We live in a world where the TV landscape is dominated by trite garbage like (insert CBS Show here), but there are a couple of basic cable channels fighting against the storm of mediocrity, and attempting to produce quality programming. The first of the two 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 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 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-cop shows of all time. But Vic Mackey didn’t find an audience right away, and 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 second season so good it can be compared 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 drawn in some of that Always Sunny crowd.
Then in the early part of 2010 we got Louie and Justified. Louie started a little rough, but picked up steam and finished out its freshmen year strong. Justified on the other hand came out strong from the word go. This show hit exactly right; A hero for the ages, timeless and untouchable, Justified instantly became one of the best shows on FX. Justified was renewed for a second season after only a few episodes, and it seemed as if 2010 had peaked.
Then Terriers dropped.
Terriers is every bit as good a show as anything else mentioned above, but unlike Justified, Archer and Louie – which all got midseason renewals, Terriers has 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 almost nothing about the show’s content, Terriers opened the season with the lowest-rated premiere of any show on the network. It’s an odd departure from a network that seemed to market Justified perfectly from the very first trailer. With Terriers though, I was asking the same thing everyone else was: What the Hell is that?
Several commercials featuring a small dog ripping stuff apart didn’t give much of a glimpse as to what the audience should expect. For me, Donal Logue and trust in FX were reason enough to watch – but that was clearly a minority opinion.
Sure enough, the dynamic between the principal characters was cool and funny, and it seemed genuine. The plot was intriguing and the pacing was good. This was sure to be a hit. Sadly, however, the show was already in trouble only a few weeks in. Like Firefly, and Freaks And Geeks, before that, odds were against Terriers getting a renewal. As good as the show might be, it wasn’t creating any sort of ratings buzz. So while the season marched on, building on the story and improving from week to week, hope continued to fade.
Now, just two days from the last episode of the season, perhaps the last episode 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 to fix things. 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.