May 14, 2006

I'm sorry HBO, it's over

{For those that don't know - HBO are a US premium subscription network (think Sky Sports) that produce some of the best TV currently out there. They're unique in that they're funded mostly though viewer subscription fees, and don't show adverts, so are not forced to abide by the whim of advertisers, or even pay too much attention to ratings. Half of thier best shows don't even make it to air over here so many end up watching them via (legally procured US DVD -legal ed)}

Well my dearest HBO, it had to happen eventually didn't it? You gave me so much over the years: Oz, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos; each of these shows constantly great and wonderful, with no pressue on them to either finish before thier time nor stretch out beyond a healthy run. Shows simply ran as long as they needed to tell thier story, allowing them to be appreciated a whole, complete piece.

Those were the honeymoon days no? And were they good times for sure – you'd take risks with content, pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable on TV far beyond what the commercial networks were allowed to do. You wouldn't pander to the lowest common denominator (well there was Sex and the City but we all have our indulgences), you'd challenge the audience, make them think even if it meant alienating the masses – you knew that the critics would still congratulate you and shower you with awards, and you knew that making TV wasn't just about making money, but producing art. And that's why I fell for you.

But last year, you hurt me. It was the jewel in your generously adorned crown, that you tore off and cast aside. It was Carnivale. I'm not naieve. This wasn't the first time this has happened to me – I've been treated like this before, many, many times. By Fox, by Warner Brothers, by TNT. They cancelled Crusade, Angel, Firefly, Farscape, John Doe, Dead Like Me. I knew how it went. But you said you were different, that you weren't like the others. That you aspired to something more than big ratings and big money. That you hadn't cancelled a show in 20 years. That if they ended it was the decision of thier creator.
It was a wonderful track record. That you chose to break it while sacrificing the greatest show you'd even produced was heart breaking, but I'd almost forgiven you. Since then we've had the wonderful Rome, The Wire and Entourage. You made an awful mistake but you wouldn't do it again, or so I thought.
You renewed Deadwood for a 4th season and announced it way back in March – it wasn't going anywhere. Carnivale was one thing: there were no promises, we just assumed you wouldn't kill it. But Deadwood – we knew you wouldn't. So to find out the other day that you'd cancelled Deadwood… I was confused. It must be down to the creator, I naively assumed that David Milch had reached his creative peak, given the show a good ending at the end of series three and decided to go out on a high.

Turns out I was wrong.

So you hung Deadwood out to dry, and no–one even knew. So there's no wrap–up, no farewells, and no ending. It will simply stop. Here one day, gone the next.

I can't do this anymore. It's one thing if Fox cancel some fun popcorn action show without giving it a conclusion, but by your very nature you've always delivered programming that requires more than that. Your shows require an investment in the characters, and in the world. We become emotionally drawn in becasue you create better TV than anyone else. But we allow ourselves that on the implicit understanding that you'll let us finish the journey we're taking with these characters, that you won't suddenly cut them out of our lives with nary a farewell.

If you take away that safety net, if you ruthlessly cut shows on ratings like every other network, then how can we invest ourselves in your characters? And what is the point on following a character on an emotional journey if we'll be chucked out of the car before we reach the end?

I'm sorry, but it's not worth the hassle anymore. I thought you were different, but you're not. You're just like all the others.

Fucking cocksucker.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. John

    nooo…they can't be cancelling Deadwood!!! Goddam why is it the networks always seem to cancel the amazing shows like cancelling Freaks & Geeks(NBC), or Life As We Know It (ABC) and Cupid(ABC) as well as the amazing shows you mentioned that got cancelled. It is so annoying especially as there are a lot of crap shows that go on and on.

    Having said that Entourage – Season 3 begins June 11th. That is just one helluva a show.

    14 May 2006, 02:01

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