Friday, May 22, 2009

The love you save may be your own

Blogging's going to be light over the next few days, owing to the holiday weekend, the relative lack of programming, and my own need to take it (relatively) easy after the crazy week I've just had. Tonight, I'll have an interview with the "Party Down" producers to run after the season finale finishes, Sunday night I'll have a "Breaking Bad" review, and I'll have a column and an "In Treatment" season two post-mortem on Monday, but that's it. (That really doesn't look like I'm taking a break, does it? Sigh...)

But before I go radio silent (or radio quiet), I wanted to throw out a question to you guys, related to what happened this week with "Chuck."

Ever since Tuesday, when Ben Silverman credited me with helping to save "Chuck," first on the upfront conference call, then in another interview, I've been getting some good-natured ribbing from other critics and bloggers (many of whom did more than their own fair share in this). Fienberg took to calling me "The Saviour" for a few days. Joe Flint wondered if Silverman gets to fire me if "Chuck" doesn't succeed next year. Other critics have jokingly wondered why I couldn't save one of their favorite shows from years past, going as far back as Tim Reid on "Frank's Place."

And I've been contacted by fans of "My Name Is Earl" (who want Fox to pick it up) and "Life" (who want USA to pick it up) in hopes I could use my alleged show-saving powers on them.

All of which brings me to my question for the holiday weekend, for those of you who are still around your computers over the next few days: if you had the power to both save one show and only one show, and travel back in time if necessary to do that, what would it be? What one show from seasons past -- or even what show that got canceled this year -- would you expend that power on, even if it was just for another season? Even if it was just for another episode? You can't go with a show where the creators ended it on their own terms ("Sopranos," "The Wire," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"), but anything else is fair game.

Now, I have to assume I used up my own alleged power on "Chuck," and was glad to do it. But if I had a second bullet in this gun? I briefly thought my choice would be "Freaks and Geeks," if only for the chance to see Martin Starr dance like that again. But I think the 18 episodes, which I reviewed a couple of summers ago, are kind of perfect as they are, the ending works as an ending, and I always worry I'd think less of it if it continued and went downhill, even a little.

Then I thought about a show like "Now And Again," which ended on a maddening cliffhanger. But much as I enjoyed that show, and want to know what Glen Gordon Caron would have done with it next, I didn't love it that much.

So I guess I'm going to go with the predictable answer and choose "Deadwood," which is currently in third place in my ranking of HBO's Holy Trinity of Davids, largely because David Milch never got to finish it. Now, there's always the chance that the hypothetical fourth season would have been a mess, as Milch has a tendency to go off the rails at times, and even large parts of season three were problematic (notably the acting troupe and the stuff with Wyatt Earp). But when it was great... man.

So, pick your show and state your case.


1 – 200 of 239   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...


BigTed said...

I loved "Frank's Place." (I'm kind of hoping "Treme" will equal "Frank's Place" plus "The Wire.")

But as embarrassed as I am to say it, the show I would bring back is "Buffy." It had some not-so-great seasons, but at its best it was well-written, well-acted, serious and funny, and just pure entertainment.

LA said...

Can someone remind me again how Mary Tyler Moore ended? I'm drawing a blank.

Josh said...

Pushing Daisies. No one show consistently put a smile on my face with it's whimsy and anecdotal humor. The Pie Hole is missed.

Robert said...

LA...Everybody except Ted Baxter got fired, and they ended with a group hug and all the characters shuffling around trying to find the Kleenex box without letting go of each other...and with "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."

and +1 to Firefly.

Dudleys Mom said...

Firefly, the rest of season one only. I think the UST between Mal and Inara would have gotten old after that, and the Blue Sun conspiracy, etc., would have become convoluted and tedious. Note: I thought the movie was pretty good, but not great, and I would have rather seen where they would have taken it over 10+ hours of TV, with a finite endpoint and a coherent gameplan for getting there. The show was such a labor of love for all involved.

Veronica Mars, one more season, to wrap up Logan and Veronica and let the characters grow up a little. I have only a smidgen of hope for the much-discussed movie, and fear that like Serenity it would resolve things but somehow not be all that satisfying (and there wouldn't be nearly enough of the beloved secondary characters).

Bitsy said...

Firefly. Totally. Maybe Dead Like Me, but they'd have to bring back Rube and have Daisy get hit by a truck.

Dan said...

I wish Carnivale had continued past season 2, and also that Freak & Geeks had been given a fair chance.

Amy said...

Pushing Daisies. As happy as watching it made me every week, it made me so much more depressed when it was cancelled. Nothing else like it on TV.

Dean Winchester said...

I'd have to go with Veronica Mars, with Firefly as a close second. I think my answer might have been Angel before Whedon resurrected the storyline with his After the Fall comic, but now I'm feeling pretty good about the resolution of that series (not that the Angel finale was unresolved... I just wanted more).

Tosy And Cosh said...

Once and Again. I really would have liked to see the kids grow up more (especially the youngest, who in three seasons never got that much to do) and the relationships expand and change as the blended family got more and more used to each other. I don't know that any show (maybe Friday Night Lights) ever got the pain and joy of simple domestic life as right as this one did.

David said...

Firefly. I am a Whedon apologist though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Freaks and Geeks was just perfect when it ended, agreed.

Ron Ozer said...

The Unusuals!

ken said...


granted, only 4 episodes aired (and i caught the back 9 on dvd), but there was just something witty, fun and acerbic about it.

maybe it would have become cloying as time went on given it's premise, but listening to the commentary tracks on the dvds as they discuss what future plans might have been, i'm really intrigued by what a hypothetical season 2 & 3 would have looked like.

Andrew said...

Not to go all internet commenter default answer, but Firefly. (When I finish Deadwood, I may change my answer.) The movie addressed some, but not that much of the potential of stories with those characters.

As perpetually in need of saving as Arrested Development was, the 3 seasons of the show were great and ended on an apporpriate note. At some point, the self-referential in-jokes may have imploded into some kind of singularity.

Tom said...

I think I have to agree with Alan and go with "Deadwood' here, because when that show was good, there was nothing better, not even "The Wire." I'd probably want to see more "Firefly" like many have already said, but the movie gave the whole thing a sense of closure that "Deadwood" lacks. (Of course, the image of Swearengen cleaning blood off the floor is an apt final image for the show, in many ways.)

Anonymous said...

Lots of Firefly answers eh? I like it, but I felt like it didn't really gel until the movie, actually.

Off the top of my head my pick is definitely Freaks and Geeks. The ending was definitely sublime and the show is near-perfect as is as you mentioned...but I really need to see more.

Undeclared was not quite as good but also deserved more of a chance, particularly since it's so obviously a four-season show.

Brien said...

Sports Night. It seemed to be just hitting its stride when it ended. I loved the characters and the stories, but the network never really gave it a chance.

Peter said...

Veronica Mars.

They were well on their way to using every line of dialog from The Big Lebowski at one point or another. The dearth of Big Lebowski lines is one of my biggest complaints about current TV.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if you consider Arrested Development one that was not ended on its own terms, then I would have to go back on Freaks and Geeks and use it on that. That's a bit of a gray area, as they clearly wanted to keep going ("Please tell your friends about this show") but Mitch Hurwitz didn't take the opportunity to continue on Showtime, and it too ended near-perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I would go with Carnivale or if I am going to go farther back in time I would pick I'll Fly Away.

Jeff Martin said...

I'm stuck between "Firefly," "Veronica Mars," "Sports Night" and "Studio 60," the first two only for one additional season to wrap some things up and explore what was there a little more, and the last to go on for a few more seasons, but not as long as "West Wing," which hit a real down point in the middle seasons.

Forced to choose only one, I'd go with "Veronica Mars," because I could watch Keith and Veronica banter any day.

Joshua said...


It started out weak but year three and four were among the best serialized TV seasons ever. Plus, Joss Whedon was nowhere near done telling this story when the plug was pulled in season 5.

That said, great series finale!

tony libido said...

FIREFLY. I would like to have 'lived' in that world for a very long time. The foundatin they set in those few episodes could have gone in any number of directions. A new rebellion of browncoats, the spiritual aspect of the 'verse. I could go on and on. Epic unrealized material there.

Everything else pales. More VERONICA MARS would have been great if they reclaimed the complexity of seasons 1&2. Steadily became less interesting as it became more episodic.

Anonymous said...

My So Called Life, because...because I loved it. I still love it.

Matt said...

I second SPORTS NIGHT. That finale was both a fitting end, but also would've taken the show in a completely new direction.

patrick foster said...

The Inside. Had great potential there. But frankly if you can save Life, please do so. :)

Yet another anonymous said...

According to Jim...


I'll be alone on this one, I know...but given that the consensus is that big ones ended on their own terms (AD, F&G, etc.), I'd like to suggest a little-remembered 6 episode mini-series that there was some talk of picking up, that ended on a note that begged additional time (IMO, obviously).

Does anyone remember Thief, with Andre Braugher? Loved that. And of course, it has never come out on maybe that shouldn't be on my list because I haven't seen it since its first airing.

I just remember the performances and dramatic arc so well, and I so, so wanted to know what would have happened had it continued for at least a season rather than the 6 episodes.

BF said...

Boomtown (un Vanessa Williams-ified)
Police Squad!
The Tick

Unknown said...

My So-Called Life. What other answer could there possibly be?

Anonymous said...

I am resigned with the thought when they end my favorite shows, that I am lucky to get what's been produced. Just so I don't get so upset. Here they are (more than one).

Firefly -- just for the fact that it only got the one season. It deserved to tell more stories.
Deadwood -- I was okay when I thought they were going to do the movies, but then those disappeared.
Veronica Mars -- I liked the FBI premise, and thought it would have been great. BUT -- I am happy that in turn, we got Party Down.

Alyson said...

Sports Night, without question. The second season was a little uneven (Jeremy's romance with the "choreoanimator", anyone?) but I was really intrigued with where they might have gone with Clark Gregg's character, had it moved forward.

DarknessFalls said...

Life and Middle Man, both so intelligent and quirky all at the same time.

BH said...

No debate about it for me: Deadwood.

While I did love Veronica Mars, it would never be my personal choice. I thought the first season was awesome, the second season was good, and the third season was thoroughly mediocre. Based on this downward spiral, I would say the fourth season would have been pretty bad. Though I'm game for pretty much any show with Kristen Bell -- I even kept watching Heroes!

Paul said...

Farscape. The fifth season was going to be the last, but SciFi decided to close up the show on the last day of shooting. Sure we got a four hour mini, but if those plotlines were allowed to grow over twenty episodes, it would have been an even better journey.

Journeyman. It had an uneven pilot episode and was a slow boiler, but once the show really got rolling and the mythology started to creep in, it got really good.

sc said...

I really like the Unusuals, and would have liked to see where that show was going, just because it was so different. But I must be honest and say that before I finished reading Alan's full entry, once I heard the question, there was only one answer....Deadwood. Nothing else even comes close. And Alan, I think you really ought to take this "Saving Chuck" thing to the next level and negotiate some sort of cameo or at least a mention during the season next year!
Try to take a break and enjoy the holiday weekend.

JakesAlterEgo said...

Original version of Cupid. Jeremy Piven never goes on to Entourage, but that's OK because he remains likeable and not a dick; Entourage would die an early death, and other, better actors would get to win Emmies.

Also, I love me some Cupid.

Dan said...

F&G of course... as long as they didn't screw it up second season (they wouldn't have).

I honestly would have trusted the less great but very entertaining Undeclared with more time, just because it had less potential to backfire.

Anne said...

Joan of Arcadia... the first season was so complex and lovely (and I admit I've mostly blocked out the second season) and it broke my heart when it was cancelled. I would have liked a finish on the show's terms rather than what we got.

Devin McCullen said...

I'm tempted to say I'd just go back and get rid of the uncertainty surrounding Season 5 of Babylon 5, so Claudia Christian didn't leave and it got to play out all the stories as intended. But no.

It probably should be Veronica Mars, but I'm still kind of amazed we got 3 seasons of it. So I'll go with Pushing Daisies, because it was amazing and there's nothing else like it out there.

Synd-e said...

The 4400.

While it did seem to come to a "true" ending, it would have been interesting to see what happened after "abilities" were able to be transmitted environmentally. The producers did have story plans for more seasons.

Elena said...

I would go with "My So-called Life". At the time I thought those characters were so like real teenagers, confused, self-conscious etc. I was so sad when it was cancelled, and think it was head and shoulders above so many of these teen dramas (90210 and Gossip Girl I'm looking at you).

Matt said...

"Firefly" is up there, but loses points because we did get closure on a lot of stuff courtesy of the movie. I'll go with "Sports Night," though.

I've been rewatching "Studio 60" (Best Buy had the DVD's on special for $14.99 a week ago), and while there are huge flaws (Sorkin's inability to write sketch comedy, the odd-meta-therapy that the show served as for Sorkin-Chenoweth), there's still a lot of good there.

olucy said...

Since the original Cupid, Joan of Arcadia, Sports Night and I'll Fly Away have already been spoken for, I'll say Keen Eddie.

J said...

With some hesitation, I'd beg for another season of Profit. I only hesitate because the first season managed to wrap up its family values assault so neatly.

Actually, if I could tweak the assignment, I would be happy if FOX aired all that show's first season. As it was, I was lucky I found someone at the time who had the last four eps on VHS. (Now it's all on DVD, and the world is very lucky for that.)

barbra said...

"Chuck" is the only show I've ever felt this strongly about. Ironically enough, I felt like the ending this season would have satisfied me as a series finale - these new powers make me a little nervous that (the character) Chuck is going to change too much - but during this season I was SOOOO nervous it was going to be cancelled.

Unknown said...

John Doe, hands down the best show since Mcgyver. Could also go for Jeremiah..

Anonymous said...

Pushing Daisies burns off the remaining episodes starting this week.

There are specific confidential plans in the works to continue the PD stories in a nonfilm/nonvideo medium, which should be announced by late July.

Anonymous said...

EZ Streets

Susan said...

My So-Called Life, definitely. There were so many more stories to tell, and the casting was incredible - those actors could have easily played teenagers for a few more years.

Unknown said...

I wish there was more of Veronica Mars, and was excited about the FBI idea, but then 2 and 3 never lived up to the magic that was season 1.

Pushing Daisies is a close runner-up. It was pure pleasure.

But if I had just one wish on the magic wand I would definitely go with Firefly. It instantly captivated me like nothing else and got so robbed by the powers that be. (The Dollhouse renewal is such a bittersweet irony.) Maybe not for very long, because Buffy couldn't maintain quality for all those years, but I always thought 3 seasons would be perfect. I loved Serenity and thought it made a fine conclusion as well as a great action-adventure movie, but still.

Antid Oto said...

All of mine have been mentioned, but just in the interest of voting, in order:

Veronica Mars
My So-Called Life
Freaks & Geeks

LK said...

Studio 60... although Veronica Mars, Sports Night, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls and Eli Stone were all in the running. (Dirty Sexy Money got kicked out for adding Lucy Liu). Studio 60 was meaner and angrier than West Wing ever was, but it felt truer to what people actually experience in life.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the answer is Joey.

But seriously, I'd have to go with Firefly. It was a show set-up with a large mythology in place that could've easily led to many seasons of interesting directions and ideas, which puts it ahead of other shows I'd consider, such as...

-Freaks and Geeks, which definitely could've used more time, but always needed to be short. As much as I'd love for there to be more of it to take in, it's pretty close to complete as it is.

-Angel, I don't think this show actually needed more time, but rather it needed to know that season five was its last. Five seasons feels right (especially when you consider that a lot of the people involved with the series were getting pretty creatively exhausted by that point), but the fifth season wasn't used properly.

-Veronica Mars and Once and Again, similar to Angel, I'd almost rather that these shows would have known they'd be three seasons max, rather than trying to stretch them out. Not because either couldn't have gone longer, but because both were disrupted by attempts to gain more viewers that led to less-than-stellar final seasons. Under existing circumstances, I have no reason to believe fourth seasons would have been any better, as studio pressures would have prevented them from achieving their previous heights.

Anonymous said...

Remember WENNYou never saw it, no one saw it. AMC doesn't really even acknowledge that it existed. But it needed a final 6 episode series and not to have ended on a triple cliffhanger.

Nothing Sacred one of the ABC "let's put a quality show on Thursday and let it get killed by the NBC juggernaut" shows of the 90s.

Chris in Dallas said...

I'm certain that I'm going to be the only person who says this, but I really wish there would have been more episodes of "Boomtown".

Anonymous said...

I would be really tempted to revive Andy Richter Controls the Universe.

But if I had just one choice I think I'd bring back Grosse Pointe. Yes, it was just a WB sitcom, but I found it hysterical and loved the way it sent up the rest of the WB shows and the network itself (as one character said, "It isn't even a real network!")

May said...

I'll throw in another vote for Firefly. That cast was too perfect to not want more of.
Now and Again brings up memories, though. I was young enough to not know cancellations existed and couldn't figure out why they wouldn't tell me the end.

Unknown said...

"It's Your Move" was the cancellation that probably devastated me the most. Of course, that might have had something to do with my age at the time.

Biscuits said...

Arrested Development and Firefly are the two shows that immediately popped into my mind. I would love to have seen just a few more episodes of either of those.

But, as they've both been commented on quite a few times, I'll go ahead and throw Harsh Realm into the discussion. Fox shelved it after only 3 episodes, I think, but I remember being very intrigued by the virtual reality storyline. I would have liked to see where they would go with that one.

Jack said...

HBO's Carnivale. Loved that show. I'm still mad HBO canceled it and we were left with a multiple cliffhanger ending. Damn. :(

Baylink said...

I am really torn between Vmars, and the late, not especially lamented Breaking News, which is mostly because I'm a TV production geek, and *I never once caught them out*.

Oh yeah: thanks. :-)

Dave Sandell said...

I'd immediately go with My So-Called Life, but after finding out what was planned for season two (divorced parents, Brian & Angela dating, Sharon getting pregnant), I'm happy that we're left with one perfect season that left everything wide open at the end.

So I'd go with Arrested Development. The Mr. F arc aside, season three was as funny as the first two seasons, and I got the sense that they had tons more ideas to work through. Hopefully the movie will satiate.

Oh, and I really want an ending to the Samurai Jack story. I hear that a feature length movie is in the works that will complete it. That show doesn't get enough credit for what it accomplished.

renton said...

The Powers That Be

(and a second vote for It's Your Move)

Dave Sandell said...

By the way, I enjoyed the Mr. F arc, just thought we got too much Charlize Theron front and center in what was clearly the final season.

electricia said...

As much as I loved Firefly, I think they told that story.

I kind of with Heroes hadn't ended after one season. :)

I have two - one recent, one a bit older.

1) The Middleman. Milk and cookies, I loved that show! It just worked. Perhaps they didn't have any big, important stories to tell a la Buffy or BSG, but what a smart, fun show.

2) Brisco County, Jr. There was so much about that show that I loved. It was a good balance of storytelling, action, fun, and just the right touch of Bruce Campbell silliness. It was just a little over the top and had just enough magical realism, and it never took itself seriously. I thought it was a great homage to the genre it was emulating, but it had fun with it too. Brisco, Bowler and Comet are still some of my favorite TV characters ever. Of course, it wasn't exactly a chore to watch Bruce Campbell kicking ass and taking names while delivering one-liners and wearing tight jeans, either.

I've recently sort of realized that I really enjoy a little bit of magical realism in TV shows, and I think all of my favorite TV shows consistently have some element of it (assuming it's not something already set in a supernatural world, like Buffy). I think Barney and sometime Marshall on HIMYM are really good examples of what works for me.

Ladypeyton said...

Enough people have mentioned my top two of Angel and Firefly enough and you have mentioned Deadwood so I'm going to go with Moonlight.

It was vampire crack and just hitting its stride when it was cancelled.

Carmichael Harold said...

I'd probably go with Deadwood and then Sports Night.

The talk about Life and Journeyman, both of which I liked a lot (though not at Deadwood or Sports Night levels) reminded me how ironic it is that NBC had such a strong (in quality, though not viewers) production season with 60 minutes shows two years ago (Chuck, Life, Journeyman) and now has given up ceded 5 of those hours to Leno. All of this is just a long way of getting around to my question, which is if there's any consensus as to what was the strongest production year for one network in the recent past.

der Hundepo said...

Firefly would get my vote if I hadn't liked the movie so much, and thought it worked well enough for closure purposes. Since Dead Like Me's movie finish was so absolutely god-awful, I should vote for it so they could get Rube, the original Daisy, and (I'm guessing most importantly) Brian Singer back to do things right. But since I don't know where they would take it, I'm going to throw in a new one and vote for Raines from NBC a couple years ago. I thought that Jeff Goldblum hit that character out of the park, and it would have been interesting to see where things would take him.

Condi said...

Trying to come up with something that hasn't been mentioned. I know these guys want to continue; the 4 movies weren't quite up to the usual standard yet they provided some closure. My answer is FUTURAMA. Can't get enough of Bender. Can watch reruns and the jokes still make me laugh.

Second choice (greedy) is MISSION HILL. Oakley and Weinstein wanted to do more. Ah, and force Chappelle to take the 50 mil and do some more Chappelle Show.

Non-animation: How bout TWIN PEAKS but let David Lynch retcon some stuff including Laura's killer and keep letting Kyle McLachlan be quirky and Sherilyn Fenn be alluring.

Anonymous said...

Veronica Mars, definitely. My second choice would be the Piven/Marshall Cupid, so I guess I feel about Rob Thomas the way so many feel about Joss Whedon.

Bill said...

Love this question, love reading the answers.

For YEARS, I would have said Twin Peaks. I would have said it without hesitation. But the truth is, I'm over the ending, and I think the cliffhangers made it a more memorable series -- not stronger, but more memorable.

I agree with Alan's reason for not picking Freaks & Geeks. The show never hit a slump, and ends without slighting the material. In that vein, I would have liked to see more My So-Called Life or more Life As We Know It, both of which had a lot more left to explore.

And it's hard not to pick Pushing Daisies.

But I'm going to say John From Cincinnati. Honest to God, I am. It was a frustrating show that didn't always reward the attention I paid to it, and not all the performances were of equal caliber, but I've watched the DVDs a lot more often than I expected to, and I would have liked the opportunity to continue being frustrated for a few more years.

Mo Ryan said...

I have to say, the show that immediately came to mind for me was Farscape.

I know, I was crushed when Deadwood ended and would have loved to have seen more of that show. Other shows come to mind too -- the usual suspects: F&G, Arrested Development, Middleman and definitely Firefly too.

With shows like Angel and V Mars, I kind of felt like they'd told their stories and had their shot. Another season of V Mars where Rob Thomas doesn't have to bend and twist the show out of shape to please the network? Same deal with Angel? Sure, I'd take more seasons where the creators had more creative control.

But I feel most passionate about Farscape, all things considered. It was a show that took a lot of chances, and some of those chances failed. But it was an incredible ride and had some of the richest, funniest, best characters. I absolutely loved that show and was extremely sad when it went away early. Though the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries was pretty badass and was way, way better than getting no closure at all.

Word verification: Plobbled. As in, "I got so plobbled last night!"

James O'Hearn said...

This year...Eli Stone. No question. With Kings a close second.

The networks screwed the pooch on marketing those shows.

In past years, Firely for sure, and Intelligence.

I know Americans won't know about Intelligence, but it was Canada's version of The Wire, as in the finest, most nuanced show ever to air.

Anonymous said...

After this season ends, that answer might be In Treatment with Alison Pill, John Mahoney, Hope Davis, Glynn Turman and Mia Wasikowska coming back for a few episodes.

After next season, Dollhouse.

Classic TV The Honeymooners only had that one season. More Ralph threatening spousal abuse while Alice mocks him, please.

Mike C. said...

I have to say I would have loved for October Road to continue. I thought the cast had great chemsitry.

Beth said...

Firefly, no question. Of course they'd have to bring Wash back to life, but there are still so many stores left untold.

Mac said...

Most of mine have been mentioned, and if you pushed me, I would go with "Farscape" over "Veronica Mars", "Firefly", and "Wonderfalls". But to come up with one that hasn't been mentioned... "Kitchen Confidential". I liked the show when it aired, but it got really good with the shows that didn't air, and I really wish we'd gotten to see where it would have gone from there.

Dave B said...

Twin Peaks. Deadwood would be second, with Carnivale third, but Twin Peaks is far and away the show I wanted to see more of. Watching that finale with unsuspecting coworkers is still a television highlight for me.

nfieldr said...

Deadwood for sure. But also a couple of 90's cop shows... Brooklyn South and EZ Streets.

fgmerchant said...

As seasons go bye, I find myself not thinking about shows that were canceled long ago. So if I was to use "show-saving" powers, it would be for ones that ended recently.

1. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I know you were happy with the end, but I found it maddeningly frustrating. The last scene wipes out everything we know, it is the epitome of a cliffhanger ending. Sure, every other time there is a cliffhanger, you could say that it was nice that it ended letting you formulate your own ending, but I don't watch TV to make my own story up.

2. Dirty Sexy Money
I found this show to be great, I watched every episode in quick succession, so I had alot of fun. Yet it has been long enough, since it went off the air, that I am struggling to remember just what I liked about it.

3. Veronica Mars
I always had trouble with the pacing of the show, but I always loved the episodes. Plus, seeing Kristen Bell in any medium is great!

4. Kitchen Confidential
I would have to second Mac on this, the show was hilarious and it had just found its footing before it got canceled. FOX mishandled the show from the outset. After only 3 episodes, it got interrupted by the MLB playoffs for weeks.

Anonymous said...

Futurama! No other canceled show is even close. And while the Futurama DVD movies are ok, they're not nearly as good as the show.

If I had to pick a live action show, it would be either Brisco County, Jr. or Andy Richter Controls the Universe.

Jake O'Donnell said...

I'm reading through these posts and wondering when someone would finally bring up Twin Peaks. While much of the action following the revelation of Laura's killer was lame, season two was just picking up again when ABC pulled the plug. Lynch's finale speaks to how great the show could have been going forward.

I still have hope that ABC and Lynch can come together to do some sort of film or mini-series to wrap up the show. The actor who played BOB has passed away but it'd be great to get everyone else back on board.

srpad said...

I would say Enterprise, but only, since we are wishing here, if we make the fourth season, the first season and then go from there.

Some other choices:
My So Called Life (as others have said)
G vs. E (at the time I loved this show)
The Clerks Animated Series
Clone High
Andy Richter Controls the Universe
The live action Tick

Those are a few off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

(Side note:  I posted this reply before reading the comments here.)

Ooh -- Brisco County, Jr. is an interesting suggestion, electricia. I don't remember how much closure it had, but the world could always use more episodes of Bruce Campbell as a cowboy.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I think Freaks and Geeks could have had a great second season. From the commentary, it sounds like they had the material for it -- while S1 is great on its own, I don't think S2 would have gone all FNL on us.

I also second the Wonderfalls suggestions. Man, Mr. Fuller had some crazy mythology he was ready to spin out in subsequent seasons.  *sigh*

Firefly stands out as the show where I'd most like to see the cast get together to do other projects.  (So I'll keep waiting for an Alan Tudyk guest spot on Castle.)

~ cool topic! ~

Michael said...

Firefly, easy.

Since I'm going back in time anyway, I'll go ahead and convince the Fox executives to show the episodes the right damn order, and keep it in a single timeslot.

srpad said...

Ack! I wanted to add Kitchen Confidential. Loved that show.

Anonymous said...

Well SOMEONE has to be the Savior, and you're an awesome blogger. I can tell you I tickled a few people on the idea of getting Subway for Chuck thanks to reading your blog.

For a seasons past show I have to ditto Firefly. Give me another season of that over a dozen Dollhouses.

For a seasons current show, I actually was a big Earl fan and I hope they get some resolution to Darnell not being Earl Jrs dad.


Byron Hauck said...

(Original) Cupid for me, as well. The actor-character pairings on that show were lightning in a bottle.

Anonymous said...

Firefly, without a doubt. Plenty of potential, wonderful characters, great concept and a huge mythology that would have kept Joss busy for years - very much unlike Dollhouse, I'm afraid.

And an honorary mention to Studio 60. Yes, the sketches were bad, and nobody liked Amanda Peet, but other than that I was completely in love with the show. And Matthew Perry will never again score a role which is THAT perfect for him.

Jeff R. said...

Hm. I'm tempted to join the other Jeff and pick "It's Your Move" as well, but no. Other shows I considered are: Quantum Leap, Enterprise (which, after a slow start, had gotten really, really good in season 4.), The Muppet Show, and Class of '98. But in the end, I'm going to have to go with Max Headroom.

Anonymous said...

The Piven iteration of Cupid, without question. I was SO hooked on that show, and so angry when it got cancelled, that I didn't watch another ABC show until the premiere of Lost.

I refused to watch this year's attempt because (a) I truly can't think of an actress who annoys me as much as Sarah Paulson has in everything I've ever seen her in; and (b) he may be charming, but Cannavale is no Piven when it comes to bringing the crazy that made Trevor so intriguing.

Shan said...

That is a tough question. From a pool of Deadwood, Farscape, SportsNight, Firefly, Arrested Development, Angel, Veronica Mars, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies and The Middleman, I would have to say FIREFLY in a very close call.

Reasons: It had EVERYTHING you could want: great actors suited ideally to their parts, stellar writing and direction, action, spectacle, humor, pathos, drama in an interesting setting that was unlike anything else on. And unlike any of the others (with the exception of Wonderfalls) it never really got a chance (skipped pilot, aired out of order, etc.). There were still lots of stories to tell in that world.

Anonymous said...

If by save we can also mean save from show-runners, then I'd say Gilmore Girls, to be saved from David Rosenthal.
Otherwise, Veronica Mars. I'd like a whole season with Keith as sheriff.

tdf said...

Dark Angel. Cancelled before its time IMO, seemingly for budget reasons.

My second choice would be Firefly, echoing the other comments here.

Ironically Dark Angel was cancelled to make way for Firefly, which then got cancelled after a few episodes. Damn you Fox!

belinda said...

Firefly, no doubt, because everyone knows it would have been awesome. It had so much potential, and still is one of the best shows in the past decade even in its short run.

And a draw between the teen shows My So Called Life and Freaks and Geeks. Both had great characters and writing, and I would have loved to see what would have happened in their second seasons.

It's amazing that these three shows had only one season each under their belt (and, in the case of Firefly, only 13 eps that didn't even air in sequence, and, lookie here, a lot of us mentioned it here), yet are so memorable and awesome. Would that have changed if they had another season to possibly screw up? Hm. The mind boggles from such silly questions.

Danny said...

Not so much save a canceled show, but can you save Aaron Sorkin from leaving The West Wing?

Robin said...

Journeyman has to be my choice from the last few years. I was so mad when NBC canceled that show.

GabbyD said...

i want to know how dianne ruggiero would have ended The X List had she had a chance, say another 9 episodes. i thought the show and the lead was winning and charming.

Boricua in Texas said...

The Middleman, absolutely.

Rob S. said...

There are a lot of shows I'd like to save -- Firefly, Sports Night, Arrested Development and Middleman among them. But since those all seem to be covered by everyone else's special powers, I'm going to use mine to bring back the British con-artist series Hustle.

Stephanie said...

Great thread. I would go with Veronica Mars if Rob Thomas was given the freedom to write the way he wanted to, without having to cave to network demands. I think S3 would've been entirely different if they'd have just allowed him to do it his own way.

Firefly and Angel are both on that list, though not as high as VM.

Tina said...

Dearly departed Firefly, MSCL, VM etc. at least live on on DVD, so I'll go with the still unavailable Beggars and Choosers, which was on Showtime (I think) some years back. Similar to Grosse Pointe (also a good choice), but focused on a TV exec and his minions at a minor network. What I can recall of it was hi-larious. It was by Peter Lefcourt who also did Karen Sisco, another non-DVD candidate. A third one will be the original Cupid.

Hatfield said...

Ok, eff Blogger, I just had a long, thought-out post erased by a technical glitch, and now because of that, I'm off to club some baby seals. Hope you'r happy with yourself, Blogger.

The short version:

Deadwood (Best Ever)

Firefly (Think things would have happened differently had the series continued)

Brisco County, Jr. (Brilliant mix of camp and serial, with the amazing Bruce Campbell, as well as Julius Carry, John Astin and Billy Drago)

Carnivale (Was supposed to be six seasons!!)

Due South (With original partner, not Callum Keith Rennie. What can I say, that Mounty won me over)

Hatfield said...

Sorry, didn't choose. Guess I'll take Due South since the rest have been rescued already

HMM2 said...

Veronica Mars,
The Unit,
That's Life
Jonny Quest,
Coronet Blue,
Now and Again,
EZ Streets, and
Green Acres

With the cancellation of "Without a Trace" and the "Unit" and the move of Medium to CBS, maybe Caron could wrap up "Now and Again" in a "Medium" episode or two.

Anonymous said...

The Loop

Unknown said...

I'm glad someone else remembers and loves the Piven incarnation of Cupid. That would have been cool.

Going with: Wonderfalls (never had a chance to find its proper groove and tone.)

Dead Like Me (Had more Life in it for sure.)

Due South with original Ray

Regarding Chuck, you had an actual column in old school dead-tree media laying out a BUSINESS case for Chuck. You stuck your nose out, you get the credit.

Wendy (serendipity78) the originator of the "Finale and a Footlong" campaign and I had some back and forth on TWOP (Television without Pity).

I said the Chuck producers should fly you and her out to ComicCon on their own dime and thank you publicly in front of the crowd. Failing that, they should give a shout-out in the show. You could be a villain or a new Subway sandwich.

Hope you and your family have a happy and safe holiday.

Jen said...

I have to say Carnivale. Solely based on the way that it "ended". That was quite possibly the worst way to end a show ever. When Fedak made the comment that if Chuck didn't return, people would be burning their living rooms, I had visions of Carnivale.

Like many others, I will totally pass on Firefly and Veronica Mars because I felt like to whatever extent the stories were resolved for me. The Serenity movie played a big part in that, but I felt like once the first story arc in VM3 was over, I was ok with letting go and imaging a badass Veronica out there doing her thing.

That's what it comes down to for me, how much resolution was there for the characters; was I happy or at least content with where things ended? I'll reserve judgment on Pushing Daisies until we see those last few eps, but I have a feeling it'll be in my top 5 along with Deadwood, MSCL, and Wonderfalls

olucy said...

So happy to see some love for EZ Streets here. I almost chose it, but didn't think anyone else would remember it.

olucy said...

And hats off to the person who suggested Profit.

Simon H. said...

Without question, Wonderfalls.

Justin said...

Deadwood, Veronica Mars, or Undeclared. I loved Undeclared and think it had a bright future. Veronica Mars was very uneven in its third season, so the hope would be that the reboot would give bring it back to earlier greatness. However, the last episode does feel like an ending I can live with, especially if season four continued the diminished returns. Deadwood's third season was very problematic, but it seemed to be setting up a lot of things for an imagined fourth and final season. Ultimately, I think I would purely enjoy additional episodes of Undeclared more, but I have to use my save on Deadwood knowing that Milch would at least get to end it on his own terms, no matter how off the rails that ending might have been.

Anonymous said...

Firefly! I also really want to go back in time and save Now and Again.

ginny said...

I will always wish most of all for a second season of Strange Luck, my first favorite TV show.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about Remember WENN. I don't remember Nothing Sacred, though. From what I could find on it, it sounds like would've been right up my alley.

I always thought that Life and Now and Again were kindred spirits, in a way.

Anonymous said...

One show that would've loved to see continued that noone else has mentioned is Day Break. Granted, it certainly wouldn't be my first choice, and it would've affected other beloved shows like Journeyman and Chuck, but I still have fond memories of that show.

Carrie said...

Veronica Mars, no doubt. I really want to know what happened after Veronica cast that doomed vote for her father.

Freaks & Geeks would be my first runner up if Veronica Mars wasn't able to fulfill her duties as winner. Yes, those 18 episodes are perfect...but I have great faith that the cast/writers/directors of that show would be able to continue the magic beyond just those glorious moments. Also, it would be nice to like Linda Cardellini again.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's still that way, but last time I checked, your name was all over the Wikipedia article for Chuck.

Hatfield said...

Oh, and Undergrads, a hilarious animated series that ran for I think one season on MTV. Always felt it got short shrift.

And kudos to the person who seconded my Due South (Original Ray) vote. Glad I'm not alone

Loretta said...

Firefly. I think the brilliance of Serenity speaks for itself.

Cameron Hughes said...

Firefly or Veronica Mars. I'd give my pinkie for more of them. Well, we got a really great movie out of Firefly, so I suppose Veronica Mars because the season 3 finale was so great.

LA said...

Like Alan, I was pretty satisfied with the way Freaks and Geeks ended. Sure, it would have been great to spend more time with the characters, but there's a lot to be said for a perfect ending (i.e., 6FU).

Pushing Daisies comes to mind. It would have been nice to get through college with the Undeclared bunch.

Agree with the person who preemptively suggested In Treatment. Will have to see what happens Sunday and Monday, but it's hard to imagine that I'm going to be satisfied with the ending of these current patients with only 30 minutes left to go for each. I was, however, satisfied with the ending for Mia Wasikowska's character last season.

Anonymous said...

Firefly and Veronica Mars 100%.
Glad to see so many others feel the same

Justin Hemenway said...

It would be a toss up between Deadwood and Carnivale, but I'd lean towards the latter because I feel it was just beginning to reach its full potential when HBO pulled the plug.

Anonymous said...

Since The Middleman, Wonderfalls, Keen Eddie and Sarah Connor Chronicles all have boosters, I'd like to remind everyone of Jake 2.0, a forerunner to Chuck, killed by the people who made Chuck. (Being scheduled opposite Josh Schwartz's OC did Jake no favors.)

In fact, when Chuck was first announced, I initially dismissed it as Jake 3.0.

bsangs said...

Great thread idea Alan! I have four easy:

Arrested Development
Andy Richter Controls the Universe

Without hesitation. I'd throw in Life on Mars from this season, but those four I was extremely passionate about.

Anonymous said...

Yeah definately would want to 'save' Firefly! Though Freaks and Geeks wold be a very close second.

Anonymous said...

Pushing Daisies. Its absence has left a real (pie) hole in my tv viewing schedule.

Ditto on the preemptive defensive line for In Treatment. If it were to go, I'd actually have to join therapy..or at the very least a 12 step. Thanks Alan for getting me hooked.

Eldritch said...

Frank's PlaceBoy, I hadn't thought of "Frank's Place" for years. I still remember my aching sense of loss when it was canceled. Mostly character driven. Great show.

EZ StreetsAn early ancestor to "The Wire" perhaps? Would have been great if allowed to have a full run.

Greg, the Bunny
Dead Like Me
Wonderfully nutty in a very good natured way. Best pick up line ever: "Hi, I'm Les Nessman, and I'm fabulously wealthy!" Or Venus Flytrap teaching chemistry to a juvenile delinquent. I still ache for "Wonderfalls" and wish I could see the next season. I still ache for "Dead Like Me." They changed showrunners for the 2nd season, so maybe there really wasn't anything there anymore, but it still felt like there was a whole world left to explore there. The characters were developing toward something.

DeadwoodYeah, I still ache for the last missing season(s).

Star Trek: Enterprise
Odessey 5
I think the "Serenity" movie's story would have played out better over 22 episodes or so. "Enterprise" came alive in its last season under the leadership of Manny Cotto. It would have gotten better. "Odessey 5" was a low quirky low-budget scifi thing. More personal than most.

John of Cincinnati
Dresden Files
Eli Stone
Maybe just guilty pleasures. "Drive" was canceled after only 3 of it's 6 episodes had aired. It's premise seemed empty, yet it was already developing into an interesting character piece, I thought. "Dresden Files" wasn't great, yet a wry, supernatural sleuth was pretty original at the time. I just haven't been able to get into the morose "Medium." As for "John," I just wanted a better chance to figure out what the heck was going on there.

Veronica Mars
If they could have returned to the season-long mysteries/arcs.

Pushing Daisies
Freaks & Geeks
My So Called Life
Joan of Arcadia
A mixture of guilty pleasures and amazingly great series. But who knows how they would have held up over another season.

As disappointed as I was to see "Buffy, the Vamipire Slayer" end, I feel seven seasons pretty much told it's story.

Anonymous said...

If I had to choose just one, I'd pick NewsRadio, except I'd save it before Phil Hartman died.

If I was greedy, I'd go for Sports Night, October Road and Life as well.

Johanna, of course, would save The Middleman, in a heartbeat.

Great topic!


lizvelrene said...

If it wasn't waaaaaaaaaaaaay too late now, I would absolutely save My So-Called Life over anything else. It just broke my little 15-year-old heart when that show was canceled. And yes, I'm still mad.

Now? MIDDLEMAN!! Put it on USA network where it belongs (characters welcome)!

More realistically, it's not too late to save Reaper. It always puts a smile on my face and I'll miss that.

Mike said...

Firefly. There were so many more stories to tell, and a whole 'verse to explore. I don't think there would have been a drop-off in quality, and in fact it may have gotten better.

Other ideas:

Studio 60/Sports Night: As much as I hate to say it, and considering that Sports Night is probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite show ever, I'd give Studio 60 more time first. Sports Night got 2 seasons, and Sorkin was working more and more on West Wing by the time it ended, so I feel like it wouldn't have been the same show. Studio 60 would have gotten better given more time, I think.

Arrested Development - Three seasons is a decent run, and I feel like it couldn't have gotten much better if it had kept on.

Anonymous said...

If I had to choose just one, I'd pick NewsRadio, except I'd save it before Phil Hartman died.
So are you suggesting saving Phil Hartman?

mkr said...

quantum leap, of course. bring Sam home!!!

Lizbeth said...

* Arrested Development
* Freaks & Geeks
* The Riches
* Swingtown
* Once and Again (not to be confused with Now and Again)

catzak said...

Current: Life
Past: Rome

electricia said...

I forgot to mention it in my first comment, but after Middleman and Brisco, I'd love to save Kyle XY. I think I might be the only person who watched the show, but I really enjoyed it (hey, magical realism!) I'm not sure how much more story they had left to tell, but it ended a bit abruptly and I think there was more they wanted to do.

It's certainly a better show than the awful Roommates and Sophie that ABCFam is running now.

Retrollama said...

too perfect to continue:

Freaks and Geeks
My So-Called Life

agreeing with:

Life on Mars
Kitchen Confidential

my choices:

Johnny Bago
The John Larroquette Show (but only if it continued in the same vein as Season 1, and not the monkeyed-with Seasons 2-4)

cremes said...

Mark me down for Profit also. One of my favorite shows. I love the DVD.

TV needs more anti heroes.

Unknown said...

If I have to pick ONE, Joan of Arcadia. I really, really still want to see what a third season of that show would have been like.

Runners-up: Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Veronica Mars.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with The Tick (live action). That show was great. I'm surprised to see other people have named it as well.

Other than that I would go with Arrested Development, although season 3 wasn't as strong as the first two seasons.

Nicole said...

I never saw the TNT movies, so I would have liked another season of The Pretender.

And as much I loved Due South, I think that it ended the way it should have. Any Paul Gross (the Mountie) fans should check him out in Slings and Arrows.

(and Passenchedale too, especially if you like WW1 movies)

word verfication "me work" ... what I am not doing at the moment.

Gareth Wilson said...

Doris Egan said that had Tru Calling not been cancelled, the title character would have been revealed to be working for Satan, and her evil counterpart would be working for God. I would have liked to see that. She didn't call the powers Satan and God, but that's my interpretation of her story.

Anonymous said...

Easy call: The O.C. My viewing of Chuck and Gossip Girl these past seasons have simply been to help fill the huge void that The O.C. left with two shows that have some similar elements. The O.C. clearly had so much life left in it and felt a bit rushed with the shortened final season. If only Fox could have given it 8 more episodes when they decided to cancel it, I would have been a bit more content. The characters were so fleshed out that it was enough to just watch them spend time together, something I haven't found in any other show.

kathy said...

"My So-Called Life", without a doubt.

If I had to pick a back-up, I'd maybe go with "Freaks & Geeks" but honestly, the collective creative output from the people who worked on that show has been so wildly entertaining, I don't know if I'd trade all that for more F&G, since the one season was perfect.

To get completely old-school, there was a fantastic show called "A Year in the Life" that ran for one year in 1987. I adored it and Richard Kiley won the Emmy for it but it got cancelled anyway, after one season.

LA said...

Lizbeth - I forgot about Swingtown. While it wasn't art and sometimes infuriated me (I absolutely hated the teenaged daugther's arc and was fairly bored by the tween set, too), Swingtown did improve with each episode and really grew on me. Ultimately I wanted another season or two. I was very interested about the impact of an affair between Susan and Roger and how Tom and Trina would fare as parents. And how the busybody homemaker would do in her newfound career.

Victor Mancha said...

I'd have to go with Firefly, with Veronica Mars as a close second.
I miss Grosse Pointe too. That show was seriously funny.

Anonymous said...

"Once and Again." What a beautifully-written, beautifully-acted show, and it still had stories to tell.

Anonymous said...

My first choice would be "Almost Grown" - David Chase's first time at creating a TV show. The use of music to help drive the plot has never been surpassed even by the Sopranos. Of course I know the majority of people reading this this show is past their wheel house but that show was great.

Second more current choice would be Veronica Mars - I loved that show from the first :30 seconds that I saw back in the old UPN upfront.

shara says said...

That would easily be Firefly. Veronica Mars is a close second.

Grifter said...

Profit. A show that literally destroyed my then teenage mind, in a good way. Also, Adrian Pasdar is far too talented to be in Heroes (Post season 1 Heroes, is what I mean).

If allowed a second one, i'd go with Angel. Whedon had some really great big things in store for the show which will never see the light of day. Unless he makes a movie!

jlf said...

First choice for me was Everwood.

Then immediately I added Arrested Development, Rome and Keen Eddie to that list. At least with these three you can see all the episodes. With Everwood we are still waiting for the season three and four dvds.

tintin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've been so lucky that all the shows I've obsessed over: Buffy and Alias were able to end on their own terms.

That said, no one is going to agree with me on this but I was highly frustrated when a friend raved about the following TV show,and I watched and got emotionally invested only to have the whole damn thing end on a horrible cliff-hanger

That show would be Dark Angel.

It's what made me decide once and for all never to start on a show unless it's already ended (I can then pick up the DVDs i.e. Lost) or its a procedural.

(I know it serves me right for starting on Dark Angel to begin with haha)


McD said...

In order:

Once and Again
Now and Again
The Middleman

I like shows with Again in the title. . .

rhys said...

I thought Deadwood before you even said it. It is one of the few shows that very clearly died before it was done and in a fashion that left the whole show unsatisfying. I hesitate to even recommend it to people because that third season was so unsatisfying.

Firefly would definitely have been great to see more of, although I am not such a huge fan as to make it my only choice.

I would have liked to see more Arrested Development. But it had a decent run.

I would have said Farscape, except it got a mini-series to close it out.

I think I will have to go with Rome. Apparently the second season was like all the plot points for four seasons in one. It would've been so amazing to see it fully fleshed out to five seasons like it should have.

gottacook said...

How about The Rockford Files? That series (with David Chase among its frequent writers) ended rather abruptly midway through season 6, 1979-80, for reasons that remain debatable, and it was still going strong. The 1990s TV movies really weren't able to pick up the thread again, even though many of the same people were behind the camera. James Garner could probably still do justice to the role, even at age 80 - why not?

maxed out said...

My So Called Life

more so Wonderfalls

Savvy Veteran said...

I too feel satisfied with the way Arrested Development(though I'd still love to see a movie!) and Freaks and Geeks ended, so they're out of contention for me. I'd also love to see more Veronica Mars, as the FBI internship idea to this day still sounds brilliant to me. Wonderfalls too, as well as Pushing Daisies.

But one that no one else has said (maybe, I may have missed it) yet that I love is Stella, which had only a 10 episode run on Comedy Central in 2005. One of the funniest shows that almost NO ONE has heard of.

Anonymous said...

DEADWOOD, c**ks**kers.

A close second would be "The West Wing" with Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme at the helm.

But I have to say...Alan, please don't downgrade Deadwood with "I guess I'm going to go with the predictable answer", as if you may have chosen something more thoughtful and/or worthy given the time and your full attention. The show was a perfect blend of writing genius, directorial flair, a perfect set, and phenomenal acting prowess from all (I have always said that even the smallest role on Deadwood wrung the best work out of every actor, up to and including the horse in the opening credits).

Anonymous said...

I remember years and years ago liking a show called A Year in A life, or A Day in the Life, something like that - I hardly recall the show, but remember being crushed, so not really a serious suggestion.

Eldritch said...

Buffalo Bill.
An old one with Dabney Coleman, as the grouch without a heart of gold.

Soap or Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Incredibly wacky. But impossible to bring back.

The Twilight Zone.
The original one with Rod Serling. Witty, imaginative, intelligent, deliciously ironic. None of the clunker sequels even came close.

ex-mundelainer said...

I'm glad I'm not the first to mention Nothing Sacred (thanks, Anonymous 1:47 pm!), but I'm sad I'm only the second to do so. Great, great show that was doomed by both a killer schedule and a misinformed smear campaign.

Also, American Gothic, with Gary Cole and a very young Lucas Black. And created by Shaun Cassidy!

Matthew Stollak said...

I'm going for a long forgotten 1991 show - "Golden Years" with Keith Szarabajka as an old janitor that was exposed to chemicals that make him get younger. Featured Frances Sternhagen, Ed Lauter, and a young Felicity Huffman.

Unfortunately, it ended only after 6 episodes, but in light of the Benjamin Button movie, it would be worthy of a comeback.

Anonymous said...

I would chose Odyssey 5. After watching the episodes, I found myself forming a bond with the characters and wanting to know what happened to Angela and how Kurt was going to get himself out of the jam he was in. And how Angela's father being a member of the Cadre was going to affect things.

I just wish there was another season of the show for me to watch. Or, is it too wrong for me to ask for four more seasons to see what Manny Coto had in mind for the rest of the series and the characters? Would they be able to save the Earth in time? Or would the Earth blow up anyway?

Nilco said...

And I know there would not have been Serenity had the show been a big hit, but I'm fine with that. I like the quieter, richer moments of the TV show but both are rewarding. Whedon will never be better.

Unknown said...

Hi! Just wanted to say thank you so, so much for all your help! We (Chuck fans from all over the world) really appreciate all you've done to help keep Chuck! And happily, it all paid off! Thank you for being our "savior"! Again, deepest thanks and best regards always!

ArC said...

I'd probably use my "save one show" power on Pushing Daisies which was an amazing confluence of writing, acting, production design, direction, music, etc. It was so good I'm going to give Heroes a shot next year, and I'd given that up halfway through season 2.

Here's why I didn't go with my other choices: Futurama already got to return with the direct-to-DVD/Comedy Channel deal. Andy Richter Controls the Universe got a spiritual sequel in Better Off Ted. As much as I think Arrested Development didn't get a fair shot - timeslot bingo and no promotion and two season order cuts - they had a decent ending and also, they still got a lot more episodes out than Pushing Daisies. Life ended way too early, but its second season ending did function as a terrific series ending too, so...

(My runners-up would include Journeyman, Boomtown if they didn't abandon the Rashomon concept in the second season, Andy Barker PI, the Simpsons (which I realize is still going on, but has been creatively pretty dead for at least 8 seasons now), Dirty Sexy Money (which was killed for all intents and purposes with the retooling before the second season), and Veronica Mars.)

Hannah Lee said...

So many good ones have already been mentioned: Frank's Place, the original Cupid, Once and Again, Firefly, Joan of Arcadia, the original 1st season Dirty Sexy Money (I consider the 2nd season with Lucy Liu and nonsensical plotlines to be a bad remake), Now and Again, WKRP.

Some others come to mind: Dinner for Five (unscripted, I know, but very entertaining), Eyes, (always wanted to watch that one, but it was off the air before I figured out when it was on) Bonnie (the original,sitcommy Bonnie Hunt Show), the original flavor The Naked Truth, or if I'm feeling sappy – Mysterious Ways (another Adrian Pasdar show, probably the polar opposite of Profit).

But if I had just one magic bullet, and could bring just one show back to life with its original cast, creator and crew? It would be Sports Night, no question. Loved the characters, loved the stories (except for the stupid Dating Plan), loved the cast, loved the language and the characters' love of language, loved the heart of it. Sure we got two wonderful seasons, but I think that one could have gone on and on and only gotten better over time.

Gen said...

I completely agree about Firefly. Such a rich universe, with so much potential. And the humor was fantastic. Too bad it didn't get the second chance that Dollhouse did. Serenity was a good movie, but I would have gladly traded it in for 12 or more episodes.

And -- okay, I'll say it -- Jericho. But only if we could use Alan's powers to get Jericho a full save after the first season, resulting in a 22 episode second season including the full cast.

Word confirmation: istypo.

Jordan said...

I'm glad it's already been mentioned, because when I was reading this, I thought I was the only person in the world who would want another episode of John From Cincinnati. There are much better, more deserving shows, but if I could give one show one more episode, it'd be JFC. It got cancelled right when it was beginning to pick up and I still have no idea what the hell it was about.

Mother of god Cass/Kai.

Mads said...

I'm going to be unoriginal and say Veronica Mars.

Followed by Firefly.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Knights Of Prosperity!!!!!!

That show was HI-larious.

And, thanks to those who mentioned it before me:

Swingtown! Lord, how did that show land on CBS?

Eric said...

I'll add another vote for Wonderfalls. I adored that show after the four episodes that aired, and still can't believe they pulled it to show reruns of the ghastly reality show "The Swan". And then I loved it even more after watching all of the episodes on DVD. I still pull out the DVDs whenever I need a lift as they're just so delightful.

Brandy said...

I'm not really sure. I'd pick Veronica Mars but what if it was another season with limited Wallace and Weevil and LOADS of Piz? I could do without.

Sports Night I loved. Even the less stellar episodes I loved. But Sorkin had a chance to continue it via Showtime and didn't, was his heart in it enough to make it first season quality?

Firefly- I'd love to see episodes between the final episodes and the movie but the losses of the movie make it less appealing to me.

So I guess Cupid (Piven) or Freaks and Geeks but they are so perfect in my mind that I'd not like to see them ruined.

Maybe a show that was less perfect but always made me smile? Quantum Leap or Homefront or Everwood?

John said...

There are so many great shows that died ahead of its time: Farscape, SportsNight, Firefly, Invasion, Wonderfalls, The Middleman, Undeclared, Dead Like Me, American Gothic, Intelligence (CAN), Ghost Squad (UK) and Peter Berg's all but forgotten medical drama Wonderland.

But in the end it boils down to two shows. Deadwood which only had one season left and Carnivále that only got to tell the beginning of a wonderful epic story. (It was planned to become 6 seasons. But that's what you get for planning ahead.) I will never forgive HBO for cancelling those two shows.

Jennifer J. said...

Choosing only one is so very hard, but it would be Pushing Daisies.

(My runners-up are: Freaks and Geeks; Undeclared; Arrested Development; Veronica Mars and (now) The Unusuals.

Pamela Jaye said...

Cop Rock.

at the moment, I haven't got just one.

I can't believe no one has mentioned:

Reunion. The show that gave me NSAD (new series aversion disorder. I did a tape and hold on The Nine and.. Daybreak?)
I liked the characters and storylines and was extremely frustrated with the complete lack of answer. (Samantha's daughter, maybe)

other contenders are:

Quantum Leap (of course). I hated the finale more when I saw it *after* the rest of the episodes than when I'd only seen 11.
I cannot even imagine what the show would be like if it was restarted tomorrow, though. And yet - it was happy, sad, silly, nostalgic, and had good music. Oh, and of course, it had Scott.

Once and Again - I just liked it. It did a half decent job of filling the hole Ally left in me. But not as well as Grey's Anatomy did later on. (current replacement for this show is Brothers & Sisters)
and btw, I'd be happy just to get season 3 on DVD. Even home made DVD - I'm missing the ep where Jake and Tiffany's child was born.

Journeyman - I hate time travel, but this one had a home base and family interaction that I loved more as time went by. (also, it's still on my DVR)

I haven't read all the comments yet, but I haven't seen this
The Probably Not list

I would say that I wish Scrubs was not over, but it isn't, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Police Squad - I was really disappointed at the time, as I was with Fame - and yet, I now have 7 seasons of Fame on tape that I have yet to watch, and Police Squad used up its jokes in the second movie.

Ally McBeal committed suicide, so that's out of the running.

The If-only list

Joan of Arcadia went downhill in season 2 and showed no signs (evil leaper) of coming back (hate evil leapers. Jason Priestly having been one on Tru Calling - he now give me the creeps). If it was good as season 1, I'd have been twice as crushed as I was when Enterprise was canceled, but only in retrospect (you see it's not on my list)

Mr & Mrs Smith - I spent those 9 eps agonizing on how it needed to be better, in order to get ratings it was never going to get on a Friday anyway.
It could have been good - in a Sarah and Chuck kind of way, but there was just too much bickering (not UST - bickering). The more I see Chuck, the more I mourn M&MS for not being what it could have been.

(whew! it took that long before someone mentioned EZ Streets? not my thing, but surprising)

And not true - My best friend deeply mourned Remember WENN.

I did like Jake 2.0. The original Chuck promo's provoked Baylink to say: What's Chuck's secret? He's Jake 2.0.
But Chuck surpassed Jake by miles.

Forgive me Chris in Dallas, but I'm from Boston, and when I hear Boomtown I hear this (you'll have to go in a bit to get to the song)

Breaking News I hardly remember (but liked. I also watched WIOU)) - though it's on tape somewhere. Liked it better than Pepper Dennis. Baylink may have forgotten Mr Sterling. I lump those two together for some reason.

I stumped for Enterprise for 2+ years - but only cause Scott was in it. I would have preferred him in something with more "heart" - like Once and Again, or Chuck ;-)

I loved the Pretender, but they had two movies, and instead of resolving things, they only made the mysteries deeper. Sad.

A Day in the Life - is that the show I was asking about long ago? I believe it was My Life and Times. So maybe not

darn you Renton - I loved The Powers That Be!! (I had to - in Boston it was replaced by an extra ep of the Golden Girls and shunted to a different timeslot each weekend (Sunday 3am, Sunday 2pm, Monday 2am)
Scouring the print TV Guide for it was hard! (which reminds me how thrilled I was when TVGuide went online, searchable)

So, narrowing:
Quantum Leap
Once & Again

I can't even put them in any order.

Pamela Jaye said...

NSAD and the tape and hold:
I recorded The Nine and Daybreak, but I did not watch them. I just waited to see if they would be canceled. They were, and I deleted them unwatched.

I miss "tape" - it was quicker to say and type.
I don't miss using it.

Pamela Jaye said...

if you are wondering what the hanging "I haven't read all the comments yet, but I haven't seen this" meant

it was supposed to go before Reunion, but I forgot to delete it when I moved the show, and now it's just hanging there, like a line in a speech in an Aaron Sorkin script (I forget if it was TWW or The American President)

Lise said...


Loved this show. So wish someone would pick it up...

James said...

Firefly. Deadwood's my second, but Firefly. Totally.

lyson said...

Most of the ground has been covered
loved Firefly, Boomtown, deadwood, V M - loved the shoutout to the Rockford Files - my choice not mentioned yet is Ed - the last season wasn"t the best - network interference-the usual exscuse - but next to chuck it was the one show I really wanted to see play further - lots of room for the characters.


JKChicago said...

Deadwood. It's no contest. I agree that none of the theater people except Langrishe seemed necessary at the end, but another season could have made their roles clearer.

And man, do I miss that dialogue.

Unknown said...

I second Showtime's Odyssey 5, if I could bring back any show. Those of you that haven't seen it, do yourselves a favor and pick it up on DVD. It was BSG before the new BSG existed: an intelligent science fiction series geared towards adults, and dealing with concepts such as artificial life, religion, the nature of God, and the other major themes that BSG was (rightly) praised so much for.

For those who haven't seen it, the series was about a crew of 5 astronauts who witnessed the Earth's implosion from a space shuttle. The 5 characters were rescued by a benevolent being that downloaded their consciousness(es) into their bodies 5 years in the past.

Basically, these five people had all the memories of what was to come in 5 years, and had to figure out a way to stop everything without screwing up their lives in the process. (which they did quite regularly, might I add)

The show had a built in five-year arc, and had decent ratings for Showtime when it aired in 2002 (replacing Stargate SG-1 which moved to Sci Fi that same year). But Showtime wanted to get out of the genre television business, and killed Odyssey 5 along with SG-1, and The Outer Limits. So it was ended on a cliffhanger after only 20 episodes - the head writer expected the show to return based on its performance, but was caught off-guard by Showtime's decision. The only glimmer of what was to come was during the lone audio commentary on the O5 DVD set.

The actors and producers went on to other projects such as 24, Jake 2.0 General Hospital and others. It was a great show with a great premise that was killed not 'cause of ratings, but because of the network's short sightedness.

FYI, Showtime struggled to find a hit show for years after abandoning its loyal science fiction audience. I took them, I think, until maybe 2005/2006 when Dexter and Weeds came along to start to reverse the hemorrhaging.

Even now, I think pay cable needs a good genre series to go along with the other traditional shows they produce. Carnivale was another one that was cut down too soon, although it had 2 seasons vs. Odyssey 5's one season, so I think O5 trumps it in terms of what might have been.

If any reader picks up O5 based on any of the above, then I would consider that my good deed for the day :)


Cool Loser said...

Arrested Development

Clare said...

Whilst making my way down the comments, i;ve been planning to say VMars and Firefly, because I loved those shows so much, although I was pretty happy with the resolution i got in serenity, and quite frankly i hate seasons 2 and 3 of VM anyway and much prefer to love VM in all it's season one glory.

but the show that I actually desperately WANT to come back is Dark Angel, because I just adored it, despite the dubious acting (excluding Jensen Ackles) and bad 90s slang. It was left so unresolved and the characters were so interesting, and I just would really like to have even just an hour with them again.

Retrollama said...


Oh, how could I have forgotten about "Ed" ?

Even though each season of the show was a pale imitation of the one before it (kind of like "The John Larroquette Show"), it was still one of the best TV dramas around.

JAS said...

I am a total My So-Called Lifer, and before even reading the comments I went and pulled out my VHS tapes and re-watched the Christmas episode because it was so frickin good.

However, if I could only choose one, I'd put my vote in for the very short-lived but very deeply-loved (by me, at least) Love Monkey starring Tom Cavanagh. It had great music, interesting characters, a nice mix of "knowns" reinventing themselves and unknowns getting to shine. And it had Tom Cavanagh.

Sean said...

Pushing Daisies (1st choice), Eli Stone (2nd choice).

My folks would definently say Veronica Mars, and there's TONS of offbeat shows throughout the years I wish I got more of (Brisco County Jr., Firefly, Drive, Daybreak, The Chopping Block, Journeyman, the list goes on and on...)

Sean said...

I can't believe I forgot Arrested Development, new 1st choice!

Anonymous said...

What, no love for "Arliss"??

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

But one that no one else has said (maybe, I may have missed it) yet that I love is Stella, which had only a 10 episode run on Comedy Central in 2005. One of the funniest shows that almost NO ONE has heard of.I'd agree, except that Stella still exists as a comedy troupe, and their brand of comedy will always live on in some form (currently Wainy Days and Michael and Michael Have Issues). That said, the show deserved waaaay more than a measly 10 episodes.

Karen said...

Oh, man, I LOVED "Nothing Sacred"! Kevin Anderson was genius in that.

Pretty much everything I'd want has been said already. Put me with the "pass" on "Veronica Mars," just because the 2nd and 3rd seasons never even came close to living up to the perfection of season one. That season is how television's done.

Despite what people see as the closure of "Freaks and Geeks" and "Firecly," I would still have wanted more seasons.

"Sports Night," too.

While I was disappointed by the cancellation of "The Middleman," I wasn't devastated by it. Still, I would have loved to have seen more.

I'm not sure it ever had the time to get me as involved with/attached to its characters, though, they way "Chuck" has. Which is why "Firefly," "Freaks and Geeks," and "Sports Night" hold the top positions.

I did like "Carnivale" a lot, and certainly no show has ever given Tim DeKay so much meat to get his teeth into, but, although the end was unsatisfactory, I wouldn't have joined a campaign to save it.

This question is tougher than I thought it would be!

Nancy said...

I've made my peace with the cancellation of most of the shows mentioned, but I still miss "Homefront."

Set after WWII, it showed the American that my grandparents knew, and was a window into what shaped those people. Even though Ginger and Jeff were married, I felt that the show had a lot more to do.

The actors were all wonderful. When my SIL says she has a crush on Kyle Chandler, I tell her that I've loved him since he was a baseball player in the '40s. Plus John Slattery, Kelly Rutherford, Ken Jenkins, Mimi Kennedy, Wendy Phillips, Tammy Lauren . . . I cheered a few weeks ago when Harry O'Reilly turned up on another "Law and Order."

Yep, my vote would be "Homefront."

Charles Purvis said...

In reading the comments, I'm in complete agreement with all of the high-quality shows people are voting for . . . and I have nothing to add to that discussion.

I'll just submit a couple of guilty pleasures . . . shows that ended their runs on cliffhangers, where I really enjoyed spending time with the characters. It was the Fox Friday night lineup from back in '02-'03:

John Doe

It's embarrassing, I know, but I really liked those shows, and would have enjoyed at least one more season out of each of them.

Sonia said...

This is easy. I knew my answer the minute I finished reading your question...

My So Called Life.

That show was never given a chance, and it was SO much better than the shows about teens that are on today -- it was in a different class altogether.

filmcricket said...

"Pushing Daisies" and "Arrested Development," definitely. And probably "Deadwood," although I have my doubts over how it would have gone after the lacklustre third season.

I'd have loved more "Larry Sanders" although that show is the definition of one that ended on its own terms (best finale ever). I also agree on going back in time to save Phil Hartman.

Mostly, though, I'd use my time-travelling TV powers to end shows that dragged on beyond their Best Before date (I guess in the hope that newer, better things would be programmed?): "Friends," "Seinfeld," "The X-Files," "Heroes," "ER," etc.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 239   Newer› Newest»