On March 24th, F/X announced that they would not be renewing their critically acclaimed drama, Lights Out, for a second season as we originally reported here. In our original review, we stated that Lights Out was the best new show of the Spring and we gave it a coveted 10 out of 10 rating (an honor that has only been bestowed upon one other show since we started the blog, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) after only seeing two episodes and we firmly stand by that assessment, but we get why it didn’t catch on with audiences.
As terrific as Lights Out was, the boxing backdrop in and of itself simply was too niche to appeal to any kind of general audience. First, boxing has never been that popular of a sport in the U.S., but in the last two decades the sport has seen a serious decline in interest by the public. As we noted, boxing really was incidental to the show. The show was really about an ordinary man who, in his prime, had fame and money due to his particular talent, was losing everything and at this point would do ANYTHING to protect his family, even if that meant risking his own personal health, violating his own ethics and morals and even breaking the law.
The problem was that F/X sold this show as a boxing show when there were only two fights during the whole season. It was very gritty and compelling but unfortunately due to F/X’s decision to emphasize the boxing element before the show ever aired, audiences never really wanted to find out. Now, we aren’t necessarily slamming F/X for the marketing decision, though, as it’s kind of difficult for us to envision a way to market this show downplaying the boxing aspect and making it more attractive to a broader audience at the same time. Maybe “Lights Out” wasn’t the best title for the show, perhaps?
C’est la vie, though. TV shows come and go and it’s really difficult for us to get too attached to a show considering how fickle audiences are and how quickly even the best shows seem to leave us. The upside is that Season One of Lights Out played out like a 13 episode miniseries, even in the finale, leaving unanswered questions that frankly didn’t need a second season to be expanded on (even though it would have been nice). They could simply be left to the viewer’s imagination to figure it out for themselves, and that, folks, is a mark of great storytelling.
Possibly Up at the 9 Count For One More Round?
As Spock said, “There are always… possibilities.” No sooner did F/X make the announcement of the cancellation of Lights Out did DirecTV issue feelers to its followers on Twitter regarding interest in possibly picking it up:
FX cancels “Lights Out,” what’s your reaction?
And they aren’t the only ones. In an interview he did for The Hollywood Reporter, Executive Producer Warren Leight explains that although he’s not optimistic about the chances of the show being picked up by another network, they have been pitching it and Showtime’s name in particular had come up.
People express “maybe” kind of interest. I would love to believe it when it happens. My sense is it’s unlikely Showtime would pick up a show that had been on basic cable.
Not so fast there, Mr. Leight. We think everyone who watched this show probably agrees that it was better suited for premium cable than basic cable to begin with (again, we noted this as well in our original review) and there’s also the fact that Showtime has a history of broadcasting programming that was rejected by non-premium television (see: The Reagans in 2003).
However, If this does become a reality, our money is on DirecTV Channel 101 if for only the reason that they recently picked up the highly acclaimed Damages from F/X in January with Season 4 set to air in July. As much as DirecTV claims that they are out of the “Save Our Show” business, wanting to instead focus on original programming for their Channel 101, we believe that if they can find success with Season Four of Damages, their attitude about a show like Lights Out will change rather quickly. So, at this point, it’s a waiting game.
As an aside, we highly recommend reading the full interview with THR that we linked to earlier. Leight gives many insights into the show and the state of television today and confirms a lot of our original contentions about the show that we restated above.