Guest post by Andy Johnson. If you would like to submit your own guest post, please contact me.
Some TV shows were taken from us before their time. In a respectful act of tribute, we share our top picks for TV shows that were cancelled prematurely, leaving us longing for more.
After four seasons, NBC pulled the plug on this revolutionary show that seemed poised to take primetime viewing in an entirely new direction. The first season introduced us to ordinary people who discover they have super powers, including an indestructible cheerleader and one of the best super villains ever. The show captured the attention of a staggering 17 million viewers in the first season, but a steady decline in viewership, and a writers’ strike-induced eroding storyline, eventually led to the show’s demise. However, “Heroes” was poised to make a comeback and NBC should have given it at least one more season to go out the way it came in.
“My Own Worst Enemy”
“My Own Worst Enemy” had a smart, witty premise that also packed quite a punch. Christian Slater played the dual roles of regular suburban hubby and dad Henry Spivey, who was really a deadly secret agent called Edward Albright – except good, ol’ Henry had no idea about his double life. The twist was a first episode glitch that caused the worlds to collide, leaving Henry in some sticky situations he had no idea how to survive. The idea was fresh, the writing was good, the actors were entertaining and engaging (Alfre Woodard and Taylor Lautner also starred) – what gives? This show got its pink slip after only nine episodes, hardly long enough in our minds, and the 5.2 million viewers who got pulled in by the mind-control espionage spy games would agree.
This delightfully imaginative show looked like nothing else on primetime. The characters, writing and intelligent, fast-paced, quirky humor matched the beautiful artistry of the show’s presentation. Ned the Piemaker barely got started using his ability to bring the dead back to life before ABC put “Pushing Daisies” on the chopping block. Once again, ratings and the unfortunate interference of the writers’ strike were blamed for the show’s early passing. Fans protested that the network didn’t give the show the proper promotional push to gain an audience that could appreciate the clever premise and artistic fantasy world of what may be the most original and visually satisfying show to air in decades.
This show, about a slacker firstborn son promised to the devil in exchange for his father’s life, short-changed not only the ruler of the underworld but all the fans of this comic drama during its two-season run. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that a smart, original show like “Reaper” couldn’t survive on a network like the CW that tends more toward teen and young adult soap operas like “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries,” but it still hurts. Perhaps the show was misplaced and that’s why it couldn’t gain the traction needed to endure, despite being well-received at Comic-Con and heroic attempts to keep the series alive as part of the Sci-Fi channel’s reboot as Syfy. Regardless, the show left viewers hanging and should have been given the chance to reap souls for another season or two.
Anyone who ever caught even part of an episode of this sitcom knows that the cancellation of “Arrested Development” was one of the biggest TV travesties of all time. And people haven’t stopped talking about it since it happened in 2006. That alone has to say something about this in-your-face show about a dysfunctional family chasing the American dream. The show’s demise came on the heels of much critical acclaim and less regular viewership. It seems, however, that cutting this cult hit down in its prime prompted rumors that another season might be making an appearance on Netflix, but no one has confirmed this. [Katie: It has been confirmed – filming started this fall, with plans for a spring 2013 release.]
What other TV shows do you think got canceled too soon?
Andy has lived in several different areas of the United States, but always calls Utah home. He wrote articles for a local paper about outdoor recreation with pets before joining the USDish team in 2010. When he is not watching outdoor adventure programs on Animal Planet, The History Channel, or The National Geographic Channel, Andy can be found hiking in the red rock deserts of the Southwest.