It’s beginning to look very much like Damages won’t be back for a fourth season. DirecTV seems unlikely to step in and save it, and as previously mentioned, it’s too low-rated for FX to bring it back on its own. If it does get canceled, there will be a lot of discussion of what went wrong after the first season was so acclaimed. A large part of the explanation is just that the second season was a mistake on a level that almost matches Heroes. Like a lot of very heavily serialized shows, it put all its effort into creating a huge first season with an exciting ending, and subsequent seasons felt cobbled together from leftover ideas. It’s like a lot of movie sequels never come up with a good reason why this story is being told, because the creators said everything they could in the first movie.
Also, Damages had a reputation (deserved or not) as a “woman” show, and was on a network whose hits are mostly considered “guy” shows (Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Sunny In Philadelphia). DirecTV doesn’t want it because it, too, is trying to skew toward males, with Wire reruns and such. And finally, Damages may have had an identity problem: it is basically a very trashy soap, but always seemed to present itself as a high-end, classy kind of show, not just in the all-star casting but in its look; even though it rarely went into the courtroom, it looked like a high-end lawyer show. So the look was middlebrow, but the content below the surface was mostly gleeful trash. A show might have better luck looking and being trashy. Or, as with Sons of Anarchy, having a disreputable outer layer and a more sophisticated ambitions under the surface.
Anyway, if Glenn Close does wind up leaving TV, Michael Ausiello reports that Diane Keaton might arrive to replace her; she’s likely to be the star of an HBO comedy about a Nikki Finke-style blogger. My gut reaction: nothing sounds less interesting to me than an entire series built around a) TV writers’ idea of what bloggers do and b) Someone who spends more time typing stuff into a computer than even Doogie Howser did. But HBO wants a new Sex and the City, and they’re presumably hoping that a blogger show will be SatC for the new and mysterious age of the internets.