One man, two wives. The good news: he saved on insurance

There’s plenty of whining on the Internet today about Fox making Lone Star the first cancellation of the season. Some are saying it is being punished for being different or being a serial drama or not having a big name lead. That everything else new this season is just derivative and boring. Left out of the discussion, it seems to me, is that it is a really dumb idea for a TV show.
This dude is a con artist. He’s pretending to be married to a hot blonde, and also has this double life with this equally hot brunette. His con artist daddy says run the scam, steal the money, don’t fall for the fake life. The dude says he loves both women and he’s gonna keep on running between two homes. The daddy dude he fake works for says he can spot a phony and he has his eye on him.
An OK movie premise, I guess, but this thing was supposed to run five years?? Lone Star never passed the what’s the next episode sniff test, in my opinion.
The show had an enormous problem even the programming geniuses at Fox should have recognized. Men wouldn’t watch it because he’s getting away with what we all want and he’s making us all look like two timing weasels. Women won’t watch it because he’s a two-timing weasel. That doesn’t leave many viewers.
That it was too good for today’s TV market is ridiculous. Viewers have never been more sophisticated. If you’re going to bring a cable premise, bring it to cable. Watered down Californication just leads to Swing TownLone Star wasn’t even Knots Landing meets Sister Wives.
This thing started small and shed viewers like crazy minute-by-minute. In other words, the few that did sample it didn’t like it. There’s no way you bring this thing back in episode four, five or seven. It is D.O.A. Next.


  1. Glad somebody pointed out the show’s shortcomings. I hate those holier-than-thou critics who will use Lone Star’s cancellation to give them yet another excuse to complain how stupid viewers are.

    If TV wants a con man in prime time, bring back Sawyer!

  2. After last week’s poor ratings, the rush to canonize Lone Star was a bit hasty. I watched the first episode and liked it well enough –the acting, the mood established, and the plot as well–but it is true that the premise would be difficult to work long term.
    I disagree with your points though about 1) the idea being dumb and 2) men and women being turned off for various reasons. Really, in the abstract, you could make the same points about Don Draper and my favourite show, Mad Men.
    After all the pilot was set in 1960 before anyone in the key demo (18-49) was born. That could be seen as a dumb way to hook viewers.
    And Don Draper could be seen as just as unlikeable and unrelatable as Bob on Lone Star. He’s a hot shot ad man working in the heart of Manhattan, with a hot wife and a parade of attractive mistresses. And he reflects many of the sexist, racist, homophobic attitudes of the times.
    But it’s the best show on TV and has a devoted following because of it’s effectiveness in execution (the characters, the mood, the themes that you mull over for days after). Lone Star’s pilot hinted it might have similar weight, and that’s why the rush to defend it and keep it on the air.
    You’re right about the level of sophistication on TV today. But the problem is most if not all of that sophisticated programming is on cable; hence the reason all the Emmys for drama go to cable shows. But that means your ordinary viewer in the US or Canada has to pay extra for special packages that will get them the channels showing that programming (TMN, HBO Canada, Super Channel). Some of the highly regarded US cable shows don’t even air in Canada, like Louie or Terriers
    So it would be really nice if that level of creativity came to network TV. Lone Star provided some measure of hope that that would happen, but it’s quick demise makes such a possibility much less likely.

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