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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.
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.
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.