Too little, too late for ‘Terriers’?

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The timing can’t go unnoticed. On the day that IFC announced it would be airing more late, lamented one-season series like “The Ben Stiller Show,” to go with “Freaks and Geeks” in its lineup, we got close to the final word that FX’s “Terriers” will also be a one-season wonder.

The season finale “Terriers” on Wednesday drew 784,000 total viewers, its highest total in 11 weeks but perhaps not enough to save the series. Possibly setting the stage for a cancellation announcement, FX noted that “Terriers” had its best lead-in of the season thanks to the final halfhour of the movie “Tropic Thunder,” which pulled 1.1 million viewers.

“Terriers” has received high critical praise — and in this writer’s eyes, delivered a pitch-perfect season finale — but is considered to vulnerable the axe after averaging under a million viewers during its run, dipping as low as 540,000 viewers with a 0.2 rating among adults 18-49 on Nov. 10.

Starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, “Terriers” premiered to an audience of 1.6 million on Sept. 8 but shed nearly 50% of it the following week, the last date that it topped 800,000 viewers.

Shawn Ryan exec produces the series with creator Ted Griffin, who directed and co-wrote the finale with brother Nicholas.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote that “if ratings woes compel NBC to cancel “Friday Night Lights” before its sophomore season, it could become the most critically beloved freshman series punted by the Peacock — or any broadcast network — since “Freaks and Geeks” in 2000 and “Boomtown” a few years later.” As it turned out, “FNL” survived, for four more seasons, in fact. So folks can dream.

But now, it’s my feeling that “Terriers” is poised to go down the other, sadder path. A few years from now, some cable network will pick up its reruns, and people will wonder how such great characters couldn’t find a bigger audience.

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  1. If this show gets canceled in the same way as Freaks and Geeks, then I really fear for the future of television. What does it say about us as a society that a show that requires knowledge of past episodes, a good attention span and critical thought cannot survive in this TV landscape?
    The rewards of watching this show are tenfold. The season finale left my chin on the ground. In a world where everything is dumbed-down, spelled out, implausible and in-your-face (hello, Rookie Blue) Terriers was a much-needed breath of fresh air.
    I honestly cannot remember watching a recent one-hour drama on network TV where I could NOT predict the outcome. Terriers is absolutely unpredictable in every way, and the characters are neither black nor white. Everyone exists in a sort of gray area, which makes it so damned realistic and appealing.
    I tell everyone I know that Terriers is what would happen if The Wire and The Big Lebowski had a love child. I truly mean that, and if that’s not enough to get people to watch, then I really have lost all hope in the American viewing audience.
    It will be a sad, sad day if Terriers gets the axe before it has time to grow and find its audience (and TRUST me, we’re out there). Sadly, I’m just one of the few who is taking the time to be a little vocal about it.

  2. Adan says:

    If this show is cancelled it would be a crime. These characters deserve to live.

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