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FX cancels ‘Lights Out’

FX has canceled “Lights Out,” but the channel has done it in that usual FX way, which means the boxing drama’s final two episodes of this season will air as scheduled. There just won’t be a second season.

The writing has unfortunately been on the wall for a while with this one. The ratings have only been slightly better than they were for “Terriers,” and what we learned with “Terriers” is that there’s a ratings floor that even FX can’t go under for a show its executives love.
I’ve seen next week’s episode already, but not the finale. Based on the way this season has been going, and the very vague comments I’ve gotten from critics who watched the entire season when FX sent the episodes out a few months ago, it looks like (as with “Terriers”) we’re going to get enough closure for it to work as a 13-episode miniseries.

It’s a shame. “Lights Out” has had its problems – mainly in dealing with the members of Lights’ immediate family, and at times in trying to stretch out one story over 13 weeks – but there’s a lot of terrific work in there, starting with Holt McCallany(*) as the ex-champ making a comeback at age 40.

(*) One silver lining to this: FX is in the middle of trying to adapt the Brian Michael Bendis comic book “Powers,” and McCallany is one of the few actors on TV who A)has the build to play main character Christian Walker (who looks like this), and B)as demonstrated on this show, has the charisma and dramatic chops to pull it off. And now he’s available for consideration.

This is two failures in a row for FX with dramas that were critically well-regarded and seemed to fit nicely in the channel’s testosterone-heavy brand. Of course, that’s coming off a year in which FX also introduced “Justified” and “Louie,” so it’s not a prolonged slump. But I’m going to try to talk with FX president John Landgraf later today, and I’ll be curious to hear if the “Terriers”/”Lights Out” back-to-back experience is going to change anything about how his people develop dramas. (UPDATE: I talked to him and he did, indeed, have some thoughts on why it didn’t work and what lessons can be applied to future FX shows.)

By Alan Sepinwall – Boxing drama KO’ed after one season due to low ratings; final 2 episodes to air

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