Warning: May contain some spoilers
*Me seeing a trailer for a new show*
“Ooooh. This looks interesting. I’ll have to check this out.”
*Me whilst watching the show*
“Oh wow! This show is awesome! I have to keep watching this!”
*When the season ends*
“Oh man! I love that show! Can’t wait for the next season!”
*Finds out it’s been cancelled*
Now it’s not uncommon for a TV show to be cancelled – and they can be so for any number of reasons. Be it lack of funding, cast issues, writers strikes – or the most common being, it just doesn’t get enough viewers. For whatever reason, a number of shows end prematurely and usually it’s not without good reason. You might think that that show being cancelled means it isn’t very good – but sometimes good shows get cancelled. No matter how good the support for it, for whatever reason it just doesn’t seem to justify the TV company keeping it going.
I have a number of favourite shows that I felt were “cancelled too soon” – so I’ve picked my Top Five. These are the shows I just WISH had the opportunity to continue – and hopefully they will get picked up again one day. Until that day, we’ll just have to remember these shows for how good they were. In my opinion anyway.
As always, these are in no particular order. And these shows are all cancelled as of the date of this blog.
For those that didn’t see it, Firefly was a sci-fi western created and written by Joss Whedon – creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which was another amazing show. It followed a group of outlaws that did odd jobs to stay afloat – all the while avoiding The Alliance (a group responsible for colonising pretty much most of the Universe) and Reavers (cannibalistic mutant beasts). It had a lot of deep and meaningful themes (loss of faith being a key factor, especially for the main character) and gave us one of Sci-Fi’s greatest anti-heroes – Malcolm Reynolds. This guy made Han Solo look like Mr Nice Guy. He was an extremely complex character, not exactly heroic – and sometimes he was pretty brutal – but at heart he always looked out for his team. It also gave us some really strong female leads in the form of Inara and Zoe Wash – both extremely tough talking girls that Joss Whedon is known for creating.
It was something a little different to Sci-Fi shows of the day and it gained a strong cult following. Possibly one of the strongest I’ve seen in any fandom. But despite being praised for its strong writing and unique twists, it only lasted one season before it was cancelled. Twice! By that I mean that they only showed a few episodes of the first season. Cancelled it, then released the last few episodes, then cancelled it again!
So how could a show that was critically acclaimed for being different be cancelled so soon? Well maybe it’s because it was TOO different. It didn’t really follow a lot of traditional Sci-Fi tropes. It didn’t involve big battles, or a “big bag” for the heroes to overcome. It was a character driven tale, featuring a group of people trying to find their own ways in the world. It was about a man who had lost faith and was essentially trying to run away from his past – among other things. Basically, it was a show about people – and I think the studio had a problem marketing that. Also adding to the confusion is that I heard (and I dunno if this is true) that they showed the episodes out of order, so that confused casual watchers.
However, it being cancelled did nothing to halt its acclaim – spawning comic books and even a feature film called Serenity. This nicely tied up the Firefly story – very few shows that get cancelled have this luxury so it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to do this.
And the show being cancelled hasn’t hurt the careers of the actors/writers involved. Nathan Fillion (the character of Mal) has gone on to do a lot of TV shows like Castle (also cancelled) and Desperate Housewives – and also did a voice in the Halo series. Morena Baccarin (Inara) has also done very high profile shows, such as Homeland and Gotham. And Joss Whedon got to write and direct the Avengers films and co-created Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So it’s good that they’ve gone onto do well.
Still, Firefly is a cult favourite amongst Sci-Fi fans. And with talks about it being revived, the show might just have a change to open itself up to a bigger audience. Let’s hope that if it does come back it doesn’t turn out like the new series of The X-Files. That sucked!
Set after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, it follows Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she struggles to cope with the loss of Steve Rogers. Working for the SSR (which will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D.) and looked down upon just because she’s a woman (despite being an excellent agent), Peggy teams up with Howard Stark and his butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) to take down the bad guys.
It had a strong cast and great characters. Carter and Jarvis made a great double act (Atwell and D’Arcy worked off each other perfectly) and you quickly fell for them both. Much like a lot of Marvel stuff, it had its fair share of humour and drama – and like any good Spy Drama, there were twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat, mixed in with some cool Sci-Fi effects and powers. It also had some great feminist elements – as Peggy was more than capable of doing her job, but couldn’t because it’s a “man’s world.” Anyone looking for a strong female lead need look no further that Peggy Carter – she has the mix of brains and brawn to solve most situations. She’s a fantastic character and Hayley Atwell proves that she can be a capable action heroine. I would LOVE to see her do more action roles as she is perfect for them!
But, unfortunately, Agent Carter was cancelled after just two seasons – due to low ratings. This I think is a poor choice from ABC for two reasons. One, Peggy Carter is a VERY important character in the MCU. Without her, there would be no S.H.I.E.L.D. and her eventual death leads Steve Rogers to fight what he believes in (in Civil War). Not only that, but I think we NEED more Superheroine TV shows. Oh I know we have Jessica Jones (which is amazing!) and Supergirl (which is… not so amazing in my opinion) on at the moment, but I’d love it if we had more. What can I say – I just love strong females! XD
Either way I HOPE that ABC re-consider their position on cancelling it. If the fan support is anything to go by, they NEED to bring it back. But if not, then can I suggest that Hayley Atwell gets more action leads? I’d defo love to see her in more stuff. And, IF Doctor Who considers a female Doctor, I say that Atwell should get the role!
I was a fan of the original Heroes, show, but I’ll admit it petered out a little near the end – and probably deserved to end. But when Heroes Reborn came back, my love for the show was rejuvenated in a big way! Maybe it was just because I was let down by how bad the recent X-Files was, but Heroes Reborn for me was a thrill of a ride – even given the slightly convoluted story.
Introducing a new cast of characters, Heroes Reborn has a kinda post 9/11 feel to it – with Evo’s (the name for powered people) now facing public hatred after a massive event where many people lost their lives. Now, Evo’s are hunted and hated by the “normals” of the world. Noah Bennett, the former head of Primatech, finds himself involved in a mass conspiracy – which may eventually lead to the end of the world as we know it.
With many of the original cast not returning, I was a little bit perturbed by this as I wasn’t sure how I would warm to them. But I actually enjoyed the new cast (one of which was played by Zach Levi – Flynn Rider himself!), they all had enough interesting character traits that meant they weren’t bland or uninteresting. Plus I felt the story moved at a fast pace and kept my interest pretty much the whole way through. I like the post 9/11 feel it had to it, and the hatred for Evo’s seem to resonate a lot of modern day fears as well. Every episode ended with me wanting to know what happens in the next episode – so in that respect it did its job. Sure it was over the top in places – but no more than you’d get in any show or film like this.
Sadly it looked like I was in the minority. Heroes Reborn had poor viewing figures and mostly negative reviews, which I guess were factors for its cancellation. That is a great shame because, whilst this series tied up the plotline for this series, a few plot threads were unresolved. For example, who was Tommy and Malina’s father? We know Claire Bennett was their mother, but who was their father? This was hinted at in the final episode that he was going to come back for them – but we may never know.
(Actually, there is apparently an Ebook set between Heroes and Heroes Reborn that follows Claire and explains who the father is – but I never would have found that out without looking on the wiki page)
This show had a lot of great potential and could have blossomed into something good. But sadly it doesn’t look like we’ll be continuing this story anytime soon. But then again, that could just be me.
Torchwood was done as an “adult” companion to Doctor Who. Set around the character of Jack Harkness (who was immortal due to Rose Tyler gaining power of the TARDIS in the Christopher Eccelston series) and with the first series set after the invasion of Canary Whalf after the Cyberman attack, Torchwood followed a small group as they investigated Alien phenomena – and had sex with each other from time to time!
Ok, so it was a LITTLE bit more than that, but the idea of the show was to look at some darker themes that they couldn’t otherwise look at in detail in Doctor Who, such as homosexuality and bisexuality (although these have also been incorporated into the current Doctor Who series). It also had a highly existential (and sometimes nihilistic) theme, looking at whether there is life after death. Pretty deep for a show like this to be honest.
Most of the plots revolved around a Rift in Time being open amongst Cardiff (because why not?) and aliens coming through. But actually this led to some pretty good stories. One of which involved a young boy being lost and trapped inside the rift, and Gwen (the heroine of the series) helping the mother trying to find him. When they did find him though, he had been driven mad and could never again go back to the way he was. It was one of the darker stories they had – but it’s amazing how surprisingly bleak it was compared to Doctor Who. And even when the team did get a victory, it was usually because of a heavy cost.
Now admittedly, the first series wasn’t much. It felt uneven and couldn’t quite decide what sort of direction it wanted to go. Thankfully, the writing got much better for the second and third series. Then Torchwood: Miracle Day happened and… that was a convoluted mess of a show. Basically it was an attempt at making Torchwood accessible for an American audience (despite Torchwood having a strong US audience anyway, but why let that stop them?) and in the process completely ruining everything that was cool about it. I did a review of why I didn’t like Torchwood: Miracle Day a few years ago and it would take too long to say why I don’t like this show. Needless to say, I’m glad it didn’t get another series.
Maybe it’s a good thing that they didn’t renew Torchwood: Miracle Day – but the original Torchwood was a pretty good series. Then again, how they could fit it into the current Doctor Who run I have no idea, but they reference it from time to time so I guess they could fit it in. Though probably not now. And seeing how Russell T Davis doesn’t have anything to do with Doctor Who anymore, it’s unlikely we’ll see this back on our screen anytime soon. Then again, with Chris Chibnall now involved, who was a head writer on Torchwood, you never know what may happen.
Just have to see I guess.
But seriously, this show SHOULD have carried on. It had every reason to. It was one of the best shows to come from HBO since The Sopranos. And yet it was cancelled too soon.
Deadwood is a Western Drama set in a fictionalised version of the town of Deadwood – which at the time this series is set, is its own independent territory free from the United States. It’s a lawless town where corruption runs rampant and gold is the only real thing worth fighting (and killing) for here. Here someone can make their fortune – if they are tough enough to survive the dog-eat-dog town of Deadwood.
Mixing in historical fact with fiction, Deadwood is an incredible show that made a star of Ian McShane (previously famous for Lovejoy in the UK). Here he plays Al Swearengen – the owner of the Gem Saloon. His performance is just pitch perfect. Al is a loveable rogue in his own way – cruel and vicious, yes, but you just can’t help but me mesmerised by his performance. In fact, EVERY performance here is spot on. With such a great cast (including actors like Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, Kim Dickens, Powers Boothe, Brad Dourif and William Sanderson to name but a few – oh and Anna Gunn pre Breaking Bad) leading the way, the story of Deadwood pulls you in and never lets you go. Not only that, but there is a number of famous characters from history appearing here – from Wild Bill Hickok to Wyart Earp, it kinda feels like a history lesson at times. But don’t worry, this is ONE history lesson you want to be part of.
Deadwood has a grimy, gritty realism to it compared to most Westerns. There are no John Wayne style gunfights here. Here the violence is real – and when people are hurt you KNOW it! Deadwood also has a huge amount of profanity (the number of F bombs dropped in the first episode alone must set a new kind of record). Whilst a lot of it is heavily modernised, the way it’s spoken here is almost Shakespearean in nature. Seriously, I think if Shakespeare was alive today, this is the kinda dialogue he would write. Swearengen alone with his witty catchphrases and colourful language makes him one of the most enjoyable characters to watch on TV.
The show was critically acclaimed and received many Emmy awards. So why was it cancelled? To be honest, I’m not sure. Maybe the novelty just died out? Or the ratings dropped? I can’t be sure. However, as of this blog – talks ARE going on to bring the show back (according to Wikipedia at least). They did talk about doing two movies to wrap up the story, so let’s hope they can do something like that.
Either way, Deadwood is an amazing show that no one seems to talk about anymore – and it’s a crying shame. This show is one of the best Westerns to hit the TV screen and one of the best dramas full stop. If you get a chance to watch it, or catch it on DVD, then I highly recommend it!
And that’s my list. Did you have any shows you loved, but were cancelled too soon? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, take care and have a great weekend!