Lone Star is the best network drama in years, so save it from cancellation

Just watched the pilot, and I was absolutely floored by how terrific it is – the performances, direction, and writing are all absolutely top notch. It’s free this week on iTunes and streaming on various websites.

It got insanely low ratings this week, and some people put off watching the show a shot because of heartbreak. But Fox is giving the show another shot, and today the creator put up an impassioned plea urging people to watch:

Do you like to root for the underdog? Because I’ve got an underdog of epic proportions for you. We’re talking long, long shot. Like a legless horse in the Kentucky Derby. A blind basketball team facing the 95 Bulls. If somehow Rudy and Rocky had a baby it still wouldn’t be as big an underdog as our little show… Lone Star.

You may have heard about last Monday night when several heavily sequined, dancing celebrity, conspiracy laden, bowling shirted nuclear bombs landed directly on our heads. When everyone who watched your show is a paid critic or someone you went to high school with, that’s less of a premiere than a slideshow.

But! BUT!

But here we are. Still alive. A little groundhog peeking out of a bomb crater to see if there’s six more weeks of nuclear winter or if, perhaps, something can grow in this hole. And that’s where you come in.

For us to survive we’re going to have to pull off a minor miracle. Statistically, new shows tend to lose viewers in their second week. We’re aiming to gain them. In fact, screw it, let’s just double our audience. The good news is, our audience was so small that if my Mom AND my Dad watch it we’ll pretty much be there.

Here’s the thing: it really is a good show. Don’t take it from me, take if from these guys here and here and lots of other places. Are these all just people in ivory towers with tweed jackets and glasses of scotch who hate America? Possibly! But my Mom also loved it and she LOVES America just like you.

I’m not going to beg. I’ll mow your lawn or offer you some sort of sensual massage, but I won’t beg. The truth is, what we need to do is nearly impossible. I’ve heard and read that a million times since Tuesday morning. But isn’t that why we watch television? Sports? Movies? To, every once in a while, see something impossible actually happen? Impossible is AWESOME! Am I right? High five!

So here’s the plan. You go deep. All of you. You and millions of your friends. And Monday night, down by a lot with only seconds on the clock, we’ll throw the ball up, an impossibly long arcing pass into a host of defenders who are taller and flashier and stronger and probably more well endowed than all of us, and maybe, just maybe, it’s one of those moments where the thing everyone said COULD NOT HAPPEN actually just… does. And you my friend, you could say you were there, you and all your friends, just taking one big Gatorade bath with the millions of people who, like you, decided to say ‘F you’ to statistics and just settle in for a damn good hour of television.

So spread the word. Repost, retweet, re…faceboook or just put on your crazy pants and head down to the freeway exit and shout at cars like I’m going to.

Monday night.


Mark it.

Wow, reading those linked articles build this up to be a real tragedy. What was Fox thinking airing this show up against Dancing with the Stars and The Event? DWTS is essentially the dancing equivalent of American Idol and The Event has been mass marketed so ridiculously much. The only time I’ve heard of Lone Star was a brief scrolling on Hulu.

I can’t say if this is the cause of the ratings, but personally I found the premise really unappealing. The main character gets married in order to pull a long con on a rich family, even though he currently has another wife elsewhere. That’s repellent.

I actually wanted to check this out, but forgot because it was Monday night. And Monday night means football. And I suspect a lot of the people who don’t care about football were watching DWTS.

As of late, if you miss something the first time it’s on NBC, you have a decent chance of catching it again on USA later in the week. (I actually caught part of the Chase pilot, which put me to sleep.) ABC made a habit of re-running that week’s Lost episode on Saturday night or the next week before the newest episode. Fox needs an outlet like this to give shows a chance if people miss them the first time around. (and if they’re already doing it, they need to advertise it more.)

Watched it and agree that it was pretty phenomenal.

I haven’t quite put my finger on why, but it reminds me of the first season of Friday Night Lights. The lead actor looks a lot like the coach, they both take place in Midland/Odessa, and Adrianne Palicki costars in both, but that’s not why. I have always thought it was fascinating how great a sense FNL gave of trying to accomplish something in the face of impending doom, and this show seems to be along similar lines so far.

Yes, the [anti]hero of the show is a bigamist conman, but writing off a movie or TV show because the lead character is a deluded scumbag would make you miss tons of great stuff. All of the major achievements of the TV renaissance of the last 10 years have been about conflicted bad guys, starting with The Sopranos, moving through Deadwood, and into Breaking Bad.

No one knew about The Event when Fox made the schedule, but there does appear to be an opening on Wednesay.

It’s no different from the trend of morally repellent leading men of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Sopranos, et cetera. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the lead definitely seems to definitely have a grasp of morality than those leads.

I might be in the minority here, but I liked it better than Boardwalk Empire; I think the original, naturalistic approach to the criminal element is far more compelling than the tried and true, operatic grandeur. I even liked Marc Webb’s direction more than Scorsese.

I love antihero shows, but I disliked Lone Star. Maybe I’ll give the second episode a chance, but I didn’t enjoy the main character one bit. I think how he went legit at the end bugs me the most. If he wants to be an asshole with two wives then he should be the biggest asshole he can be. I want to see him pull off epic cons. Instead he wants to be a good guy former conman who just happens to have two wives. I don’t know what to make of that. If the father begins to royally screw all his plans in order to complete the con, then I might be inclined to watch more. And it was no surprise seeing Jon Voight playing the only character he ever seems to play: Jon Voight.

I uh…thought the father was a ghost for like the first 15 minutes. The flashback scene made me think he stayed and died while his son escaped out the window. I thought they were pulling a Dexter until he actually talked to someone that wasn’t his son. :D

Well yeah, that’s the thing – he doesn’t think he’s an asshole conman with two wives. He thinks he’s a good guy who’s taking care of two women he loves and making great strides in the business world. It’s certainly unclear so far how quickly and in exactly what ways things are going to unravel, but the guy is definitely the hero of his own story.

Also, Jesus Christ, how can people read Variety.

Fox is re-running the pilot Saturday night at 11PM.

Maybe, in the middle of writing this gigantic emotional plea, assumedly to the people who hadn’t seen the show on Monday, that would have been worth mentioning?

Maybe mention that in the comments or to the guy on Twitter? He seems to be replying to every tweet that mentions the show.

Also, I thought it’s worth noting that there’s a Jonathan Fire*Eater song used in the show.

The marketing for this show was terrible. I find the lead character unappealing. And the premise just doesn’t interest me.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good show, just that maybe it’s possible to make a good product that legitimately isn’t very interesting/appealing to most people. And I don’t mean “stupid, tasteless people.” Sometimes untenably niche is just untenably niche.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The marketing was awful for this show. No major spots. No buzz. Nothing.

Frankly, the elevator pitch for this show sounds terrible. “Guy fakes being an oil business executive to con a rich family but gets conflicted about it.” BORING! There’s just no zing to the premise.

As a non-Nielsen family, I have no ability to contribute to saving this show.

Also, I agree with everyone who’s just not interesting in the premise, and I also hadn’t even heard of it before I saw this thread. Fox doing bad marketing is no big shocker, but this show seems to be a tough sell anyway.

Yeah, I agree with this sentiment. I’m a big fan of noir and love stuff like The Grifters but this guy’s character just does nothing for me. He’s neither a great anti-hero nor a good hero. And while in general I don’t have to like the main character to like the show, this show seems built around the premise that we should feel something for this guy’s dilema.

Or, thinking about it some more, I’d like this guy better if he didn’t love the women he’s conning. Having him care about both of them makes him less appealing and relateable to me, not more. I’m glad he’s tortured about it and all but I don’t have any interest in watching his story.

Also, I had some trouble with suspension of disbelief on this one. These are rediculously long cons. And, a modern complication to the two-timing lifestyle, I think it’s rediculously that he can juggle a wife and a fiance in the age of the Internet and cell phones without either getting suspcious. I don’t care how much he’s supposed to be traveling for work. How does he justify always having his cell off when he’s not with one or another. That’s a strange kind of relationship in my mind.

Finally I was bothered by the use of songs I love in inappropriate context. “Here’s a con-man leaving his fake fiance so he can go be with his fake wife. Let’s play Mumford and Sons, The Cave.”

Sorry, didn’t mean to piss in the Cheerios for anyone enjoying this show. It just didn’t work for me.

Well it’s definitely strange, but people do still do the whole secret family thing.

To be honest, with the spill in the gulf and other oil/gas things, you are going to be hard pressed to find an audience for any show involving oil tycoons and their families. At least, I know that is one of the stated reasons a number of people I know aren’t watching.

It’s called music supervision (and I thought they did an excellent job at that). You should be happy that they are choosing to play these songs, and thus these independent working musicians are getting paid.

No less absurd than the high school chemistry teacher who decides to cook crystal to leave something behind for his family, or a show about a plane crash lasting six seasons.

I wouldn’t say that the upper executives at the oil companies come off in the best of light on the show.

Whatever. This show will be dead in a couple of weeks.

That might be true… but then we aren’t talking about people basing their opinion on the actual content of the show. These are people basing their opinion and decision to watch on the paragraph blurb they read in the TVguide or on some website. They read:

Robert Allen is a Texas con-man who leads a secret double life. As “Bob”, he is married to Cat and living in Houston while working for his oil-tycoon father-in-law. Four hundred miles away, he is “Robert” in a second life with girlfriend Lindsey. As he schemes to take control of the oil business, he must fight to keep his web of lies from falling apart, while torn between the love of two women.

and see “oil-tycoon” and “oil business”, perhaps remember watching or hearing about the show Dallas as a kid and they tune out. It is a giant uphill battle to try and get that potential viewer back.

A&V Club raves are pretty on the mark:

Lone Star is, hands down, the best network pilot of the year. It might be the best network pilot since Friday Night Lights. Remove Boardwalk Empire from the equation, and it pretty much stands alone, all by itself as the best of the year, no “network” qualifiers attached. It’s confident, mature, ambitious television that doesn’t feel the need to telegraph absolutely everything it does, that allows moments to play out in near silence as lead character Bob Allen (the wonderful discovery James Wolk) puzzles out just how he’s going to keep the elaborate sham that is his life going. Its blend of influences is unexpected and surprisingly enjoyable, and it creates a host of instantly fascinating characters, all of whom are deeply, deeply flawed. But where Boardwalk Empire sent out six whole episodes to let critics know it was the real deal, Lone Star has yet to send out anything beyond the pilot. And the worst fear is that there’s a very good reason for that. The worst fear is that Lone Star is a movie, not a television series.