About Cult TV

Nikita

Nikita

There is a lot of TV that comes on air. A lot of it is forgotten almost as soon as it stops airing. Some of it lingers in the social conscious for a while before generations begin to chance and it too falls to the wayside. Then there is TV that stands the test of time. Shows that may not be explicitly relateable in their setups any longer, but the characters are still interesting or relateable. That’s how we get our classic TV that is run late at night and on the holidays, but never really goes away. It remains so future generations can revel in it’s art. But the classic’s aren’t what I want to talk about today. Today it’s all about cult TV. Similar to movies, these are shows that find themselves the cult following.

Great, but Cancelled
Many of the wonderful cult TV shows that we think of tend to be shows that we brought to the public’s attention, but not enough people latched on to the show during it’s initial airing for it to continue. What I see many times with shows like this is the participants in the show and even the studios are eager to the produce the show because they believe in it. It’s why shows sit on the bubble year after year, hoping to be renewed. And if they are lucky they at least get warning before they wrap it up. Nikita is one of those shows. They got the warning that the renewal was for a final 6 episodes, but every year Nikita sat on the bubble. It was never because it wasn’t a good show, any one who’s watched a few episodes could tell you that. But it didn’t have a mass appeal like some shows and thus made it harder for it to garner an audience.

One of the biggest cult shows of recent times was Arrested Development. People fawned over the show. It was the show that didn’t get to live on like it deserved. It was an off-beat comedy that in the current atmosphere likely would have thrived. Unfortunately, it was before it’s time. Yes, the characters are ridiculous. Yes, the plots are outlandish. And yes, it does require you to actually pay attention to the comedy before you so you catch all the subtle references and jokes that aren’t being fed to you. It however, is nothing that is too much to handle.

Whedon and Cult TV

Firefly Promotional Photo

Firefly Promotional Photo

Despite a couple hits, and by a couple I mean two, Joss Whedon’s TV shows are brilliant and unique, but fail to bring in an audience. Buffy lasted for seven seasons and Angel for five. Both part of the same universe and both achieving cult status anyway. People love Buffy. Then again, who wouldn’t she was a kickass vampire slayer and still acted like a real girl. For every five people who swear by Buffy, at least one person loved Angel. We’ll leave Agents of SHIELD out of this conversation because Whedon isn’t as involved with the show as he was his others (Not his fault, he’s a busy man). Dollhouse has it’s avid lovers, me included. It was a great show that tapped into a great story. it didn’t find it’s feet at first, but when it did it took off running. But like all shows it needs an audience it didn’t have.

I’m leaving an entire paragraph for Firefly. I will admit, I’m not a big Firefly person. It’s something to do with the fact that it’s a space western, actually it has everything to do with that. However, the legions of fans of this show make me reconsider my personal tastes to give the show a shot every year. The show has gained an exponential number of fans since it’s DVD release and presence on Netflix. If all those people who tout the show now, had been watching then, it never would have been cancelled. Admittedly, if FOX aired the episodes in order it would have helped. Firefly become so big in it’s after life that Whedon was able to create the movie Serenity to give the fans closure on the series.

What are your favorite cult shows?

One thought on “About Cult TV

  1. Pingback: Lumberjack imitates “The Prisioner” | RW designing

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