Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Assets: Cancelled As Soon as Shown

We are watching The Assets, described as a period drama, thus the dramatization of a real event, the CIA’s identification and arrest of Aldrich Ames as a CIA mole in 1994. This is a superbly made series, available from Netflix, originally shown by ABC in 2014. It has a kind of paradoxical feel to it because the Cold War had as good as ended, ended for a time, at least, and another major thing, the War on Terror was about to launch. Yet in the bowels of the intelligence services, people were obsessedly engaged in doing what John le Carré had first unveiled.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Assets—as a marker of how time has changed—is that  ABC cancelled the series abruptly. Its pilot episode had the lowest ever viewership in the 18-49 demographic among the big three networks. A death sentence. Too sophisticated, too complicated. All that stuff, you know… Yesterday.

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