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Absolutely gutted to hear that Sanctuary has been cancelled by SyFy. Yet another bad mistake make by a US network. I am holding out hope though that Watch and UKTV might do what they did with Murdoch Mysteries and Alibi and step in to help this fine show get back on the air. Wasn't there hopes of six series and a movie. I'm sure fans can help bring it back if they are vocal about it. That's how Being Human UK fans got their series commissioned. Oh, and haven't SyFy not heard of the Doctor Who method of putting the show on hiatus until things get sorted.(Yeah, I know fans turned around and nicknamed it the 'hellatus', but at least it wasn't scrapped altogether and besides, now Sherlock fans are also experiencing one)

Oh and speaking of another instance of a show being put on hold, let's bear in mind for a moment, BAFTA award winning series Sherlock(personal favourite series) and ever popular (personal favourite also, I might add) series Doctor Who I quote Steven Moffat (Steven Moffat on 'Doctor Who', 'Sherlock' and his BAFTA Special Award)  when he was taking about putting on hold both Doctor Who and Sherlock being beneficial. Speaking of Doctor Who having an unpredictable schedule, he points out that 'the more Doctor Who becomes a perennial, the faster it starts to die.' He goes on to say 'You've got to shake it up, you've got to keep people on edge and wondering when it will come back.' He goes on to point out that Sherlock 'almost exists on starving its audience.' This wasn't necessarily bad for the series, in fact in the case of Sherlock, it 'was like a rock star re-entering the building'. In fact in the case of Sanctuary airing in the UK, this is exactly the case, it makes us want to see more. I'm sure the Canadian Murdoch Mysteries fans would also agree on this fact, waiting for a series doesn't mean that it is dead, it lives on with the fans. Who hasn't gone to the fanfic page for Sherlock, Doctor Who, Sanctuary or any other TV show for that matter and has been blown away by the superb quality of fan writing, be it slash, ship or otherwise. The series lives through it's fans. This is not an excuse for networks to cancel series, it merely helps to open possibilities of what might be. Make the return of a series an event rather than making, as Steven Moffat rightly points out 'like any much-loved ornament in your house - ultimately invisible.'

Series need to run to a natural conclusion, they need to be completed. Fans need to feel that a series doesn't need to tell any more stories, that we have come to the end of the road with these characters. Take House as a perfect example of this, it has told all the stories and left it open to resurrect the characters (well some of them at least) in the future if needs be. Cutting off a series before it's natural end ends up by the networks to be kind of stupid and begs the question do they actually watch the series from their ivory tower.
There have been some very Brilliant shows that we have only been allowed glimpses of, and some which haven't reached it's natural conclusion. Among these I feel I should add Sanctuary, as there is the matter of Henry becoming a Dad that we didn't see because of the cancellation,amongst other things. The series Legend of the Seeker got canned even though there were several stories till to be told, A Town called Eureka got canned for reaching it's fifth series unbeknownst to SyFy (no series is allowed to reach it's fifth series when SyFy is involved this weather), Firefly was great but was canned after one series with several stories left to tell and after building up a cult following.  Moonlight was early to the party and got canned before it could get really into things, ironically enough this was before Twilight and True Blood graced our screens so canning this could have been a bit premature. Stargate Universe was cancelled before resolving any of it's story arcs fully.

To say that this happens rarely with networks would be lying, it has become quite the epidemic in the last few years. In the UK even, shows such as Mongrels, The Fades, Outcasts, Dirk Gently and Doctor Who Confidential have all been victim to cancellation axman. When the petition was originally set up to help save Doctor Who Confidential thousands signed, this petition is still open, still collecting signatures. The current tally being 56,817 proving that the need is out there for this type of a show. We want to know about what happens behind the scenes, we like this insight into the world of Doctor Who behind the scenes.The most embarrassing thing to happen to BBC Three is the fact that the BAFTA for best drama in 2012 went to cancelled show The Fades. To reiterate my previous point, are they actually watching the programmes they commission at all. Or maybe the view from the ivory tower was cloudy that day.


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Jun. 3rd, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
In the US, unfortunately, it's not just an epidemic of the last few years, it's the way things have always been. Many shows die early, while others string out long beyond the natural end of their story. The UK model of telling a story until it's done and then stopping has never been part of the landscape, barring miniseries or similar "event" programming.

SyFy is a basic cable channel, which means it's not quite entirely dependent on advertising (as the broadcast networks are), only mostly. :-/

The thing about the commercial TV business model that even most Americans don't really understand is that we, the viewers, aren't the consumer. We're the product. The advertisers are the consumer, and the programming (in the eyes of the people holding the purse-strings) is nothing but an eyeball delivery system. If a show isn't delivering the number and demographic of eyeballs the advertisers want to buy, that show gets canceled. The wishes of the creators and the audience, and whether the story is done, are entirely irrelevant.

The only exceptions to this are the premium cable channels -- HBO, Showtime, Starz -- which have no commercials, and which you pay an extra monthly subscription to see. It's no accident that these are the home of a substantial proportion of shows that are highly regarded in terms of quality and have a strong reputation internationally. Of current shows, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and True Blood are on HBO; The Borgias and Shameless are on Showtime; and Spartacus and Boss on Starz.

That's still about supply and demand to some extent, because people subscribe to the channels in order to be able to see certain shows, but their programming day is filled out with relatively recent movies, etc., so they can afford to take bigger risks on more expensive "prestige" shows without worrying that their investment will go down the drain. It's the closest thing we have to the way programming decisions work at the BBC.

Edited at 2012-06-03 10:04 pm (UTC)
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