More on Threshold

Since a ridiculously large number of people come to my blog each day to know if Threshold has been cancelled, here’s the latest news available, fresh from the MediaGuardian:

“Production of Sky One’s alien invasion thriller Threshold is stopping after 13 episodes, although US broadcaster CBS said it has not taken a final decision about whether to axe the show.”

So there you go. It’s been cancelled. Sort of. Still, with the amount of interest I’ve detected from all you guys coming to my blog, I suspect the problem is one of time slot, not of fan base. Don’t hold your breath for its return though.

Incidentally, the MediaGuardian piece also hints that Joey‘s time is nigh, which isn’t too bad a thing in my opinion.

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The Equalizer is back

Work on a movie of The Equalizer is back on course. For those who forget, The Equalizer was an occasionally good 80s show starring Edward Woodward as the hardest OAP in New York (okay, he was in his 50s at the time). If there was an injustice, he would right it with his CIA training and skills, usually violently. Not sure how much resonance it will have nowadays, given the plummeting crime rates in New York for the last decade: maybe they’ll shift it to Los Angeles, although changing the plot to “rich, white, English guy cleans up the violence of South Central” would make it walk a very thin tightrope, I reckon.

Woodward got the job as The Equalizer after the producers saw a few old episodes of Callan, one of the best British television shows ever made. I caught the first episode in a double bill with an episode of Danger Man at the NFT last Friday. Typical NFT audience (stop chatting, you scrotes: save it till the end) but everyone was quiet for Callan, the story of a former British government assassin blackmailed into working for his ex-employers again. Callan remains one of the most bleakly realistic shows ever made – only The Sandbaggers exceeds it as a realistic depiction of espionage. It paved the way for even grittier shows such as The Sweeney and Special Branch. Only the third and four seasons are available on DVD, although most of the first two black and white seasons do still exist and if you ever get a chance to see them, grab it. They make 24 look like the unrealistic cartoon it is, while pre-empting its theme that the “good guys” will often use the same ruthless techniques as the “bad guys”.

Danger Man, incidentally, was a slightly cartoony episode itself, improved only by the impressive Patrick McGoohan and its failure to use that tried and tested method of 60s spies dramas “everyone foreign speaks English, even when they’re by themselves”. Some of the Swiss German accents were iffy, but for the most part, the pronunciation was pretty good, giving the otherwise outlandish plot some grounding in reality, as McGoohan tries to infiltrate a dastardly plot without speaking the language of the locals.

Scary fact: Ian Hendry and Colin Blakely were identical twins during the 60s. Check it out and you’ll see that I’m right.

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Wogan’s back with a chat show

The Media Guardian is reporting that Terry Wogan is going to get his own chat show on BBC1. WTF? I know that Doctor Who did well in the ratings, the Parkinson comeback was a success and there’s been a whole series of nostalgia hits on ITV, thanks to the ITV50 celebrations, but whose bright idea was this? Don’t people remember what a disaster it was? This is a re-commission too far.

Wogan’s a good DJ, but he throws such low-ball questions that his interviews are the dullest things in the world to watch. They’re not the total horror that a Chris Evans or a Frank Skinner interview are, but this is not a good idea. Stop it now, BBC!

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Prison Break finally gets Fox’s backing

Fox has finally cottoned on to the fact that Prison Break has been its sleeper hit of 2005. Wisely, it’s chosen to bring the show back in March.

Fox has a history of not spotting sleeper hits. Tru Calling and Firefly were both cancelled before their time and The X-Files nearly bit the dust at the end of the first season. Of course, it also has a history of preserving shows beyond their natural lifespans: witness Married With Children, The Simpsons, Millennium, Melrose Place, The X-Files and a whole heap of other shows that should have been cancelled years before they eventually bit the dust (of course, The Simpsons is still going and it’s on season 15). That might well include 24, given season three and four’s ever-increasing stupidity and offensiveness and the probability that season five is going to go even further into the realms of science-fiction and Republican make-believe.

With the hefty promotion House is getting and the reverse of fortunes of Prison Break, there’s the possibility that Fox is finally learning some quality control. Let us nurture it and enable it to grow.

Incidentally, UK readers, Prison Break will be on Five from January.

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Threshold not cancelled yet

News of Threshold’s cancellation is premature, apparently. But the show’s still not going to last long, I don’t think, judging by this Variety report:

“Threshold” had just moved to its new Tuesday night slot last week (swapping with “Close to Home,” which has thrived in “Threshold’s” old Friday berth) but posted just a 2.1 rating/6 share in adults 18-49, as well as just 6.5 million viewers — its lowest audience yet for an original episode.

UPDATE: Whoops! Spoke to soon, again. Threshold really has been cancelled according to Digital Spy, as has Reunion, which I predicted would bite the dust in mere seconds as well.