Greylock, we hardly knew ye.
That’s because The Republic of Sarah Season 1 Episode 13 marked the end of the series, with the cancellation announcement coming with only one episode remaining.
Since the season was filmed months before airing, there was no opportunity for closure, with most characters facing new, uncertain futures following the finale.
Probably we should have realized that The Republic of Sarah wouldn’t be with us long when it landed on The CW, home primarily for superhero, paranormal, and science fiction programming.
Perhaps we should be grateful that a network was giving us something other than a reality show which celebrates the morally or ethically ambivalent.
“Sarah” had an intriguing hook but one that required a viewer actually pay attention. To foil a mining company from gutting Greylock for a valuable mineral under it, a teacher named Sarah discovered that because of a hole in two old maps, Greylock was neither a part of the United States or Canada and could declare itself an independent nation.
The trouble is that a premise built on history and government isn’t nearly as exciting as one constructed on superheroes or witches or aliens. The audience that appreciates pretty people talking about the former subjects is rather limited. In other words, it was too cerebral for the CW’s core audience.
“Sarah” had the opportunity to take on hot-button political issues but largely didn’t. Instead, it was Sarah, and later mostly her friends, stumbling their way along at nation-building, still succeeding more often than not.
Still, “Sarah” got mired down in narrative missteps. Sarah’s mother Ellen was a veteran politician and would have made a dynamite advisor. Instead, she got shipped off to rehab for much of the season. Later on, Sarah’s estranged father, Paul, began to act in that capacity before he surrendered himself to the State Department.
Sarah and her friends went from the idealism of “Corporate greed sucks” to reaching out for mining revenue when they needed a way to fund services in their fledgling country.
After Weston’s article rightfully revealed that Sarah was a beneficent dictator, she created Greylock’s Congress, which brought into government a good cross-section of characters, including Liz, the show’s least likable character, a native who mistrusts anyone who doesn’t think exactly like her (in other words, a Triumpist).
Unfortunately, as the season progress, “Sarah” became less Madam Secretary and more every other light soap opera on network TV, robbing it of what made it different.
And many of the characters devolved as a result. Foremost among these was Corinne.
Sarah’s best friend had made a life for herself after her fiance Danny took off to escape his abusive mother. She married Adam, and they started a family with son Josh. She became a respected teacher at the high school.
Then Danny returned as Lydon’s local representative, and she reverted to being that teen girl still in love with him.
Not that Danny (a member of the congress, no less) was much better. He fell back in love with the nostalgia of Corinne and dropped his understanding fiancee Paige to pursue her.
Then they gave in to a night of passion during the blizzard, which eventually led Adam to sue for divorce and sole custody of Josh. Only, no big surprise, Danny was Josh’s biological father.
That’s one positive thing about the series: Questionable actions had consequences.
AJ’s affair with a married woman led to the dissolution of one marriage. Danny and Corinne’s tryst resulted in her divorce proceedings. After widower Grover couldn’t get past his wife’s death, Sarah rebounded to an ill-conceived relationship with Weston, a journalist who eventually outed anonymous government whistleblower Paul.
Yes, she was a little flaky to be a country’s president. But Sarah was a caretaker, first for Ellen, then for her friends, and finally for Greylock.
Another of the series’ problems was that characters would disappear for episodes at a time.
Bella got sent away to private school by her elitist father to separate her from Tyler and Sarah’s “radicals.” Luis and Maya (another congress member) headed to Los Angeles for her mother’s parole hearing. Tyler misses about every third episode for some kind of athletic activity.
Yes, it’s simply a budgetary restraint when it comes to talent. If a recurring character appears, another character must vanish. It was just that the excuses given were eye-rollingly thin.
But just as a secondary character started to develop some depth (such as Maya and Tyler), they would be gone again, which was frustrating.
Finally, sadly Greylock never embraced its small-town quirkiness. It wasn’t a Cecily, Alaska, or a Star’s Hollow, Ct. Instead, it was just a lightly-sketched backdrop against which the melodrama happened.
So now the futures of Sarah, Danny, and the others will stand frozen, appropriately just like a snow globe.
Unfortunately, hidden as it was in summer, there isn’t likely to be a #savesarah campaign on Twitter.
Instead, it will be another program that couldn’t quite decide what it was, to viewers’ frustration.
The top-notch cast members deserve another shot in a longer-running show.
To revisit its short life, watch The Republic of Sarah online.
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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.