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Gone But not Forgotten: Amazing TV Shows Cancelled too Soon

Gone But not Forgotten: Amazing TV Shows Cancelled too Soon

By Beth Mishler

We're pretty sure we heard a universal “Nooooooooo!” from geeks everywhere when it was recently announced that G4's Attack of the Show was going to be canceled. Sadly, this has become a common occurrence. When we think about it for a second, tons of geektabulous shows have been canceled way too early, and few go the Arrested Development route and resume production years later. So, with this in mind, here’s a Mindhut shout out to some shows that were gone to early, but won’t soon be forgotten.

The Joss Whedon duo: Dollhouse (2009–2010) and Firefly (2002–2003)

Why were these two gems canceled when they were obviously some of TVs more interesting and original progs when they aired?  Well, somebody somewhere must have known that Firefly was full of fabulousness–many of its actors went on to subsequent success. Summer Glau scored with The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nathan Fillian is doing great work on Castle, and Alan Tudyk is currently voicing King Candy in Wreck-it Ralph and stars on the funny and underrated Suburgatory. At least fans of the show were rewarded with the feature flick Serenity. As for Dollhouse, it got two seasons compared to Firefly’s one, and after starting with a sputter and a question mark, its mess–with–memory plot line finally started to take off and show direction in season two. Too bad it didn’t get a season three, 'cause Eliza Dushku was actually good in this.

The Judd Apatow duo: Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000) and Undeclared (2001–2002)

Apatow, like Whedon, later found success on the big screen, but the small screen wasn’t so kind to either of these geek sympathizers in their early days. Very few people watched these two shows, which brought oodles of talent into the pop culture landscape with their arrival. Geeks was touching, funny, dead-on, and brought us the likes of James Franco, Martin Starr, and Seth Rogen. Undeclared, which was kinda like Freaks-and-Geeks-Goes-to-college (it also starred Rogen), took a look at the non-popular kids who just left home for the first time, and gave us only one season of greatness. Its take on friendships, relationships, and overall college craziness would have given the show years of material to work with, but alas, no one watched, and it got the axe.

My So-Called Life (1994–95)

This show was rife with stellar characters, but in Brian Krakow, one of TVs all-time greatest nerds was born. Those who understood unrequited love watched him pine after Angela (Claire Danes) the entire season of this late, great show’s one year run, and, at the very end of the series, in the very last scene, we got a glimmer of hope when Angela discovers his feelings. She still, of course, goes off with the ever-so-dreamy Jordan Catalano, but, just for a second, she looks at Brian differently. It sure would’ve been sweet to see how their relationship played out in season two. Sigh...

Pushing Daisies (2007–2009)

This whimsical and truly unique series only lasted two seasons, which is a shame because its premise had infinite potential. Ned, the owner of a pie shop, has a magical power with a catch: his touch brings dead things/people back to life, but then he can never touch them again, or he will re–kill them. So, when his true love dies, he touches her, bringing her back to life... but he can never touch her again. Ned also uses his powers to solve crimes–he literally wakes the dead and asks them how they were murdered. Together with his cohorts, the hilarious Emerson Cod and Olive Snook, Ned’s adventures were always fresh and entertaining, and the series’ use of a fairytale type narrator made this one show that was definitely gone too soon.

V (2009–2011)

This sci-fi series starring LOST’s Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin (who was also in Firefly–cheers, ma’am!) just got its footing when it was pulled from the lineup on ABC and canceled last year. Which is too bad, because the alien invasion headed by Baccarin’s vicious, matricidal Anna, had just started to do what it intended to do in the first place: divide loyalties, put main characters in peril, and kill important people. It would have been great to see how this modernized war of the worlds would have gone down.

Community (2009-?)

This show has never been treated properly. Its final 13 episodes, which were slated to start airing in October, are lost somewhere in TV limbo, (apparently where only good shows go) and they still haven’t aired yet. But we say that a show this good should never end! With its constant pop-culture parodies, consistently brilliant satire, and endlessly hilarious performances, Community is our pick for show most likely to garner a Firefly-esque cultlike status once cancelled. Troy and Abed can’t be cancelled!

Which TV shows do you think were cancelled too early?

Tags: tv, sci fi, community, joss whedon, freaks and geeks, firefly, judd apatow, serenity

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About the Author
Beth Mishler

Beth Mishler is a writer, producer, and pop culture connoisseur who has a weakness for the Whedonverse and all things sci-fi. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Beth currently lives in The Plains, Ohio, where she freelances, makes documentaries, and watches a kazillion hours of TV per week while anxiously awaiting the release of George R.R. Martin's next novel.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.