Why did “FlashForward” fail?

The world blacks out and sees a glimpse of its near future. It was a good premise, yet here we are a few months later and “FlashForward” has been canceled. What happened?

Ratings were strong in the beginning and kept falling throughout the series run. ABC shelved the show for a while during the Olympics, but ratings continued to plummet when it returned.

Generally, I enjoyed the show, but grew a bit weary at times, largely because I really didn’t feel that there were any characters worth rooting for. Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) was supposed to be the hero, but he was always so angry and serious all the time that it was hard to like the guy. Everyone was so weighted down by the emotions surrounding their flashforwards that no one was happy. Moreover, no one was funny.

“FlashForward” made me realize just how important it is for any show, even a drama, to have a good sense of humor. Think about the last few great dramas — “Lost,” “The Shield,” “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Sopranos,” hell, even “The Wire” — they all had moments of hilarity. Can we say the same about “FlashForward”? I can list several funny moments for each of those aforementioned shows, but I can’t think of a single funny moment in “FlashForward.”

That said, I gave up on “V” but stood by “FlashForward,” yet the former has been renewed while the latter has been canceled. I thought the storytelling in “FlashForward” was far superior to “V,” but that’s not saying a whole lot. “V” doesn’t have a sense of humor, either, which is why I deleted my season pass.

With the departure of “Lost” and “Battlestar Galactica” and the failure of “FlashForward,” sci-fi television is struggling.

  

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Is your favorite show in danger of being canceled?

I’m really digging TV By the Numbers, which always seems to have good ratings information. They have a Cancel/Renewal Index (click here for ABC) which attempts to handicap the chances of a show being canceled or renewed.

As you can see from the ABC page, there are nine shows that the site deems “likely to be canceled,” including “Better Off Ted,” “The Deep End,” “the forgotten” and, somewhat surprisingly, “FlashForward.” I guess looking at the ratings, it’s not too surprising that “FlashForward” is on the chopping block, but it is surprising that the show hasn’t done better. ABC did run 10 episodes in a row, but then the show was off the air for 3.5 months before the “spring season” started up. One could argue that the network botched the scheduling, but given the small difference between the ratings of the final 2009 episode (2.1) and those of the first 2010 episode (1.9), it doesn’t hold much water.

Other random thoughts:

* “V” seems to be doing okay, though I think “FlashForward” is the better show.
* The numbers for “Medium” are a little surprising. It’s essentially the same show that was on NBC last season.
* I’m surprised that “Sons of Tuscon” has already been canceled. That is/was a funny show.
* It’s nice to see that “Fringe” already has another season, though “Human Target” is on the chopping block. It’s a fun show, but I’d like it if Christopher Chance were more of a womanizer, like James Bond. I can’t believe that he didn’t make a pass at Moon Bloodgood last week. Ridiculous.
* “Heroes” appears to be on the bubble, though the site says it’s probably a goner. That’s one show where they need to figure out a way to wrap things up so it just doesn’t go dark in the middle of the story.

Note: I removed all references to shows listed in grey. Grey apparently equals black, so shows listed in grey have already been renewed.

  

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