What could the CW’s Star-Crossed have done differently that might have saved the show from cancellation?
The CW is not picking the freshmen drama Star-Crossed up for another season, despite an interesting premise and support from such stars as William Shatner, arguably a sci-fi legend himself.
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William Shatner has been making waves on Twitter recently thanks to his support of all the sci-fi shows on the CW. The actor, a former sci-fi big name himself thanks to his time on Star Trek, has been championing the network as an outlet for sci-fi, and he wants to encourage people to watch shows that are trying to make it in the genre since they are often few-and-far-between on television.
And it worked! Earlier this season, after Shatner live-tweeted both The Tomorrow People and Star-Crossed, the shows reported rating gains for the episodes that followed. Shatner got a little bit of publicity for his actions, but it was really the fledgling sci-fi shows that benefited in the end.
As it turns out, it wasn’t enough to save either show, but it did get each more publicity than they had been receiving. Maybe if Star-Crossed had had other big name supporters, and had capitalized on the rare nature of its science fiction storyline, it could have stuck around a little longer.
But all the support from fans on Twitter couldn’t save the show from low ratings, and Star-Crossed had some of the lowest on a network that already doesn’t regularly perform as well as some of the other “big” networks like CBS or FOX.
To be honest, I saw this coming. I had a lot of problems with the premiere of Star-Crossed, and didn’t find myself engaged with it in subsequent episodes. But it had potential. With a few minor tweaks CW’s Star-Crossed could have become a stronger drama which would have resulted in better ratings. Let’s take a look at what the show could’ve done differently.
Does anyone else remember when Julia brought up to Emery that she and Roman took all that time to finally be a couple, only to breakup about ten seconds later? Yes, I’m exaggerating, and she was too, but the gist is the same. We were supposed to be rooting for this “star-crossed” couple (get it?), but it was rare to see the two actually be a couple.
Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter needed to work on their chemistry. But to be fair, the show did them no favors in the way their relationship was written. There was very little buildup to them falling for each other, and instead of showing us suspenseful scenes proving that the two couldn’t be together, the writers just told us they couldn’t, through the mouths of several characters and using rather weak dialogue.
But this relationship problem had an easy fix–let the viewer watch it unfold. If we had a little more insight into how and why Roman and Emery fell for each other, and if the reasoning for them to be kept apart had been portrayed better, Star-Crossed would have been a much stronger show. And since the star-crossed nature of Emery and Roman’s romance was the main draw for the CW drama, it had to be done well, and most of the time, it just wasn’t.
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I will be the first to admit that I love “genre” television. If a show has a sci-fi, fantasy, or generally a speculative fiction bent, I’m there.
But a big, big part of this type of show is the world-building involved. You have to make the world changed in some way–by a supernatural or fantastical. Star-Crossed tried, but it didn’t do enough in the world-building department to hook the viewer. Why is that?
To begin with, Roman and Emery’s world was very isolated. Obviously, Roman’s had to be, since he was living in a small, military-controlled Sector. But why didn’t we see more about the way the rest of the world had changed since the Atrians arrived? Why did it seem like most of the time it was only their little corner of the world that really felt the change in having the alien race around?
We heard from characters about some of the changes, but I would have liked to see more of the way the arrival of the Atrians rocked the world. It would have just added something to the show, and maybe made the conflict between the humans and the Atrians in their part of the world feel more amplified and important somehow.
Star-Crossed thrived whenever we got to see the teenagers just be teenagers! I liked seeing Roman, Emery, Grayson, Drake, Sophia and Lukas work together to smuggle the Suvek out for example, and while it wasn’t exactly fun for them, it showed them bonding and was fun to see.
We saw that the teens were experiencing regular adolescent milestones like dances and school carnivals, but we didn’t see as much of the average, everyday teenager stuff that would have solidified their friendships for the viewer.
Sleepovers, inside jokes, does anyone else like to see these things in their teen dramas? It makes it feel more realistic, and more like the teen characters actually like and care about each other, through all the little moments they share as friends.
Maybe if Star-Crossed had had the teen characters have more of these more subdued, everyday moments together, where they were just having fun and forming friendships and being young, that would have struck a cord with their young demographic, and more 18-34 year olds would have tuned in. Or maybe not. But it couldn’t have hurt.
Do you think there are ways Star-Crossed could have changed that might have saved the newbie teenage drama on the CW? Or do you think it was always doomed? Let us know in the comments below.
(Image courtesy of CW)