UPDATE (3:15 pm): Lone Star has been canceled. Fox will pull the show from its line-up immediately and replace it with Lie to Me; the latter will now return early, with the Season 3 premiere scheduled to air next Monday, October 4.
There's no pretty way to put this. Lone Star, which had the most critically acclaimed pilot of the fall 2010 season, is on its last leg. Viewers have been as scarce as an igloo in the Texas heat, with the premiere and last night's episode both tallying a dismal 1.6 rating in the adult demo. Actually, that 1.6 is only for the first half-hour of last night's episode. After 9:30pm, the episode dropped to a 0.9 rating... lower even than The CW's Gossip Girl.
For those who tuned in only to tune out somewhere around the halfway mark, I'll take part of the blame. I asked people to give the show a try, confident that the series would continue its upward-quality trajectory after that fantastic pilot. It didn't. I'm a huge jerk. But believe me when I say this: I couldn't have imagined such a drop off in quality between the Episodes 1 and 2.
The first half-hour of the second episode recycled much of what made the first one so great, only with much less effect. Yes, we get it. Bob Allen's a con man. He loves two women. We saw that in the first episode.
So why spend a good 25 minutes on telling us again? And that first montage from the pilot where we see Bob conning people was redone with his dad; a man who—unlike Bob—we don't trust and aren't supposed to trust. And who cons a bunch of people on the same day from the same booth at the same restaurant? I couldn't squeeze a penny out of a gullible senior citizen who's scared of aliens, but even I know that a con-marathon in the same spot is a bad way to be a grifter.
After the show finished with its 25-minute "previously on Lone Star" segment, we were treated to more screaming matches in which Bob tells his dad he "wants something more" (in case we forgot), a new bride just starting to wonder who her husband actually is, and Trammel just being more and more of an unnecessary jerk.
There's still an interesting story here that's waiting to be told, and Lone Star is currently one of the best-looking shows on television, but Bob Allen's dangerous con game needs more palpable tension if it wants to work. We didn't get that in Episode 2. And so Lone Star isn't much different from the con game that Bob is running; show us too much too soon and so plainly, and we'll simply walk away.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom