Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Microstory 587: ‘Adventures of Conundrum & Treemaker’ Cancelled


Out of all members of Bellevue, including people with abilities, and those without, perhaps the least likely to be the inspiration for a broadcast series would be Bree Nolan and Connor Higgins. Yet that is exactly what happened more than six years ago. Nolan and Higgins grew up next door to each other, and were the best of friends. They were so inseparable that neither of them knew that either of them had special anomaly abilities. As it turns out, Higgins has the ability to negate other anomalies’ abilities, which means that Nolan’s never actually manifested, because she was just about always standing too close to her friend. Higgins’ ability was an invaluable resource to Bellevue, as it led to many breakthroughs on anomaly genetics, and allowed them to keep a handle on some of the most dangerous anomalies. Unfortunately, Higgins carried with him a level of danger as well. He cannot control the use of his powers. They are always on, always working. As painful as it might have been to some of his more sensitive brethren, it just wasn’t practical to let him stick around. So it was decided that he could, for the most part, better serve the organization as a field recruiter. He would travel the world, finding the best talent for this budding world law enforcement bureau, while maintaining a healthy distance from anyone he might incidentally put in danger. To no surprise for anyone who knew either or both of them, Bree Nolan stuck by her best friend, and signed on for his recruiter team; this despite the fact that her own ability to perceive genetic and hereditary characteristics of others would be in indefinitely hampered.
Bree’s loyalty to her partner spoke to Sterling Serials Network Executive Edelmira Baník, who would later commission the pilot for a new series based on Higgins and Nolan’s lives together. The first season showed the two of them as recruiters, encountering interesting characters, and solving minor crises. This all happened with a background of side characters like Clarity Garner, and Pantera as they battled against foes like the protégé of terrorist The Destruction, or global criminal networks. Adventures of Conundrum & Treemaker took some historical liberties with the second season when Nolan and Higgins began to develop abilities not present in their real life counterparts. The third season deviated even further when the partners—now in a purely fictional romantic relationship—found themselves in an alternate version of the world. This allowed the writers to regurgitate previously defeated enemies while simultaneously alienating many superfans. The fourth and fifth seasons attempted to return to the roots of the show’s source material, but many viewers felt that it was too little too late, and ratings have proven these tactics to be barely enough to keep the series afloat. Largely supported by a small host of advertisers loyal to the Sterling brand overall, a sixth season was greenlit on the 24th of Gaby. Months later, Sterling announced that this season would be its last, and that all remaining episodes would be released to the public, but on a heightened broadcast schedule. Series creator and showrunner Avisen Chen said this of the announcement on her personal weblog, “I was asked to take the reigns on this project after [Ernesto Vargas] left to pursue a rap career. I never thought it would get off the ground, hongestly [sic], but my team and I have been pleasantly surprised year after year. We were even considering a spinoff series involving fan favorite Thumbnail Jones. It looks like that’s not going to happen, but we are hopeful that this will not be the end of the Treemaker and Conundrum franchise. We are already in discussions with the network about a possible film to round out the story and tie up a few loose ends. Six seasons and a movie. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” The series finale is slated to air in seven weeks, at which point it will be replaced by a recently approved series about the founding of the island nation of Federama.

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