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Enlightened

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Enlightened

Enlightened

Remember when House of Cards was released? It was beautifully filmed, superbly written, well acted by big name stars, had a tonne of money sunk into it (rumours of $100 million, actually probably slightly less), very popular and critically well received. In addition to all that it the entire first series was released in one big dump. All of these factors added up to a slew of blog posts and newspaper articles declaring the death of network television, most directed at HBO. They all plotted the decline of HBO, and the rise of the other networks with shows in the HBO mold being made by other stables, particularly AMC (often by former HBO writers and producers) that are incredibly popular: Mad Men (which was pitched to HBO and rejected), Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead.

The media tumult was unnecessary, and overblown – and it amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars of free publicity for Netflix and House of CardsHouse was good, it was even very good in parts, but it was hardly paradigm changing. The only truly revolutionary thing the series did was the release of all episodes at once (a move I think will genuinely have a long-term impact), and the fact that the amount of money meant that non-network television shows were not in the same field as the networks. An expansion of the field to include others does not necessarily mean decline, just a greater sense of equality. The same could be said of the thousands of articles written on American decline as a whole.

House definitely announced Netflix as a major player. That much can’t be denied.

Here’s where we get to what I wanted to talk about. I’ve just finished binge-watching  Enlightened, during a media spasm over its rumoured (and now definite) cancellation after two series.

The series seemed to me to come to a fairly rounded conclusion. The final episode referenced the pilot a fair amount, and the small amount of loose ends left reflected real life to me – but whatever, that’s all moot now. It’s been cancelled.

Here’s what bugs me. Forgive me if this has been discussed somewhere on the net and I’ve missed it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the idea has been raised in offices and may even be in practice right now.

Why doesn’t Netflix contact Mike White and Laura Dern (the creative forces behind Enlightened in case you didn’t know) and offer them whatever they want to make the third series?

I’m sure this is fraught with legal difficulties and thinking about that now this would probably kill the idea dead – but if Netflix could manage it then it would a PR coup to rival the House of Cards one. It would be cement the idea that Netflix is now one of the big boys, and they could give White and Dern the freedom to carry on their story as they apparently wanted to.

Maybe if this happened all those articles wouldn’t be so pointless and over-wraught.

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About thommurph

A History graduate from the University of Liverpool blogging about history, politics, music, television, gaming and literature.

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