Why Terriers Was Axed

“Based on what these people saw in those two episodes, the FX-centric viewer just rated it lower in areas such as intensity, suspense, sexiness. When you talk to the USA-type viewer, they rate it lower than their favorite shows because it’s not a land in which every babe is hot, and the sky is incredibly blue, and everybody lives in an apartment three times as big as they could legitimately afford, and everything comes out great in the end. What we ended up with—and this is a much more nuanced and complicated answer—was a show that somehow fell between two brands.”
FX president John Landgraf

Depressing as that is, it’s nice to see the president of the whole network take significant time to explain the exact logic by which they axed Terriers. And while it is a bad name, and showing anything dog-related inevitably hurt it, he’s a pretty clear thinker about statistics and their significance. There’s even something refreshingly scientific about the way he breaks down his job, and his capacity to influence the outcome. It’d be nicer to think there’s a massive audience for smart stuff with no obvious hook and some evil middleman was stopping it reaching them, but Landgraf’s elaboration is more likely to be tough truth than an easy lie.

“If the answer is as simple as change Terriers to Beach Dicks and take the dog off the poster, and it’ll quadruple its audience, then I’m being dumb in not picking it up, especially since it’s such a good show. I did my best to answer that question, and unfortunately the answer was resoundingly no, that’s not likely to create a different outcome. Because for whatever reason—that’s disappointing and not entirely fathomable—people just don’t want to watch this show.”

Cheers to Chris for the link.

7 Replies to “Why Terriers Was Axed”

  1. I didn’t know anything about the show except for those generic teasers, which told me absolutely nothing. I watched one episode on your recommendation and was hooked. A really fantastic show. It’s a shame it won’t be coming back, but that was probably the best ending we could have hoped for.

  2. I never really got hooked, or even truly loved the show: it was the sort of show where every couple weeks I’d remember I had a couple episodes queued up to watch, and I’d watch them. I did like it, though; it was always worth watching, I thought the writing was good and there were plenty of surprises, and the season finished strong: in fact, rather than wait a week to watch the last episode On-Demand, I bought it on iTunes so I could watch it sooner.

    I’d say the weak promos probably hurt its chances a lot, and the main character looking like a stinky homeless guy probably didn’t help. And some shows, no matter what, just don’t find an audience. I bet if it had a chance on DVD before cancellation, it probably would have had stronger numbers in season two, but alas.

  3. I watched the first episode on your recommendation and was rather underwhelmed as it was so mostly predictable and the characters uninteresting.

    I was going to give it another chance but then I also started Life on Mars AND The Larry Sanders Show, both of which completely hooked me before the half way point. Maybe I’ll do it after this lot. (but then, I’ll probably just end up re-watching the early Top Gears… just remembered that they were rather entertaining)

  4. This show was generally brilliant, although consistently the most amazing thing about it to me was how it handled Internet culture. Most mass media is hamhanded about the Internet at best and technophobic (with good reason) at worst, but Terriers always seemed to completely take it in stride without ever being overbearing (i.e. Laura the “blogger”).

    I didn’t expect it to continue, though; the style and leads are just not attractive to a mass audience at all. Really interesting to read the exec’s comments though. Seems pretty honest.

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