31 August 2012

Friday's Top Five: Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon

Hello faithful readers of five! Have you ever been personally invested into a television show, only to have the bastards executives at a major network cancel the show too soon?

If the answer is OMFG yes those sonsofbitches, then read on as I share my angst and rage.
And joining me this week, as always for this feature, is Joanne from A Cup of Jo, and Junior from Juice with Junior.

I am not going to explain the plot or synopsis of the show (that's what Wikipedia was invented for - and you can click on the title to read all about said show). I will instead post my emotions. Because goodness knows, everyone wants to read about my feelings. When you are done reading my bullshit brilliant work of art, leave comments (because they are my she-ra sword) and head on over to their blogs.

In order from rage to complete heartbreak (worst to even more worst):

5. Las Vegas (NBC)
So this show wasn't exactly what one would call "stellar" {imagine me using the air quotes finger gesture}. You probably won't see this show on anyone else's top 5 list (unlike Arrested Development which everyone seems to loooooovvvvveee). But I enjoyed this show. I loved the concept of the show, the intro music, the relationships, the storyline, and James Caan. I loved how every time I watched, I wanted to fly on a plane to Vegas. What was frustrating is that it ended the season prematurely due to a writers strike. And then never came back because of an off-season cancellation. So all we were left with was pregnant Delinda bleeding at the alter in Danny's arm. All I ask for is closure. Damnit.

4. American Gothic (CBS)
In today's heavy supernatural/vampire-driven market, we take for granted the concept of the creepy gothic-weird show. But before Buffy, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Supernatural, there was American Gothic. American Gothic was this creepy show involving a child, Lucas Black, and the details surrounding his birth (in a town with creepy things going on). It was good vs. evil and creepy as all hell. It was so well acted and completely riveting. But it was a show that was aired before it's time, in a market that wasn't quite ready for that.

3. Life on Mars (US Version) (ABC)
The way this show was handled makes me hulk-smash mad. The concept was brilliant. A modern day cop gets smacked up and wakes up, only to find himself in the year 1973. And it was so good. And you weren't sure if this was a coma, or some bizarre mind-control thing, or if this was for real or imaginary. And it was neat seeing him deal with the technology of the day, but aware of what the future held. It definitely had elements of the show Lost, but that in the end was its' detriment. It really was one of those shows you sort of had to pay attention to and watch each week. But the boneheads at ABC kept moving the show around, or not airing shows for weeks, which made that process hard. And when they did pull the plug (but allowed the show to finish the season), the end was so convenient, contrived and unsatisfying. It didn't really make sense in the context of the show.  But it was a damn good show while it lasted.

2. Carnivale (HBO)
I was utterly in love with this show, in an obsessive-stalkerish kind of way that my husband is all too familiar with. I came across this show through word of mouth. I borrowed the DVD and hunkered down. It was brilliant. The acting. The concept. The storyline. It had a plot! IT HAD A PLOT! The show was set during the dust bowl-era of the the 30's. It was the battle of good vs. evil, with religious and pagan undertones. It was a mad macabre of delight that flashed before my eyes. But alas, it was one of those shows that no one was ready for. It was a show that required emotional investment, competing against mindless reality shows. And goodness knows, we wouldn't want to actually think while watching TV. I live in eternal hope that Carnivale can be resurrected from the dead.

1. American Dreams (NBC)
This was my favourite show of all time. I loved this show like no other (before or since). It represented everything I love: family, history, relationships, music, nostalgia, J.J. and his dad, and awesome clothes.  It was an instant classic about a bygone era. So when this show was cancelled, I was genuinely upset. I did all the steps of grief:
  • shock: "why God why?"
  • denial: "It will be picked up by another network!"
  • pain: "I'm calling in sick to work and staying in bed"
  • guilt: "maybe if I had only encouraged all my worldly friends to watch"
  • bargaining: "I will buy the DVD of Season One, and you will see how popular this show is and bring it back right?"
  • anger: "I hate you NBC!"
  • more anger: "I will forever boycott the peacock network!"
  • and still more anger: "You f*ck*rs! Why won't you put season 2 & 3 on DVD?"
I'm not at the recovery and acceptance stages yet. NOR WILL I EVER BE! {Oh yes, I unleashed the ALL CAPS. Shits about to get real. The world needs to hear my anger. Except they can't really hear. So why people get mad at all caps for shouting when no one is actually saying anything baffles me. But I digress.}

The thing that makes me angry is that it's one thing to cancel the show and not bringing any closure to the show. But the bastards have rubbed salt in the wound by not releasing Season 2 & 3 on DVD!
My heart still aches for this show. I still live in eternal hope for a movie-of-the-week at the very least.

I think part of the reason it only lasted 3 years, when it had so much more story to tell is simple: for all the crap you hear in the news about people wanting a show about "American/family values" is a bunch of horse dung. People want shows like Honey Boo-Boo and The Kardashians so that they scream about values, but they don't actually want to have a show about values.

And for funzies, watch this clip of the intro while I crawl  into the corner and cry.

So there you go folks! That's another rousing edition of the Friday Five! Don't forget to leave comments, and then mosey on over to see what Jo and Junior has to say.

Question for the world: What are shows you think were cancelled too soon?


Anonymous said...

Dani, can we hold hands and bond over a shared love of "Las Vegas"? Don't you watch every single time it comes on for a rerun and act as if you've never seen it before? That was MY SHOW. The thing I liked most about it was how everyone genuinely seemed to be friends with each other and get along. The stakes were never that high and everyone was pretty. WHY CANCEL! Plus Lara Flynn Boyle blew off the roof of a building and died, which is amazing. I get James Caan wanted to go back to movies (harumph) but they could've continued!

Moving on. I never started "Life on Mars" because I could tell ABC had no clue what they were doing and I didn't want to get invested (see also: Mafia, Cashmere). And I feel your love for "American Dreams." I loved the stars of today playing the stars of the past, showcasing that yes, they had some knowledge of who Lesley Gore or Buddy Holly were. It was a worthwhile show. p.s. I love how your stages of grief include 3 steps for anger!

Dani said...

If I could watch it on reruns, I would. But we have this shit called Canadian Content Rules, which means we get fewer repeat shows, and more crappy Canadian content show about angry beavers or somehting like that.

And yes, I sorta just dwell in anger. If I accept defeat, the terrorists win.

Joanna said...

LOL... both you and Junior make me laugh. And, I agree, you totally nailed it with your stages of grief!!

By the way... American Gothic?? How could I have missed that one from my list?! ("Someone's at the door....") Gary Cole was awesomely scary in every episode, and I admit I had to watch it with a pillow in front of my face.

I'm pretty sure I have some episodes recorded on VHS, so maybe you can come over later and we can watch them again together. Just be sure to bring a pillow.