"Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth"
Every week seems to bring a good or bad news here in Hollywood, and this week it’s the latter: after two seasons, FX has decided to pull the plug on The Bridge. Although I’ve had mixed feelings about The Bridge -- which walks through some very dark and bloody dramatic territory -- it was a terrific show.
From a strictly-business POV, FX’s decision makes a certain sense. I haven’t seen any figures, but “The Bridge” looked like an expensive show to produce, and with a relatively small audience, investing in another season apparently didn’t pencil out. In a way, it’s a miracle FX was willing to fund two seasons of such a troubling show.
That’s real a shame, because The Bridge had the courage to deal honestly with the human costs of an incredibly lucrative cross-border drug trade -- an industry driven by the seemingly insatiable demand for drugs here in the U.S. -- that has turned so much of Mexico into an abattoir. Where HBO’s The Wire detailed the corrosive effects on our society at the receiving end of those drugs, The Bridge performed a similar service in portraying the damage done at the supply end of the pipeline.
It’s all too easy to block out or ignore the daily news headlines screaming at us from newspapers, television, and the internet. No matter how horrifying raw statistical data might be, the wagging finger of the news media seldom carries the impact of a sophisticated drama telling the story of people directly involved. Through fictional drama, The Bridge conveyed an ugly, brutal message that we as a society needed to hear -- and still do.The production company is looking for another network to sponsor Season Three, and I hope they find it. Although The Bridge can be hard to watch at times (depending on one’s personal tolerance for bloody violence on screen), it performed a useful service. At its best, television can provide a mirror of our society, and sometimes we really do have to look deep into that mirror to confront the reality within.
"The Bridge" forced us to do just that by shining a bright light on a very dark subject. With FX bowing out, I wonder who -- if anyone -- will step up to fill that role?
Note: With the World Series now underway -- and my hometown team back in the mix -- I'm putting the blog to bed for the duration. There will be no post next Sunday. I'll be back once that drama has fully played out, bringing the baseball season to an end while ushering in the dank gloom of winter.