Pop Rocks: Bye Bye, Chicago Code -- Fox's Greatest Crimes Against TV

Fox you, "Code" fans.
Fox you, "Code" fans.

The fall network TV schedules aren't set to be released until next week, but the bad news has already leaked for fans of Fox's The Chicago Code, which was not renewed for a second season in spite of a mostly positive critical reception:

Answering questions from disappointed fans on Twitter, Shawn Ryan, the executive producer of "The Chicago Code," said he would try to shop his show to other networks, "but that's a long shot."

At the same time it was canceling existing shows, Fox was reportedly ordering two new sitcoms ("The New Girl," starring Zooey Deschanel, and "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," starring Jaime Pressly) and two new dramas ("Alcatraz," from the "Lost" mastermind J.J. Abrams, and "The Finder," a spin-off of "Bones").

At last those of you who haven't gotten your requisite Deschanel fix from her annoyingly twee movies can see her on the small screen as well. Meanwhile, I feel for Chicago Code fans, but given Fox's track record, the show's cancellation can hardly be seen as a shock.

And in terms of outrage, it doesn't even crack the top tier of the network's programming crimes.

You can go back almost to the network's inception in 1986 to see they've never been shy about giving a series the axe before it got some steam going. For purposes of this exercise, I'm sticking with those shows that ran one season or less, with apologies to fans of Arrested Development and Millennium, both of which lasted three eternity in FoxTime.

Werewolf (1987-88)

I didn't have a TV during the late '80s, so I have to go on the word of friends that insist this was a pretty cool show. It followed newly bitten student Eric Cord on his quest to kill the original werewolf of his bloodline ("Werewolf Zero?"). He, in turn, was pursued by a bounty hunter. Sounds a lot like The Incredible Hulk, right? And so what? That show was awesome. And fuck vampires.

The Tick (2001-02)

Don't listen to what anybody else says, The Tick was funny ("Who puts gum on a roof?"). It also wasn't owned by Fox, so they didn't go out of their way to promote the adventures of the big blue lummox, Arthur, Captain Liberty and Batmanuel. It was canceled after nine episodes.

I maintain it was because of the use of Comic Sans in the credits.

Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002-03)

Conan's former sidekick got two mid-season runs for his show, but I'm still counting it (the first one was a whopping six episodes). I don't know anyone who thought this had a shot in hell, considering Fox's lousy track record with shows that don't have the words "Simpsons" or "When [x] Attack" in the title. It's a miracle AD lasted as long as it did.


Wonderfalls (2004)

Let's check the show description (from Wikipedia):

Jaye is the reluctant participant in conversations with various animal figurines -- a wax lion, brass monkey, stuffed bear, and mounted fish, among others -- which direct her via oblique instructions to help people in need.

A protagonist who hears voices? Didn't you people learn anything from Herman's Head?

Space: Above and Beyond (1995-96)

In retrospect, it's probably for the best I was in grad school/playing a shitload of Doom II when this aired and hence unable to follow along too closely. Being a big fan of the Space Marines in Aliens, I'm sure I would have lapsed into despair following S:AaB's cancellation and been unable to complete my Master's, forcing me to blog for local newsweeklies for beer money and...wait a minute.

Action (1999)

"I'm in contempt of all of you old whores and hypocrites." Seriously, the day America didn't rise up in defense of this often scathing look at the entertainment industry with a Warren Zevon theme song is the day we deserved to be bought out by the Chinese.

Undeclared (2001-02)

If Judd Apatow had never been given the boot by Fox (and NBC for Freaks and Geeks) we might never have gotten The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Of course, we wouldn't have gotten Talladega Nights either...tough call.


The Good Guys (2010)

Who cares that it was shot in Dallas? This satirical throwback to '80s cop shows was the best thing on TV last summer, harking back to the days of T.J. Hooker, when every police show was mandated by federal law to have at least one explosion per episode. After being relegated to the Friday night gulag, it was just a matter of time before the show was axed. This network has no respect for Foghat.

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