We live in a world where the TV landscape is dominated by crap like (insert CBS Show here), but there are a couple of basic cable channels fighting agaisnt the storm of mediocrity, and attempting to produce quality programming.
The first of the 2 is AMC. With award winners like Mad Men and Breaking Bad they’ve earned a reputation for excellence, and they have the Emmys that go along with it. Now that they’ve added The Walking Dead to the mix, they’ve cemented their batting average with Hall of Fame like numbers in quality and production value. The second channel I refer to above is FX. While their constant onslaught of movies like Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Little Nicky never seem to stop polluting the cable stream, they do get credit for being chance takers. That makes me want to give them some slack for their regrettable decision to put Two and a Half Men on about a 1000 times a day. The fact of the matter though is, their original programming is unsurpassed. Comedies like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are what got me watching FX years back, but shows like Rescue Me and Nip/Tuck are what hooked me. And though they tired in later seasons, (both had extremely weak fourth seasons) they set a high bar early on. Though not nearly as high as the one set by The Shield, one of the greatest cable shows of all time. Vic Mackey though didn’t find an audience right away, it was FX that showed faith to keep him around and develop something great. Now ratings giant Sons of Anarchy, after being given time to find its audience, and having a 2nd season so good I’d compare it to early seasons of The Sopranos, is carrying the network. By doing so it allows them to take chances on shows like The League and Archer, which have both been hilarious, drawing in some of that Always Sunnycrowd.
Then in the early part of 2010 we got Louie and Justified. Louie started a little rough, but picked up steam and finished out it’s freshmen year strong. Justified however didn’t suffer from a slow start since it came out strong from the word go. This show hit me exactly right, at the precise time I needed it. A hero for the ages, timeless and untouchable, Justified instantly became my favorite FX show. I thought that I’d seen the best 2010 had to offer, and others agreed as Justified was renewed for a 2nd season after only a few episodes. Then Terriers hit.
Wow. Terriers, to me, is about as good a show as I’ve seen. But unlike the aforementioned Justified, along with shows like Archer and Louie which got mid season renewals, Terriershas yet to find an audience. Or rather, yet to find an audience that seems to register in the ratings.
A combination of obscure marketing and a title that tells us almost nothing about the show’s content, Terriers opened the season with the lowest rated premiere of any show on the network, despite being the best. It’s an odd departure from a network that seemed to market Justified perfectly. I knew I was hooked as soon as I saw the first trailer for the show. With Terriers though, I was asking the same thing everyone else was: What the Hell is that? My buddy had called after having seen several commercials of a small dog ripping stuff a part and asked what I knew about the upcoming show. I answered: “Same as you, nothing.” However I then went on to say I knew Donal Logue was in it, and I trusted FX, and that would be enough for me to give it a chance. So a chance it got. And one was all it needed. I was hooked 20 minutes into the first episode. The dynamic between our principal characters Hank and Britt was cool and funny, and seemed genuine. I immediately started recommending it to everyone I knew, but as I don’t have a Nielson Box, I can’t sway ratings power the way I wish I could. After a few episodes, once I had several people hooked on the show, I starting checking around the web and learned sadly, that show was already in trouble. Like so many other shows I loved (Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, ect), odds were against Terriers getting a 2nd season. As the season grew on the attitude of bloggers everywhere seemed to get more desperate and the show got nothing but better. Now here we are, just 2 days from the last episode of the season, maybe ever, and despite the quality of product, we’ve been given no indication that Hank and Britt will be granted a reprieve. Early on, when Always Sunny was struggling, FX gave them a chance. They brought Danny DeVito in for Season 2 and the rest is history. So I implore you to watch this Wednesday, and give the ratings a boost big enough to make FX remember what they did all those years ago for the Gang at Paddy’s Pub, and renew Terriers.