Period dramas and David Duchovny – it seemed almost impossible for NBC to go wrong.
Yet, something did go wrong, and in a very, very bad way. It all lead to the (expected) cancellation of the summer Charles Manson-based series Aquarius.
NBC was excited for Aquarius from the start, giving it a full first-season order before even a pilot could be filmed. It had Duchovny of The X-Files and Californication fame. It had veteran Lois & Clark writer and producer John McNamara. And it had Manson, a man who still turns heads from a murder spree that took place before many of today’s prime television audience was even born.
But Aquarius was never really given a chance to develop as a summer series. And it started with NBC’s strange move to somehow compete with Netflix by immediately offering all the first season episodes of Aquarius online once the premiere episode bowed – and then continuing to air the episodes each week like no one knew any better.
The next season, according to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC aired the two-hour premiere commercial-free, attracting 2.7 million. Sadly, a million of those people deserted the show by the time the second week came around at the end of June.
The network didn’t help matters much by pausing the series after seven episodes for the Winter Olympics, only to bring it back on a different night, and shedding even more viewers.
The man who would probably take the cancellation of Aquarius the hardest is McNamara himself, who had big plans for the show based on the notorious serial killer.
“I planned out the show in terms of six seasons, and every season is approximately six months. If you Wikipedia [search] Manson, he was doing stuff, some of which we portray in the show, and some of which we are making leaps and connecting dots ourselves.”
“I don’t believe you’re going to finish watching Episode 13 and say, ‘Wow, that was a big jerk off. He didn’t do anything.’ He goes there.”
NBC’s loss, however, could be Fox’s gain. THR suggests the cancellation could now free Duchovny up for more X-Files episodes after a successful limited series return last season. Fox has expressed significant interest in continuing the show, and only need to make sure Duchovny, co-star Gillian Anderson and series creator Chris Carter are on board first.
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