Friday, October 31, 2008

Fox cancels 'King of the Hill'... a year from now

Fox has ordered another season of "King of the Hill" past this one, but because of the long lead time for animation, they've already said that next season will be the final one. Now, Fox has said previous "KOTH" seasons would be the end and then reneged, so there's always a chance that there could be a reprieve here. Still, the show's been on for a long time (it debuted during my first season as a TV critic, '96-'97), and while I loved it for a long time, I have to admit that most of the episodes these days sit on my DVR, unwatched, until I delete them to clear up some hard drive space.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the show the most in its first five seasons, where they had some character growth and development -- Cotton and Didi have a child, Bobby and Connie get together and break up, Nancy stops cheating on Dale, Luanne goes to college, etc.

After a while, it seems like either the network or the producers realized the show was going to be around for a while, so you had a lot of backsliding -- I particularly hated Bill going back to mooning over his ex-wife, after a couple episodes let him finally move on. It was still a decent show, but it relied heavily on plots like "Bobby gets a weird hobby," "Peggy thinks she's an expert in an area where she's not," or the ever-popular "Hank vs. the Jackasses."

The first several years still hold up well in syndication -- great character-oriented stories, with just the right amount of satire.

I read the show had a finale a few years ago, but then it was renewed again. I think it can retire with honor. Even though it's tired, it's still superior to, well, American Dad.

"Yep." "Yep." "Mmm-hmm."

Anonymous said...

I think KOTH has held up better than The Simpsons and Family Guy. (American Dad I never watched beyond the first episode.) I still enjoy watching it, and I'll miss it, but at the same time I think it's probably a good idea to end it on it's own terms.

Bobman said...

It's funny, I tend to do the same thing with KOTH - just let it sit on my DVR for weeks before deleting unwatched - but every time I do decide to actually watch one I enjoy it, even the new ones. It was definitely stronger in its earlier seasons, but still is entertaining now.

And Jack, you may want to give American Dad another shot. I LOATHED that show the first season it was on, and then caught myself watching a few episodes in its second season and was laughing my butt off. Patrick Stewart voices Stan's boss and is absolutely the funniest character on that show. It truly has some laugh out loud moments.

Anonymous said...

^ITA with bobman. Every time I finally get around to watching KOTH, I find myself enjoying it. I also like American Dad, which I feel is superior to Family Guy despite being plagiarismo di plagiarismo, whenever I watch it.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I didn't realize this was still on the air.

Anonymous said...

KOTH has seen its ratings dive for the same reason that the other Fox Sunday-night shows have, including THE SIMPSONS: the time runover from NFL coverage regularly shoves those programs into odd hours where fans A) haven't set up their DVRs for recording or B) give up on watching "live" broadcasts because its a crapshoot as to when the shows will actually air at all.
KOTH is still an effective show. It has a down-to-Earth quality that even Homer & Family mostly eschew these days (and TS is still a terrific show, just different in tone from its first 10 or so seasons). Whenever they finish up the stories from Arlen, the legacies of Hank, Peggy, Bobby, Bill, Dale and Boomhauer are secured. Not Lucky or Khan though--they're both losers!

Anonymous said...

KOTH isn't appointment TV for me, but I've been a fan for a long time and when I watch it I almost always enjoy it. Not too long ago, they showed an episode where Hank joins an organic food co-op that I thought was one of the funniest they'd ever done.

I think KOTH's great stroke of genius is that Hank Hill is the most fundamentally decent human being you could hope to meet. He loves his wife, he loves his job, he loves his kid (even when he's exasperated with Bobby's oddities), he's a loyal friend, he's honest to a fault, and the show finds its humor from pitting Hank against a world where those qualities are not always valued. It's a nice change of pace from Family Guy and its knockoffs that rely on the jackassery of their main characters and/or barf jokes. (If I want that, I'll watch the infinitely more clever South Park.)

Anonymous said...

I love this show and agree that last season was surprisingly good. I watch the syndicated episodes all the time and still laugh. But I'm from Texas but no longer living there. Maybe that explains it.

Unknown said...

I never used to watch KOTH until I moved to the Dallas suburbs this past summer, and now I can't get enough of the reruns. Peggy Hill is one of my favorite TV characters of all time--she's one of the few "sitcom" wives I can think of who's more flawed than her husband, and in the context of the show it totally works.

Anonymous said...

King of the Hill has had some great writing over the years, with excellent attention to consistency in characters. I found though that last year was atypical, with characters acting in ways contrary to their previously established nature simply for the sake of the premise of the week. (And sadly Connie only appears very rarely now; my guess is to save on Lauren Tom's voiceover fee.)

This year the writing seems to have improved so far; if it keeps it up, I do hope it will defy the odds again and dodge cancellation.

Anonymous said...

I think KOTH was interesting for being character-driven -- I mean, really character-driven, not giving Family Guy "Stewie" a british-accent or so on -- and building on complex relations, like Hank and his father for one thing, Hank and his son for another.

Hank started off a bit two-dimensional but soon surprised everyone. Peggy was great, a woman character that wasn't at all asked to be perfect but had an atitude that made her humanity special. Dale was multi-dimensional, especially as it came to the story with his son and John Redcorn and so on... And Bill or Luanne - the list goes on. They could be called upon in stranger stories, to add some extra level.

I do think there are gems from each season, but the difference is since they stopped a sense of continuity, it's hard to make story arcs. How long has Luanne been pregnant now - two years at least? And Bobby was somehow different when he was with his girlfriend, and so on.

Mostly, the recent ones seem to have inserted a kind of "awareness" message in them, and that they manage to still make comedy out of that is still ok. But it isn't the first 8 years.

At any rate, I think Beavis and Butthead and KOTH maintain a level and have been excellent examples of working with an actual American culture and sensibility and introducing more - not less - within that.