Sunday, November 4, 2012

Political Animals Cancelled-A Show Cancelled too Early, or Just on Time?

A few days ago USA Network announced some major cancellations, which included Fairly Legal, Common Law, and Political Animals.  While I do not watch the first two, I was a fan of Political Animals, the show had potential.  Although the term cancelled was not used rather "the network is not moving forward."  I am not sure if the show is gone forever, but I am guessing the answer is yes, although they left a major cliffhanger out there, and many of the stories appeared to amp up for another go around.  With no closure the "limited series" fells like a disappointment.  However it could have continued to grow given more time, and place in a better time slot.

I often think networks have to let go an allow for certain shows to exist.  While I understand money talks, networks often kill shows that have huge cult followings with fans more loyal than any other show.  Political Animals will probably join the list below, but here are the shows (I watched) that were not given their due, and cancelled too soon.

Arrested Development-The show is the reason NBC has kept, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation etc., for so many years.  Arrested Development's quirky humor paved the way for off brand television humor, and FOX was widely criticized for canceling this show (a winner for Outstanding Comedy Series) in the third season.  The show is being reborn in 2013, with everyone on board, namely because this show has proved to become a bigger hit than anyone could imagine.

Family Guy-That's right folks, FOX cancelled this show too, many moons ago, but after amazing DVD  sales, and great ratings on Adult Swim they brought show back and Seth MacFarlene is a brand now.  MacFarlene's power is so great he has a loyal fan base following him into films with Ted, and he is going to host to Oscars this year.  FOX made a smart decision here (although the show needs to end), but bringing this show back was the right call to make.

Freaks and Geeks-NBC's only entry on the list.  This show about the 80s was equal parts comedy and drama, and was the most under appreciated show on the air.  If you look at the cast you will see a whose who of Hollywood A-Listers came from this show, and thats namely because Judd Apatow recycles the same actors.  The show could work a little better now with nostalgia being as popular, but I would also like to see them do a reunion special, that would give me the closure I need.

My So-Called Life-Claire Danes is one of the most talented actresses, but ABC let her slip through their fingers with this show.  At the time everyone was all about cops and doctors with the high paced tense shows like NYPD Blue, ER, and Law & Order taking over.  This was an honest representation of what it meant to be a teen in the 90s, and I would have liked to see Angela as she aged at least a few years more.

Pushing Daisies-I blame the writer's strike on this show's cancellation.  This is possibly one of the most fun/clever shows I have ever watched on television.  With a great cast, and a creative premise the show about the pie maker who brought people back to life to solve crimes was just too darn cute.  The end provided some closure, but I could have used one or two more seasons.

The same could be said for many shows within the sci-fi genre like Firefly, Star Trek, Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, or quirky dramas like Deadwood, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Veronica Mars.  Shows within specific niche genres always have had a hard time sticking around.  There have been shows like Lost, and The X-Files, which have helped other shows like Fringe have a fighting chance (although the only reason Fringe lasted was because its big wig's favorite show).

Do these shows end too early though, or does their shortened run make them creatively better and more like able?  I think if many of these shows lasted longer then they did fans would soon become bitter as they often do, and grow angry.  Maybe ending early is blessing that makes these shows better than the ones that last 10 or 12 years.  A good friend said to me today "things are better in small doses" and I think this is true within the world of television.

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