Episode 5: Places And Things

Television Man | by Aidan Morgan

“Run, run as fast as you can / You’ll certainly catch me ’cause I’m the Television Man” — old nursery rhyme

A well-known philosopher once wrote that the source of a zombie’s horror lies in its indeterminate existence between states of life and death. I say zombies are scary because they’re trying to murder everyone. Would zombies be as scary if they just stood around, holding up lines at Starbucks with extremely detailed questions about cold beverages? What if they fixed cars or gave financial advice, but not very well? Would they be scary? Or just annoying?

These are obviously great questions, but beyond the scope of a television column. But what happens when TV shows become zombies — cancelled but lumbering along towards the end of their seasons, heading for a point that may or may not be a satisfying finale. Is that scary? Or just kind of sad?

Swamped Thing

Problems plagued DC Universe’s Swamp Thing before it even hit the air. First came the news production was being halted. Then the network trimmed the season from 13 episodes to 10. No one seemed to know what was happening, but that didn’t stop the speculation. Some cited creative differences between DC and executive producer James Wan (Aquaman, The Conjuring). Others thought the upcoming launch of WarnerMedia’s streaming service was putting DC Universe’s existence in jeopardy, causing executives to run around screaming and devouring each other’s brains.

Not to worry, explained DC: it’s all just some stuff that happened and everything’s fine. On May 31, Swamp Thing debuted to acclaim from both critics and fans — a rare success for a superhero show.

Glad you liked it, said DC six days later. Because we’re cancelling it.

Subsequent news stories claimed the cancellation stemmed from a problem with North Carolina’s film tax credit, which should be disconcertingly relatable for Saskatchewan readers. DC and North Carolina have both denied the story. As of this writing, no one knows why Swamp Thing was shoved back into the bog so swiftly, but new episodes will emerge every week until Aug. 2.

It Was The Best Of Places, It Was The Best Of Places

Bad news, good people. NBC’s The Good Place, which is the best show on network television according to my Show-a-Rometer, is hitting the big, red Janet-killing button once and for all. Showrunner Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) revealed June 7 that his metaphysical comedy, which debuted in 2016, will end after four seasons. Schur said the creative team mapped out the show’s arc after it was renewed following its first year, and now Eleanor, Michael and company’s story is coming to its natural end.

Sad news, but at least the existence of The Good Place means we’re not living in The Bad Place. Probably.