We’ve all been there. We started watching a great new show or we’d been watching one for a couple of seasons and its network decides to bring the ax of cancellation down. If you’re lucky, the show knows far enough in advance to at least try to bring some closure. If you’re not, you’re left with too many loose threads and no satisfying knots. Browncoats, I know you’re expecting to see “FIrefly” on this list. It’s not. I think it’s widely acknowledged that it was unfairly treated and should have been given more of a chance by its network. So, we’ll just go on to a list of 11 shows that aren’t “Firefly” that should have stuck around.
11. “Dead Like Me”
Normally, a protagonist’s death would signal the end, but not with this quirky show from the creative mind of Brian Fuller (we’l get back to him later). Instead, the death of Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth) is what really gets this show running as she joins a group of fellow dead called Reapers. A Reaper’s job is to help a person cross over when it’s their time to go. They touch a person and “remove” their soul so they can cross over. It was a fascinating premise that had some great humorous moments as well as touching ones. The second season wasn’t as charming as the first and I’ve heard not-so-great things about the straight-to-DVD movie. I’d like to have seen the show iron out its kinks and get back into fighting form in their third season, but that was not to be.
If you’ve looked at these sorts of lists before, you’ll have come across mention of this show. Set in the 1980’s, “Freaks and Geeks” followed a set of young people growing up and dealing with the usual sorts of teen issues, but with a clever and and humorous hand. With the way the first season ended, I wished I could have found out what happened next. Oh well. On the plus side, the cancellation of this show didn’t hurt the careers of those involved. I think you all might recognize a few familiar, younger faces in this pictre.
Starring the always awesome Bruce Campbell, “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” was steampunk before that was even a sub-culture thing. It was like the glimmer in steampunk’s father’s eyes. You know which one I’m talking about. It was a great Western full of adventure and humor. I feel like if the show came out today, it might do a little better than it did when it was first released.
I don’t know what it is with Fox sometimes. They get a great, promising genre show with a solid cast and promptly decide to air episodes out of order before subsequently cancelling it. It’s a sadly familiar scenario these days and it happened to “Almost Human,” a cop drama about a human and his android partner. A lot of the criticisms that were heaped on it related to the show’s seemingly uneven writing. I’m wondering if airing the episodes in the correct order may have helped. We’ll never know and we’ll also never know what’s next for Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban) and his sassy sidekick, Dorian (Michael Ealy).
Oh, “Rome.” It was one of the most expensive shows HBO ever produced. It shows in the amount of attention paid to detail in creating more accurate examples of life in ancient Rome. Just go back and admire the sets and costuming. A lot of hard work went into it. On top of it, the show featured a phenomenal cast of brilliant actors. It was the show that introduced me to the wonder of Ray Stevenson who played Titus Pullo. I feel like he continues to play versions of Pullo in every subsequent role, but that’s a-okay with me. This is also one of the few shows on this list that had a bit of closure. The end of the series could easily segue into the start of a new story, but it also was a good way to end things.
Remember how I said we’d get back to Brian Fuller? Here we are! “Pushing Daisies” was such a charming, delightful show. It was bright, cheerfully morbid show about a man named Ned (Lee Pace) who baked great pies and could bring people back from the dead with a touch. He used his skills to help a private investigator, Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), solve murders. With a colorful cast of characters and the occasional musical number, it was just plain fun. Unfortunately, the Writer’s Strike hit this show hard and it was canceled. Like “Rome,” it got a chance to wrap a few things up, but it’s still not enough.
Now, this was a Western. It was dark, gritty, and full of all kinds of fascinating, three-dimensional characters. Though you went into the show with the intention of rooting for heroic lawman Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant), you ended up rooting for saloon-owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). Swearengen was such a compelling and complex character played to perfection by site-favorite Ian McShane. Cancelled after its third season, there are still rumors of bringing it back in some capacity. I know I’m not alone in seeing where these guys go next and how many swear words they’ll manage to fit into a sentence. On the plus side, its cancellation meant that Ian McShane could go and do other projects like the next entry on this list.
I know I’ve shared this sentiment a few times on Tumblr, but one of the things that makes me super excited about the growing number of Sebastian Stan fans is the fact that those fans are now getting introduced to the awesomeness of “Kings.” A show that was a modernized retelling of the Biblical story of the rise of King David, it had a hard time trying to find its audience. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are cheating yourself out of a great show. Ian McShane just knocks it out of the park as King Silas Benjamin, ruler of a newly-minted kingdom. One of the things I absolutely love is the dialogue in this show. My friends and I dubbed it “Modern Shakespearean.” I only wish I could talk like them.
HBO strikes again with another show gone too soon. Now, this show, I can actually kind of understand. That doesn’t make its loss any less irritating. It was a slow burn of a show. Set in the Dust Bowl, the show followed Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) who joined a traveling circus for work. It becomes clear that Ben is no ordinary man and there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. Then, there was the story of Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown). The show had an extensive mythology that was being revealed with each episode. There’s just a lot going on in this show that it’s hard to keep track of it all. I’d have loved to have seen where it went next, though.
2. The DC Animated Universe
There are just too many shows from the DC Animated Universe that were taken from us too soon. Starting with “Batman: The Animated Series” and continuing to the painful losses of “Young Justice” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” it seems that DC comics has an aversion to making and keeping great shows. I’m going to need a moment.
Okay. Let’s go to the last show on my list.
While Browncoats can’t let go of the loss of “Firefly,” I’m never going to be totally over the cancellation of “The Middleman.” My mother got me into watching this delightfully geeky show when it was airing on ABC Family. Every episode had a new nerd property that they’d reference in dialogue and names. From Dune to Ghostbusters, it would just namedrop left, right, and center. Every character from the titular Middleman (Matt Keeslar) and his sidekick Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) to the various people in their lives were such neat little characters. The dialogue was snappy and it was just a fun show. I’m still not okay that all we got was one season and a comic book.