the system doesn't work, and network television needs to be put out of its misery, before it becomes one of those signs of the pending apocalypse. ...Or are we too late?

I guess what I'm trying to say is, so long as we settle for whatever pablum network suits ram down our throats, things will not get better. The networks will continue to spread mayonaisse onto the tv landscape, because they know we'll eat it. And if we eat it, do we really deserve Whedon? Do we deserve thought provoking and sensitive and daring programming, when we so easily settle for mayo on toast? We may just be choking on our own hypocrisy, and I fear that we the audience deserve every bite.

Whedon's too good for us. We're not worthy.
Phew! Nice rant ZachsMind! That's an entertainment column and a half. We are slaves to the churning machinations of network television. I hardly watch enough TV to comment on this subject properly, but I think you're asking too many questions that can never be answered : ).

Seriously man, have you ever pondered a career in journalism?
West Wing is drivel. I live in the DC area (have for 24 years), have worked in government (as a political appointee, not a civil servant), follow the Hill and the Administration (all of them) pretty closely, and I can say, West Wing is drivel.
That cracks me up and I love it - Chris in Virginia. I love it when someone "in the know" can accurately say something is drivel.

Ahhh. Zachs Mind, it is much too early in the day for such hardcore philosophy. I wish someone here knew the answer to your questions. I think we get what we get on tv because we're told we'll like it. It's advertising. It's push. It's brainwashing. Some few - the much maligned "cult" audience - breaks away and finds a new show that doesn't conform. We're happy for a time and then we get axed.

People, more often that not, like what's easy. They sit in front of the boob-tube (and that moniker is getting to be quite literal these days...) and wait to be TOLD a story. They don't want to figure anything out; they don't want to think through the various connections a finely plotted Joss Whedon show (for example) makes its audience do.

I don't think there's much we can do at this point. God knows a lot of people have stood up via the Saving Angel campaigns and who knows what will happen with that? Maybe we should all throw our tvs away and start reading more. I think the networks will pay, if they aren't already. There's been a lot of coverage so far on how cable has really started to eat in on the major networks. Change is coming, but what's going to come as a replacement is anyone's guess. I hope it's for the better.
I ponder a career in journalism almost daily. Sadly, outside the web I can't seem to give my talent away. Much less make a living at it.

West Wing has a very liberal slant I believe, and I say this as a liberal. Perhaps when Clinton was in office West Wing looked better to me, but comparing it now to how the presidency is being handled by a 'compassionate conservative' West Wing appears painfully behind the times and schizophrenically optimistic and surrealistic. The series has outworn its welcome. When it first began, I thought it was great stuff, but in the same way I thought I'm With Her would be great stuff, having never dated a silver screen starlet. If West Wing can't survive a change in government, it has the syndication potential of Route 66 or Brady Bunch. It will only appeal to those who remember the 'good old days' provided they actually think of those old days as good ones. West Wing might make it to TV Land in five or ten years, but I won't hold my breath, and I find this discovery disappointing. Still, regardless of the quality of the production, Allison Janney will forever be the sexiest press secretary in presidential fiction. Meow.

This is a part of one of my ongoing theories about the demise of Whedon's fiction for television. Whedon always seemed to be fighting for ratings and network support even in the second and third seasons of Buffy when the series hit what many recall to be its greatest stride. However, the recent cultural and political climate has swung the pendulum far to the right, making it difficult for a series with Whedon sensibilities to fluorish.

I mean look at season six of Buffy (personally my favorite season ever of the series). Here's a question Whedon poses. "Is Buffy raping Spike or is Spike raping Buffy, and can either of them ever be heroes again if they can do this to each other?" From a liberal standpoint, this is something worth exploring. We should question our own blanket assumptions of right and wrong and heroism. And love. And the definition of enemy. Can we love what we hate? Can we compromise ourselves? Buffy comes back from the dead and can't feel how to live, so she takes it out on Spike. Is this right? Since Spike has been so wrong, is it okay to do this to him anyway? In today's world, where Janet Jackson reveals a breast during the Superbowl and is chastised for it, while seconds later a nudist streaks the field and is ignored, can such questions be offered without threat of a lynch mob carrying torches towards Frankenstein's castle? Can we approach such issues as mature adults?

We learn that since January our own government's been aware that soldiers were not only torturing Iraqi prisoners, but doing such horrific things to them as to make Angelus blush. And then TAKING PICTURES of all things. What utter lunacy and stupidity. How can Whedon compete in this environment? How can he be found welcome in homes that see far worse on the evening news, and not only have no answers but don't want to hear the questions any longer?

Why am I even finding this topic so fascinating? It seems a futile endeavor. When the evening news is harder to believe than fiction about souled vampires and demons on holiday. Buffy's entire series arc was partly about how the true evil is the every day evils that we visit upon ourselves and one another. Fighting our parents, surviving school, looking for a job, trying to belong somewhere, desperately seeking footing in a constantly changing world. It seems the arc of Angel has been about how fending off the impending apocalypse is a distraction from the fact that the universe is in perpetual entropy and you and I are all that stands between order and chaos. Every day. In such little subtle ways. Yet what do we do? Play armchair quarterback during the Superbowl, and stand dazed at how no one thought to vote out Amber and Boston Rob the second they started nuzzling one another.

Like I said, we don't deserve Whedon. We don't even deserve sitcoms featuring the phenomenal talents of Hannigan or Brendon or Carpenter. Perhaps we don't even deserve drivel like West Wing. Perhaps we need to fix our reality and then our fantastic stories reflecting that reality will become better by proxy.

I'm pointedly disenchanted by the entire thing.
ZachsMind is a very interesting place to be, I think most would agree...but I think not only do we deserve Whedon, we need him...or stuff like him...I glance at other programs (but never a so-called reality show), just enough to confirm what I already suspected (most of the time--I am delighted occasionally to be wrong) about the dreadful quality of nearly everything on TV...but as the man said, nobody went broke understimating the taste of the buying the occasional respite from drivel is like surfacing just when you thought your lungs would give out...over the past 20-odd years there are not many "surfacings"...I (for a while, for all of these) liked Perfect Strangers, Head of the Class, Max Headroom (actually, liked all of those), Law and Order, TNG, and, of course, The Simpsons. Maybe a few others, but nothing that comes to mind. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, comes this astounding thing called Buffy...and Angel...and Firefly...and now there will be nothing Whedonesque on network TV come this fall...and once again, I am, as is ZachsMind, profoundly disenchanted...I was kind of raw when Buffy finished...this is worse.

But: ZachsMind: "(personally my favorite season ever of the series)", meaning Season Six. It's not my favorite (or my wife's--Season Five holds that distinction), but I agree that it is an almost unfathomable achievement, prodigious beyond my poor ability to much deep-seated analysis of the mind, the heart, the loins, the very essence of the human condition...on TV...almost beyond comprehension.

Okay, it's not even 2 pm and I sound drunk (2 beers with lunch will not do that!)...back to work...
Perhaps it's getting harder to judge the good from the bad because the good things seem so few and far between. And when something is good, say a show like Wonderfalls, the networks can't even recognize that and have to be told by critics what they have on their hands.Too late.
My sister got me hooked on Buffy. I initially resisted because I was trying to watch less TV and adding an hour long show wasn't going to help matters. It actually helped me watch less because I would think, "What am I watching this other crap for? Just because it's there?" With Angel ending, I don't HAVE to watch anything, although I probably will watch something here and there. But unless something miraculous happens, I don't need TV anymore.

"Perhaps we need to fix our reality and then our fantastic stories reflecting that reality will become better by proxy."

One can only hope. The hypocrisy that seems to permeate everything deserves the swiftest kick.
Well Marti Noxon may be our last best hope for any form of Whedonverse type drama this autumn if Point Pleasant gets picked. All indications seem to point that it will.
Dropping 'Dark Shadows' may be because the WB has finally realised how much they have angered the fans of fantasy genre shows and how much that might hurt the audience for this. I suspect Firefly suffered from the annoyance of 'Dark Angel' fans at having a series they liked unexpectedly cancelled.

However this leaves the WB with the problem of finding something to pair with 'Smallville'. I don't see 'Charmed' filling that slot well, which means the WB's number one show will be put under unecessary extra pressure.
It must be preying on their minds that after cancelling Angel any new show will be under intense media scrutiny. A chorus of "They canned Angel for this?!" could kill a new show before a single episode airs.
After skimming through these comments, I don't think anybody's answered Ghost Spike's Q yet, so I will:

"Home and Hardware" was a working title for the show. It was renamed "Americana" a while ago. I think Americana is the name of the hardware store where she works or something.

I'm very much in the "Die!, Dark Shadows, Die!" crowd. I'm bitter.

And I very much want FOX to air "Point Pleasant." I'm still mad at FOX for deciding not to air "Still Life," which everyone needs to vote for at, not that it'll do anything.

And although I'm really not a sitcom person, I'd give Americana a shot.
Additional report from the futon critic. This covers more than the Mediasharx article, also mentioning that things don't look too good for Charisma Carpenter's "Play Nice."
Oh dear sweet God. The WB has a Fran Drescher show in the works?! Sorry, but...Fran Drescher?!
Ta for clearing that up Invisible Green.

You'd think NBC would be willing to give any sitcom a chance, considering it's just lost, or just about to lose, 2 of it's biggest sitcoms. You'd think they hold little faith in test audiences considering how Seinfeld performed poorly throughout the first season, and it was only when they burnt off the remaining episdodes during the summer that people started watching it.
I think most people wouldn't know a good show if it hit them in the face, who are these monkeys they get to test them? Old ladies who are randomly walking up and down Malls in the midwest? Hell i love my grandma but her idea of a good TV show was HEE HAW, although with the right amount of achohol its funny. We have been blessed for the last 8 years with great shows and thanks to Angel and Buffy weve been introduced to some of the best writers going and can honestly say that with the likes of Jane Espenson, Mere Smith, David Fury, Marti Noxon, and so on we can still find something good to watch on TV. Lets just pray that Reality TV dies quickly.
Although to be honest it doesn't really matter whether they test well or not these days. Firefly and Wonderfalls tested well and look where that got them...
Actually, Wonderfalls didn't test well.
Over at the Buffista board, Tim Minear went into great detail about the WF testing. Women didn't like it (except for other strange, intelligent women like me, apparently). Anyone who's interested can go to the Minearverse: Get His Words Out thread and pretty easily hunt the conversation down.

Interesting that the WB has decided to discontinue audience testing.

In Dark Shadows news, as recently as May 10th the news wasn't very encouraging:

Shadows a Long Shot May 10 2004

As the unveiling of the WB's fall schedule approaches, Variety comments that: "Once considered a strong contender, the new take on Dark Shadows has turned into a long shot." The report attributes this primarily to an overall shift in WB strategy: "Instead of franchises, it seems the Frog is going back to its roots, ordering the coming-of-age drama Jack and Bobby, and preparing to do the same with the sudsy The Mountain."
-- From
ZachsMind, I luv ya, I really do, but I gotta disagree with one statement of yours. We DO deserve Joss. If for no other reason than we sift and suffer through the quagmire until we get to the treasure. And then look at us! We adore, we heap praise, we obsess (in a GOOD way), and we idolize. If there was no Joss to raise the bar, what then?

We deserve Joss because we recognize him. We GET it.

How about we just say that the REST of the world doesn't deserve him. Because they don't.

Reviews Futon Critic summary of WB 2004-2005 schedule

So... at what point is Levin revealed as a double agent/mole for Rupert Murdoch?

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