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Tim Minear’s Twitter bio reads like a… well like a list of cancelled shows, most of which I enjoyed and some of which I REALLY enjoyed. Terriers, Angel, Firefly, Wonderfalls, Drive, The Inside, The X-Files, Lois and Clark, The Chicago Code.

Preorder HijiNKS ENSUE Vol 2!

I never did see Terriers, but I know it wasn’t actually about dogs. It was about something else which was never properly conveyed by FX’s marketing department. They’ve done such a good job of keeping the show’s premise a secret that, especially now that it is cancelled, mankind will never know its true purpose. FX does that a lot. They managed to conceal the brilliance of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia with confusing and off-putting commercials from me for three seasons before I caved to Josh and Eli’s collective will and burned through roughly 30 episodes on one sitting. Needless to say it is a fantastic show, and FX obviously had no idea how to present it to new potential viewers. I would argue that it’s continued success stems only from word of mouth brow beating.

But I digress and return my attention to Mr. Minear. He has written on or show-run three of my all-time favorite television programs. The obvious ones being Firefly and Angel, but almost more than those two (okay not more than Firefly) I lament the loss of Wonderfalls. I feel like I’ve talked about it at length in the past so I won’t bore you, but it was one of the most original and captivating fantasy/quirky/dramedy style tv shows ever and perhaps the greatest injustice enacted by The Evil Fox Executive. For not only was it brilliant, but it only aired for four episodes. The season 1 DVD is available and contains the whole 13 (or was it 10?) episode run, and fans of Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies should do themselves a favor and pick it up.

The Hollywood TV Machine just isn’t meant for guys like Tim Minear and Joss Whedon. I really hope they and others like them keep exploring alternative distribution methods for content. I would love to see an online network run by guys like Whedon and Minear that independently produced well-budgeted series, shorts and features using a direct subscription, pay what you want, or unobtrusive advertising model. Networks aren’t necessary anymore and neither are time slots. Quality shows still require deep pockets but there are other ways to get funding. The future of media (books, comics, TV, movies) is going to be making specific content for a much smaller audience. Mass Appeal is the ideal that gets good shows cancelled and shitty shows a 10th season.

I know we are perhaps decades away from the current TV model dying the way the music industry and newspapers are now, but I promise you it will happen. I like seeing people pave the way for this transition by making their own content and putting it out there for others to enjoy. In that vein my buddy Mikey is making a web-series called Anthony Saves The World that you should check out.

Sci-Fi Web Series - Anthony Saves The World

You should also go out and make your own thing. How’s that for a new year’s resolution? Make that thing you’ve always wanted to make. Just start. Start tonight. MAKE SOMETHING. HAVE FUN.

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  1. Man, Tim Minear's been screwed by the tv execs more than a stereotypical "fresh off the bus wannabe starlet".

    Wonder if he'll ever write a tell-all book about his experiences?

    • sometimes I wonder how bad it really is to be Tim Minear. People in his position are VERY well compensated and he DOES actually get to make TV programs. Probably kind of hard to bitch even if he does get the shaft more often than some.

      • @ hijinksensue

        Minear's gotten the shaft more often than a female extra on the set of a Richard Roundtree movie.

        And while yeah he's gotten to make his projects, it's gotta be frustrating as hell watching execs either ruin everything with their wrong-headed meddling, or outright aborting them before they even get a chance.

        Frankly I'd rather toil in obscurity than have my work shit on repeatedly as he has.

      • It strikes me worse that, in dealing with the devil, you sell him a piece of your soul. In this case, I wonder if Minear or Whedon or other such folks maintain any rights at all to the properties created under such deals. I haven't done any research on that front, so if you must shoot me for being incorrect, please … shoot me politely?

  2. I'd always meant to watch Terriers, but it wasn't until your podcast with Chris Hardwick, that led me to his podcast the Nerdist, on which he had as a guest, Donal Logue, that I actually followed through with my viewing. I got worried when I saw Minear's* name in the credits, but thought it might have a chance b/c Shawn Ryan (the Shield) was involved too. Two episodes in, I heard it was cancelled. Sucks b/c it really is a great show (9 eps in now)–victim of a bad title and shitty marketing.

    Watch it when you get the chance.

    *I’m a fan of Minear's work, but I know he’s cursed, hence my fear. Wonderfalls was awesome, but I had issues the Inside.

  3. It's weird, I think the comic looks better like this than fully coloured and whatnot. Joel's JFK face in the last panel is perfect. I don't know, maybe it's just really well drawn and would look even better in colour. All I know is it looks great.

  4. Jeff, "Terriers" never drew the numbers it needed to stay alive, but it wasn't officially cancelled until after it finished its complete 13-episode season run. For those who did not watch (and their numbers are legion), you missed something truly special. It was hard to market because it was almost impossible to describe. But sweet fluffy Buddha, it was GOOD. Hurts-to-think-there-won't-be-more good.

    • Hey TinEarTom, it's very sad indeed. I was very late to the party–I think you're right, the season was over by the time I started watching. I meant that I'd gotten through the first two shows and the next day it was announced that there weren't going to be any more. Makes each successive episode bitter sweet.

    • We're about six episodes in, I think — we watch it whenever we have a free hour to sit in front of the DVR. Knew it would be cancelled by about episode 3…. it's just too awesome, and anything I think is awesome gets cancelled. Does it at least end in a halfway-satisfying way?

      Er, not that the premise of the show lends itself to any expectation of anyone living happily ever after or anything, but you know what I mean.

      • Yes, there's no major cliffhanger moment at the end of the season (I mean, there kind of is, but if you know the characters, you know how it turns out). Nearly everything is wrapped up by the end.

  5. Really Terriers was terrific (Sorry about the pun I can't help myself) I highly recomend catching it any way you can even now that it's been cancelled. You can say one thing about Tim Minear's getting waterboarded by the networks he's started making sure that there's a nice closure at 13th episode of everything he makes just in case ya know. And yeah it got screwed by the marketing department but if like Veronica Mars you'll love Terriers isn't really gonna draw in the viewers even if it's true., so what can do?

    • "he's started making sure that there's a nice closure at 13th episode"

      I hear this from so many good shows these days. I hate that shows have to second guess their longevity and cater the story telling around the likelihood of a swift cancellation. The same thing happened with Freaks and Geeks.

      I was also a big fan of Tim Minear's "The Inside" and it only aired 4 or 5 eps. The remaining half season never even aired in the US or made it to DVD and there was certainly a big plot arc building that was never fulfilled.

      • Well, that is kind of a real fear among TV show creators, not making it past the first season. Some honestly don't believe they can do it. Case in point: watch the 1st season finale of "The Venture Bros." with the commentary on. Hilarious, and insightful!

  6. Will do! Thanks, Joel!

    (Not actually being facetious!)

    Also, like the comic. It's fun to see the linework before it's all coloured and whatnot! And I love Josh's expression in the last panel.

  7. I'm making something myself… actually inspired by Terriers very brilliant story telling … it's called "The Words Left Unsaid" and of course we have a dot com that is all the title words smashed together if you care to look at it.

    Now… just to find a way to get through 12 episodes and funding for them :/

  8. Online distribution seems to be the way that some content creators are going to have to go. The Brothers Whedon gave us a proof-of-concept with Dr. Horrible and I don't really know what else needs to be said about The Guild.

    The problem, at least initially, is going to be the money available to make the shows. We may well have to resort to quality over quantity for a while longer, which is no bad thing. Web video needs to grow and mature, just like cathode-ray video did. The money will come. We just need to show the people who have it that this model is worth investing in.

  9. Terriers was an amazing show. I heard so many good things about it after the pilot aired, that I started watching it the following week. The show got better and better, and I'm sad that I wont get to see the continuing adventures of Hank and Brit. They had a level of chemistry and charm that most likely wont soon be met again.

  10. Well no I'm sure i have to track this terriers down. Hopefully I will get to it in a more timly fashion then Battlestar, which I am now finally watching and really onlt because of this comic.

  11. It's almost as if the networks treat their shows, not as pieces of entertainment, but as commercials for their own inevitable cancelation and DVD release. And within those commercials are carefully inserted product placements. Which, of course, are interrupted every 12 minutes with commercials.

    • It's only a matter of time before the commercials themselves also include banner ads along one side that advertise an unrelated product, just to double up the bucks-per-minute.

  12. I discovered Always Sunny back in 2006. Fox actually did something smart and showed it on Fox the channel one Sunday. It was the Gun Control episode and Charlie's face firing the gun was what sold me.

  13. I, too, am a huge fan of Tim Minear; I actually still haven't watched the last two episodes of The Inside (I'd have bought a DVD, but of course FOX won't even let them do that; the internet, though, finds a way) just because I don't want to feel like it's ended.

    Related to the question of alternate distribution and production, have you heard that Pioneer One just released a second episode? Apparently they've already filmed eps 2, 3 and 4 and are hoping to get donations to go whiz-bang on two more episodes to finish off the season, then hopefully start working towards a second one. Really interesting to see completely independent folks producing a TV series, and with SG:U now cancelled and the future plotline of Pioneer One involving going (back!) to Mars it's looking like especially for space-based "TV" the independent route might be the only one left:

  14. Ugh, the cancellation of Pushing Daisies broke my heart. I would even be happy if someone could magically touch that show and bring it back to life for one minute, before touching it again and leaving it dead forever.

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