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Bones

As the warm season approaches, networks often have difficult (and not-so) decisions to make regarding their schedules and roster of programming. Surely the ratings have a lot to do with the decision making processes, but, as fans, we like to believe other factors come into play to some extent — whether it’s product placement monetization, #hashtag trend prominence, or executives possibly playing favorites hopefully with our favorites. We choose to believe in these less quantifiable and more unconventional series success variables so to justify our hope in the future of a favorable TV landscape, a future of fully packed DVRs and neglected loved ones. The hope fuels the ubiquitous social media campaigns, the zealous written pleas mailed to the network in bulk (do people still do that?), and manic financial support for commercial sponsors. Whatever the cause for each decision, cancel or renew, either a fandom finds corroboration in an x number of episodes commitment or viewers curse the callousness of network suits and their unwavering reverence to whims of Nielsen homes.

And all of that is simply to say this — listed at times with brazen bias:

  • Community has been renewed by NBC for a fourth season of 13 episodes. Not a surprise necessarily but surely a relief to many. This season has been filled with ups and downs for Community fans — consistently low ratings followed by a long impromptu mid-season hiatus, then a solid return with quality episodes that appeared to showcase creator Dan Harmon’s pointed response to the show’s received criticisms and uncertain future. To top it all off, it’s funny as fuck. The recent episode “Curriculum Unavailable” provided a ceremonious goodbye to the paintball episode tradition and, in essence, the Community of old. Times are a-changin’. And Community still has time (a new time actually, on Fridays come Fall), even if, rumor has it, Dan Harmon doesn’t.
  • FOX is giving Fringe a fifth and final season of 13 episodes, 13 more opportunities for Peter-Olivia shippers to be simultaneously placated to and kept in a persistent state of unease. That Fringe.
  • NBC has also given 30 Rock the go ahead to produce 13 more episodes for what is being labeled the final season. The guarantee is more that Tina Fey and the gang will be returning, not necessarily that the amount of episodes is set in stone or in this being the true last season, last inevitable live episode, last batch of Donaghy-isms, etc.
  • TBS has successfully acquired Cougar Town from ABC, saving the comedy from certain cancellation. Another opportunity for comedic relativism (“You just don’t get it. It’s funny.”) to gain some traction for those that stand by Courtney Cox’s ability to deliver on humor.
  • A bunch of no brainers were renewed including: ABC’s Happy Endings and Shonda Rhimes stuffs; an assortment of CSINCIS’s on CBS; Parenthood, Smash and Law & Order:SVU on the peacock network; and Bones and New Girl on FOX.
  • New shows The Secret Circle, Ringer, both on the CW Network; GCG on ABC; The Finder and Breaking In on FOX; NBC’s Awake, Best Friends Forever, and Are You There Chelsea? have all been canceled, Awake due to its overly advanced brand of storytelling, the rest because they sucked. But to be fair, there’s no guarantee Breaking In will stay canceled — that sly Christian Slater.
  • Have you ever watched NYC 22? Good. And now you won’t have to.
  • TV by the Numbers has a handy list of all other cancelations and renewals for the whole season.
  • Finally, Community and Fringe have been renewed! (Still great news the second time around.)

Following the moderate success of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the Mickey Mouse network has just given the order for a new Beauty and the Beast themed pilot, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The move marks the second possible Beauty and the Beast reimagining this pilot season, the first having been ordered by the CW Network. This may prove to be the Grimm vs. Once Upon a Time – identical premises that sound much better on (Fables’ comic book) paper than on Friday or Sunday night television, respectively – showdown of the next season. Are the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen the elite show creators that networks would have us believe? To be fair, their being dead is probably a very attractive quality when contract negotiations come around.

In somewhat related news, Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy (amazingly while still being alive), is aiming for her fourth creator credit this spring with new series Scandal also on ABC and starring Kerry Washington. The message here being that Grey’s Anatomy in essence is performing so well, ABC has chosen to give the show’s creator a heftier chunk of their airtime, for lack of anything better to do with it. (Little Bo Peep biopic, perhaps?) Sometime in the future, Summer Glau, the accursed one to many, is even scheduled to make an appearance on Grey’s. Yes. We get it. The guys over there feel very secure. Geez. They’re just rubbing it in now.

Security in the scripted television jungle is a rare thing these days but does occur now and then, and you know it when you see it. Giving someone behind one hit series a new series to stamp their name on is like giving out luxury cars they can flaunt or, just as easily, crash into a tree for fun. Shonda Rhimes seems to have more experience with the latter; Off the Map cancelled and Private Practice seeming to underwhelm on purpose. (She should probably learn to drive/write soon.) Bones guy Hart Hanson is also getting the treatment this season over on FOX with The Finder holding steady with recycled jokes originally written for David Boreanaz and the older Deschanel.

Interestingly, this level of safety and comfort seems to lead to a “Fuck it” attitude, the sort that more commonly comes out of desperation, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in television.

Seinfeld, an example from the history books, displayed some “Fuck it”-ness on more than one occasion throughout its run. Initially people just hated the show, reasons ranging from the show being “too Jewish” to it being “too New York.” Only four episodes of the first season were ordered after the pilot by an optimistic (it was 1990) NBC exec. Those episodes, made with a supposed expiration date, are critically lauded these days and the second time the pilot aired ratings doubled to guarantee a followup season.

Later on, Larry David and Jerry arguably said Fuck it again when things were going too well. Larry stepped down as showrunner and Jerry decided to pick up the pace of the show, cut out the standup segments and drive towards the absurd(ly funny) – remember the one with bizarro Jerry or the backwards episode? Fuck it right?

So its possible that genius can be found in both comfort and unease. Perhaps the new Beauty and the Beast (on twice?) holds some surprises after all. Probably not. But if Summer Glau is getting work as a hail mary or an act of total indifference, then so be it. We can all use a bit more Summer. Curse Smurse.

Yup, this blog has an affinity for the beautiful people. Didn’t think you would mind.