Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shows Gone Too Soon

Earlier this week, I watched the series finale to Stargate Universe. And while it was a really good episode, I was upset afterward. Why, you ask? Because SyFy had canceled the show, but the cancellation came too late for the show's writers to wrap up the story. It ended on a big cliffhanger! I want to know what happens to the crew of the Destiny, dang it! I hate when this happens, and I seem to have this talent for liking shows that end up in some sort of similar demise. So I thought today I'd talk about shows that I feel didn't get the chance they deserved and were canceled too soon.

1. Firefly -- This is my all-time favorite show. After all it combined two of my favorite genres (westerns and sci-fi), was created by Joss Whedon (who is awesome!), had that fantastic Whedon dialogue, and...what was the other thing? Oh, yeah, it starred Nathan Fillion. :) It lasted less than a season and I blame FOX for showing the episodes out of their intended order for part of the failure. Don't even get me started on how much I loathe the powers that be for canceling this show. But fans did get the movie Serenity after the cancellation. And if there's any doubt about how popular this show was with its fan base (known as Browncoats), you only have to go to Dragon*Con when any of the stars are there. I've waited in lines for 3 hours, lines that wrapped around the downtown Hyatt in Atlanta close to three times. The people in the back of the lines never got in because the number of people in line always exceeded the fire marshal's limit for the huge ballroom. And the lines for photographs and autographs with these stars are always very, very long. (Hey, look, it's me with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk!)

2. Jericho -- This post-nuclear attack drama had so much more to explore. And it had Skeet Ulrich -- I love Skeet Ulrich. It was canceled after one season, but a highly publicized fan campaign in which fans sent the network tons of nuts gave it a second chance. But the network canceled it again only 7 seasons into the second season.

3. Roswell -- Three alien teens who landed at Roswell pass as human and fall for humans. My YA-loving heart loved this show. Katherine Heigl and Colin Hanks had two of their earliest roles on this show. It lasted three seasons, but I think it could have gone a couple more.

4. Veronica Mars -- Another wonderful show with snappy dialogue, great characters, and the best father-daughter relationship on TV played by Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni. It was a modern day Nancy Drew mixed with the sass of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I loved the romance between Veronica and Logan.

5. Legend of the Seeker -- This fantasy series based on the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind was a lot of fun and welcome in a TV landscape that doesn't have a lot of fantasy in it. I liked this show so much that I dressed as one of the main characters at Dragon*Con last year.

6. Moonlight -- Vampire show starring the oh-so-easy-to-look-at Alex O'Loughlin. It was canceled after one season.

7. Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles -- This was an interesting take on the Terminator stories starring Lena Headey, who is in Game of Thrones now. Sarah kicked ass. Cameron, the working-for-the-good-side Terminator kicked ass (and was played by Summer Glau, who also kicked ass in Serenity). In case you can't tell, I like strong female characters who kick butt.

8. New Amsterdam -- Only got 8 episodes before being canceled by FOX. It was about an immortal, 400-year-old NYPD officer who'd been in Manhattan as a Dutch soldier in 1642. Starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is also in Game of Thrones.

9. Invasion -- This alien invasion show only got one season, though it was conceived as having a five-season arc. So, guess what. Yes, viewers were left with lots of questions.

10. Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe -- Atlantis got five seasons, but I still think it could have gone several more. And SGU got the plug pulled after two seasons even though it was getting better all the time. That's the problem now -- shows have to be a hit out of the gate with no room for a slow build, or they get the ax. I don't think shows like The X-Files would be able to make it in today's cut-throat TV world.

11. Men in Trees -- Quirky show set in Alaska. I love stuff set in Alaska with quirky characters (hello, Northern Exposure, I'm talking to you too). I think they killed this one because they resolved the love interest too soon.

So do you agree with any of these? Or are there other shows which you think were canceled too soon? Did they leave you with burning questions? And just how annoyed were you when you found out they'd been canceled?


Kim in Baltimore said...


Kim in Baltimore said...

I know many Alex O'Loughlin fans were sad when CBS cancelled Moonlight ... but then he wouldn't be the star of Hawaii Five O!

And today's Hawaiian proverb:

Maka'ala ke kanaka kahea manu.

Translation: A man who calls birds should always be alert (one who wishes to succeed should be alert to any opportunity that may arise).

Thus Alex was ready when Hawaii called!

Tawny said...

Oh yeah, Im so with you on pouting over the demise of Firefly. But before I can pout, I have to give a little scream of envy.

You touched Nathan Fillion? You had a hug? You got a picture? You talked to him in person. OMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGG fan girl squeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Ahem... Okay, got it under control again :-) Great list, Trish. I'll admit, I didn't watch any of them except Firefly, and I actually came to that after it was off the air, but all of them sound really intriguing and if I were a TV watcher, I'd have loved to see them.

jo robertson said...

Ugh, blogger ate my comment!

Great and timely topic, Trish, what with the networks getting ready to announce their fall lineups. Usually I thing a series goes on too long; for example, "Gray's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives," both of which started out with strong writing and great actors.

jo robertson said...

I totally agree with you about "Moonlight" and "Firefly." Pulled way, way too soon.

Helen said...

Well done Kim have fun with him


I really don't watch much TV at all but I really did enjoy Jericho and was saddened when they canned it we do have the first season on DVD but that is all.

I really don't think some of the TV stations give the shows enough run time if they are not making huge amounts of money right from the start they don't want to take a chance with them yes it is all about the money these days. Same thing happens with TV shows here in Australia.

Have Fun

Jane said...

I love Veronica Mars. There's always talk about a movie, but who knows if it'll ever happen. Legend of the Seeker was a great show, too. I really enjoyed Eleventh Hour with Rufus Sewell, but it only lasted one season. Another favorite was Threshold, a sci-fi show with Carla Gugino and Peter Dinklage(he's on Game of Thrones, too.)

Sheree said...

I've never forgiven FOX for keeping "The X-Files" but canceling its lead-in, "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." <- Wild, West! Steampunk! Bruce Campbell! Wackiness abound! How dare they cancel such a great, fun show?!

Landra said...

I miss Firefly. Avid fan, and love watching the season over and over again!
Would you say I'm nuts cause I have the song 'Jayne' on my Mp3 player?

Congrats on the chook Kim, and Aloha!

As for the other shows I would have enjoyed a little more Roswell. The others, well let's just say that I don't watch as much television as I could. I tend to gravitate to the computer and spend my hours lost in books, blogs, and writing.

Mary Preston said...

I missed MOONLIGHT until HAWAII FIVE O. Now I see it was Alex O'Loughlin I missed. I NEVER miss him now. Must watch.

Beth Andrews said...

Great list, Trish! I've actually gotten my youngest hooked on Veronica Mars *g* She watches it on Netflix instant streaming (LOVE Netflix instant streaming *g*)

I also liked Roswell and am re-watching Firefly when I exercise. Great shows!

EilisFlynn said...

We've always assumed that things we like will be canceled. It's annoying, but true. This season, it was HUMAN TARGET and LIE TO ME, BREAKING IN (which may have a chance of being resurrected, apparently), and that's just for Fox. Sigh. Why can't our tastes be more like the general public? (BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BORING OTHERWISE!)

MJFredrick said...

I miss Moonlight because it ended on the kiss!!!

Of course Firefly and Veronica Mars--so much unresolved there. Now I hear Off the Map is cancelled. I really liked that show.

Mercy was a good hospital drama with great characters. Gone.

I actually think Grey's has gotten stronger this year, though. I'm anxious for the season finale this week!

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow, Kim, the GR is becoming quite and Island Bird! Can't blame him. It is actually rather cool this morning in the Deep South.

Great photo, Trish! I wish I had seen most of these series. About the time I heard about them they were cancelled. Why is it some of the most juvenile, moronic shows go on forever, but the good ones always "die young?"

I LOVED Moonlight. It was one of the most well-written shows I've ever seen. No easy task when it comes to vampire stories. It was smart, emotional, not overdone. I was furious when it was cancelled and participated in all of the efforts to have it continue in some form. Glad Alex landed on his feet AND in Hawaii Five-O. I don't have television here in the boonies, but I do have a great DVD collection and I can't wait for Five-O to come out on DVD.

And Sheree I will watch ANYTHING with Bruce Campbell in it! I have been a fan since the first film in the Army of Darkness series. "Gimme some sugar, baby!"

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, everyone. Sorry for my late start. Been working so much this week that I really slept in today. :)

Kim, congrats on nabbing the bird. Maybe you can give him hula lessons today. And trust me, I'm glad Alex landed at Hawaii Five-O. I really like that show.

Trish Milburn said...

LOL, Tawny. I got to talk to Nathan and Alan for about two seconds since the photo line was so long. But they were nice. Last year I got to meet Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite and Sean Maher from Firefly. All very nice, and Morena and Jewel just as beautiful in person as they are on TV. Summer Glau was there last year, but her photo times got messed up and I had to leave before I could get one. Adam Baldwin is coming to Dragon*Con this year, and I've never seen him on a panel before.

Trish Milburn said...

Jo, I agree that by contrast there have been shows that lasted too long or that when they ended I thought it was fine. Like Smallville just ended after a 10-year run. I was fine with that though it means no Tom Welling on my TV on Friday nights. :)

You mentioned Grey's Anatomy. I've never been a watcher of that, but I was really enjoying Off the Map, also created by Shonda Rimes, and just found it it's been canceled too, after only 13 episodes. Sigh.

Trish Milburn said...

Helen, I think it really is sad that shows don't get more time to find their audience.

Jane, I forgot about Eleventh Hour! I really liked that one too. I never saw Threshold, but I bet I would have liked it. Is it on DVD?

Trish Milburn said...

Sheree, FOX seems to have a nasty habit of canceling good shows. Grrr. I don't think I ever saw Brisco, but I recently put it in my Netflix queue because I really like Bruce on Burn Notice.

Trish Milburn said...

Landra, not crazy at all. I have tons of soundtracks and show-related CDs. And I have a Firefly-related one called On the Drift by a band named Bedlam Bards. It's awesome.

Trish Milburn said...

LOL, Marybelle. Alex does nice things for a black T-shirt and gun holster, doesn't he? :)

Beth, I knew you were a woman of great taste. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Eilis, I'm so with you. Now I like some things the general public likes. After all, I like Survivor and Castle. But this is one of the reasons I love Dragon*Con. I walk in and think, "my people!"

Trish Milburn said...

MJ, I know! I hate when a show ends and you're just dying to know what happens next. Just making it up yourself just isn't as satisfying. I want to know what the writers had in mind. I wish that when shows were canceled, there was a site or show where the writers explained what would have happened had the show continued.

Trish Milburn said...

Louisa, it is a great mystery why wonderfully written shows don't find the size audience they need and dreadful shows are hugely popular.

Caren Crane said...

Trish, I am VERY jealous of the pic with Nathan and Alan!

LOVED Firefly and Serenity and watch them often (I own them). I also own Brisco County Jr., which I adore. It doesn't get better than a sci-fi Western with steampunk elements and Bruce Campbell! Unless it's set in space and stars Nathan Fillion. Hm...

Caren Crane said...

Okay, Blogger is finally letting me comment! I was going to say, I stopped watching most TV shows in the early 90s because anything I loved got cancelled right away. The dreck stayed on forever, but quirky, clever shows were cancelled in a hurry.

I loved a show in 1993 called Key West. It starred Fisher Stevens and was really funny. So many oddball characters and fun storylines. Of course, it lasted one season.

Now, I wait for them to be cancelled and THEN I start watching them. At least I know it's ending, whether things are resolved or not. resolution. resolution. I could name dozens, but it's just depressing. :)

Caren Crane said...

Eilis, has Breaking In already gotten the ax? Man, I was so stoked to see Christian Slater in anything! I still adore him. He was my 80s dream guy - such a gorgeous, quirky kook. If you want to have Christian break your heart, do a back-to-back movie marathon of Bed of Roses and Untamed Heart. Oh, Christian!

Trish Milburn said...

Caren, I don't remember Key West, but 1993 was right when I was graduating college and starting my first job, so I wasn't watching as much TV then.

Oh, those movies by Christian Slater -- you're so right. I have Untamed Heart.

And I own the Firefly and Serenity DVDs too. That is such a re-watchable show. I love it so much that I put quotes from it in my author newsletter each month. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Crap, just found out that ABC also canceled V.

Unknown said...

Lol...I've actually watched all those shows...I do miss Moonlight!!!
what a cute Vamp :0)
Hmmm what other shows...they come and go so much it seems anymore...I do miss The Dresden Files that was a fun show to watch..

Kathy Ivan said...

I loved Brisco County, Jr. One of my favors, and was totally bummed when they canceled it. Loved Firefly and they canceled it.

I loved The Dresden Files (based on the Jim Butcher books) that was on SyFy Channel, so of course they canceled it. :-)

Great picture of you with those gorgeous fellas, by the way. Lucky, lucky you.

Kathy Ivan said...

Boy, I can't type today. That should have been "one of my favorites" not favors. D'oh.

Trish Milburn said...

BJ, I totally forgot about The Dresden Files. I liked that one too.

Kathy, I've been upset at SyFy lately too. I think they went off the rails when they started messing with the "Friday is for sci-fi" expectation. They started moving the sci-fi shows from Friday night when they had less competition from other network shows to Mondays and Tuesdays, which were full of shows people like to watch. I think this is part of what killed Caprica, which I also liked and wanted to see how it developed. They've done it to Sanctuary now, and I hope that doesn't spell doom for it. And what did they put on SyFy on Friday night? Wrestling!! Seriously, wrestling on the science fiction channel. Nimrods.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Trish! LOVE this blog! I so agree that so many of these were cancelled waaaaay too soon. I loved, loved LOVED New Amsterdam. I thought it was one of the most innovative concepts.

And Moonlight. And Firefly.


Why is it that the ones with great writing and snappy dialogue and longer arcs get cancelled?

Had to LOL about you saying that if it isn't a hit out of the gate...yeah, sounds like publishing. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Trish said: But this is one of the reasons I love Dragon*Con. I walk in and think, "my people!"

Heehee. Nancy says this same thing and assures me that I will to whenever I finally get to DragonCon. (May that be soon!)

I'm looking forward to it...

Trish Milburn said...

Jeanne, so glad to know someone besides me loved New Amsterdam. I kept thinking that the gal who was supposed to be "the one" wasn't, that he'd end up with the cop gal. :)

When I'm feeling particularly snarky, I think that the more clever, longer-arc shows don't make it because lots of people have the attention span of a gnat and are more suited to watching episodic TV. But that's on my snarky days. :)

I think you'd love Dragon*Con.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Trish - I was with you for the first three shows. The cancellation of Firefly was ridiculous. I still watch those DVDs. The SERENITY movie was great, but I didn't like that they killed off some of my favorite characters. You know - I don't understand why they drop these fabulous creative sci-fi type series and keep the murder investigation shows to the point that they're on ALL the networks in the same primetime slots. They leave me nothing to watch! Thank heaven for DVDs.

I miss Men in Trees and Northern Exposure as well. Hope the networks have some good shows on tap for the next season...but I have my doubts.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Trish said:When I'm feeling particularly snarky, I think that the more clever, longer-arc shows don't make it because lots of people have the attention span of a gnat and are more suited to watching episodic TV. But that's on my snarky days. :)

hahaha! Well, I think my snarky days must outnumber my regular days because I think this most of the time. :>

MJFredrick said...

Forgot to say I loved Men in Trees, too.

I know you'll be shocked that I also recently put Bricoe County in my queue.And yes, I loved Dresden Files. That one streams on Netflix, too.

Two others that were good were Keen Eddie, also starring Mark Valley, and another FOX show that was cancelled after only two or three episodes, set at the American Embassy in London. Had great chemistry between the leads.

Trish Milburn said...

Donna, I know what you mean. I've even joked that soon we'd see CSI: Peoria. :)

Jeanne, my sister in snark.

MJ, sometimes I think you and I share a brain. I have Keen Eddie on my queue. I've never watched it, but it looked good.

Pissenlit said...

Sometimes, it feels like half of the shows I watch get cancelled too early!

Firefly and Stargate Atlantis are two of the ones I'm most upset about. Then there's Moonlight(but yay for Hawaii Five-0!), New Amsterdam(ended right after that new revelation!), Life(the fruit-loving male lead amused me to no end), Rubicon(intelligent show killed off due to some people's lack of attention span), Wild Roses(ended without revealing who lived after a large explosion!), Unnatural History(fun and kinda educational kids show), ReGenesis(later seasons weren't as good as the first but oh well), Running Wilde(silly as a good way), and more recently, Lie to Me, Human Target, Off the Map and Chase...oh and I barely even had a chance to decide that I was highly amused by the show before they yanked Chaos after only 3 episodes!

I think I'm forgetting a few. Yes, I watch a lot of tv. :D

Artemis said...

I don't watch too much television because each time I get engrossed in a series, it gets canceled. I love FIREFLY!! And the spin-off movie SERENITY. I know this ran for four seasons, but then it was canceled abruptly: FARSCAPE. *sigh* Ben Browder.

Trish Milburn said...

Pissenlit, I forgot to list Chase too. I liked that one. Loved Annie's tough U.S. Marshal character, and it's never hard to spend an hour looking at Cole Hauser. Poor Cole was on another canceled show I just remembered -- K-ville, a post-Katrina cop drama set in New Orleans.

Trish Milburn said...

Artemis, Farscape was really good too. I have a good friend who is a HUGE Farscape fan. I think she might pass out if she every met Ben Browder. I saw him at Dragon*Con a couple of years ago with Claudia Black but didn't meet them or get my picture made.

gamistress66 said...

I'm with you and was surprised by Stargate Universe's final episode already. Maybe we'll be lucky and they'll do a tv movie or something to bring them home or something. I really enjoyed firefly it just never seemed to have a real chance, the film was great and helped answer the questions at least.

Nancy said...

Kim, aloha to you, too! Congrats on the bird.

Trish, I discovered most of these shows in re-runs. I found Firefly after seeing the movie.

Star Trek is perhaps the most famous example of a show cancelled too soon, going on to build a massive following in syndication.

Trish Milburn said...

gamistress66, I've been hoping for an SGU movie too, but I've heard that the powers that be have already shot that idea down. Wah!

Nancy, I hope you don't throw rotten fruit at me if I say that I had to watch Star Trek in reruns because it ran before I was born. But wow, for a show that ran three years, it has spawned so many connected series, books, movies, fan conventions, just a lot of devotion. That's the thing about sci-fi fans -- their devotion runs deep.