TV execs get paid big bucks to make decisions about our most beloved form of entertainment. But sometimes, they make the wrong decisions — like shutting down your favorite show — leaving you powerless. While you yell at your TV screen, we took matters into our own hands and played TV God. Here’s how we would save five series that got the axe this year.
Emily Owens M.D.
The problem: On the surface, this series has what would appear to be the recipe for a hit: Medical drama? Check. Main character played by Meryl Streep’s daughter? Check. A shade-throwing, snarky supporting character? Check. So why was the series cancelled mid-season? Emily Owens M.D. is on the CW, which means the network is desperately trying to make characters in their late twenties and thirties appeal to an audience of teen girls. The show is framed as navigating Emily’s life post-high school, but what kind of person still dwells about cafeteria drama ten years after graduation? The timing is odd. With so many true teen dramas on the CW right now, it makes sense that ratings would suck for Emily Owens M.D.
The fix: Move the series to NBC — which has an older audience and desperately needs new blood — to compete with ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Don’t Trust The B**** In Apartment 23
The problem: When Don’t Trust The B**** In Apartment 23 first aired last fall, you couldn’t escape the buzz from the show: James van der Beek’s face was plastered on the side of every bus and promos for the first episode played constantly on TV. But the first few episodes were poorly-received; most viewers dropped the series right before it fell into a comfortable swing. ABC evicted the series from Apartment 23 due to low ratings (just 1.9 million viewers!), but we’ll miss Krysten Ritter’s sassy portrayal of bad girl Chloe, James van der Beek’s humor, and of course, the backdrop of our beloved Manhattan.
The fix: While the show only pulled in 1.9 million viewers on-screen, it had a bigger following online. ABC already filmed an additional eight episodes but has no plans to air them; fans might be more willing to let the sitcom go if they could see the unaired material before saying goodbye for good — or maybe a deal with Netflix or Hulu could save the fallen show.
Do No Harm
The problem: If you blinked over winter break, you missed this atrocious NBC medical drama. Do No Harm is an update of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; it follows a doctor with a split personality — one side good, one side evil. After earning the honor of being the lowest-rated scripted premiere of the Big Four networks in history, ratings sank even lower for the second (and final) episode.
The fix: While the plot might be a little kitschy, it’s not terrible. Do No Harm aired Thursdays at 10 pm, a time slot that NBC has struggled with since ER ended in 2009. Pulling the struggling series after just two episodes was a harsh move; execs should have experimented with a different time slot to let the show find its footing.
The problem: The sixth and final season was cut short, ending in December 2012 instead of the expected May 2013 finale. We hate to say it, but Gossip Girl lost its luster as soon as Blair ditched her headbands in season three. Between Blair and Chuck’s endless will-they-or-won’t-they relationship, Serena and Dan’s creepy incest (half-sibling alert, ew), and the boring Charlie/Ivy plot that dragged on for two seasons, we were fully prepared for this show to end.
The fix: If GG was given an extra season, we’d love to see flashbacks explaining how Dan juggled his roles as Lonely Boy and Gossip Girl for six straight years, if only so we could dissect it in the NYMag Reality Index every Tuesday morning.
The problem: We loved The Office when it first aired stateside, but nearly two hundred episodes later, enough is enough. Nine seasons is a long time to pull harmless office pranks and poke fun at the same low IQ characters, especially after Steve Carell, the heart of the show, departed at the end of season seven. When the series finale airs in May, it’ll be a few years overdue.
The fix: Sorry, no can do. Pull the plug.