Show of hands: how many people out there watched Terriers when it aired on FX?
Not enough, apparently, as the show got canceled after just one season.
A lot of people blamed the network, the timeslot, and a host of other factors for its early demise. However, buzz has built around the series after the fact, much like shows such as Firefly and Arrested Development. New fans are coming to the series not when it first aired, but because friends turned them onto it after the fact.
I think the show failed—ratings-wise—as a result of its own story development.
TV viewers are fickle. Pilots need to be quick and punchy and have a definite hook. Terriers, I felt, made the bold move of letting its first season story arc develop in a more organic manner. The first episode was good, then we had a few that just kind of moved along, introducing characters and setting up situations. It felt like a story-of-the-week show with two bumbling private eyes and the trouble they get into.
A lot of people tuned out. I stuck with it because I happened to like the characters, I like Donal Logue, and I was willing to give an offbeat crime show a chance. An ex-cop/recovering alcoholic and a former thief become unlicensed private eyes after a friend of theirs is murdered, and shenanigans ensue? Yes, please. It had, to me, a similar charm to Rescue Me, only not near as grim. These two guys face some tough times and a lot of personal turmoil, yet they want to do the right thing.
The Wife, who normally likes mysteries, just didn’t care. Reviews and comments around the Internet were mixed, with most people declaring the show boring and moving on. Unfortunately that’s when Terriers hit its stride. It finally revealed the larger happenings behind the scenes and set up the focus of the first season’s story arc. I told the Wife about some of it, and it piqued her interest, but by then she’d missed enough of the series that she didn’t see much point in watching the rest. Similarly, buzz started to build around the Internet, but it was too little, too late.
Now Terriers is on Netflix, and there’s a campaign to resurrect the series. Because Netflix has begun producing original content, and a Netflix exec has publicly recognized its popularity, the campaigners are hoping to generate enough attention for the show to get it back on the production line. I’d love to see a second season, and after watching the Netflix original Lilyhammer, I think Terriers would be a good fit for Netflix.
The Netflix Terriers site lists several good reasons Terriers would be a good candidate for resurrection, but I’d add to the list its (relatively) low production costs. It’s not a huge effects show like Terra Nova, and I can’t imagine it would cost any more than Arrested Development or the upcoming House of Cards, given the people involved in those shows.
I’d love to see a second season. Make it happen, Netflix! If you have Netflix, give the show a chance. I think you’ll dig it.