Rescuing Crusoe

Crusoe, right, and his friend Friday, left ...

Crusoe, right, and his friend Friday, left ...

I guess I have always known it would happen, but I guess I had always hoped I would get out of having to break my child’s heart.

I mean, it’s not like this is the big one. Santa Claus’ existence is still safe.

But for Dylan, this is a big one. Since the fall when it premiered, Dylan has been mesmerized by the NBC series “Crusoe.”

If you haven’t seen it, it, of course, is a slightly different take on the classic “Robinson Crusoe” packaged in a family-friendly, primetime Friday night package.

While there is a complicated backstory as to how Crusoe came to be marooned on an island, who would like to keep him that way, and the efforts of his wife to find him, Dylan isn’t concerned with all of this. He simply enjoys the adventures Crusoe and Friday go through each week in their efforts to return to civilization … or simply to survive.

Dylan and I first saw the preview for “Crusoe” before the Star Wars “Clone Wars” movie we saw together at the end of last summer. He saw the premiere and didn’t miss an episode. Every week, he would excitedly remind Brooke that “Crusoe” was on tonight and, ‘we can’t miss it!’

Since I was working, each week I would get an excited recap of that Friday night’s adventure, with a little help from Mom, of course, to fill in the gaps.

Fast forward to Friday night. I get a phone call at work. It’s Dylan.

He never trusts Brooke for the answers to these questions. Only me, I’m told.

“Daddy,” he says, “Can you find out when ‘Crusoe’ comes on again?”

A quick Google search and investigation determined that it wasn’t airing anytime soon in our viewing area. I could hear the tears start on the other end of the phone before hanging up.

So I did a little reading after our phone conversation was over and discovered that, like most first-year series, NBC ordered less episodes of “Crusoe” than it would of a normal, established series like “ER” or “Law & Order.”

Usually, if the series is successful, the network will order more episodes before its allotment runs out, or it may let the short season conclude before committing to the series for another season.

Needless to say, according to most news reports I could find, NBC doesn’t plan to order any more “Crusoe.”

Forever on that island, with Friday, he will be. No resolution. No more adventures.

So, I haven’t told Dylan, yet, that “Crusoe” is no more, only a childhood memory.

And I don’t want to. I know how he’ll feel. As a boy, I had my “Crusoes,” too.

But that doesn’t mean that “Crusoe” deserves to suffer the same fate as “She’s the Sheriff” or “Cop Rock,” or other crappy shows that lasted a season or less.

When I was a single guy with no children, I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard some sissy in the media talk about how there are no family-friendly choices on primetime TV any more, I used to secretly wish they would be unwillingly subjected to hours of “Faces of Death.” That would teach them to complain.

Well, now, fast forward 10 years, and I’m not just on the other side of the fence, I’m standing in the middle of the yard.

Maybe it’s because I’m behind on my pop culture, but I can’t name another family adventure-type show like “Crusoe” on TV now. He liked “Knight Rider,” but that’s already suffered the same fate as “Crusoe.” (Shhh! He doesn’t know about that one yet, either.)

If Dylan wants to sit in the den on a Friday night in the fall with his mother and watch TV, what exactly are his options? Pretty much nothing. Maybe we can get him hooked on “Gossip Girl” so he can stay up on which 16-year-old is doing which other 16-year-old this week.

Or maybe not.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do about “Crusoe.” I’d like to just let it lie and wait for Dylan to just forget about it, but Dylan’s not like that. He’s not your normal 5-year-old. He won’t forget.

So on Sunday, I told Dylan that we’d sit down this week and write a letter to NBC to let them know we really liked “Crusoe” and that we wanted to know when we’d see it again, knowing all along what the inevitable response would be, assuming there is one at all.

I told him that since it was his favorite show, he could tell me what to say, and I’d write the letter for him, and then he could sign his name.

Dylan said, “Yeah, and we can tell them, ‘don’t forget to write back!’ ”

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