Always Watching

A Quick Farewell To The Unusuals

In ABC, Cancellations, Programming, The Unusuals on 06/17/2009 at 1:56 pm

It’s the end of the line, folks. This evening marks the series finale of ABC’s quirkiest cop show in recent memory, The Unusuals.

The show debuted in April to somewhat promising numbers on the middling side and the network tried moving it around a bit, seeing if a certain lead-in could help, what time slot was best. There were even rumors that network execs really liked the show and wanted to bring it back for a second shot next year…But it hasn’t worked out.

Sometime last year, when I heard there was a new Amber Tamblyn pilot floating around I was pretty excited. When word came it would be appearing in April and would not only have Tamblyn but also Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg (as partners, no less!), I couldn’t wait.

I’ll admit, when the pilot premiered and the voice-over of a police dispatcher made some terrible joke in the first 5 seconds of the show I lost a bit of the wind in my sails. After watching the pilot I thought to myself “Definite potential…Let’s just hope they figure out what works and what doesn’t fast enough to save the show.”

And guess what: they did. Pretty quickly the producers, directors, actors, et al, smoothed out the edges, streamlined some things, made the show more enjoyable. Unfortunately by the time they had worked out whatever needed to be worked out, it was too late. The audience had disappeared or the network had given up, depends on who you talk to.

Truthfully, I never really thought ABC was a good fit for the show. The network does quirky femme-centric drama really well. Non-disgusting reality TV, they know what they’re doing. Interesting sitcoms…Well, they’re kind of trying.

Since day one, I always kinda wondered if The Unusuals may have done better had the pilot script been seen, tweaked and given the go-ahead by a cable network. A certain cable network. One known for quirky cop/law enforcement-esque shows. A cable network that really likes strong characters.

I imagine that, had this come about the show would have looked radically different yet still hold what, in the end, charmed us about the series.

Someone behind the scenes at the show Twittered a quick note a couple weeks ago about talks to move the series to a cable network but I haven’t heard a peep about it since, so I doubt that will come to pass.

Let’s take a moment of silence for The Unusuals. It brought back the quirky cop to a world full of overly dramatic and often disgusting procedurals. It also portrayed New York City and the weirdos that make up the common man more realistic than most shows, especially scripted, unless you count the fact that one of the cops lived in an old diner. Does anyone really believe commercial real estate is cheaper than residential in NYC? Yeah, residential rents are astronomical but commercial even more so. But I digress. A moment of silence, please.

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  1. Really going to miss this show. Shame it's over.

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