Watching a movement to save a canceled TV show is a little like watching a squirrel fighting for its life after being hit by a truck. No matter how much you're rooting for that squirrel, it's more than a little painful to witness (even if you send for "the special really tiny instruments").
The new squirrel on the highway is "Men of a Certain Age," which was canceled by TNT on Friday. The "Save Men of a Certain Age" Facebook page is off to the rescue, complimented by more save-the-show e-mails to me (and therefore, I assume, to many others) than I've seen perhaps in my entire time working at Variety.
The arguments for the show are considerable as far as its quality goes. It was a good show that only seemed to get better with time, and heck, we've all got time to spare. Stuart Levine of Variety noted a couple of weeks ago that "Men" has legacy potential going forward that perhaps nothing else on TNT can offer (especially with this year's upcoming retirement of "The Closer.") Mo Ryan of AOLTV and Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com also made impassioned, preemptive arguments on its behalf before the axe came down last week. I would say the last time we saw this much movement on behalf of a show, before and after the fact, was with FX's "Terriers."
Which, of course, brings us back to the squirrel. "Terriers" was canceled not for any lack of love or appreciation from its network, but because the ratings, no matter how you sliced them, were dismal. (FX prexy John Landgraf even held a telephone wake with reporters to lament this fact.) There probably isn't anyone who doesn't wish the inconsistent scheduling of "Men" had been different or wonder if better scheduling could goose its viewership, but there's little evidence that TNT could find a scheduling pattern that would make a significant difference.
In any case, that ship has sailed, and the main goal of the "Save MOACA" movement is to convince another network to pick the show up (something that exec producer and co-creator Mike Royce told Ryan would be explored, however tentatively.) It's less crazy to think that "Men" might find a better fit on some other network. AMC seems to a particular target for some fan campaigners, though -– heck, call me crazy -- but now that ESPN Classic is showing "Friday Night Lights" reruns, maybe that network of viewers looking longingly back at their past while contemplating their future might make sense for "Men." Or even more so, the Golf Channel, whose viewers might relate to the quest of Ray Romano's character to make the sport's senior tour.
You know, if you can make the economics work. No problem there ...
There's no doubt that after 22 episodes dating back to 2009, "Men" has hardly exhausted its potential. I've already paid my respects, but count me among the fans who hope that the cynic in me is wrong and that they bring this squirrel back to life. For "Men of a Certain Age," life shouldn't stop at 22.