It may have barely left the womb, but Fox’s serialized drama, Lone Star, is in trouble. After just one episode.
It’s premiere last week received only 4.1 million pairs of eyes and a 1.3 rating – and that’s off the back of a ‘House’ lead-in. Some people are surprised that Fox didn’t dump the show there and then. Instead, they’re sticking with it..for now.
In order to prevent Lone Star from fading out like a distant Sun, ratings need to leap ‘Free Willy’ style, starting tonight. Don’t just take it from me, the show’s creator/exec producer, Kyle Killen, has written an open-letter to fans on his blog:
Do you like to root for the underdog? Because I’ve got an underdog of epic proportions for you. We’re talking long, long shot. Like a legless horse in the Kentucky Derby. A blind basketball team facing the 95 Bulls. If somehow Rudy and Rocky had a baby it still wouldn’t be as big an underdog as our little show… Lone Star.
It’s perhaps difficult to describe Lone Star. It’s something of a sleepy serialized drama, with an anti-hero at its heart. A con man leading a double life, who finds that he loves both of his fake lives more than his real one. Throw in some daddy issues and you have something that is far more risky than the Dancing With The Stars of this world. But that’s what we here at Seriable want to see – ambition.
Killen is appealing to Lone Star fans to help do the impossible and keep the show on the air:
So here’s the plan. You go deep. All of you. You and millions of your friends. And Monday night, down by a lot with only seconds on the clock, we’ll throw the ball up, an impossibly long arcing pass into a host of defenders who are taller and flashier and stronger and probably more well endowed than all of us, and maybe, just maybe, it’s one of those moments where the thing everyone said COULD NOT HAPPEN actually just… does. And you my friend, you could say you were there, you and all your friends, just taking one big Gatorade bath with the millions of people who, like you, decided to say ‘F you’ to statistics and just settle in for a damn good hour of television.
Now, I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as a Lone Star fan – the opener was good, but not necessarily my cup of tea. However, there’s surely a deeper issue here. If Lone Star gets scrapped after just two episodes (with only four in the can), this could be something of a kick in the ribcage for serialized television, and the type storytelling that seeks to rise above the samey reality and cop shows that dominate our screens. Now, not to be disrespectful to those shows, we all have different tastes and sometimes it’s easier to watch Big Brother than a serial. I have no problem with that, and have been known to chance the odd reality show myself (it was a cold winter). But sometimes you have to fight for the right to be entertained in the right and proper way. I’m not suggesting that anyone go out and watch Lone Star if it’s not your thing. Give it a chance, perhaps. But in broader terms, maybe those of us who do enjoy ambitious storytelling can find additional ways to support our shows – whether we’re talking about Fringe, V, or whatever else ticks your box.
Don’t get me wrong, not every serial is a winner. But here at Seriable we’ll give them all a chance. The difference between something like, say, Heroes and Lone Star, is that Heroes had its chances over and over again and (for me) failed to deliver. But personally speaking, I think it would be a real blow if Lone Star gets canceled so early on in its run. What impact will this have on the type of shows that creators and networks come up with in future? Will they be less willing to take risks? Will we see more procedurals and reality shows?
Hopefully the show manages to find enough people who enjoy it and are willing to stick with it because those people might not just be enabling a potentially good show to flourish, they could also be ensuring our next big serialized obsession one, two or three years down the line.
Are you supporting the Lone Star cause, or would you rather Dance with the Stars instead?