by Jennifer Squires Biller
This is the worst news I’ve heard since the cancellation of Las Vegas. And before you read any further, let me preface this column by warning you: I’m furious. Prepare yourselves for a red-faced rant.
My favorite new sitcom of the season, Aliens in America, is apparently finished, according to E!Online.
Reportedly, Adhir Kalyan, who plays Raja, has already taken a new role on Nip/Tuck on FX, and Aliens cast member Scott Patterson is also said to be looking for a new project.
If news of the show’s cancellation is true, and at this point it looks like it is, I shouldn’t be surprised. This show was intelligent, funny, and unique, and I loved it. So, of course, it was cancelled. If it had involved a dim-witted overweight husband married to a hot woman, a gladiator who talks trash as he chases people up a wall, or a sexy bachelor making out with a different beautiful woman every 10 minutes, then I’m sure it would have been a ratings hit.
I give up.
For the past few years, I’ve tried to promote what I consider great television here at Tube Talk. (Pushing Daisies, Brothers and Sisters, Friday Night Lights, and yes, Aliens in America.) I don’t write about reality shows that mock marriage, belittle people, or crush dreams. I talk about shows that I think are highly creative, not ones that dumb down our society.
But apparently, TV viewers like dumbing down. They love The Bachelor and the gladiators and watch in massive numbers. And no matter how much I endorse a show, the masses won’t tune in for well-written and acted shows like Friday Night Lights or Aliens in America.
I partly blame the CW for the end of Aliens in America. Yes, I know it’s a new struggling network that never seems to have as high as ratings as the big four, but a show can only do as well as its promoted. And frankly, I’ve seen little promotion of Aliens in America, either through ad campaigns, cast interviews, or multimedia content.
Instead, the CW seems to be solely promoting another new show this season, Gossip Girl. I’ve seen ads in newspapers, magazines, online, and every other available outlet. In fact, rarely a day goes by when I don’t see something promoting Gossip Girl.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate that show, but it’s about a bunch of wealthy Upper East Side high school kids and their shenanigans i.e. sex, drugs, peer pressure, and stealing couture dresses. It in no way compares to the best new show the CW had going for it this year: Aliens in America.
Like Gossip Girl, Aliens in America also tackles the tough subject of fitting in at high school. But while doing so, it provides a hilarious social commentary on the xenophobia currently happening in our society, as well as a look at how Americans sometimes view those who are different, especially those who follow Islam. To me, it is brilliant and eye opening, the All in the Family for this generation.
The fact that the CW chose to throw its promotion behind a show about privileged New York teens instead of Aliens in America, a fresh political and social satire, is baffling.
If the E!Online story turns out to be incorrect, and I hope that it does, then I apologize for this scathing lecture. But only in part. TV viewers, you should make better choices. TV networks, you should stick by shows that aren’t carbon copies of what’s already been on television for decades. And TV bloggers and critics, we should do a better job in getting the word out about shows like Aliens in America, so that more people will tune in.
I hope Aliens in America doesn’t join the list of quality shows that were cancelled prematurely: Jack & Bobby, Veronica Mars, Freaks and Geeks, etc. But if it does, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
by Jennifer Squires Biller