Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shows That Died Too Soon

Ever heard of the expression, ‘it is better to have three really good friends than a hundred acquaintances?’ Well the networks haven’t. They would rather have a show that 11 million people watch occasionally than a show that 4 million people would give their right arm for. So I’m giving a shout out to those shows that you thought died too soon, from one fan to another. I’m just going to go cry in the corner, too much potential being wasted by the networks just makes me well up.


“Arrested Development-- awesome cast, funny, original.” Audrey Hyder

“Arrested Development --> It's extremely funny with a very messed up family with the main character being the only "normal" person. I've been known to watch the few seasons over and over again. Ended way too soon (sadness).” Danielle Moss

“I recently discovered the show Arrested Development. I can see how it would have a limited appeal but I found the humor quite hilarious and the dysfunctionality of the family extremely identifiable and enjoyable.” John Buckingham

“I agree that "Arrested Development" was canceled far too early. It was smart and witty on so many levels, from Ron Howard's spot-on narration to all the inside jokes for loyal viewers. It's unfortunate that a brilliant sitcom like this lasted only three seasons while the abomination that is "According to Jim" has entered its EIGHTH year. Coincidence that such a brainless comedy would air during Bush's two terms in office? I don't think so.” Jenna Briggs

Arrested Development
Canceled by: FOX
Lasted: 2 and a half seasons 2003-2006
Update: Movie in the works for next year

Plot: Arrested Development revolves around the Bluth family, a family who use to be rich but through excessive spending and stupid choices are dirt broke. At the center of the show is the relatively honorable Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), who strives to do the right thing and keep his family together, despite their materialism, selfishness, and manipulative natures.

Why it’s awesome: Where to start? People have really been discovering this show since it got canceled and people are very sad that they missed it. Arrested Development uses several elements that are rare for American live-action sitcoms. Like a documentary, it often cuts away abruptly from scenes in order to supplement the narrative with material such as security camera footage, Bluth family photos, website screenshots, and archive films. Flashbacks are also extensively used to show the Bluth family in various stages of their lives. The show does not employ a laugh track, allowing for uninterrupted back-and-forth dialogue and permitting more time for plot development and jokes. An omniscient third-person narrator (producer Ron Howard, uncredited) ties together the multiple plot threads running through each episode, and provides tongue-in-cheek commentary. Wordplay is abundant, for humor and plot; a character may misinterpret an ambiguous phrase with embarrassing or disastrous results. Before cutting to a commercial, the show flashes a white screen instead of the usual black screen. The plot regularly features callbacks to previous episodes and "call-forwards", wherein plots or events will be foreshadowed in subtle ways.

“Everwood-- great characters, dealt with a lot of real issues.” Audrey Hyder

"I'm going to add Everwood to the list. That was such a poignant, well-acted and well-written show, and it was a casualty of the WB merger. How could they possibly have renewed 7th Heaven for an 11th season and not bring back Everwood for a fifth? Fortunately, I got an e-mail from Amazon saying they're *finally* releasing the second season on DVD this year." Kristen Mooney

Canceled by: The WB/UPN merger
Lasted: 4 seasons 2002-2006
Update: 2nd Season *finally* coming to DVD in June

Plot: Everwood tells the story of a widower, Dr Andy Brown, who leaves his successful job as a top Manhattan neurosurgeon to live in a small Colorado town, bringing his 9-year-old daughter Delia and 15-year-old son Ephram with him. He chooses the town of Everwood because his late wife had told him of her emotional attachment to it. Many of the story lines deal with the conflicts of adjusting to a new setting, as well as getting along with new people. Dr. Brown, simply called Andy most of the time, at first finds some animosity towards Dr. Harold Abbott, with whom his professional opinions differ. However, Dr. Abbott's cranky demeanor and Andy's passive, cheerful attitude prove to mesh well and the two begin a friendly rivalry. Ephram continually struggles with his emerging adolescence, his studies as a classical pianist, and his crush on Amy Abbott, Dr. Abbott's daughter. (Summary from Wikipedia)

Why it’s awesome: It dealt with real issues without being too cheesy. The characters were real, life wasn’t easy, and no one was spared from the guilty train. It is one of the few dramas I could actually watch. Too bad The CW picked 7th Heaven over this gem. Well, maybe at least they will bring all the DVDs out now. Thank you ABC Family for replaying the show and bringing it back to life.

Dead Like Me
Canceled by: Showtime 2003-2004
Lasted: 2- half of seasons
Update: Dead Like Me the Movie: Life After Death (Just released in Feb)

Plot: Georgia "George" Lass (ELLEN MUTH) is a young college drop-out who has no job skills and seems unable to take an interest in anything, including her own life. She cultivates an air of cynicism that infuriates her mother, baffles her father, and isolates her younger sister. George is about to get a wake-up call.

With her mother Joy (CYNTHIA STEVENSON) insisting that she get a job, George applies to a temp agency that sends her out as a file clerk. Her lunch break - and her life - are cut short when a toilet seat from the MIR space station drives her into the pavement. George does not realize that she is dead until Rube (MANDY PATINKIN), the kindly leader of a team of grim reapers, points out her remains. Rube takes George under his wing and introduces her to the other members of his undead group: Mason (CALLUM BLUE), Roxy (JASMINE GUY) and Betty (REBECCA GAYHEART).

The members of Rube's team of reapers are all, like George, people who died with unresolved issues. They still have lessons to learn that - for one reason or another - they failed to learn in life. They move about the Pacific Northwest in the full light of day. They walk the city streets and eat at all-night diners, just like anyone else. They have to find somewhere to live, cook, eat and do their laundry. They look just like everyone else but as grim reapers they appear physically different to the living than they did when they were alive.

What George experiences beyond death is the focus of this darkly comedic series. It takes a slightly twisted look at life and at one possible version of life after life. What if death is not the end? What if it is not even an escape from the issues that plagued us? What if it is not a way to avoid accountability, but an opportunity to accept responsibility? What if it is a wake-up call?

Why it’s awesome: It’s a show about grim reapers! It was created by Bryan Fuller who has recently be getting a reputation for being awesome. He also created Pushing Daisies and was in charge of the first season of Heroes. Fuller left the show five episodes into the first season due to creative differences; creative direction of Dead Like Me was then taken over by executive producers John Masius and Stephen Godchaux. It’s funny but it’s a dark kind of funny, definitely one of a kind.

“Tru Calling, Firefly, were both cancelled before their time, definitely include them.” Greg Myers

Tru Calling
Canceled by: FOX
Lasted: 1 and a half seasons 2003-2005
Update: Eliza Dushku now stars in Dollhouse

Plot: Tru Davies, a medical grad student in Boston whose grant is suddenly pulled out from under her, takes a job at a local morgue. There, she discovers that she has the power to "re-live" the previous day over again to help the people who wrongly ended up dead. She uses this gift not only to save lives, but to help her trouble-plagued family - her older sister Meredith, a lawyer and drug addict in denial; and her younger, irresponsible, slacker, gambling brother Harrison. (Summary from IMDB)

Why it’s awesome: Eliza Dushku. She relives days to save lives. Jason Priestly plays her rival/romantic foil. It’s television gold. Too bad they hardly got into the plot before it was canceled. After the season finale of the first season, FOX was almost close to canceling the show but didn't because the ratings in the middle of the first season improved and since its competitor Friends was on their final season, FOX decided to renew this series and give it another chance. The show was canceled by FOX, who thought that the new series "Point Pleasant" (2005) would work better following The O.C. than Tru Calling. Point Pleasant was canceled before finishing its 13 episodes. And people were still really mad that Eliza turned down a Faith spinoff to star in this show. Fan people get really pissed about things like that.

“Firefly! This show was brilliantly written, but not marketed well.” Rachel Radwanski

“I totally agree that Firefly was a show that should have continued until today. Brilliant plot, vibrant characters, etc...” John Buckingham

Canceled by: FOX (sense a pattern?)
Lasted: half of a season and a movie, Serenity 2002-2003
Updated: Joss is working on Dollhouse, Summer Glau is doing The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nathan Fillion is doing Castle

Plot: Captain Malcom 'Mal' Reynolds is a former galactic war veteran who is the captain of the transport ship "Serenity", Mal his crew of hired transporters, Mal's ensign Zoe Warren, Zoe's husband, pilot Hoban 'Wash' Washburne, muscular former combat soldier Jayne Cobb, young engineer Kaylee Frye, former Alliance medical officer Simon Tamm, his teenage sister River (Both on-the-run from the Interplanetary government "The Alliance"), the beautiful "companion" Inara Serra and religious man Shepard Book do legal or illegal jobs (smuggling, protecting, guns-for-hire, robberies) as the Serenity crew travels across the outskirts of Outer Space for food, money, anything to make a living on, as The Serenity crew tries to stay under the radar of The Alliance and pulls dangerous jobs in the Alliance controlled star systems.

Why it’s awesome: It’s a western in space! It was written by Joss Whedon! It’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s futuristic. It was killed by tossing around the episodes, switching the nights, killing it eleven episodes in. Fox, can you just have patience? It introduced us to Summer Glau who is now a fanboy goddess.

“Veronica Mars - who's the smartest high school/college detective on television these days? She was so funny, sarcastic, and so entertaining to watch.” Amanda Smith

Veronica Mars
Canceled by: The CW
Lasted: 3 Seasons 2004-2007
Update: A movie is rumored to be in the works

Plot: In a town where there is no middle class, high school student Veronica Mars fights crime one case at a time, and then insults with a witty comment. After her best friend is murdered and her father is removed as county sheriff, Veronica Mars dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune.

Why it’s awesome: It’s clever, well written, and stars the perky Kristen Bell. The ensemble cast works well together and the mystery keeps you coming back for more. Rob Thomas originally shot the pilot to be on a network like Showtime or HBO but when it ended up on UPN, some of the plot lines had to be changed. Even with that, the show still had some controversial storylines.

“R.I.P. Pushing Daisies. The show was really formulaic and I didn't expect it to last a really long time but it definitely went way too soon. the show was so colorful and fairy tale-esque!” Kelsey Parker

“Pushing Daisies! I completely agree. It was somewhat formulaic, but the set designs, costumes, and characters made up for any formula. It was incredibly creative and was way beyond it's competitor's for originality.” Rachel Radwadski

Pushing Daisies
Canceled by: ABC
Lasted: 2 seasons 2007-2009
Update: A comic book is in the works

Plot: Pushing Daisies centers on the life of Ned, a pie-maker gifted with the mysterious ability to bring dead things back to life by touching them. There are some conditions to this somewhat unusual talent. Ned quickly learns that if something is revived for more than exactly one minute, something of similar "life value" in the vicinity drops dead, as a form of balance. Additionally, if he touches the revived person or thing a second time, it falls dead again, this time permanently.
Inheriting his mother's baking talents, Ned becomes a pie-maker who owns a restaurant called "The Pie Hole", which he runs with the help of waitress Olive Snook (Kristen Chenoweth). The restaurant is failing financially when private investigator Emerson Cod accidentally discovers Ned's gift and offers him a proposal: Ned will bring murder victims back to life, inquire about the circumstances of their untimely death, then touch them once more, all before his set limit of sixty seconds is up. Emerson will then solve the case and they will split the reward money for solving the unanswered questions surrounding the death.
The scheme succeeds until they learn that Chuck, whom Ned hasn't seen since childhood, was murdered while on a cruise ship. When her body is shipped back home, Ned revives her, but can't bring himself to allow her to stay dead by touching her a second time. Against his better judgment, Ned allows her to live and the larcenous funeral home director falls dead in her place. Ned and Chuck fall in love again and he brings her home to live with him under the unique circumstances of their never being able to touch each other. Chuck is extraordinarily grateful upon receiving a second chance at life, and as such she starts to appreciate life as a truly precious resource and Ned, witnessing his vivacious beauty's happiness, begins to break out of his lonely shell. Other storylines include Emerson's search for his missing daughter, Olive Snook's love for Ned and friendship with Chuck, and Chuck's aunts trying desperately to get over their dead niece.

Why it’s awesome: Created by Bryan Fuller. Originally set to be a Dead Like Me spin off. Based on a rejected plotline for "Dead Like Me" where Ellen Muth's character couldn't collect any souls because somebody was resurrecting them with a touch. It’s so unique and colorful, very creative. The narration of Jim Dale brings a lot to the show and the whole thing seems very innocent, which is quite difficult when talking about a show about death.

Other Comments:

“The Classic Bugs Bunny. Duh! They don't make cartoons like they used to...that and they need to bring back the OLD Scooby Doos...the new ones don't live up to the old! But really...They need to bring back the classics...Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman...good and clean. And...no offense to all the people that like Desperate Housewives... but it's been on way too long.” Denae Enderle

“Even Stevens-- great characters/actors, really good writing, just a very entertaining show
Lasted too long? Seventh Heaven-- even though I never really watched it, it seems like a lot of the original characters were replaced with new ones.” Audrey Hyder

“Freaks and Geeks-That show was so freaking awesome!” Angela Broz

“I used to like the show freakylinks in high school... and it was cancelled soon after it was started.” Julie Pretzlaff

“Dawson's Creek lasted WAY too long in my opinion. Too much teeny bopper drama and it would take away from the awesome that was Buffy.There was a series of Spider-man in the early 2000s that was shown on MTV. I've been rewatching it on Hulu. I actually thought it was quite good, but it never made it past one season (and a short season at that - only 13 half hour episodes). I thought they had Peter Parker down completely, and Spidey's movements perfect. However, the 3-D animation used for it may have put a majority of people off.” Rachel Radwadski

“As for a series that lasted way too long, I'd have to go with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although I ate in up in all of my nerdiness, I still feel that the plot lost its luster after about the 4th season or so. Neither should they have reincarnated the general Star Trek theme so many times. The new star trek is a travesty. Blech.” John Buckingham

“I always, always loved Daria. It rocked just because the humor was so different, one of the first adult cartoons. I probably shouldn't have been allowed to watch it - but i did, which is probably why I'm a sarcastic tool to this day. I still quote that show. SO funny.” Patrick Yovanov


  1. Veronica Mars should be continued!!

  2. Where the heck is "My So Called Life" people?

  3. I want "Veronica Mars" to be continued so muuuuch!!!

  4. Imagine VM on HBO, Logan Echolls could be unleashed on the Russian Mafia in glorious bloodfilled ways.