Ask Matt: Cancellations, Renewals (Sleepy Hollow), Breaking Bad, Person of Interest
Nicole Beharie, Tom Mison | Photo Credits: Brownine Harris/FOX
Question: So we had the first cancellation of the season with Lucky 7 after two showings. There are no tears from me as I never watched it. My question is: On what planet did anyone ever perceive this show's premise to be interesting or sustainable? Out of the hundreds of pilots, it is sometimes hard to believe someone at ABC thought this was one of the best. What do you think is next? — Rob
Matt Roush: Next for ABC, or next in the long annals of "what were they thinking" pilots? (That sound you hear is ABC kicking itself for not keeping Body of Proof around as a back-up, because for the time being, Scandal repeats will be airing in place of the unlucky 7.) To be fair, Lucky was based on a more successful British series, The Syndicate, but something clearly got lost in translation. (Same thing must have happened regarding ABC's equally mediocre Betrayal, based on a Dutch series and adapted by the same exec producer, who's batting 0 for 2 right now.) Your point about the sustainability of a pilot's premise is a good one, and comes up frequently when analyzing the failure of shows as disparate as last season's Last Resort and (though it may be premature) this season's Hostages — more on that one later. But from the moment many of us saw clips of Lucky 7 at last spring's upfront presentation, it felt like nothing we could imagine almost anyone would want to see. And we were right.
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Question: I was thrilled to hear of Sleepy Hollow's early renewal — the show is fun, and I'm crazy about Tom Mison — but was puzzled about why the pickup is for a second season and not a continuation of the first. Given how well it's doing, why would they let it end so soon? — Meg
Matt Roush: Sleepy Hollow was always intended to be a limited-run series that would make way in the winter for the return of The Following. It's one of the ways the networks are reflecting cable strategies to keep their lineups fresh, airing entire seasons straight through and avoiding aggravating spells of repeats. It would only be natural if Fox contemplated extending the run, considering how well these early episodes have held up in the ratings. But given what a thin tightrope the show is walking between actual horror and wackadoo apocalyptic mythology, it may be a blessing not to force the writers to crank out 22 a season. Leaving us wanting more is better than the opposite (see Once Upon a Time, Season 2).
Question: I remember you put together a "Greatest Finales" list earlier this year in TV Guide Magazine, around the time of last season's May finales. Given the nearly universal accolades, including yours, for the Breaking Bad finale, was wondering where it would land on your list if you were assembling it now. I'm assuming top 10? And if so, what would you kick off that list to make room for it? — Gordon
Matt Roush: Definitely a top-10 contender, not just because of the excellence of the actual finale but because of the momentum and intensity of Breaking Bad's entire final season. It built and built and then paid off, everything you want from a true finale. (The final season's greatest episode was undoubtedly the harrowing "Ozymandias," but the finale was no slouch.) If I were to redo the list now — and here's the actual Top 60 to refresh your memory — I'd probably put Breaking Bad where The Shield is, and move that a few notches down, because the genres are so similar. I'd probably take the Lost item — given that it was for a season, not series, finale — off the Top 10 altogether, and from the "other top 50," remove one of the sitcom season (not series) finales.