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The Morning After: Terrier Than Thou

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A reader on Twitter writes:

any chance of a Terriers Morning After? Another solid ep last night. Show does lots of little things right.

Done and done, and agreed! I have not, unfortunately, had the time for week-in-week-out reviews of FX’s Terriers, but I’ve still been following it weekly, and I’m a little puzzled, frankly, why it isn’t doing better in the ratings, even by FX standards. When I first saw the show, I remembered think that here was the “Rockford Files remake” that NBC’s been looking for, except better, because it’s not a remake of anything. Instead, in the spirit of the original Rockford, it’s a soulful, suspenseful series about underdog private detectives scrapping to get by. America still loves underdogs, don’t we?

Obviously I realize that you couldn’t literally put Terriers on NBC, not directly, with its content and language as is. But couldn’t you do the concept there? The prevailing attitude at the networks right now is for shows in familiar genres that aren’t too hard to follow, and while Terriers has its serial elements, it’s pretty solidly in that category—and funny, well-written and well-acted to boot.

I wonder, though, if there’s something in the bittersweet, noir spirit of the show that simply turns people off. One of the last big-network private-eye shows made in the mode of Rockford—about the life and regrets of a private eye with a checkered past—was ABC’s excellent Karen Sisco, but despite a great performance from Carla Gugino and an Elmore Leonard pedigree, it didn’t last too long, either. As Heather Havrilesky noted in a perceptive review at Salon, the dominant mode of Terriers is regret, and I wonder if that is just not an emotion you can sell to a mass audience now.

So I want to hear from those of you who watch and love Terriers. But if it’s possible, I’d also love to hear from those of you who aren’t watching it, or better, who watched it and stopped. How can people reject a little TV gem like this? You tell me.