Monday, September 20, 2010

My Top-10 TV Shows That Were Canceled Prematurely (Alex J.'s Bloghop)




I had so much fun participating in Alex's Dirty Dozen of Film over the summer, that I jumped at the first chance to join in for this TV-based blog-hop. Actually I was the 11th to jump at the chance. Last time I did my top-10 favorite guilty pleasures to be a little different from the rest of the pack. This time I will do my top-10 favorites, but I will do something just a little different once again. Mind you that these are not my all-time favorite shows but my Top-10 Favorites Shows that were prematurely canceled.
Here they are in no particular order:




Twin Peaks

A beautiful and popular young woman is murdered in a small town and the FBI is brought into work with local law enforcement to uncover her murderer's identity before he strikes again. However, this murder is not going to be so cut and dry as there are supernatural elements at work.

David Lynch's venture into television with his murder mystery series was way ahead of its time. It became a pop culture hit before the buzz died off during the season's second half. The last episode contained ten minutes of the scariest scenes I have ever witnessed on network television which concluded on an enormous cliffhanger:

Some years later, Lynch
directed an incredible motion picture prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, that explained some nuances of the original series but nothing pertaining to the continuing story which was a far more important topic.




Werewolf

After being bitten by a werewolf, college student Eric Cord travels the country to kill the head of his bloodline and free himself of the curse. Making that an even harder accomplishment is a bounty hunter hot on his trail.
This series was made in the make and model of other series' like The Incredible Hulk and The Fugitive. Eric travels to the town, gets in trouble, wolfs out to escape and just missing being caught by his pursuer Alamo Joe.

Eric finally kills who he believed was the head of the bloodline, only to find that his true target, Remy, was a werewolf in a whole other league. Unfortunately there was never any closure with the series finale as a standalone episode and a ridiculous way to end the story. The lack of a larger audience wasted some great acting by the late Chuck Connors and Brian Thompson as the baddie wolfies!.




Brimstone

Detective Eli Stone is murdered and sent to hell, but makes a deal with the devil to return to Earth in exchange for tracking down and killing 100 damned souls that escaped from hell. Their only weakness was to puncture both eyes and kill them.

Peter Horton was good as Stone, but John Glover really was the real scene-stealer as the lord of darkness.This show followed the "villain of the week" formula, with Stone tracking down and killing a particular underworld escapee. One nice touch was revealing that Stone's love interest, and a main "good guy" character, was the head demon who led the escape from hell and was trying to take Stone out of the equation. It would have been good to see how storyline ended.

It was given the famously dreaded Friday night time slot on FOX, so Brimstone only lasted maybe 8 episodes before being axed. I remember reading post-cancellation interviews with Horton where he was devastated that it was never given the right opportunity to succeed and I don't blame him. He was extremely proud of the Brimstone world he created.




Reunion

After a woman is murdered, her old high school friends try to figure out who the killer is. Sounds very vanilla but it is a lot different than you might think.
A cool concept of this show was that every episode told the story of each character in events that transpired over a one-year period since the group's high school graduation. For example, the first episode contained flashback of events during 1986. Then the next episode was 1987... and so forth. The final episode was going to take place in our current year (2006 at the time) and reveal the killer. In the meantime, the audience tried to piece together clues and solve the mystery for themselves because each year always made suspicious of her murder.

FOX canceled the show more than halfway into the season and aired a huge cliffhanger concerning one of the lead characters. And the worst thing - they never revealed the killer! So if you were one of the loyal viewers who invested about ten hours or so of your life into this show for some well-deserved payoff - you were S.O.L. The producers finally leaked the killer's identity on the internet almost a year later, but by that time no one cared anymore. I didn't at least.




Tru Calling

Tru is a college student working at a morgue who has the power to be given one chance to travel back to the previous day and and save the dead.

This show adopted a Quantum Leap-like formula with the heroine saving people from their doomed fates. The difference in this series is that she did not always save everyone, which presented a shock and dramatic factor.

In my opinion, Eliza Dushku was at her hottest in this show, but the funniest thing is that Zack Galifinakis plays the straight man and nothing like what his persona has become nowadays. Once the network added Jason Priestly as Tru's brother, ditched the original supporting cast without explanation and added with Tru's family being evil, this series started to fall apart fast. It still had entertainment value, should have never veered off the series' original path. And in the end, a large deal of major plot lines began without closure.




Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Taking place in a somewhat alternate Terminator universe around the time of T2, Sarah Connor continues to protect her son John from more time-traveling cyborgs. Luckily, the John of the future sends back a hot female Terminator to help them even out the odds.

Season one was fun, even with the groan-worthy
comedic lines. However, Summer Glau as the hot female Terminator was great eye candy and Lena Headey was extremely effective in the title role playing the character very differently than Linda Hamilton. Thankfully the lame comedy got ditched but the producers did double trouble by bringing Brian Austin Green and all his plot lines that took focus off the main story.

After some standalone episodes, Green's character got killed in one of the biggest WTF? moments ever in my TV experiences. Coincidentally, or not, the series headed back towards the greatness of season one. Too little, too late. The Sarah Connor Chronicles ends with an enormous cliffhanger as John time-traveled to the war-torn future. Would have loved to see where the series went after that.




Surface

A new form of sea life emerges from the ocean's greatest depths and is discovered by three individuals in seperate parts of the country. Meanwhile. the government wants to keep this new species identity under wraps and try to stop our protaginists from getting their stories out to the public.

A great storyline from beginning to end that never had a standalone episode or felt like it was dragging along. The three main characters had their own individual stories that were followed week after week, all leading to a meet-up. Well the three finally united in the season finale for ten minutes, the big secret was finally revealed about the species' agenda and the audience was left with no answers.

NBC hyped this show much like they did Heroes in 2006, but gave up on it way too fast. It was a smart sci-fi show that didn't try to depend on the FX and I never thought the ratings were bad until I read about the cancellation a month about the season finale. This one is a real shame because there was a lot more story to tell and all those hours invested in watching the program were for naught.




The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.


A cowboy bounty hunter seeks to avenge his father's death by tracking and taking down his killers, the Bly gang. Every week, Brisco and his friend
Lord Bowler would take on some random villain, who always seemed to possess some futuristic gadgetry and elements in this alternate Old West universe.

First and foremost, Bruce Campbell and the late Julius Carry (Sho 'Nuff from The Last Dragon) were the series leads. Just for that fact alone, this series should have never been canceled. This show was ahead of its time and right before Campbell's cult status erupted. A few years later, we could have had many more great seasons of Brisco instead of watching Campbell on Ellen DeGeneres' series like a fish out of water.





Battlestar Galactica ('78)

In another galaxy, the rest of a humanoid civilization are relentlessly pursued by an evil cyborg/lizard race, as they search for Earth with the hope of relocating their species.

This show was not only heavy on story, with even religious undertones at times, but the acting was a nice mix of veteran and upcoming talents. Due to the timeframe of the show's release, this was considered a Star Wars knockoff. Nothing could be further from the truth because they are two completely different universes. While the effects might seem cheesy in this day and age, back then they were considered award-winning. One of the main reasons for the show's cancellation would be due to the price tag of $1 million an episode...in 1978!

Battlestar is another show that had a lot more story left and just as many seasons needed to tell it in, but the show sadly lasted one season. The show was re-worked into an abysmal program called Galactica '80, which is only worth noting due to learning the sad fate of Starbuck (Dirk Benedict).




Freaks and Geeks

Judd Apatow's series about teenagers who were basically freaks and geeks, but it was a lot cooler than I just made the premise made it sound. The audience is basically given life from the perspectives' of two totally opposite crowds.

The cast included James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Busy Phillips before they all broke out. Nice move, NBC.
Hell I think Jonah Hill was even on this show. There is really not much to say about this show except that it was a lot of fun, seriously underrated and I urge you all to get the DVD of the first season if you have not been fortunate enough to see it yet. Even if you aren't into people like Rogen or Apatow.

Maybe it was geared towards my generation, but for whatever reason, the show was critically acclaimed but yanked by the NBC execs without so much as a slight hesitation. In retrospect, it might have been for the best as most of the main cast have gone on to some solid careers.


R.I.P. My Fallen Franchises


Well that does it for my Top-10 TV Series that were canceled too soon. Hope you enjoyed my part in the blog-hop and cannot wait to stop by and read some the entries on your blogs! Thanks again to Alex for coordinating this 'hop.

48 comments:

Wings said...

Some good choices there. My all time cancelled-too-soon show is Friday the 13th: The Series. It should have gone on much longer than three seasons, and at least should have been given a proper finale.

Strange Kid said...

Some really great memories here, Geof!

For sure shows like 'The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.' and 'Brimstone' deserve a second chance. They were original concepts (well, as original as one can be these days) with some authentically solid actors.

Damn. Now I have to hit up Veoh to see if there are any episodes online. Haha.

Hart Johnson said...

Man-You've made me want to check out a couple of those but they're not DONE so I'm afraid! Freaks & Geeks could have made my list, had it occurred to me--loved it. And your description of Werewolf reminds me of Nowhere Man--another show I'd almost forgotten than I loved.

Gregg said...

Very interesting list. I have not seen one of these shows. Thanks for sharing.

@llison said...

Freaks and Geeks was SO GOOD! My whole family watched it together while it was on. I bought the DVDs as soon as they came out, and if I've watched them less than 50 times, I'd be shocked. It's just a great show to watch no matter your mood.

I've never seen the original Battlestar, but I started watching the newer series and got totally sucked in. Good stuff.

Michael Jones said...

Of your choices, I've only ever seen Twins, Tru & Terminator, but you've inspired me to track the others down.
Nostalgically, I'd add the original Kolchak to any list of this sort.
How about a list of shows that dragged on too long? (I'm talking to you X-Files.)

Emily White said...

Surface was awesome! It's really too bad they never continued it. I really wanted to know what was going to happen in the second season.

Jennifer Scavone said...

i spy.... a sci-fi fan. to each its own... =)

Donda said...

You didn't name any of the shows I was steamed about getting canceled. I thought for sure Showtime would pick up Swingtown!

Mara Nash said...

I totally agree with you on the Sarah Connor Chronicles. I adored that show and when Green's character died I was like, what the hell was that? And that series-ending cliffhanger? Come on! Why would they do that to us? It's just cruel.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Damn, I forgot Brisco County Jr.! Might have to do another list. My cancelled show was Firefly. One season? Come on, people!
Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

SFDaddy - Bryan said...

Greta pic of Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks. It was really the first Desperate Housewives/Lost show. A great example of a show that did not need to continue though. When the killer was revealed and attacked again episode was THE most frightful sequence I've ever seen.

I wasn't big terminator fan until the tv show, that was a good one, but the stories did seem to wander off. The good? Red headed terminator with a daughter? Hmm.

Budd said...

You got T:TSCC, It musth have been just you and me watching because I don't see how anyone that did watch it would have stopped.

Dorn said...

Great List. Recently the 4400 and Kingdom Hospital saddened me when their plugs were pulled as well. Last season's Flashforward getting the axe left me a bit upset too. I don't understand how somethings never seem to hit it big yet they keep getting renewed and others don't. I guess niche markets are unstable altogether.

Clarissa Draper said...

That could be why I haven't seen any of them. I think they look good though.

Clarissa Draper from Listen To The Voices

arlee bird said...

"Twin Peaks" was a genuine classic. The rest of the shows I never saw. I was very annoyed that my favorite from last year, "Flash Forward", was cancelled. It was one of the few shows that my wife and I both actually got into.

Lee
Tossing It Out

TS Hendrik said...

This is the type of list that speaks to me. I love cancelled shows. If I did a list of cancelled shows it would stretch way to long. Freaks and Geeks, definitely. I would probably have to include the Bryan Fuller trilogy though. Oh and Legend, with Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lancie... That was a show cut off too early.

Powdered Toast Man said...

Nice twist on the blog hop. I never saw or heard of most of them. I watch too many movies to be able to fit tv in to.

aspiring_x said...

tru calling! i loved that show... but then they brought in the kiss of death known as jason priestly. seriously, have you ever seen a show (besides 90210) that lasted long after they brought him on??
a lot of my faves were cancelled way too early too!
i've always wanted to see freaks and geeks. sounds like my kind of show (actually i'd probably love them all- i'm drawn to those cursed short runners... )

Ellie said...

I love that you took a different angle with your list. Don't you just hate it when your favourite show is cancelled?! Great choices.

Top Ten TV Blogfest

Jennie Bailey said...

Brisco County made my list as well! I can't believe I forgot about Battlestar Gallactica. So many shows and only ten spots on the list. I love yours!!! Sometimes I wonder if I don't jinx shows. Seems like the ones I like end up getting canceled these days. I'm trying not to get too attached anymore!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

DOH! I haven't seen a full episode of even one of these TV shows. We must be from different tribes. :o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Amanda Sablan said...

Freaks and Geeks has been playing on IFC (I think?) and my mom and I can't get enough of it!

BryStearns said...

There are some shows there I have never heard of. Interesting choices (especially the original BSG)

Summer Ross said...

True calling was a good one- I was sad when they canceled it. :( great list

iZombie said...

summer glau and bruce campbell

:)........
iZombie

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I only know of Twin Peaks, that was exported over to the UK where I live, I did enjoy reading about your other favourites,

Yvonne.

Copyboy said...

Anyone that has Brisco as a show is tops in my book!!!

Karen Peterson said...

With this SciFi/Fantasy-laden list, I'm really surprised not to see Firefly.

I really liked Tru Calling but I didn't find it until years after its cancellation.

The Frog Queen said...

Yeah, I am a Firefly fan still kills me about that one.

But my fav is the same as Wings Friday the 13th The Series. What a great story idea.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers!

Morgan said...

Freaks and Geeks was one of the best shows ever! I just finished another marathon of it during my sick break and it always gets better and better every time. It's a show that everyone can relate to.

Lynda Young said...

Your list took me back. Surface ended on a terrible tease. And I have a soft spot for the original Battlestar :)
Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Ellie said...

I loved Battlestar and Freaks n' Geeks...it was a tough list to make! Love your picks~

Hannah Kincade said...

OMG, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's heard of Brisco County Jr.! Love Bruce Campbell!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh, I'd forgotten about Twin Peaks. Such a good show!

Angela M. said...

Wow, Bruce Campbell and David Lynch and the original Battlestar Galactica! This is an amazing list. Maybe someone should create a channel, something like TV Land, just for shows canceled too soon.

the jaded viewer said...

Sarah Connor and Brisco were personal faves of mine. Great list. I use to watch a show with Brent Spiner as a scientist..it was on CBS. I thought that show was pretty interesting...anybody know the name?

@llison said...

A suspicious-looking package arrived in the mail today. I should have known it was from you. Can't wait to read the book - thanks again!

DLCurran said...

Right... Tru Calling! I really liked that one too! Oh this blogfest... I keep being reminded of these shows I loved! ;)

Jamie Gibbs said...

I think that this is the first list where I've not seen anything on it! It's a good feeling, it means I've not got a lot more to check out :D I really want to watch Twin Peaks. and I'll give Freaks and Geeks a look in too :)

Melissa Helwig said...

Ugh I was so upset about Reunion. I can't believe that they would cancel a TV show in the middle of the season and then leave you with a cliffhanger, forever wondering who the killer was. And when I found out the identity of the killer a year later I was even more upset because it was so surprising and would have made some interesting episodes.

Kelley said...

I have only actually ever hear of one of these shows but many of them sound interesting its sad that they got canceled but i may have to see if i can find them

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hi! I hopped over from Kittie Howard's blog to say hello and congratulate you on your award. :-)

I haven't heard of most of these, but I LOVE BSG!

Kittie Howard said...

Geof, I've got a little something for you over at my place. Enjoy!

Ricky said...

Nice concept, great list.

Amber said...

I didn't know that people who aren't me actually watched the adventures of brisco county jr. There isn't a day that I don't sob over its demise.

baygirl32 said...

I remember Freaks and Geeks, but I hadn't heard of a few of the others on you list.

Geof said...

47 comments?! Wow this is a new record for ETMC. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my list. And I'm gad I am not alone on a boat with some of these under appreciated gems. So to all 45+ visitors, thanks again for stopping by The 'Cave!!

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