There’s no need for pretense here. This one hurt, MTV. It hurt bad, really, really bad. And one of the reasons why it hurts so bad is because it just makes absolutely no sense. No sense at all. For months viewers and critics alike have been waiting to hear the fate of MTV’s beloved little gem of a show Sweet/Vicious. They finally got an answer as creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson broke the news Friday afternoon that the network had cancelled the show and she vowed to look for a new home.
It was the news many of us had feared but didn’t want to accept would be a reality. In this time of Peak TV it’s harder than ever to stand out, to be different and to really, really matter, but dammit, Sweet/Vicious not only stood out, it mattered. It mattered big time. The show about two vigilantes (Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden), fed up with all the sexual assaults on their college campus, who decided to fight back was timely, well written and expertly acted. It’s the kind of show that doesn’t come along every day. It was special, stood out and was a great example of how no fancy gimmicks, big budgets or special effects are needed when your writing is strong and you have a talented cast.
On top of that, and perhaps most importantly, the stories that Sweet/Vicious was telling and brought to light are vitally important. Sweet/Vicious gave a voice to stories where so many times the main players are silenced. It not only brought to light stories and issues that exist surrounding sexual assault, but it told them from all angles and showed no signs of slowing down. Robinson had plans to tell even more stories, do even better and lift up the voices of even more silenced parties in Season 2.
These are stories that need told now more than ever. Not only are rape and assault prevalent problems across our nation, especially on college campuses, but we also have a president who has openly bragged about the ability to grab women by the pussy. Television is a powerful medium and the stories it tells have the ability to reach so many. Sweet/Vicious could’ve done exactly that, especially when it came to the potential to reach so many young people. But MTV has taken that chance away. It’s taken it away not only from Robinson and the show, but the victims and audience it was already reaching, effectively silencing their voices once again.
I’ll be honest, this is a move that doesn’t look good on you MTV, not for one bit. Sweet/Vicious was the first show in a long time that had not only myself, but many others, looking at MTV in a new light. Long synonymous and famous for shows such as Jersey Shore and Teen Mom, MTV is not a network with a great track record or reputation. While it has produced successful hour long dramas such as Teen Wolf, Sweet/Vicious signaled change may soon be coming to MTV. It showed that the network did indeed have the potential to bring well written, important scripted television to the table that not only reached its younger audience, but could become a critical favorite in the process.
In this time of Peak TV networks are always looking for new and exciting ways to stand out, be heard and get seen above the rest of the noise. Congratulations MTV because by canceling Sweet/Vicious we all now hear you loud and clear. Your true colors have been exposed and it’s now perfectly clear that you’re a network that has absolutely no interest in being taken seriously. Here’s hoping that Netflix or some other network takes advantage of this huge mistake you just made, swoops in and gives Sweet/Vicious the second chance it so deserves.
Part of what makes me so angry and so confused is that this decision makes absolutely no sense. Even when looking at it on paper, crunching the numbers and weighing the pros and cons I still don’t understand how MTV came to this decision. While it has hits such as Teen Wolf and the Shannara Chronicles, neither of those garnered the media’s praise the way Sweet/Vicious did. Also, I have to imagine that a show like Sweet/Vicious could be made for pennies in comparison to the likes of both those shows that must have much, much larger budgets for special effects alone. Sweet/Vicious is nothing fancy. It’s just a well written show highlighting the importance of friendship with perfect, spot on performances from a relatively unknown cast, both of which are easy on MTV’s checkbook.
Sweet/Vicious also had the potential to build a very powerful fan base. It was a fanbase that was just on the verge of breaking out. Thanks to a very interactive cast and crew, led by Robinson, the show has already built a strong relationship with Sweet/Vicious fans by being so engaged with them on social media. I have to imagine if a network put any kind of promotion behind the show that Robinson, the cast and that fanbase could really build things up heading into Season 2. The potential was, and is, there. Why MTV didn’t see that is just another aspect that has left me scratching my head over this decision and one I hope another network will smartly latch onto and let it realize that potential.
The numbers surrounding how many scripted television shows are out there are simply staggering these days. I feel perpetually behind on both my DVR and Netflix queues and fear I may never catch up. So why does the loss of one show hurt so bad when there’s seemingly so many others out there ready to replace it? It hurts so bad because Sweet/Vicious was special. It was important and gave voice to so many silenced stories, all while being an incredibly fun and charming hour of television each week. Here’s hoping another network realizes the error of MTV’s ways and gives Sweet/Vicious the second chance it so rightly deserves. For if they do, I have no doubt they’d be instant favorites with fans and media alike.
How did you feel about Sweet/Vicious’ cancellation? Sound off in the comments below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.