Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goodbye to Better Off Ted

News came down this week that ABC has chosen to cancel a couple of shows I was hoping would get another season – FlashForward and Better Off Ted.

I’m going to talk about other shows here – including Lost, and in so doing am going to talk frankly about anything that has happened up to the most recent episodes. Consider this your spoiler alert.

I’m a little disappointed there won’t be more FlashForward, though honestly I was just telling my wife the other day that FlashForward is a funny show in that I like almost none of the characters, but I am still watching. Certainly, I don’t like any of the main characters. It’s been entirely story –driven for me. That is not what usually draws me to a show, and certainly not to follow it regularly. I love Burn Notice – and not because of the ongoing story of Michael Westen trying to get out of Miami. I love the characters on the show – Michael, his mother, and most of all Sam Axe. Put Bruce Campbell on a show, and it is likely I will watch. On FlashForward, there is no one who I care about. John Cho as Demitri Noh is close, but like my other favorite character, Zachary Knighton’s Dr. Bryce Varley, just isn’t enough of a focus.

Lost also pulled me in at least as much with characters I liked as it did with the mysteries and stories – I never have like Jack much. But Sawyer, Sayid, Jin and Sun, Locke in the early seasons, Mr. Eko, Miles, Ben, Hurly, Charlotte, Daniel, Desmond – these were all characters I liked and cared about. This made the mysteries more impactful, because they were happening to people whose future I was invested in. This in fact is one of my complaints about this, the last season. They took Sayid - one of the most interesting characters on the show in my opinion, and turned him into an un-interesting character leading right up to his own death. I suppose his sparing Desmond and sacrificing himself were to represent his own redemption arc, but I would have rather had the capable, determined, yet internally conflicted Sayid we came to enjoy throughout the show.

Better off Ted, (link is to the show's Hulu page - sorry to those outside the US) on the other hand – wow… What to say. Here is show that was never given the chance it deserved to shine. The time was moved around repeatedly, shown in a “burn off” fashion surrounded by reruns, and indeed – the last two episodes have never been shown. Every episode was funny, well written, well acted and fun. It seemed like it would be such a perfect complement to Modern Family on Wednesday nights. Quirky characters, witty dialogue situations that could almost be true – this show should have been a hit, but I was worried right from the beginning when my friends up in Canada told me that they couldn’t even find the show in the listings – that is usually not a good sign. I wish that this show had been picked up by another network or that there could be a last-minute save for the show, but Jay Harrington, the eponymous Ted is already moving on to his next project, an NBC show called “Nathan vs. Nurture.”

I’ll miss FlashForward a little, but I will mourn the passing of Better Off Ted. At least the Season 2 DVD should have the two unaired episodes on it.

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  • Flash Forward I hadn't tried the waters on - too much of our precious PVR space getting eaten up by shows we already watch, yet don't have enough time to keep up with other than in small bursts - but Better Off Ted is, hands down, one of the funniest shows I've ever seen.

    It shall be missed.

    By Blogger Reay, at 4:34 AM  

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