In order to make room for their upcoming new Fall line-up, Fox is clearing out its underperforming series. Alcatraz, The Finder, Breaking In (again), and I Hate My Teenage Daughter have all been officially canceled, and will not be returning to the network this fall.
Of course, most of these cancelations aren’t likely to take anyone by surprise. Despite each series having its own strengths and weaknesses, the overall ratings for most of these shows are well beneath acceptable levels for network television.
Perhaps the most prominent series being canceled by Fox this year is the J.J. Abrams-produced Alcatraz. Presented as a compelling tale of fantastical events which led 300 people from the island prison in 1963 to the present, its actual execution turned out to be nothing more than a string of episodic tales revolving around criminals who,it turns out, aren’t all that bad.
As for Breaking In and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, the news is a little less shocking, as both were previously pulled from the schedule shortly after they first aired. For I Hate My Teenage Daughter, its almost instantaneous decline was all but expected. As far as new series went for the 2011 Fall television series, I Hate My Teenage Daughter was generally considered the worst.
With a mixture of poorly conceived characters, premises and an awkward presentation of mothers being “hilariously” berated by their children, not only did the series not feel like it belonged on television, but its placement within Fox’s typically strong television schedule had many worrying that the network’s programming decisions had taken a turn for the worse.
Of course, if anything is going to hit a fan base in the gut, it will be Fox’s second cancelation of Breaking In. After premiering in 2011, Breaking In had a strong following for a freshman series. Unfortunately, the low ratings led Fox to cancel the series – but not to let it go completely.
Making use of their contractual option for the series, Fox essentially put the cast on hold until it could figure out what to do with this new show. After finally agreeing to bring the series back for a second season, all eyes were on the “little show that could” – to see if a second chance paid off.
Unfortunately, it didn’t. Generally just as entertaining as its first season, Breaking In always felt like a TV series that was on the wrong network. With geek-centric jokes and pop culture innuendos, Breaking In always worked best when it played to a specific group of people. Of course, when that specific group of people largely doesn’t watch television live, there’s nothing much left for a network to do but to cancel a series.
And not to be left out, Fox’s The Finder was a brief experiment in what can happen when a lead actress on your other hit series is going to have a baby. Serving as a second series for the man behind Bones, it’s hard to believe that Fox would have picked The Finder up if they weren’t faced with having to split up Bones season 7.
With enjoyable moments here and there, The Finder largely felt like it was better suited to a different network. While some may argue that perhaps The Finder didn’t belong on any network, one could argue that trying to fit the only overtly comedic-drama into a network schedule isn’t easy – something that Fox’s previously canceled series The Good Guys can attest to.
When it comes down to it, seeing a television show canceled is never fun – even if you’re not a fan of the series. Nobody ever intends on making an unsuccessful series, so when it happens it’s more unfortunate than anything. That being said, Fox viewers walked away relatively unscathed in this year’s axing. Sure, House is finally coming to an end, but Fringe isn’t. So when it comes to adding up your personal television scorecard, you should still be coming out ahead when it comes to Fox.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio