Like a perfect society that somehow fails to emerge from a group of reality show contestants, Fox has similarly failed to turn Utopia into a hit despite all its repeated yelling. Much fanfare greeted the network’s launch of its “social experiment,” which involves stranding a group of people whose simplistic personalities read like the Twitter bios of accounts you automatically block to see if they could fight for a year without causing any major lawsuits. However idealistic their intentions, the ratings have remained abysmal, averaging under 2 million viewers per episode. And this has prompted Fox to pull Utopia from Tuesday nights, leaving just a Friday slot remaining for a show that Fox once hoped could run all year long. Alas, Fox’s hopes, like those of so many societies, are so easily trampled by rampaging hillbillies.
Early reports suggested that Utopia’s rumored $50 million price tag was causing a battle between Fox executives, pitting those who believed it would be “a giant expensive embarrassment” against those who thought it would be a giant expensive embarrassment that people watched. And while the show hasn’t been canceled yet, its demotion from Tuesday nights—where it will be replaced temporarily by the culinary dystopia of MasterChef Junior—suggests that just taping those internal arguments might have proved more interesting.
Of course, it’s also possible that canceling Utopia is all part of the “social experiment,” allowing Fox to leave its contestants to fend totally for themselves, and only returning after the year is up to find out what these now-feral creatures are doing and whose heads are on pikes as a warning to demons. That would probably be worthy of the lead-in to New Girl.