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"Boomtown" was #21 in the Nielsen Ratings for week ending 12/28/03
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Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 12/25/03
'Boomtown' back briefly
You're canceled! But Merry Christmas anyway!
NBC's acclaimed but canceled cop drama "Boomtown" returns so the network can burn off its remaining episodes this weekend. Three episodes air from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday and one at 10 p.m. Sunday.
I guess fans should be grateful to be able to see these episodes, but the show's cancellation makes this last-ditch effort a little like a chunk of coal dressed up in really pretty wrapping paper.
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Phil Rosenthal - 12/26/03
What are you looking at?
"Boomtown" (7 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5) NBC burns off all the unaired episodes of the critically praised drama yanked off the air this fall, just two episodes into its second season, with three episodes here and another at 9 p.m. Sunday. The network already had taken away just about everything that so distinguished the series in its first season. Even dumbed down and simplified, it's still a cut above most cop dramas. But it was so much more when it started.
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Robert Bianco, USA Today -12/26/03
Critic's Corner
In an apparent effort to clear its accounting books before the year ends, NBC is burning off four unaired episodes of its best series, Boomtown (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET/PT). You get three episodes Saturday, and the fourth follows on Sunday (10 p.m. ET/PT) in the time slot the show should still be occupying. Great TV thrown out as a tax dodge. Really, what more do you need to know about NBC these days?
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Ruth Butler, The Grand Rapids Press - 12/26/03
Some great news: "Boomtown" is back.
Some bad news: This is the last we'll see of the excellent police/law drama that was a shining star last season. We rejoiced when it was renewed, since its story-telling style was a bit unorthodox for series dramas. But NBC canceled it this season after just two airings on a new night (Friday).
Four original episodes remain and will air this weekend. NBC is burning off three episodes for the entire prime time schedule Saturday, beginning at 8 p.m. The final episode produced airs at 10 p.m. Sunday.
That's it. No more, despite fabulous performances by series regulars Donnie Wahlberg, Mykelti Williamson and Neal McDonough, who was nominated for and should have won an Emmy for last season.   [editor's note:  Neal was NOT nominated for an Emmy]
Vanessa Williams was hired to be in 10 episodes and appears in the final four. Sunday's episode features guest stars Howard Hessman and Virginia Madsen.
Sorry to see it go.
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TV Guide Online - 12/26/03
Vanessa Williams' Boomtown Farewell
Apparently, NBC has saved the best for last. This weekend, the Peacock network will air the final four episodes of Boomtown, its critically acclaimed but prematurely cancelled cop drama. (Three episodes air on Saturday, 8-11 pm/ET; one on Sunday at 10 pm/ET). Each features Vanessa Williams, who plays Det. Katherine Pierce. We interviewed the former Miss America, before Boomtown was officially axed earlier this year, to ask all about her eclectic life.

TV Guide Online: For Detective Pierce's first episode, you had to chase a perp up two flights of stairs, down a hall and up more stairs. How hard was it to shoot that scene, take after take?

Williams: It wasn't too bad. I'm in good shape for a 40-year-old woman, fortunately. So I didn't get too winded.

TVGO:
When you say you're in shape, how many flights could you do before you pass out?

Williams: Let's see. For that scene, I wore heels and took the steps two at a time, holding on to the rail. I went up about three different flights so, uh... [laughs] I have no idea what my endurance would have been! Fortunately, [Boomtown director] John Avnet is very quick and our cameramen are phenomenal. So a lot of stuff was captured pretty quickly.
Melanie McFarland, Seattle Post-Intelligencer - 12/26/03
Demise of 'Boomtown' teaches a sad lesson

Generally, I try not to indulge in year-end lists, mostly because everyone else is doing it. Allow me to call your attention to that "general rule" qualification, because I am fully aware that by the time you read this, you may already have read this paper's rundown of 2003's entertainment bests.  Yes, I wrote that TV entry. My editor made me do it.

But here, all nostalgic looks at the finest and worst in 2003 television has been banned. Instead, let us look at a few lessons broadcast television has taught us, a couple of which are illustrated in the cancellation of NBC's "Boomtown."

Ordinarily I'd simply shake my head in remembrance of a good dead show, but since the final four episodes are set to air tomorrow, between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Sunday at 10 p.m. on KING/5, this is as good a time to look at it as any.

The numerous "Boomtown" fans, miffed that NBC gave the series the hook after airing only two new episodes, can call it a late holiday gift from NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker. You know, the guy who continues to allow "Good Morning, Miami" to befoul our television screens, even as he gives this more worthy series its last rites.

Sure, "Boomtown" was a police drama in a schedule littered with detectives and perps, but what made it so gripping was the way it propelled each episode's story by utilizing the multiple perspectives of those involved
with the case -- cops, lawyers, reporters and para- medics. Creator Graham Yost wanted to make it the procedural equivalent of Akira Kurosawa's
"Rashomon."

Through these very distinct points of view, we got to know everyone's intimate idiosyncrasies. Detective Joel Stevens (Donnie Wahlberg), devoted and sensitive, may have been the most sympathetic character, but as it turns out, it was deputy D.A. David McNorris (Neal McDonough), a man of manipulative ambition, who stole the show.

The rest of the cast -- Mykelti Williamson, Gary Basaraba, Nina Garbiras, Jason Gedrick and Lana Parrilla -- all earned the critical acclaim showered
upon "Boomtown," although NBC thought it needed to up the ante by adding Vanessa Williams to the cast this fall as Detective Katherine Pierce. It's not an exaggeration to say that you would have missed her if you blinked, given the show's hasty second season demise.

Now, while we're loath to check this gift horse's molars, shoving three out of four final episodes onto the lowest television viewing nights of the week isn't what I'd call a fitting exit. Why not give "Boomtown" a last hurrah on a weeknight?

Because, even though few other axed shows inspired as many outraged e-mails as "Boomtown," the fact is that the viewers just weren't there. Fewer than 8
million tuned in to the show's sophomore season premiere, and the second episode lost more than a million after that.

Not fantastic when you realize "Boomtown" only drew an average of 10 million viewers last year when it aired on Sunday nights at 10.

But it was fine television, by most accounts! How can this be?

Simple. Critical acclaim doesn't mean squat.

Most television critics adored "Boomtown." A critics poll in Television Week named it network television's best drama; the Television Critics Association
honored it for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Outstanding New Program. It received a Peabody and was nominated for a Humanitas award, all of which
will read well in its obituary.

Second, edge doesn't fly on broadcast TV. If I had a quarter for every complaint I received about how rote TV scripts have become, I could feed the Vegas until the end of the world. And yet, whenever a show tries to bust the mold, it usually fails miserably. Look at "Arrested Development." No, really. Look at it on Wednesday, when four back-to-back episodes air on
KCPQ/13 starting at 8 p.m. You will either fall in love, or leave it to continue dying on Sundays at 9:30.

Just like "Boomtown." As original as it tried to be, "Boomtown" was still a police show, meaning viewers expected a certain format. Viewers chafed at the same complexity that thrilled critics. But when Yost streamlined the plot's format to placate couch potatoes, the thing lost even more of them.
Man, you are a testy lot.

Finally, an admonishment: Take some chances with TV in the New Year. As we come up on midseason, and the end, there will be some wonderful shows that deserve to remain on the schedule and won't, and many others that don't, but will.

Like a show? Admire its difference? Watch it regularly. Set your VCR. TiVo to the sucker. Because if you won't, it's lights out. Simple as that. Take one last look at "Boomtown" this weekend and you'll understand what I mean.

Matt Roush, TV Guide - 12/29/03

I like the metaphor of marriage for describing one's relationship with a TV show: with ups and downs, but a level of satisfaction for just being there. When I think of Boomtown and Homefront and Once and Again and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, it's with the kind of regret and longing one tends to associate with an unrequited love affair or a sudden break-up. I don't know when — or if — I'll ever get over them.

I would think that, after seeing what happened to a show like Boomtown (let alone a risky genre hybrid like Firefly), anyone with a truly daring and innovative approach to storytelling would avoid the major networks, which seem more and more obsessed with finding formulas they can exploit and clone until they're wrung dry.
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New York Daily News - 12/29/03
The year in television
Top 10: Best
5) "Boomtown"
NBC just burned off its final four "Boomtown" episodes over the Christmas weekend — but anyone who watched them in that toss-away showcase saw more of one of the best TV dramas of the year.
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Peter Ames Carlin - 12/30/03
Rants, raves and TV faves
"Boomtown": NBC's multifaceted examination of the causes and effects of crime gave weekly TV the depth and complexity of the theater. Its backward/forward narratives required a deeper attention from viewers, but the payoffs were more profound, too. Its Peabody Award was as richly deserved as its abrupt cancellation -- weeks after being moved to a new night at the start of the fall season -- was dismaying.
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Andy Smith, Journal Television Writer - 1/01/04
High points -- and low -- for 2003 on TV
6. Boomtown (NBC): Grrrrrrr. . . it still makes me mad the way NBC treated one of 2003's best shows. First, they tried dumbing it down by reducing the alternate points of view that made it unique. Then they gave it a tough Friday night time slot. Finally they took it off the air, and burned off the last four episodes during the dead weekend between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe it will get some new life on DVD.
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Mike Duffy, Knight Ridder Newspapers - 12/31/03
Fresh cable ideas beat networks' crud
2003 TV top 10
"Boomtown" (NBC). An innovative crime drama, blessed with fine writing and a riveting performance by Neal McDonough as tormented District Attorney David McNorris, was unceremoniously shot dead this fall by NBC after only two episodes of its second season. That's a real crime.
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