Jun 15, 2009
Horrible puns aside, Primeval’s cancellation is just another kick in the teeth for us fans of sci-fi television. While it wasn’t the deepest SF show on TV, the first two seasons were quality fun (haven’t seen the full 3rd season yet) and they managed to elevate the story quality past Monster of the Week. Primeval improved on itself in Season 2, both in terms of quality and sci-fi content (time-travel/alternate history). Unless the quality dropped significantly toward the end of Season 3, this is somewhat surprising, especially the spoilers floating around which suggest that there is absolutely zero closure to any of the plot lines.
I know TV is all about money. While the showrunners and writers might be crafting labors of love, the networks executives have all the power. Unless you are George Lucas (who could afford to run a Star Wars TV show without any advertisers at all, probably on its own channel), without the networks, you don’t have a TV show. Things are slowly changing with the internet but without a network budget profitably lower than your advertising revenue, your show is dead. Primeval either cost too much or was watched by too few. And now it’s extinct.
I’m not sure about the actual percentages but I'm sure a not-so-insignificant amount of revenue comes from DVD sales. I know Family Guy and Futurama sold well enough on DVD to get new episodes. Firefly did well enough to get Serenity which, while not a box-office smash hit, was a quality SF adventure. There has to be some money there, right? You’ve seen them in the stores: Jericho: The Complete Series, Firefly: The Complete Series, Journeyman: The Complete Series. The fans who loved the series will buy the DVDs. Some for enjoyment, others with some deranged hope of getting the series renewed, yet others to gift to their friends to show them what they were missing. “Can I borrow Season 2?” “Cancelled, you say?” “Thanks, asshole.”
I for one won’t buy a series DVD without some resolution, at least not for serialized TV like most SF tends to be. I didn’t buy Firefly until there was Serenity. I’ll admit I should have been watching when it was on, but I didn’t realize it was there until after it was gone. Journeyman, I watched the episodes on TV but why would I want to rewatch a show with no ending? If you are going to pay good money for some story content, shouldn’t you want at least some semblance of a completed story? There is more quality content out there than you can ever hope to consume. And most of it has a resolution.
Would you buy a book that was missing the last 200 pages? Sorry, the book got canceled. A CD that abruptly cuts off in the middle of track 7? How about a video game with no bosses? The final level just doesn’t happen. Go see Shakespeare on a stage where the actors just do the first two acts because the runtime was getting too long. These would be lampooned by reviewers, consumers, and everyone else in between. So why can the TV production companies get away with it? Why do we let them kill our favorite TV shows AND then pay them for the privilege of owning the headless corpse?
Primeval: The Incomplete Series will be arriving in your local Best Buys and Wal-marts this fall
Posted by Patrick at 6/15/2009 05:34:00 PM