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11 TV Shows That Should Have Never Been Cancelled

We all have our favourites, the television shows that we get hung up on and schedule our entire life around. And then the big bad evil corporation decides that some arbitrary ranking system warrants the show being cancelled… and our heart breaks as they take, yet again, another set of friends away from our weekly viewing pleasure.

Here are the ones that hurt the most…


Firefly

If this show wasn’t on the list, I believe there would be an uprising on the internet. The Joss Whedon sci-fi/western was cancelled after less than one season because Fox didn’t understand two things:

1) Shows must be shown in order, from the beginning, in order to make sense.
2) New shows must stick to a time slot so that people can, you know… know when to watch.

Sure, we had the movie Serenity to appease fans with a “proper” ending, but really? This show would have become a cash cow for Fox if they had just let it live. Besides, how heartless can you be to cancel a show starring Nathan Fillion?

Fox did it twice.

Cold Case

This show had a great run of seven seasons before it was given the axe by CBS. Yes, it was a formulated cop show, but the actors’ chemistry and the historical element are what really drew me to love this show.

I will never forget the cliff-hanger ending of the season four finale “Stalker”; it turned me into a complete Lilly/Scotty shipper.

Yup.

Flight of the Conchords

This show gave everything to its audience: music, comedy, music, great acting, more music, and Kiwi slang. The only reason for this show’s cancellation that I can think of is that America just doesn’t get how awesome New Zealand humour really is.

Jemaine and Bret (FIGWIT, for those LOTR fans) are just two musicians on their OE (Kiwi for Overseas Experience), trying to make it in New York City. It’s awkward, sometimes embarrassing humour, is what made this show so amazing. Even the Emmys gave the show several nods in 2008 and 2009.

I just wish America had taken more notice.

Lie to Me

When an actor of the calibre of Tim Roth decides to descend from the silver-screen heavens and grace television land with his presence, we are supposed to watch. We are supposed to watch religiously.

The show was, again, a formula cop show, but dammit the premise was original. Learning to read body language is a very useful skill for anyone to have. To watch it be used in the masterful way Dr. Cal Lightman does is beyond words. Plus, I learned a bit about facial expressions and I am positive that I could spot someone who was just about to steal a chocolate bar.

Maybe.

Veronica Mars

This show had the premise to be another CW teen drama. It was anything but.

The break-out role for the wonderful Kristin Bell, Veronica Mars was a teenage daughter to a disgraced police-officer-turned-private-eye. The character solved mysteries of her own while helping her father with his practice. Yes, it dealt with the problems and issues teenagers face, but it also showed that teenagers are smart, savvy, and clever individuals—something where current television shows can take heed. *cough*prettylittlegossipgirls*cough*

Plus, both Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Joss Whedon guest starred. Need I say more?

Titus

I used to watch this show faithfully with my father as it was one of the few shows that could get him to tears with laughter. Stacy Keach (playing Ken Titus) was a carbon copy of my grandfather, apparently.

Either way, this show was funny, relate-able, and had the bully from A Christmas Story. How could anyone go wrong with that?!

The Black Donnelly’s

From the writer of the Oscar-winning film Crash, this show was my addiction for three and a half months before it was ripped from the air by NBC before the complete season was shown. It even had a then-unknown Olivia Wilde.

The Donnelly brothers were the heart of this show and you felt for Tommy the most, a promising art student who could have gone on to great things if his Irish Mob family connections didn’t force him into a position of becoming… well, a mob boss. This show is gritty and violent with one episode being dedicated to the disposal of a body. But it is also about heart, love, and doing whatever it takes for your family.


This doesn’t hurt either.

Freaks and Geeks

This isn’t just a show, it basically was my entire high school life! The only difference is that I never actually smoked pot like Lindsay does. Besides that, I was the geeky grade-A student who hung out with the stoners. So, essentially, Fox cancelled my life. This seems to be a running theme.

Freaks and Geeks was Judd Apatow’s first real foray into television and it proved how great of a comedic genius the man is. It paved his way into the movie business (despite the cancellation) and also showed that he has an eye for talent: he discovered Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco with this show.

Despite the clever and witty writing, the show lasted about as long as a high school relationship, showing that neither freaks, nor geeks, will ever satisfy Fox (who prefer jocks and cars).

Undeclared

Almost like a continuation of Freaks and Geeks (but with different characters), Undeclared was the only show in my memory solely dedicated to the awesome (and awkward) first year of university.

Apatow kept on Seth Rogen to play a Canadian student at a US university and even had Rogen as one of the show’s writers. Canadian Jay Baruchel was cast in the lead role, as the show explored his journey of meeting new people, living with roommates, and attending class. I had many friends who watched this show religiously, looking for tips on how to survive their own first year.

Sadly, if one were to believe this show, no one would ever make it to their second year. Thanks again FOX.

Kyle XY

I have to admit, the premise of this show made it seem like a “B” show, if those exist. A strange science experiment goes wrong and we end up with Kyle: a human genetics experiment with amazing super powers.

I know, right?

The thing is, this show was smart, cute, funny, and human, all while maintaining a perfect balance with its sci-fi elements and government conspiracies. The acting is good, it’s solid. It’s not The Black Donnelly’s, but it’s still believable. The character development and plot twists are what made you come back.

The show was unfairly placed on hiatus for quite some time before the plug was finally pulled; giving an extra twist to the knife that is embedded in the fans’ backs. For the first time on this list, you can blame ABC.

Chuck

There are a few reasons why I saved this one until last. The first is that the wound of this show is the most fresh. Second, the show wasn’t actually cancelled… just given a due date. As in, this show is due to be cancelled on this date so make sure you have all your bases covered by then.

Chuck was a show that was the perfect mixture of action thriller and comedic love story. The characters had flaws despite being considered “ideal”, and there was actually character development over the five seasons that was so subtle, but so apparent, that you grew along with them. Sometimes if a character changes, they are no longer likeable. With Chuck, every character grew and changed, but in a way that was their character. It made sense.

Chuck took being a geek and an underdog and didn’t make it something to pity, or to be pandered to. It gave a love of all-things-geek something to be celebrated and cherished. Even if the show wasn’t cancelled, per say, it still ended way before its time.

At least, unlike the others, it had time to create a proper on-air ending.

So, what do you think? Did I miss anything? I have never seen Arrested Development and a few other cancelled shows that may be on this list, so I couldn’t put them on the list in good conscience. What would your list look like?

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “11 TV Shows That Should Have Never Been Cancelled

  1. I like the post, I have four I can certainly agree on. Firefly, Black Donnellys, Chuck and Freak and Geeks. Each of these shows I loved dearly and will miss. The rest of them I am sure are good shows but never interested me. The funny thing is my wife and I have talked about Freaks and geeks. Considering that if the show was made now with the same cast it would be an all star cast. Who ever cancelled that show most likely got canned. I bet they regret that choice.

    Posted by Animockery | February 21, 2012, 4:40 pm
    • Thanks for the comment!
      I completely agree with you, as Freaks and Geeks was the perfect combination of great talent and writing. Mind you, they would have to pay loads of money to keep the great talent on the show once they got famous. ;)

      Posted by Sarah | February 21, 2012, 7:30 pm
  2. As unfortunate as it is for great shows to be cancelled – especially when they’re so few and far between – there *can be*, dare I say it, upsides . . . ? Titus, for example, had a short run, but those three seasons are 25 hours of perfect television. It wasn’t around long enough to lose its punch and go stale; every episode is Really. Good. Even the not-so-good ones are good. (“Grandma Titus”, anyone?) And didn’t it end perfectly – with the main character exactly where he always feared he’d end up? ;)

    I’ve always liked the idea of having a set time span to run a show, because it can force the writers and creators to stay focused on producing great content – HBO shows are a great example of this. You only have so long to get it right, so you need to make the most of the time you have. And it appeals to the fans who know that the shows they love won’t just disappear – like everything you’ve listed here.
    (I shut up now.)

    Posted by freakturbulence | February 21, 2012, 7:48 pm
    • Great point. I can see how a lot of these shows could have their “jump the shark” moments and then become… well, pointless. I also agree with you about the set number of episodes for a show, like they do in England. The only thing is, sometimes those set time limits could make a great show too short.

      As for some of the shows above, especially in the case of Firefly and The Black Donnelly’s, they didn’t even have a chance to get anywhere near the heart of their story.

      And NEVER shut up, lol, comment more!

      Posted by Sarah | February 22, 2012, 5:19 pm
  3. Freaks and Geeks!! What a great show. What were they thinking?!

    Posted by Michelle | February 22, 2012, 11:04 pm

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