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Let's Talk About: 'Wicked City' -- The Anatomy of a Cancellation and The Rise of Anthology Series

Just based on the premise, it sounded dead on arrival but that didn't stop ABC from giving “Wicked City” the green light. It's understandable that network television is more willing than ever to take chances on programming that years ago would've never made it past a pitch meeting. They're competing against cable and streaming networks that have few content limits they’re not willing to venture past.

Even if those limits are a bit like a glass ceiling. There's only so far an audience is willing to let you push things and the creators of these edgy series know that. It's like manners at a dinner table. People can theoretically behave however they'd wish. It's the unspoken rules that keep them within certain boundaries. Likewise there is an etiquette show's feel obliged to abide by for mainstream viewers.

This brings us to "Wicked City" and the rather envelope pushing premise that featured a serial killer in a leading role, his psychopathic cohort as his love interest and a morally duplicitous cop as their foil. Right off the bat "Wicked City" didn't offer up any characters to really care about. In the television landscape's ever increasing focus on "grey" characters, "Wicked City" chose to focus on protagonists and antagonists that couldn't even pass for checkered. It's tough to recruit viewers to check out a show without a single character worth rooting for.

One explanation for why there might've been such a cache of bleak characterizations is that "Wicked City" wasn't counting on selling viewers on these characters because they weren't central to the long-term life of the series. These characters were temporary. ABC planned "Wicked City" as an anthology series, though it was never strongly promoted as one.

That lack of knowledge could’ve cost the series potential viewers who might have been intrigued to know they were investing their time in a series that would have a beginning, middle and end storyline that exclusively included these characters. After this season, the series would've switch gears a la "True Detective" or "American Horror Story" and start over with a completely new cast, setting etc.

The good news with the anthology set-up for TV fans is that they will typically get a complete story because what an anthology basically equals is a renewable mini-series. The network typically goes in giving the go-ahead for a "full season" order (which is normally around 10 episodes) and with most of those being produced before it goes on the air, it's in the network's interest to go ahead and air them, despite whatever happens with the ratings.

TV Rundown: Oct 25 - 30 | Grading the Premiere of 'Wicked City', 'Blacklist' Continues Hot Streak

Wicked City took viewers back to the 80s and reminded them that no matter the time period, some people's mode for wearing two faces is a timeless act. There’s good news and bad news when it comes ABC’s provocative new anthology series. The good news is that Ed Westwick makes for a compelling antagonist (as expected) and he is the top reason to tune in. The initial outing was high on atmosphere, capturing an era filled with shoulder pads and great music.

Fall TV's Best New Bets | ABC | 'Blood & Oil', 'Quantico' & 'Wicked City'

It's that time of year again, new fall programming is getting ready to begin and Eclectic Pop has picked at least two of the most promising new series from each network. Find out which of the new shows from ABC made the cut...