|Photo: Vicky / CC BY 2.0|
As IMDb described it, Surviving Jack is a show about “a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before ‘coming of age’ was something you could Google.”
The show is a semi-autobiographical account of the relationship between the show’s writer, Justin Halpern ($#*! My Dad Says), and his father, according to IMDb. Christopher Meloni plays Dr. Jack Dunlevy, a military guy who decides to become a full time parent when his wife, Joanne (Rachael Harris) goes back to law school. Jack is a no nonsense kind of person who tries to guide his teenage son, Frankie (Connor Buckley) and daughter, Rachel (Claudia Lee), through the ups and downs of their lives.
Jack has his own unique way of guiding Frankie and Rachel. This was one of the many elements of the show that made it hilarious. Beyond the hilarity, Surviving Jack was authentic and relatable. The problems and issues faced by the Dunlevys could not have been more realistic to today’s time – despite the show being set in 1991. The show has been pretty well-received as far as I can tell. It’s rated 8.5/10 stars by users on IMDb. It has also gained quite the loyal fan base. Despite all of that, FOX pulled the plug on the show, enraging fans – including yours truly.
Just in the past few days, several of the show’s actors and crew, including Buckley, Tyler Foden and Kevin Hernandez, have used the power of social media to try and get the show back on the air. Two hashtags – #BringBackJack and #SavingJack – were created by fans on Twitter. There was even a petition started on Change.org which has already received more than 9,000 signatures. A poll on Zap2It also found that about 92 percent of its almost 4,000 respondents believed that FOX should not have canceled the show.
It’s a crying shame that the big networks have become so cancel-happy. New shows like Surviving Jack and others need time to develop a fan base. Six or seven episodes is not enough time to develop a big viewership. Nowadays, it seems that, if the show does not have 10 million viewers in its first season, it will most likely get the ax. Plus, most of the time when the networks cancel what were seemingly promising shows, the next batch of shows are even worse. Take CBS for example. Its execs canceled Robin Williams’ The Crazy Ones – among others – while yet another spin-off of CSI and NCIS were ordered. Honestly, how many spin-offs can you possibly create from those two shows?
Jack not only focused on the maturing of the teens but the parents as well, which I thought was pretty unique for this style of show. It also showcased an imperfect family not the ideal or “trophy family” that many other shows focus on. Through it’s many funny moments, the show also had a lot of character and heart.
Maybe Surviving Jack could get the respect it deserves on a cable television network?