« on: 02-12-2002 18:37 »
Just a quick thing I've written outlining my objections. I'll be posting them off tomorrow, emailing them now, feeling low for a while.
I'm posting it here just to give folk a suggestion of what and how to write to Fox. Hope that a) it helps b) lots of people write in. Come on! No excuses, 100% TURNOUT REQUIRED here! I'm in the UK, and if I can do it, no excuse for others not to.
I write with concern regarding your recent and abrupt decision to remove the animated comedy show ‘Futurama’ from the airwaves.
When compared directly with its predecessor, ‘The Simpsons’, of course the follow-up show will have lower ratings; but given the phenomenal success of Matt Groening’s first series, I would have not have considered this to be any great surprise. Indeed, it would have been a shock if it had!
Judged on its own merits, without reference to its forerunner, I believe Futurama has more than proved its worth. As a resident of the UK, I would point to its substantial and loyal overseas following, the large, growing, and active internet community that has coalesced around it, and its impact on youth culture, where its characters and plots are variously met with affection, enjoyment, and outright devotion.
Given the sometimes incongruous scheduling of the show in the UK, it has not, frankly, gained the recognition it deserves. At present, it is primarily available only to Sky subscribers, a tiny percentage of the viewing public. The terrestrial channel covering it, Channel 4, puts out an irregular and excessively censored version of the show at an inappropriate time for its target audience. Neither station devotes the advertising airtime necessary for the establishment of a new show. From what I gather, the situation is not dissimilar – in fact, is significantly worse, with the ratings-killer of pre-emption to contend with – in the US.
I cannot speak for the situation in the US, but as an overseas fan it is near impossible to buy any Futurama merchandise. As an example, it was not even possible for me to buy a Futurama 2002 calendar as a Christmas present! In every store, it was the same story – no Futurama merchandise was on the matrix. In the end, I had to buy via Amazon. It is impossible to convince the public to buy one’s products if they are not available!
My final point is that Futurama is still in many ways a new show, still establishing itself in the public consciousness. Despite negligible advertising, irregular and inappropriate time slots, and the popular notion – never corrected – that ‘Fox hates Futurama’ embedded in the public mind, the show has somehow managed to garner an extensive and vibrant fanbase that puts the followings of many other similar series to shame. It would be absurd and would represent a major loss of potential income if the show was axed without at least an attempt to ‘do things right’ – a regular and appropriate timeslot, coherent and coordinated advertising, combined with a move away from the fatal and self-fulfilling prophesy that the show must be judged by the unique achievements of The Simpsons.
With the dearth of high-quality programming on other networks, foreign and domestic, I hope that Fox will not add to the problem by discontinuing one of the few consistently well written comedies – animated or otherwise – currently broadcasting.