There’s nothing more frustrating than a TV show that can’t find a night. Truly, that’s the network’s fault. “Firefly”, one of the greatest television shows ever filmed was ineptly handled by its network, Fox, and never had a chance. It bounced around the week, then got pink-slipped. The same can be said for other shows as well. Guilty as charged, good ol' Fox mishandled the great “Brimstone” in 1993.
Seinfeld was barely even watched when its first season completed, but NBC thought there was enough there to give it a shot and the rest is history. One of the, if not THE, greatest sitcoms of all time.
Those days are gone.
In this day and age, viewers have the ability to see when a show is struggling thanks to the power of the internet and instant ratings results. They often get involved in a struggling show’s attempts at survival. Constantine and Hannibal are examples of shows that have fan bases who took to the internet in massive campaigns to attempt to save their show, to no avail.
Lucan, airing in 1977 and 1978 had one of the weirdest broadcast schedules ever. With a premier in September of 77, and two months until the second episode, it was hard to get in to it. Then it took a month off after it aired for 5 weeks straight. Who the hell was running the show down there at ABC anyway? This program never had a chance. Even with maybe 4 operational channels in a given area, how could a person find the damn thing?
Less than 12 episodes ran. Hardly a case study for a successful launch. In any case, Lucan was a show about a boy who had been raised by wolves, and the drama that enfolded his reintroduction into society. It starred Kevin Brophy as the seminal character. Its debut was a made for TV movie that someone saw enough potential in that they decided to sell it to series, although it appears that they jumped ship like it was on fire after that point. Ned Beatty, Stockard Channing and John Randolph were all involved in this, and I wish for the love of God that I could remember it better. The reason? Because from all accounts when you pissed ol’ Lucan off, his eyes glowed amber, and he, as the theatre instructor in Teen Wolf put it, would “Wolf up, Wolf out, uh… Wolf it”.
The show went off the air quickly, and I remember being hugely disappointed. I was 6, what did I know? So I talked my Dad into buying me the novelization of the pilot movie. What the hell was I thinking? How was I going to read this thing at that age? I eventually did a few years later, long after having lost interest, because I was bored.
It’s a bye gone era, the era of the novelization. They still exist to an extent, but it’s not the same. Before there were VCRs, you could go to the grocery store and buy the paperback version of the movie you saw at the theatre that you were so in love with. It was a way to keep the images alive in your mind as a kid. For me, Lucan was the first example of many to come. I was a huge novelization fan.
By the by, if you’re into novelizations, (or were) check this out:
And despite 40 years gone by, and only 12 episodes airing, someone still cares (this is a pretty sharp site, actually)