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FXX's Cassius and Clay was set to be Archer meets Thelma and Louise. Now it’s dead. Why?

We barely knew ye, Cassius and Clay.
We barely knew ye, Cassius and Clay.
FX

When FX announced that it would not be moving forward with Cassius and Clay, a cartoon about a pair of post-apocalyptic lady outlaws, the news was both disappointing and deeply confusing. How could a show produced by Archer creator Adam Reed and writer Megan Ganz (Community, Modern Family) and starring Kaitlin Olson (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Lake Bell (Children's Hospital, In a World) go from a series order in August to being scrapped completely in January?

I asked FX president John Landgraf to expand on the fate of Cassius and Clay at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour. He told me that while he loved the pilot and is "really bummed" about canceling the series order, forging ahead with Cassius and Clay proved to be a "problematic process":

We had a pilot we really liked. We thought we had a good path toward turning that pilot into a series ... [but] we weren't happy with the scripts we received. Everybody working on the project together wasn't really meshing creatively, in terms of the vision of what the series was going to be.

Landgraf went on to say that he's disappointed in the outcome of Cassius and Clay, because he still sees promise in the show's premise.

"I just love the idea of a sort of a kick-ass, post-apocalyptic female buddy comedy," he told me. "You know, Megan [Ganz] also had this interesting idea about the notion that the end of civilization is kind of good for women when you think about it, because then they don't have to be breeders and moms; they can kind of do whatever they want to do. So she had a female empowerment idea in mind."

Needless to say, Cassius and Clay could've been a contender.

But Landgraf, TV's savviest network head, pointed out that a great concept still isn't enough to drive a series if the execution is messy. "Ultimately, you have to end up with character continuity, funny scenes," he said. "You have to end up with a clear vision amongst people working on it and animating it — and we just couldn't get there."

As for whether Cassius and Clay could have a second life somewhere down the winding road of television development, Landgraf remained cautiously optimistic: "I could see a different version of that show — or a show like it — coming back later. It's still something I really love. I hope it does."

So hopefully this won't be the last we'll hear of the project. For now, though, we'll just have to cling to the legacy of Thelma and Louise and hope that some tough-as-nails, post-apocalyptic broad will rise from its ashes, wielding a power weapon and a devilish smirk.