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Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

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  • Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

    Widgets Magazine
    * Besides Firefly.

    I recently watched, finally, Freaks and Geeks, the seminal and cult single-season show from thirteen years ago, now, and the founding document of Judd Apatow's kingdom. I remember vaguely hearing about it when it was on, but mostly in the ensuing years as Apatow gained status and so many of its young cast members--main or guest--gained celebrity. Like most people who can relate in one way or another with what it was trying to do, I found it pretty incredible, and I was likewise pained in the end that this was all there was.

    That was an NBC show. But Fox comes to mind most for this question: that frustrating, ratings-mad network that has, to its credit, greenlit a lot of great and original programs over the years, but has then shown no patience in letting them find their audiences. Firefly being one of the most (in)famous, a couple years after F&G met a similar fate. (In one way, they can't be blamed, at least in this era, where a huge hit show might pull 12-14 million viewers compared to an average show forty years ago--when it was only the three networks--pulling close to 30-40 million. Less pie to go around has put everyone on edge.) Another top one in my own list is Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles a few years after that, which lasted only two seasons--right when it was getting really damn good (after an entertaining, if average, start in its first season).

    To spread things around, however, a non-Fox favorite that always comes to mind was HBO's trippy two-season run of Carnivale. A victim of that network's own budget considerations (the cheaper to produce The Wire, which probably had similarly low-ratings compared to the darling Sopranos, was still running then).

    But some shows haven't made it that far, losing, like Firefly, their mid-season pickups. (I might have considered the 13-episode run of Last Resort from this TV season, but because the show runners chose to actually wrap up the entire somewhat promising story, probably intended for three or four seasons, in two bad, bad, episodes, I can only say good riddance.)

    And some shows have lasted for multiple seasons before getting the ax before their creators would have liked. (Flip side, of course, are those shows that should have been cancelled before they...well, you know the phrase.)

    Which ones do you miss?
    Last edited by bctaris; 03-24-2013, 02:40 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

    I so, so lament the loss of Carnivale. What an engaging show.
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    • #3
      Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

      My favorite cancelled show is Fire—…oh wait.



      Actually, I am big fan of Firefly, but it should be pointed out that at least Whedon was able to make Serenity to give the story something approaching an ending.

      No such luck happened to Space: Above and Beyond. Running for the just the one season in 1995-1996, it ends on a horrific cliffhanger (I won't say more). It was probably one of the better scifi dramas set in space and it was killed, of course, by the network you already mentioned, Fox. It was killed far before its time (as Morgan and Wong had more seasons planned).
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      • #4
        Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

        Originally posted by Hitsugi Amachi View Post
        No such luck happened to Space: Above and Beyond. Running for the just the one season in 1995-1996, it ends on a horrific cliffhanger (I won't say more). It was probably one of the better scifi dramas set in space and it was killed, of course, by the network you already mentioned, Fox. It was killed far before its time (as Morgan and Wong had more seasons planned).
        Exactly the show I was going to mention. I watched every episode. Excellent writing and acting. Fox screwed the show by moving it around to different days and time slots, and almost never showing reruns, so it never had a chance to find and solidify it's fanbase. So disappointing.

        The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Anything starring Bruce Campbell is going to be worth a look, and a western with sci-fi overtones just makes it better. Only lasted the one season in 1993/4. Great memorable dialogue, too.

        Brisco to prisoner: "What's your name?"
        Silence
        Brisco's partner: "His name's Utah Johnny Montana. He used to be Utah Johnny Cougar Montana but he dropped the "Cougar" 'cause he thought it sounded too pretentious."
        Brisco: "Utah Johnny Montana, eh? Where ya from?"
        Prisoner: "Idaho."
        Last edited by Ayana Mudou; 03-24-2013, 11:05 PM.
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        • #5
          Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

          Originally posted by Ayana Mudou View Post
          The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Anything starring Bruce Campbell is going to be worth a look, and a western with sci-fi overtones just makes it better. Only lasted the one season in 1993/4. Great memorable dialogue, too.

          Brisco to prisoner: "What's your name?"
          Silence
          Brisco's partner: "His name's Utah Johnny Montana. He used to be Utah Johnny Cougar Montana but he dropped the "Cougar" 'cause he didn't like it."
          Brisco: "Utah Johnny Montana, eh? Where ya from?"
          Prisoner: "Idaho."
          That was only one season, wasn't it. Man, I loved that show, but I forgot all about it. Talk about a must-need re-watch--after 20 some years. But I've coincidentally been re-watching the edgy and brilliant cartoon, Rocko's Modern Life, from that same year (sort-of cancelled by Nick after four seasons; cartoons are weird exceptions), so as good a time as any to revisit more from my early high school days.

          And you guys have talked up Space: Above and Beyond before. I think it kind of got lost in my old B5 fandom at the time, but I should check it out now.
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          • #6
            Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

            I enjoyed Space: Above and Beyond (opening), but thought the execution was a bit jerky. Initially, it looked like the one pilot (who lost his fiance in the first attack) was going to serve as the spine tying all of the other events together. But then they got into developing the other characters' back stories, and throwing in the AI revolt, . . . and it just looked they forgot about his storyline for a long time. Plus the transition from them being rookies to the deeply respected "Wild Cards" seemed a bit abrupt. Wouldn't mind seeing it make a comeback, though.

            As some may have guessed from my avatar, I wish Crusade (opening) had continued. A sequel to Babylon 5, the show occurred ten years later, starting just after the Drakh (an alien race formerly allied to the Shadows) unleashed a devastating bioweapon against Earth. The crew of the Excalibur was sent to find a cure, by any means necessary.

            Featuring a diverse cast including a technomage, an alien survivor of the Drakh's test of the plague, and a genius working for the shadowy IPX corporation, the series had a lot of potential. One episode, for example, not only spoofed the X-Files, it went one better - explaining the real conspiracy behind the others.

            But the show was cancelled before it really got to do much (one season out of am planned five year run). They didn't have time to find a cure, defeat the Drakh, or explain the Captain's mysterious Apocalypse Box.

            Let's see . . . what else? Threshold, a short-lived scifi series about an alien invasion/infiltration, had promise. And more live action Blade would have been nice - the first season wrapped up the initial plot, but the season finale was clearly meant to set up a second season.
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            • #7
              Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

              On the Air. It was a very short-lived summer replacement sitcom from David Lynch about the early days of television. Seven episodes were filmed, but only 3 were broadcast before ABC pulled the plug. It was every bit as bizarre as you'd think a sitcom from David Lynch would be. Frankly, it was genius-level funny. Sadly, to the best of my knowledge, the full series has never been released in the US.
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              • #8
                Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                Wonderfalls was mine. It went four episodes before it got the axe. Probably because it was too clever. College graduate living in a trailer park, stuck in dead end retail job at Niagara Falls starts hearing inanimate objects talk, and nobody else can. They tell her to do things which end up helping people in some way. It sounds silly, but it was well cast, written, and directed. Fortunately it was released on DVD in its entirety the next year, including the nine episodes which never aired.

                I also liked The 4400, though it started going off the rails in its third and fourth (final) seasons. Sci-fi about people with abilities that they gained after being abducted and then returned to Earth.
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                • #9
                  Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                  Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                  I enjoyed Space: Above and Beyond (opening), but thought the execution was a bit jerky. Initially, it looked like the one pilot (who lost his fiance in the first attack) was going to serve as the spine tying all of the other events together. But then they got into developing the other characters' back stories, and throwing in the AI revolt, . . . and it just looked they forgot about his storyline for a long time. Plus the transition from them being rookies to the deeply respected "Wild Cards" seemed a bit abrupt. Wouldn't mind seeing it make a comeback, though.
                  Space: Above and Beyond was one of those shows I had to catch every single week. I enjoyed it a lot and wished it had not been canceled - but I also recognized, like another fan (Tom Clancy.) did, that the show's premise had some problems. It was an enjoyable yarn that I would love to see again, though.


                  Boston Public would be my choice. I enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would, and was very disappointed it did not last. No surprise that it was on Fox.

                  Then we have Megas XLR, but that is another matter.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                    Originally posted by Serial Experiments Nobue View Post
                    I also liked The 4400,
                    The 4400 was also broadcast in Japan on Wowow and Asahi Broadcasting Corporation.

                    To name a few voice actors and voice actresses who did Japanese dub for the show and are probably well-known to anime fans in non-Japanese countries,

                    Lily Moore Tyler (Laura Allen) → Itō Miki
                    Maia Skouris (Conchita Campbell) → Kaneda Tomoko
                    Dennis Ryland (Peter Coyote) → Naya Rokurō
                    Heather Tobey (Kathryn Gordon) → Igarashi Rei
                    Danny Farrell (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) → Yoshino Hiroyuki
                    April Skouris (Natasha Gregson Wagner) → Nagashima Yūko
                     

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                    • #11
                      Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                      Life on Mars(2008-09) was really good for the short one season stint it had on ABC. I wish they had given the writers more time to come up with an ending that worked instead of the lame, typical "it was all a dream' business.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                        Veronica Mars, Hidden Palms, Young Justice, The Defenders, Harry's Law, and Leverage. My heart still weeps.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                          The Critic. Of the two seasons that were produced, every single episode is magnificent. I actually think the second season was even better than the first.
                          The Unusuals. Wonderful skewed take on a one-hour police procedural. Extremely interesting characters and direction. Plus, pre-stardom Jeremy Renner.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                            Originally posted by DiRF View Post
                            The Critic. Of the two seasons that were produced, every single episode is magnificent. I actually think the second season was even better than the first. . .
                            I miss Jay Sherman, too. He would have had so much fun with "the Governator" and Jar-Jar Binks . . . Its a shame the show hasn't held up better, though - the parody sequels lost some of their bite after Hollywood actually made them. Perils of topical humor, I suppose.

                            Oh well, the UN School (Teaching Tolerance and Diversity to Those Who Can Afford It) and the adopted family elements still work. And of course, there's Arnold Schwarzeneggar as a singing rabbi . . .
                            Last edited by One Vorlon; 04-22-2013, 11:30 PM.
                            "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

                            -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Your Favorite Cancelled Shows*

                              Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                              Originally posted by DiRF View Post
                              The Critic. Of the two seasons that were produced, every single episode is magnificent. I actually think the second season was even better than the first. . .
                              I miss Jay Sherman, too. He would have had so much fun with "the Governator" and Jar-Jar Binks . . . Its a shame the show hasn't held up better, though - the parody sequels lost some of their bite after Hollywood actually made them. Perils of topical humor, I suppose.

                              Oh well, the UN School (Teaching Tolerance and Diversity to Those Who Can Afford It) and the adopted family elements still work. And of course, there's Arnold Schwarzeneggar as a singing rabbi . . .
                              It was one of the first great, accessible adult cartoons that was not simply "mature" because of only outrageous intent to push the envelope all the time, as was more common then (and since; and not that there's anything wrong with that, I hope). The adult references it did have, so, had more impact and flair, years before the likes of Family Guy ran the material into the ground, like Jay and Alice's love life, or Margo's wonderful and infamous "except for the gloves" line during her debutante dress fitting.

                              Reminds me that I really started loving the recently ended (not cancelled!) sitcom, 30 Rock, in it's second season when I realized how much it paralleled The Critic's "plot" and comedy style--one of the few live action comedies that did pop-culture references, so much the domain of animated shows, well.

                              Of course, The Critic was very much in mind a couple weeks ago, recalling one of its best moments: Jay reuniting Siskel and Ebert. An immortalized episode, now.
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