Blu-Ray Review: ‘Family Guy: It’s A Trap!’ (‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’ Parody)

An outrageous “Family Guy”-style remake of Return of the Jedi, this Star Wars spoof finds Chris Skywalker and Princess Lois attempting to rescue Peter Solo from Jabba the Hutt, defeat the mighty Stewie Vader and blow up the second Death Star. This wacky animated parody features off-the-wall Star Trek: The Next Generation guests including Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf. – Netflix

4 out of 10

This is the third installment of the Family Guy spoofs of the original Star Wars films and it is the worst by far.  In the opening scrolling text sequence in the beginning of It’s a Trap! the writers tell a tale about how they literally put no effort into the writing of this because they were so exhausted after having done Something, Something, Something, Darkside that they just didn’t care… this is not a joke, it is the absolute truth.  It’s even admitted to by Seth McFarlane in the commentary, and it’s apparent from the first joke that they completely phoned it in.

It’s a Trap! is boring and unfunny for the most part and the jokes are generally predictable and nowhere near as good as Blue Harvest or Something, Something, Something Darkside (with Blue Harvest being the best of the three).  There is one truly hilarious scene in the film but that’s it (and unlike some other reviewers, we’re not going to spoil it by telling you what that is.  You deserve to get some enjoyment out of this mess).  The rest is pretty much a waste of time from a comedy standpoint and what’s going to be disappointing is that this is that is going to be this season’s season finale because that’s what they’ve been doing with these direct-to-video movies for the last four years.  It’s really a shame because, It’s a Trap! is going to tarnish what has been the best season of Family Guy since the relaunch.  This episode seems more suited to second or third season post-relaunch Family Guy with the unfunny jokes and jokes that just got dragged on forever than it does for the 2010 -2011 season.  If you need any further proof of how bad this is or how the writers mailed it in, they threw in a Conway Twitty scene… again… but this time they gave him a Darth Vader helmet (no, I’m not kidding).

The only reason it’s getting a four instead of one is because the special features, albeit limited, are pretty decent (the commentary is funnier than the film) and the animation is fantastic.  This is the first of the Family Guy Star Wars spoofs to be produced in 16:9 and it is quite visually stunning and in fact it is the most visually stunning of the three spoofs.  That being said, quality of animation is not why we watch Family Guy, though.

Unless you are a die-hard Family Guy fan and you must have this in your collection, we wouldn’t recommend this.  The only reason we purchased it is because it came in the  trilogy and we needed the Blue Harvest Blu-Ray and the trilogy was just $4.00 more than just the one film. Also, for the record, the Blu-ray not only comes with the Digital Copy but it also comes with the DVD copy as well so at least it’s a bargain.

TV SCOOP! ‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Preliminary Concept Art Released!

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This isn't one of the pics released, we just found it on the Internets, thought it was cool and created a title for it.

***UPDATE: DOUG DREXLER HAS CONFIRMED WITH THE THE ‘TASTIC TODAY THAT HE IS ATTACHED TO THE BLOOD & CHROME PROJECT AS WELL***

“Happy New Year Shawn! Yes! [VFX Supervisor]Gary [Hutzel] drags my bleeding corpse with him everywhere he goes!”

Check out Doug’s blog at the Drexfiles, right here on WordPress.  LOTS of fun stuff there.

Well, Battlestar Galactica fans, it looks like the highly anticipated prequel, Blood & Chrome is quickly becoming a reality.  Last month, we reported to you in our Caprica post-mortem that the pilot for the series had been green-lit and what the premise was.  Blastr.com has obtained exclusive concept art from the show’s producers (scroll down to the bottom for the slideshow) and the word is that principle shooting is to begin in late January, 2011.

Galactica SITREP did a brief interview with writer and executive producer, Michael Taylor who provides a bit of insight into these images and into the pilot:

“Those pics were just the first of the many concept art sketches we’ve been creating. They don’t necessarily reflect any particular incidents in the script; as “concept” drawings they’re helping us flesh out the new world of Blood & Chrome. And it is a new world, one that owes much to the BSG series of the past but at the same time uses CGI to open up that world in ways that we hope fans will find fresh and exciting.

As for the show’s status, SyFy has officially green-lit a two-hour pilot, and we have begun pre-production, with filming expected to begin at the end of January, or very shortly thereafter. This is the fun part for me: seeing the script take tangible shape (or “virtually tangible” shape, since practically all of the pilot will be shot on green screen) as our director (Jonas Pate), DP (Lukas Ettlin), VFX supervisor (Gary Hutzel) and a host of artists — and of course the cast that we’ll soon be gathering — bring it to life.”

We have just a few observations about this latest news:

First, it seems to us that all of this is coming together amazingly quick which means either one of two things:  SyFy is incredibly eager to wash the taste of Caprica out of its mouth and breathe life back into the most successful franchise in its history or this is a lot of wishful thinking on the producers’ part as to how fast this is all coming together.

We’d like to hope it’s the former, but this whole process seems to be going at FTL speed for us.  Goodness, the project just got green-lit it in November and the casting hasn’t even been made public on IMDb.  Then again, this is Hollywood and if, as Taylor notes, virtually all of the two-hour pilot will be shot on green-screen then you don’t have to do a whole lot as far as set dressing is concerned and we suppose it could be done that quickly.  It’s the post-production and visual effects that will take a lot longer than usual.

Which brings us to another concern, not necessarily a criticism, but a concern nonetheless:  Virtually all of the two-hour pilot is going to be shot on green screen?  Really? Are we talking Phantom Menace here?  One of the more appealing aspects of BSG was the ability to effectively mix practical sets with digital elements to the point where it was generally seamless (at least in the interior scenes) and it always makes us cringe a little when we hear about such a dramatic shift in production (especially THIS shift because we are very much opposed to the over-reliance on CG) to a franchise known for high-quality visual effects.  That being said, Gary Hutzel is in charge of visual effects again and he is a master at combining practical filming and CG effectively (see: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and, of course, Battlestar Galactica).  So, at this point we will remain less skeptical than we normally would be.

We also need to correct the Blastr.com piece we alluded to earlier.  Despite what the piece says, Blood & Chrome will not be a “two-hour pilot movie,” it will simply be a two-hour pilot episode.  The distinction needs to be made because calling it a “movie” implies by its nature that it is a “backdoor  pilot.”  A “backdoor pilot” is a made for television movie that is produced with the intention of the movie acting as a pilot episode for a potential series but is written as a standalone, self-contained story if the series isn’t picked up.  This is an important distinction because if the indications were that a project was to be a “movie,”that would mean that the network would be waiting to see how the “movie” does in the ratings before ordering episodes for the series.  That means that if it doesn’t do well in the ratings, you’ll never see a regular series episode.  If it does do well, however, it will be several months before you’ll see new episodes.

If, on the other hand, a show is planned as a conventional pilot, that means that the network heads will watch the pilot, decide if it’s good enough to order additional episodes, and then proceed from that point.  They will then air the two-hour pilot episode and shortly thereafter, air the new series episodes.  If the network heads don’t like the pilot, don’t worry about the series being canceled because you’ll never even see the pilot.  There has been absolutely no indication whatsoever that the two-hour pilot for Blood & Chrome is anything but a two-hour pilot episode and in this case that’s absolutely a good thing.  SyFy isn’t going to wait around to see how the pilot does in the ratings when they already have the established BSG audience built-in, just as they did with Caprica, so if it airs (which we are sure it will) expect that the series will follow.

Yes, we are certainly aware that Blastr.com is a SyFy Channel project, but they got this wrong and it happened for one of two reasons:

1. It was completely intentional in order to hype the pilot. This is a well-known practice in genre.  The Star Trek franchise was notorious for calling two-hour episodes “movies” or “movie-events” in the mid-to-late 90’s and in more recent years, 24 did the same thing with their two-hour episode Redemption, and in fact, they are still clinging to this notion that Redemption is a “film.”  Nah… it was just the season seven primer that aired two months prior to the season premiere to make up for the fact that the series had gone 18 months without an original episode because of the writer’s strike and they wanted to spark interest in it again.  So, again, this practice isn’t unheard of, but it’s misleading for the average audience who thinks that “movie” implies that they will be watching an original feature film on basic cable.

2.  It was just a mistake, typical of an over-exuberant blogger. We freely admit that we’ve made similar mistakes based on our excitement for a particular project.  Simply look at our rating of The Event for evidence of that.  Blastr.com is a professional site but it’s still a blog.

Finally, we are very excited about the choices in writers for Blood & Chrome if what’s reported on IMDb is accurate.  Ignore the references to Ron Moore because he has nothing to do with the new series (and we doubt Glen Larson does either), he’s simply listed as the developer as a courtesy and because he is responsible for developing the franchise and tacking his name onto the project gives it credibility.

On the other side of the coin, though, it is being Executive Produced by David Eick (and that is confirmed, it’s not just a courtesy title) and Michael Taylor as well as being written by Taylor, David Weddle, and Bradley Thompson.  This trifecta of writers was not only part of the major core of writers for BSG but they are also responsible for some of the absolute best episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well, which has been hailed by critics as the best series of that franchise, and it revolved around an intergalactic war so these gentlemen certainly have credentials in that department.

The ‘Tastic will keep you up to date as we find out more about Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.

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‘The Event’: What’s Wrong and How to Fix it in Five Easy Steps

The Event Returns with New Episodes in March, 2011

As noted in our original review, we here at The ‘Tastic are big fans of the new NBC series, The Event.  Unfortunately, since its premiere, the audience numbers have dropped steadily and the show is on life-support at this point and it’s completely unnecessary. We still stand by the contention that it’s one of the best new shows on TV but we are backing off the contention that we made that it is the second best new show on TV and if we were to review it today, instead of the admittedly generous 9 out of 10 we gave it after the premiere of the pilot, we would probably rate it a 7 or 7.5 at best.  We think we know what’s wrong and how to fix it.

The problem with the show is simple: the audience needs less talk and more rock. Showrunner/executive producer Evan Katz, who is probably the greatest asset to the show, is probably its biggest liability as well. The Event has been acting as if it’s a successful genre show, with a built-in audience in the middle of its fourth or fifth season and truthfully it’s been acting like this since the mind-numbing (albeit exciting) pilot episode with the 8,000 flashbacks and flash-forwards. The ‘Tastic admits that as genre-geeks, we may have been a little bit more over-exuberant and a little less objective for The Event than we probably would have been for another type of a show.

The fact is that as cool as this show is, we can certainly understand why the confusing back-and-forth in the pilot episode probably caused a substantial portion of the audience to jump ship immediately. Now, the flashbacks have been used much more effectively, not as much and solely for the purpose of character development (similar to how Lost did it but not as significant to the plot) since that pilot and that is an improvement, however, what’s killing this show now is the fact that was alluded to before: it’s not doing anything to keep or attract audience members. The story is very good but it’s also very slooooooooooooow for the most part with the occasional highlights of frenetic action.

Again, this type of “behavior” from a show is completely acceptable and often quite typical from a popular, established genre show with a dedicated audience but it is incredibly dangerous to do with a new show especially when it’s a niche-genre show to begin with. It’s difficult enough for a standard procedural show to build an audience, but for a Sci-Fi/Action-Thriller, it needs to immediately appeal to a general audience and hook them and the producers have to be simple about how they go about doing that. They need to go with what always works: ‘splosions… lots of them… often… and repeated chases and gunfights. Get into the cerebral crap and the plodding character development later on when you’ve already got ’em hooked. Tell an easy to follow story, initially, with a couple of good twists thrown in for good measure and rock and roll, already.

The failure of The Event to play it safe and do what’s necessary for a genre show to be successful on network TV rests squarely on the shoulders of Katz and as fans of the genre, it’s coming off to us as a bit arrogant. We are big fans of Katz and his work but he is running this show as if it’s 24, season nine or Lost, season seven as if 10 million people are tuning every week without fail. Sorry, but The Event is nowhere near ready to be at that comfort-level. General audiences are skeptical of genre shows to begin, and they are particularly skeptical of Sci-Fi shows.

We love The Event and we want to see it last more than just one season. We have come up with a plan of action that if followed, may indeed save this series (if it’s not too late already).

1. You got some splainin’ to do. Stop acting as if every week, everyone already knows what’s happening. Explain it every week until at least the second season and we don’t mean just in the teaser. You’re never going to build an audience with new viewers if they have no idea what’s going on when they jump in mid-stream.

2. Simplify. We love a complex Sci-Fi story, but you need to pare it down a little bit. There are far too many sub-plots going on with this show considering how new it is. Simplify it just a tad. The joke with Lost was that it was four seasons in before fans realized they were watching a Sci-Fi show. That’s how The Event needs to position itself. Compelling stories that are easy to follow that make the audience forget that they are even watching a Sci-Fi show.

3. Less flashbacks. As noted, the flashbacks are not nearly as bad as they were in the pilot, however, they are unnecessary for the most part as is most of the character development. This is one of the more confusing aspects of the show production. Here we have a show that has been described (even by us) as the mutant offspring of 24 and Lost and is executive produced by the former executive producer of 24 (Katz) and it is obvious that the intent is to produce a show similar to 24 (which is something else we noted in our review in regards to NBC). So knowing this, the question is, why exactly are they wasting their time with so much back-story and so much character development?

This is an action-thriller. We don’t need this much information about these characters. Fill us in with the minor details as we go along. We don’t need the life story on all 500 characters of this ensemble. I found out more about Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) in the first six episodes of this season than I ever knew about Jack Bauer in 192 episodes of 24.

Leave some mystery for God’s sake. It makes the show more interesting. Here’s a prime example: It turns out that Vicky Roberts (Taylor Cole) has a son. Instead of just letting us know that she had this child and having our protagonists use the knowledge of this child to manipulate her, the writers provided us with this protracted and elaborate origins story in the form of several flashbacks explaining how she took the child as a baby from one of her assassination targets when she was supposed to kill the baby as well and she has been raising him as her own in secret ever since (with the help of her mother). This was completely unnecessary for the story and the flashbacks took up nearly an entire episode. If they wanted to drop that story in along the way in bits and pieces, in the form of exposition through dialogue, fine, awesome, bring it, but don’t waste an entire episode in a lame attempt to take the audience by the hand to guide them through a story.

It’s not only insulting to the audience, but it paints you in a corner with nowhere to go with the character’s history in case the story goes in a different direction. Just consider how long it took to tell the back-story of the characters on Lost. The audience was given snippets for years on each character until the picture was complete and not only did it work brilliantly but it left them completely open to change the characters as the story progressed.

So, between these protracted flashbacks with these elaborate back-stories and the numerous subplots, The Event is wasting a lot of screen time unnecessarily. So, from now on, no more flashbacks unless absolutely necessary.

4. More ‘splosions, please. And what we mean by this is more action in general.  This goes back what we said about “less talk, more rock.” For an action show, The Event is lacking in the action department and if the producers follow the advice as set forward above regarding sub-plots and flashbacks, they’ll have a lot more time for the action. “Action” was used four times in the preceding two sentences.  Are we making our point clear about the need for more action on this show.

Manny Coto

5. Manny Effing Coto. For those of you who don’t know, Manny Coto is one of the premiere producers and writers in television today and his particular forté is genre, specifically Action, Horror and Sci-Fi (check out Manny Coto’s bio at IMDb).  Among those of us in the know (*snicker*), Coto really gained attention when he came into the third season of the miserable failure of a series, Star Trek: Enterprise and actually gave the show some respectability with the writing.  In season four he was made showrunner/executive producer and changed the direction of the series entirely, allowing the series to end on a high-note.  Season four of Star Trek: Enterprise is widely considered to be the best of the four seasons and that has everything to do with Manny Coto.  And, yes, we expect to get hate mail from Trek fans about the “miserable failure of a show” remark.

After leaving Star Trek: Enterprise, Coto became an executive producer alongside Evan Katz for seasons five, six, seven and eight of 24. Without, a question, season five was the most critically acclaimed season of that series (winning the Prime-Time Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series) and it’s no surprise why, really.

Katz and Coto worked together for several years on a successful genre Action-Thriller and Coto has an excellent track record of bringing a new vision to a series to change its course.  It would seem to be a perfect pick for Katz to hire his old colleague to come in and see if he can do something to change the direction of this struggling show with great potential to put more asses in the seats as the great Reggie Jackson would say.

Now, we don’t know what Manny’s schedule is like, and truthfully, the Manny Coto dream may just be wishful thinking, but season five of Dexter just finished airing two weeks ago and he was an executive producer and writer for that show and according to IMDb his plate looks pretty empty as of today.  We simply can’t think of anyone else that would be better suited to change the direction of this series and potentially save it.

The truth is that the long hiatus (new episodes will not air until March 7, 2011) may be the final nail in the coffin for The Event, so this may be all be moot anyway, but we hope not.  There are promising signs that NBC still has faith in the series, particularly that a week before the new episodes air, they are dedicating two hours on Monday February 28, 2011 to a “catch up ” episode (for more information, click here).  Why that’s a such a promising sign is because it’s stealing a page out of the Lost playbook and goes back to the first recommendation we made, which is that you need to explain to the audience what’s going on until the show picks up steam and has a dedicated, solid following.  Progress, indeed.

The Event is truly a bubble-show.  In the end, we hope despite all of its problems, NBC rides with it for at least one more season.  If not, meh.  It’s just TV, after all.

You can get caught up with The Event and watch all ten episodes, right here.

‘Fringe’ Moves to Friday Nights: FOX Pledges Full Support. Don’t Be Fooled. Fans Need To Read This.

If you haven’t heard already, Fox has moved the J.J. Abrams fan-favorite Sci Fi thriller, Fringe,  from the Thursday at 9:00 p.m. slot to the dreaded Friday at 9:00 p.m. slot.  Now as much as we here at The ‘Tastic love Fringe (to the point where we consider it to be one of the top five shows on television), we weren’t necessarily surprised by this because as we’ve pointed out, FOX pisses their pants every time they see a ratings drop.

We also noted that while the other major networks are starting to take Friday nights seriously once again,  FOX has decidedly NOT taken this approach, designating the night for reality shows and as a dumping ground for shows that haven’t done as well as they had hoped which is usually the fault of FOX to begin with (see: The Good Guys for the most recent example of this and our analysis here).  So, we’ve come to accept that no show is ever safe on FOX and that without fail, if a show is designated for Friday night it will not be renewed at the end of the season or if it is, it will wither pretty quickly the following season.  Now, with Fringe, there’s been a bit of a twist in this whole saga this week, which we’ll get to shortly, but first, it is necessary to address a fact of life that we’ve really been holding off on admitting for a long time but here it is:

FOX is an awful network and quite possibly the worst network ever… period.  End of discussion.  FOX is worse than The CW and it may possibly be worse than UPN or The WB ever was.  The network is poorly run, they make terrible, amateurish decisions regarding their programming, they have absolutely no idea how to market quality programming in order to pique interest and they don’t give shows a chance to build an audience or even maintain a modest one.  We will remind you that this is the same network that canceled Family Guy and the only reason it came back after a three-year hiatus is because The Cartoon Network aired the 49 episodes it had acquired the syndication rights to at 11:00 p.m. nightly and it gave THAT network the highest ratings in its history.  So, to make this clear, a show FOX cancelled after only 49 episodes put another network on the map when they aired them… at 11:00 p.m.

The only reason FOX has had any success is because they have had a handful of successful shows that they have MILKED TO DEATH.  Here’s the thing about that: a successful show should be able to give a network a lot of leeway with their programming and give a lot of other shows a chance to build an audience and become successful.  What this means is that a show, for example, such as American Idol, can make enough money to basically support the growth of shows that are critically acclaimed however struggle in the ratings.  This is not a new concept in either film or cinema.

Think of it like this: why do major studios invest money in relatively low-budget films with little-to-no anticipated payoff?  Well, that’s because the film industry although motivated by profit like any other industry, still sees the value in the art they produce for the sake of the art itself and they believe that every now and then, the quality of the art for art’s sake may just turn into gold.  A prime example of this is Paranormal Activity which Paramount/Dreamworks picked up the rights to for $300,000.  Why would a major studio throw $300,000 away on a low-budget ($15,000), genre film that had little-to-no chance of making them any money?  Well, first, because Stephen Spielberg REALLLLLLY liked it and second (and probably more importantly), because between G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek, Paramount grossed $1.5 billion domestically at the box office in 2009 on just those three films. So what it comes down to is that studios can afford to take more risks when they have money makers like that.  Of course, with Paranormal Activity, that risk paid off nicely, grossing $194 million globally.  Not a bad bet for a lousy $300,000, eh?

The same principle applies to television and even FOX has actually had success with this principle when they’ve applied it but they’ve only attempted it once and that was with 24 and that was nearly a decade ago.  They stuck with that show early on despite the fact that the ratings had slipped in the first season and they even used American Idol as the lead-in and it worked.

FOX simply has no foresight or vision when it comes to the potential value of good TV, despite slipping ratings and quite frankly they are missing a much bigger point and that is that due to their 20 year history of reckless programming decisions, generally speaking, audiences don’t want to give FOX a chance any more when it comes to scripted programming.  Why would they bother to ever consider getting invested in a scripted show on FOX when it’s more than likely not going to last for any significant amount of time?  It’s a vicious cycle.  FOX cancels shows (or dumps them into Friday) because the ratings slide, the ratings slide because the audiences don’t have any faith that FOX won’t cancel their show.

Now, back to the big twist in the news this week regarding the moving of Fringe to Friday…

Last week a whole bunch of blogs and entertainment news sites a lot more reputable than The ‘Tastic all had basically the same thing to say about the move.  To put it simply: they all contend that the move marked the beginning of the end for the series which certainly isn’t a stretch, particularly with FOX.

Well, the FOX execs didn’t like that too much so they came up with this little trailer that addresses (and quotes) the cynical (albeit realistic) commentary from the writers at Collider, Ain’t It Cool News, IGN, TV Overmind, and Fringe Bloggers who for some bizarre reason just don’t seem to have any faith in FOX’s support of this show.

How cute is that, right?  We’re convinced.  Aren’t you?

Entertainment Weekly, who apparently has no problem being a corporate shill for FOX and perpetuating B.S., did a nice little puff-piece where they quote FOX’s senior VP of marketing and special projects, Dean Norris, explaining what prompted the trailer:

We started getting feedback from the viewers that basically said, ‘How could Fox do something so cool for a show they’re going to kill?’ We started reading these things and said, ‘Wait! We have to address this!’” The mission was to produce a piece of communication that dealt with the situation in a self-deprecating fashion, yet also assuaged fan fears. The message, spelled out in the promo: “You May Think Friday Is Dead… But We’re Gonna Reanimate It.”

Well, that sounds great because after all if there is one thing FOX is good at it’s animation… and RE-animation for that matter (see: Family Guy).

Now, standby in 3… 2… 1… for the big lie:

The promo is the beginning of a larger effort by Fox to shore up Fringe’s existing fanbase and hopefully grow the audience by targeting teen viewers who might be at home Friday night… “We are trying to rebrand Friday, and what we’re trying to do with this show specifically is make it kind of like forbidden fruit,” says Norris. “We want that teen demographic that might not be our audience right now to say, ‘That this is a show my parents might not want me to watch — but I’m going to watch it, anyway.’”

…And this is exactly why we don’t trust FOX and neither should you.  First, and foremost let’s just examine this entire quote, shall we?

Mr. Norris, please explain to us how FOX plans to “shore up” its existing fanbase by alienating it, yet again.  The problem that we pointed out earlier is that it’s not even necessarily the fact that it’s on a Friday night… the problem is that it’s on FOX on a Friday night and their history with television shows – ESPECIALLY Sci Fi shows! – on that night.

Our first hint of skepticism regarding this sudden change of heart was in that dopey little promo itself.  It’s the quote from Roco at Fringe Blogger that they cite:

This is indeed the night… others were cast out to die.

Anytime we see a quote cited and there is ellipsis in the middle of the quote, we always research the actual source to find out exactly what the quoter wanted to leave out in order to advance their agenda.  Here’s the actual quote by Roco:

This is indeed the night the likes of Dollhouse, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly and others were cast out to die.

And there it is, folks; what FOX wants you to forget about.  The fact is that not only has FOX been brutal to Sci Fi shows that they’ve abandoned to Friday night, they’ve also spun similar stories about support and similar clever promo campaigns that REALLY made people think they gave a crap.  I refer you to the Dollhouse/Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles promos from spring of 2009.

Here’s our favorite… when Summer Glau and Eliza Dushku actually hosted the “Double Feature Friday” of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the series premiere of Dollhouse.

Three months later Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was canceled and six months after that Dollhouse was canceled.  Obviously, this is an example of FOX fully supporting their friday night Sci Fi shows.

To add more salt into that particular wound and prove the point about the total lack of vision at FOX, in May of 2009 those two shows had identical audience numbers, but FOX, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, decided to cancel Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles which had 11.4 million viewers during its first season before being dumped into Friday, was incredibly well-received by critics, had an established franchise brand-name and a built-in audience in favor of renewing the Joss Whedon mess called Dollhouse that had none of these attributes going for it.  Once again, nice job, FOX.

We won’t even discuss what they did to one of the greatest and regrettably short-lived series of all time, Firefly (also a Joss Whedon show).

As for the last big lie in that quote… who are they kidding?  Are we really supposed to believe that teenagers are going to stay in on a Friday night to watch a Sci Fi serial?  Furthermore, the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to expand the base for a show like this.

We know exactly what they’re thinking or at least the premise that they are going for in trying to promote this big lie and that is that Fringe is like The X-Files (as it’s been compared to that hit series since it debuted) and that it can appeal to everyone on that level.  Wrong.  They aren’t the same show at all and the reason why it doesn’t work is that roughly 2/3 of the 202 episodes of The X-Files were standalone, “monster-of-the-week” type episodes that were literally disconnected from the main storyline arc of Mulder’s quest for the proof of alien abduction so he could find his sister.

Fringe’s main story arc is omnipresent in every single episode whether it’s integral to the story of that particular episode or not and as much as we love The X-Files, Fringe’s main arc is a helluva lot more complicated than The X-Files alien arc ever was.  As a viewer, you cannot just jump into a show like Fringe halfway through its third season.  It would be the equivalent of jumping into Lost halfway through the third season.  You’d be lost and Norris must know this and if he doesn’t he’s completely incompetent.

So that’s what we’re left with.  TPTB at FOX are either completely incompetent or completely dishonest and what’s ridiculous is how many other bloggers and various media outlets are falling for this sudden change of heart by FOX regarding their dedication to a Sci Fi show that they have parked on Friday night.  Seriously, how dumb are they?  This is “battered viewer syndrome” (…and I’m not going to explain that particular metaphor) if we’ve ever seen it.  Do not trust FOX and their claims of unmitigated support for Fringe or any other show they move to Friday until they can be proven to be trustworthy.  The first step in doing that would be for them to order the remaining episodes for this season and order an entire fourth season and promise to air all of the episodes.  At this point, that would be the only way we would ever trust them and that’s not going to happen, so all we can do is hope for the best but plan for the worst which means expect Fringe to be canceled in May.  Let’s just hope that they bring some closure to this great series.

And, by the way… we really hope we’re wrong but we doubt that we are.