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the rambling fanatic
Journeyman, New Amsterdam, & Moonlight cancelled; The Border preps for Fall launch of season 2 
13th-May-2008 08:20 pm
Whoa!
When it comes to new TV shows I tend to have this rule. I rarely watch a series in its first outing and it isn't until a second or third season that I check out shows that had struck me as interesting and have somehow managed to make it through the network television gauntlet.

The X-Files--middle of its 5th season.
Smallville--middle of its 5th season.
Supernatural--reruns of the 1st season in preparation for season 2.
Six Feet Under--3rd season
Ally McBeal--3rd season
Roswell--2nd season
Homicide: Life on the Streets--4th season
Gilmore Girls --6th season
Veronica Mars--3rd season

Of course there are exceptions to that rule. I was there for the very beginnings of Deadwood and Rome (both on HBO), Friday Night Lights on NBC, Millennium on Fox, and this season's Damages on FX. However as a general rule and as a means of protecting myself from getting too attached to a series that probably won't even make it past their 3rd episode, I generally choose to stay away. Sure I follow the media buzz surrounding those shows that I'm interested in but I always stay a safe distance away. Pre-launch buzz doesn't always translate into ratings. Can you say Bionic Woman, because I can.

However this season I deviated from the very plan that had always worked so well for me. My theory is that the shows that appealed to me reminded me of shows that are near and dear to my heart.

NBC's Journeyman reminded me of a 21st century Quantum Leap that hit upon a question that I always wanted addressed. In Quantum Leap what was it like in Al's present? What affect did Sam's absence have on his colleagues, friends, and family? Journeyman addressed that by giving our time traveler Dan Vassar a wife, a small child, a brother, and a job with deadlines that needed to be met. It was a difficult balance and Dan was still working out the kinks. However with NBC's annoucement of its Fall schedule and the absence of Journeyman that pretty much seals its fate--cancellation.

Because I can here's a look at Journeyman's beautiful opening title sequence.





My interest in Moonlight comes mainly from my love of Forever Knight. I really wanted to like this show. It had lots of potential but after watching the first few episodes I felt that it fell completely flat. Sure it was flashy and it looked great but there were so many inconsistencies, some of which I outlined here and here. I couldn't even look at it as campy fun. And I still call major foul at the ability of Moonlight vampires to withstand the sun long enough for Mick (don't get me started on his name) to do daytime investigations. When that popped up I couldn't help but feel my heart sink at the thought of Forever Knight's Nick and his loft filled with sun iconography and his longing to walk in the sun. Today news broke that CBS has chosen to not renew Moonlight for a second season. Despite my criticism of the show I have to say that the news really surprised me. I genuinely thought it would get picked up for at the very least a mid-season 13 episode order. The series had a lot of back stage drama with showrunners exiting left and right but it looked to me that once they passed their growing pains they might be able to carve out a fairly decent show. Oh well. Although I am slightly bummed that we won't get to see more of Coraline, Mick's wife and vampire master...er...sire. That's the word they use. She was spirited off to France by her brother along with Mick's only link to achieving temporary mortality. All that was rough on poor Mick. After all 50 years of not having coffee, sleeping in a bed or eating a cheeseburger is unbearable. Yeah I know I'm being facetious. I have to admit that there is an interesting story that could be told by Mick's still very fledgling status, even if Moonlight (where 400 is considered old) doesn't really treat him as a fledgling. In actuality it's probably worse for a vampire to still remember what it was like to be mortal than for a vampire who has already lived long enough to where their memories of mortality are fading.

Opening title sequence for New Amsterdam.




And lastly there's New Amsterdam, a show I enjoyed for its blend of Highlander: The Series' and Forever Knight's penchant for historical flashbacks and Forever Knight's police procedural. Occasionally I'd notice situational or story based similarities to Forever Knight but unlike with Moonlight, where I found myself annoyed, I was excited by them. Yeah, I know it's weird. Anyhoo, Nikoaj Coster-Waldau was a very appealing lead and the supporting cast was decent but like Moonlight the show suffered from it's romantic elements. John Amsterdam is cursed with immortality until he finds his one true love. OK fine but the current lady he believes to be "The One" is married. Well not really she's separated. The series had a trunucated season that lasted only about 8 episodes and by the second or third episode "The Alleged One" and John have hooked up. Say what? Don't get me wrong, I like romance but I'd much rather it not be the focus of my genre shows. That was one of the problems I had with Moonlight in that Mick and Beth were supposed to be the romantic pairing the audience was supposed to root for but the writers don't take the time to introduce the characters to us independent of their intended.

With Forever Knight, if pressed I'd define myself as a Nick/Nat Packer even though I love Nick and Janette together as well. In the third and final season, which coincidently was my first, I felt that Nick and Natalie were more or less together even with his sidetracking with other women. Nick and Natalie together was my default setting. The second season episode "Be My Valentine" which I'm sure a great majority of Nick/Nat Packers would hold up as their all time favorites really doesn't do much for me. Sure I like Nick and Natalie expressing their feelings for each other and other elements the episode had but it wouldn't make my list of all time favorite Forever Knight episodes. It is the first season, where Nick and Natalie are strictly friends but who also have their share of flirtageous moments where my status as a Nick/Nat Packer was cemented. All this is just a long winded way of saying that, when an on-screen romance is done right and allowed to progress (which admittedly Forever Knight didn't always do) it shouldn't take away from my enjoyment of a show. That's where Moonlight and New Amsterdam failed for me.

I realize that all this sounds like I'm super critical and hard to please. I'm really not. I like my share of mindless entertainment as much as the next person. That sort of segues me into the 4th freshman show that I took to watching--Gossip Girl. That's right, Gossip Girl, the show the CW pretty much threw every single advertising and promotional penny at. It's in no way my type of show and and I was slightly disgruntled that it was getting what seemed like 20 billion ads while Smallville got next to nothing. I watched one episode. One random episode in hopes of seeing a Smallville ad and in the process I got sucked into the episode's story. The same thing happened the following week and the following week before I lost my local CW station. Gossip Girl has the distinction of being the only freshman show that I watch to get a pick up.  I guess being the CW's favored child has its good points.

And while I'm on the subject of renewals I should probably mention that season 2 of CBC's The Border is currently prepping and will begin production at the end of May for a Fall 2008 launch. That makes me very happy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Maggie-centric episode as well as some actual dialogue exchange between Catherine Disher's Maggie and Nigel Bennett's Mannering. And as long as I'm making my wish list known perhaps Geraint Wyn Davies can make an appearance. He's tied up at the Stratford Festival till late October but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
Comments 
14th-May-2008 08:03 am (UTC)
I pretty much have the same problems to all the shows you outlined above, although with Moonlight I'm trying to give it a chance, just to see what all the fuss is about.

I have fond memories of Forever Knight and I'm looking for ways to obtain a copy of the series, I remember liking Nick very much. New Amsterdam had potential and, again, as you observed, they paired up Amsterdam with his love interest a little too fast and I found the rules of John's immortality problematic.

Gossip Girl caught me by surprise, I started out trying to hate it but it sucked me right in. It is just so watchable, you can't not watch the next episode. It's near impossible to do so.

Oh, you must really try out Life it's quite a gem of a series with really fantastic characterizations, I think you'll quite like the partnership between Dani Reese and Charlie Crews and if you're not too averse to obtain the series via other means I'm more than happy to help:)
17th-May-2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
...with Moonlight I'm trying to give it a chance, just to see what all the fuss is about.

The show does get better towards the end although. It had major season 1 growing pains (the behind the scenes drama didn't help) but you could see it trying to carve out an identity and a mythology. I haven't seen any of the episodes that aired after the strike. I do have them recorded and eventually I'll get to them especially since some other FK fans who were watching out of curiousity expressed general satisfaction with it. Of course Mick is no Nick Knight and Beth is definitely no Natalie Lambert.

I have fond memories of Forever Knight and I'm looking for ways to obtain a copy of the series, I remember liking Nick very much.

Yay! Every now and then the first two seasons pop up as part of buy one get one free sales online. Check the 19.99 rack at your local Wal-Mart. My local store no longer has them but they were there for a long time. 42 of its 72 are available to stream for free at Joost which is similar to NBC's Hulu. You have to download the player but it's painless. They have the first part of the series opener "Dark Knight" but oddly enough are lacking the second part. In fact most of the first season (which I adore so much) is missing, as is season 3 but with the exception of one or two episodes season 2 is complete. If you're ever interested I can certainly point you in the direction of acquiring it through other means.

Gossip Girl caught me by surprise, I started out trying to hate it but it sucked me right in. It is just so watchable, you can't not watch the next episode. It's near impossible to do so.

I'm on pins and needles about Gossip Girl. The DVDs cannot get here sooner. In the meantime I've been reading a little fic here and there to keep me tied over.

Oh, you must really try out Life it's quite a gem of a series with really fantastic characterizations

When the new season starts I will definitely be there. The more I read about it the more I like it. Your posts certainly help too. It's available on Huluand I've started watching but I always have to stop after a few minutes. Where are the DVDs!?
19th-May-2008 02:25 am (UTC)
You know, I don't know why but one thing that irks me about Mick is that he was playing such a know it all for a vampire who was only turned 50 years ago. Other than that, from the episodes I've seen I think it's a serviceable show.

Oh and thanks for info re: Joost.

When the new season starts I will definitely be there. The more I read about it the more I like it. Your posts certainly help too. It's available on Huluand I've started watching but I always have to stop after a few minutes. Where are the DVDs!?

Yay! Glad you've started watching the show! Word of warning though, the Hulu versions doesn't have the original music that the broadcast version had, unfortunately, the producers didn't have the money to have the music play more than once so they switched music during the web version. I think that's part of the reason why there are no DVDs yet. Ravich & Co. are still trying to secure the rights to have the original music on the DVDs. The music in the original version works so well that it adds a lot to the show.
15th-May-2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
Haha. I actually didn't watch Moonlight because of my love for Forever Knight. My mom watches the show, and she said it was pretty good. When asked if it was better than FK, she said it was two different kind of shows, but she had a huge cheesy grin on her face, which told me FK is better and she didn't want to admit it, lol.

Oh, and I also didn't like Mick's name...too close to Nick for my taste, lol.
17th-May-2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
Let us bask in the happy glowiness that is Forever Knight for a moment or two.................OK, done for now. :)

Oh, and I also didn't like Mick's name...too close to Nick for my taste, lol.

Agreed and "Mick" just sounded silly. I couldn't take him seriously with that name. I'm guessing it was short for Michael which would have been nice or maybe Mike but then I would have been thinking about Mike from Blood Ties. ::shrugs::

When they retooled the show for the new cast I was certain that his name would be the first thing to go but no, it was the first thing to stay. Some FK fans were upset because it was too close to Nick and they felt the producers were trying to copy FK. I highly doubt that was ever the case. FK, as much as we fans love it, was a pretty obscure show and it has been 16 years since FK ran on CBS. My guess is that the name was part of the whole private investigator/film noir thing they were going for.
18th-May-2008 02:29 am (UTC)
Not to mention "Mick" always reminds me of Crocodile Dundee! LMAO

Just thought I'd point that out, lol.

Edited at 2008-05-18 02:30 am (UTC)
18th-May-2008 05:16 am (UTC)
>"Occasionally I'd notice situational or story based similarities to Forever Knight but unlike with Moonlight, where I found myself annoyed, I was excited by them. Yeah, I know it's weird."

No, not weird. Or, in any case, that was largely what I was getting from New Amsterdam, too. NA had the ability to push many of the same buttons Forever Knight did. For me, that means that NA ande FK both worked their parallels and metaphors (I adore metaphors in fiction). On the other hand, Moonlight -- as enjoyable and even clever as it could be when it tried -- never really did anything with metaphor, and only began to work with parallels after the strike.

(I liked the way NA ended, if it had to end. Learning that she was not The One, that he'd gotten ahead of himself and entered a relationship wrongly, misleading them both, placing a supposed mystical sign over the hard work of building a real relationship and getting to know a real person ... that should be a lesson to him. Too bad we won't be around to see it learned.)

Personally, I see no point in a fantasy scenario that is not a metaphor for a real-life scenario. After all, we viewers and readers all live in the real world. If the fantasy is not a comment on the real world, why does it exist? (Some people say "pure escapism," but I've never yet been able to escape that way.) FK beautifully comments on difficult real-life situations through its fantasy metaphors, and NA was working satisfyingly in that direction, in my opinion.

I'm sorry to lose all three of the shows you mention here -- New Amsterdam, Moonlight and Journeyman -- but I'm afraid I gave Journeyman up for canceled months ago, after hearing one of its producers interviewed on NPR, and I never dared cherish high hopes for New Amsterdam, after the retool and the small episode order. But Moonlight, darn it, I had expected to survive! And I had hopes it would grow through a second season.

The last show I really fell for, Young Blades, was not renewed after thirteen episodes. I have not let myself fall for anything since, but Blood Ties and New Amsterdam came close.
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