Twelve shows that were cancelled too soon - not including Firefly. Do you agree with blogger PigMonkey's definitive list?
Gavin and I were chatting. He said he doesn't watch things he likes on TV any more. "I'm cursed," he says. "Anything I like is doomed. So I just wait for it to come out on DVD." He shrugs, and concludes: "It just saves me a lot of frustration."
We started to compile a list of shows we'd liked that got killed early. Of course Firefly came up; I'm pretty sure its cancellation scarred geekdom so much it's burned itself into the sci-fi psyche for all eternity. But there were so many other shows that have suffered a similar end. Some of them have eaten chunks of my soul. My bitter, bitter, soul.
We had a very large list, but some we eliminated on the length of the show. Some shows, I will admit, I want to see more of... but perhaps they ended before they had a chance to suck. Some of them ended on a cliffhanger, some we figured had another year in them, and others we just think ended too early. Some of them were resurrected for a short time and received a chance to wrap up.
When a show returns from cancellation into a movie or mini-series, well that's what I call Geek Power. Some of our honourable mentions are Star Trek: Enterprise , Jeremiah , Veronica Mars , Angel ... all of which we eliminated for one reason or another. We're left with the ones that really stand out as significant pieces of pop culture which just did not see their full run.
Dead Like Me
A two-year run for a series about the grim reaper. It was witty, sardonic and on the whole, doomed. It ended cleanly but really could have seen another season. The show was very episodic, though, so it wasn't hard to tie things up quickly. It did get a visit from GeekPower when it morphed into a movie... that did not tie things up as nicely as the end of the series.
One of the classic cliffhanger cancellations. The whole series gets cancelled immediately after the two main characters profess their love for each other and get turned into a pile of sand. This hurt my brain. Thankfully it did get GeekPowered into a four-episode miniseries. It felt forced, however, and did not really deliver (although making it probably saved the lives of the producers).
This was a great series that just did not catch. The characters were cool, and the writing was great. The gist was a damned cop is sent to recover the souls of 113 escapees. The show got half a season then was pulled. At one villain per episode, they fell a little short of the mark. There are over 100 damned souls out there, and every one of them liked The Phantom Menace .
I love the Dresden File books. Mixing urban fantasy and film noir makes for great storytelling. However, the show fell short of the mark. My guess is that the producers thought it was just way too far out there for the mainstream market to connect. So they watered it down... a lot. Instead of having a show that bridged the span between the fans of the books and the mainstream, it ended up being a show that connected to no one. The series ended with a whimper; I find myself wondering if it would have done better by creating season-long arcs that stuck more closely to the books. This is something I never will know, as the show is dead and buried.
Space Above And Beyond
In the mid 1990s this show got just one season. It was a gritty look at war in space. With AI wars and cloned humans as a historical backdrop, the setting had a thick history before we even got to know the characters. The combat was pretty cool, and the character interactions were good for a military show - in a lot of ways it was a forerunner to the new BSG . The show had a small, tight-knit unit of several main characters, and a trickle of new recruits to supply the red shirt factor. The series ended by definitely killing off one main character and ambiguously killing off just about everyone else, bringing the show to an end after one season. It could have been resurrected, but instead died quietly in the vacuum of space.
If there is one show that gives me physical pains to speak of, this is it. This was a brilliantly written, pseudo-mystical environment filled with compelling characters. The series explored concepts of good and evil, and did it in such a cool way that we weren't even aware that they were doing it. It ended on a cliffhanger; the woman who was the main love interest turns out to be the final avatar of evil, and in the last minutes coldly shoots a main character. She then proceeds to resurrect her father, the second last avatar of evil. Leaving us, the viewing audience, HANGING IN MID AIR FOR ETERNITY! Some body please finish this story: book, comic, movie, I DON'T CARE. I need to know what happens.
This lasted one season and, while it had its moments (Tim Curry dropping Shakespeare-like soliloquies), it was another one that did not completely grab me. The world was interesting but I don't think we really got a chance to see the full scope of what was going on. It could have gone on a little longer - maybe it found a home in another lifetime.
G vs E
With 22 episodes over two seasons, the battle of good versus evil had a 1970s blaxploitation feel to it. Which was pretty damn cool. G vs E was the mod squad with demons. The second season ended pretty much unnoticed. The shows were primarily episodic so there was no real finale, which I suppose could be considered a good thing - ending it before it had the chance to jump the shark. I could have watched another season, though, or at least a wrap-up episode. No such luck though; evil wins.
I love the Tick. Both the Fox live action show and the cartoon were dismissed too early. Every incarnation of the Tick seems to have an entirely different style. One thing is for sure though, from the comic to the live action show, the Tick was brilliant. The show specifically got only one season and was cancelled because it was too expensive to make. With superhero comedies in short supply this was a veritable oasis. Though every incarnation is episodic, it definitely was cut short.
Jericho would have ended in its first season were it not for Geek Power. The final episode of the first season had ended on a cliffhanger. The lead character has been asked to surrender and in return replied "nuts". The show was promptly cancelled due to poor ratings. In insane Geek Power, incensed fans of the series shipped roughly 40,000 pounds of peanuts to the CBS offices. This persuaded them to bring Jericho back for eight more episodes to clean things up a little. Of course they had to save money where they could, so you never really saw the battle - they just cut right to the aftermath at the beginning of season two. Jericho has found life after death though, as a successful comic book.
Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future
Captain Power was, at its core, a one-season advertisement for a really neat, albeit sporadically functional, toy. It had a bit of backstory to it but it wasn't exactly top notch. However the last episode, in 1988, helped us to understand how much cliffhangers suck. Our final view of the entire series is the evil Soaron sneaking up behind Pilot. Roll credits. AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH! This was an early experience into disappointment.
I cannot stress how much I am not talking about the godawful 2006 movie of the same name. This British show from the 1990s was, as all SFX readers know, about an organisation dedicated to hunting down and killing Code 5s (vampires). There was a sense of moral ambiguity that kept cropping up in the series that made you wonder if the main characters were the good guys. Long story short: in the last episode, you find out they aren't.
This is a personal list by Canadian blogger PigMonkey. Do you agree with his choices? What else (besides Firefly) would you have on this list?