In the US: Fox, but they're burning it off at a rate of knots so practically all the time now
In the UK: On Trouble TV at some point
Characters re-cast: 0
Major characters gotten rid of: 2
Major new characters: 2
Format change percentage: 25%
Oh dear. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with “Network interference”. It's no secret that Fox wasn't happy with the ratings for the first season of The Loop. But à la Tru Calling, they forked out the cash for a second season all the same. Then cancelled it before it even aired. Now they're burning off the episodes in their back catalogue as quickly as they can.
I can see why. They've been tinkering and messed it up.
After last season, the order came down from on high that the show, supposedly about one man's struggle to achieve a proper work-life balance, should focus more on his work. How ironic then that the show is now too focused on his work. Admittedly, his office life was the funniest element of the first season, but it was only the interaction with his home life that made it so funny, with the disasters his home life sprung on him working out as great career enhancers through various insane miracles.
In between seasons, two characters have mysteriously disappeared: Sam's unrequited love Piper and his housemate Sarah. In their place is a “hot new receptionist” and a misogynistic sales guy who's been promoted from incidental character since last season, no doubt because there are some Scrubs fans in the production staff who think the show needs a clone of Todd.
The loss of Piper and Sarah is more than it might seem at first: although The Loop had a slight tendency to objectify women in the first season and Sarah wasn't really much of a character, Piper and Sarah feminised the programme to some extent and made it less of a show about men in suits. Now women are objectified more thanks to hot receptionist, and make up less of the show as a whole. Even Darcy the sarcastic assistant has been made fluffier.
Indeed, it's all taken a step backwards. We've got extra whacky music at every scene break; the humour isn't quite as clever; Sully, Sam's brother is more annoying and stupid; and everything feels more like a multi-camera sitcom than it used to, right down to the titles, which are now animated and quite rubbish.
It's not awful and there are some definite comedy moments in there. But it's now a terrible warning sign to other potential comedy producers that Fox can mess up their sitcom at a moment's notice if they need to.
- June 24, 2008: Preview: Do Not Disturb
A preview of the forthcoming show Do Not Disturb