There was once a time where shows with passionate but minimal fan-bases had little chance of surviving because the nature of television wouldn't allow for it – just ask the cast of Firefly. However, in the modern age, where the business of the small screen is all about making money not just through first run airings but streaming deals and off-network syndication, smaller shows often find ways to stay alive – just ask the team behind Hannibal.
Given that, there’s real reason to clamor for a Hail Mary savior to aid in the revival of one of TV’s best comedies of the last few years, Sirens.
In its reporting of the cancellation, Variety made very clear that, according to what they learned, the ending of Sirens came down to nothing more than simple series ownership compared to ratings:
“Sirens” had a very passionate fanbase, but Variety has learned USA decided not to go forward with a third season because the series didn’t find a big enough audience, especially given that the network did not own the property.
Co-created by Denis Leary and Wedding Crashers co-writer Bob Fisher, Sirens was a USA comedy that followed the lives of three Chicago-based EMTs - and that’s all anyone really needs to know about the actual plot. Off that simple premise, the series delivered some of the finest comedy to grace television (broadcast or cable) in recent years. Not through pretentious “innovation”; rather, through contagious charm and playfulness.
Sirens is quality counter-programming to other great comedies like Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As indicated, for the moment, things aren’t looking too bright, given that USA handed down a cancelation, following a second season of low ratings. But, while normally this would be the end of the conversation, there’s reason to stay hopeful.
In television’s modern age of ownership, it’s becoming more and more rare to see shows produced by a studio that operates outside of a network's controlling umbrella get on the air. Essentially, it’s this model that keeps the likes of the low-rated Louie alive. It may do poorly for FX in actual broadcast, but since Fox owns the series through FX Productions, the company can ultimately make money off the series’ acclaim via streaming deals with Hulu and Blu-ray purchases by fans. This fact is also what allows other shows like Longmire to stay alive when cancelled. Longmire was produced by WB and aired on A&E but when A&E pulled the plug, Netflix saw enough value in the show to pick it up, with WB still remaining as the producing studio.
Ultimately, this is the fate Sirens deserves.
The EMT comedy is cheap to produce, has a highly passionate fan base that’s taken the series to a 4 star rating on Netflix and, above all else, is genuinely funny. In the end, what killed Sirens was not a lack of quality or even lack of passion from fans, it was a combination of moderate ratings and the fact that USA simply didn't own the show. Sirens is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, meaning there are two potential saviors in this story: FX and Netflix. Why? Because those two entities, in particular, can propel the show to its rightful place among TV comedy royalty.
Sirens’ green light came out of a desire by USA to push into the world of sitcoms. Sadly, things haven’t gone as planned for the network and the only survivor of the whole ordeal is Playing House (which, despite having lower season 1 ratings than Sirens, is owned by USA and can make money elsewhere for Universal). Since Fox is the commander of Sirens’ ship, and since Leary already has a new show coming to FX this summer (in the form of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll), there’s reason to imagine FX, or its comedy based cousin FXX, ordering a third season of the show for themselves in order to profit off it later through streaming deals and Blu-ray purchases. In fact, Sirens would serve the network well as it could become an interesting counter-balance to the morose nature of the networks’ current comedy slate: providing a genuine level of playfulness to the otherwise quasi-dark comedies currently airing.
As for Netflix, the show would fit right along with the likes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Just like Sirens, Schmidt is about the enjoyment that comes from experiencing life from a different, more upbeat perspective. What better companion than a show about a group of friends that keep their spirits high while being faced with some of the worst sights the world has to offer?
No matter what the future ultimately holds for Sirens, it's safe to say the show is simply too good to let die - not yet at least.
We'll keep you up to date on the future of Sirens - should Netflix of FX step in and save the show.