We all have the shows that we loved that were cancelled too soon. For whatever reason, they just never caught on with a large audience. I found the majority of these shows after they had already ended and I’m grateful that online streaming has made that possible, though I still would have loved to see more episodes. Here is my top 10 and I look forward to hearing some of your cancelled favorites!
Better off Ted If you are in the mood for a new comedy to watch, do yourself a favor and watch this on Netflix immediately. It is a workplace comedy that looks at and critiques the absurdity and lack of ethics of many large corporations. That pitch may not demonstrate it well, but it is also hilarious. It’s smart and is full of interesting characters. For those of you who enjoy random asides in your TV, most episodes feature a fake commercial for Veridian Dynamics (the company around which the show is based) highlighting one of their new products or developments and they are incredibly enjoyable and funny.
Sports Night I recently finished this show after it was recommended to me and I am so glad I watched it. It is definitely an Aaron Sorkin show. It is primarily about the relationships between the characters and it features his well known rapid dialogue and the “walk and talk”. The heart of the show really is in the characters, not in the sports show they work on. It features some great friendships, great mentorships, and a romance that I’m pretty sure I was always destined to love because I seem to love every character Joshua Malina plays. It’s standout episode is “The Six Southern Gentleman of Tennessebe” and that if you don’t watch anything else, I highly recommend you watch that one episode. It is truly great and stands up very well 15 years after airing.
Dollhouse This is an unpopular choice, but this is probably my second favorite Joss Whedon show. It starts off a little rough, but once it settles into its exploration of the morality of what the Dollhouse is doing and the characters find their own identities, it becomes truly special. The season one finale “Epitaph One” was one of those episodes of TV that just leaves me stunned after watching it. If Orphan Black is the only show about cloning or other related issues that you are interested in, Dollhouse features probably the only person as talented at creating distinct characters with the same face – Enver Gjokaj.
Best Friends Forever I have a lot of love for this adorable show that only lasted 6 episodes. Created by real-life best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (who also created and star in USA’s current show Playing House), it really was just a show about two friends who would do anything to help each other when they need help or emotional support. It’s a celebration of friends and the bond that is shared as well as a look at how friendships like these work as we get older and get involved in serious romantic relationships. As is to be expected, everything about this show just feels like we are watching two actual friends navigate their crazy lives together. It’s a lot of fun to watch and well worth the very short time investment.
Caprica I watched this show before I saw Battlestar Galactica, so I’m sure my opinion is based partially on my viewing order. Now that I’ve seen both shows, I really wish that Caprica could have run all the way up to the start of Battlestar Galactica but even as a semi-standalone series, I think it holds up. I went into the show with only the knowledge of the Netflix synopsis and the first episode completely upended all of my expectations for the show. I loved this look at how the Cylons came to be and the move toward virtual reality. Like its parent series, it is sci-fi in its natural state, driving you to think about the meaning of life and what it means to be human.
Bunheads Like I said Tuesday, I like dancing in my shows. I also really like Amy Sherman-Palladino’s style of show writing and running. Therefore, I loved this show a lot and was very sad when it was cancelled. Sutton Foster was fantastic in the show and it was always a wonderful treat when she actually got to perform something. This show had great characters, plenty of pop culture references, and enough Gilmore Girls stars to make this fan happy every week. I wish it had connected with more people but it gave me 18 wonderful episodes to enjoy.
Life Unexpected This short-lived CW show was one of my favorites. When Lux Cassidy attempted to locate her birth parents in order to be legally emancipated, she was instead given over to their care. After spending a life in foster care, Lux doesn’t think she needs parents. After a life without her, her parents are equally unprepared to have a teenage daughter. They are forced to grow together, despite her parents no longer being a couple. It’s a story about finding a family and bringing your old and new families together. It features a strong female friendship in Tasha and Lux and for a short lived show, managed to pull off a great, satisfying ending.
Pushing Daisies It would be rare to find someone who loves television who hasn’t at least heard of Pushing Daisies but it has such a unique style that I had to include it here. For the unfamiliar, Bryan Fuller is a very distinctive creator. His worlds have a distinct visual look and there are a lot of thematic similarities between his works. This show is an adorable, quirky story about a pie maker/detective who falls in love but with a twist. Actions have consequences and for Ned, the consequences of touching something dead means that it comes back to life while something else dies. Unfortunately for him, the woman he’s fallen in love with is dead and he brought her back to life. If the vibrant coloring of the show doesn’t make you happy, this collection of characters will.
The Bletchley Circle I clearly have a type when it comes to shows. Women solving (or helping solve) crimes seems to be a recurring theme in my television choices and this show does it very well. It explores the idea that once World War II ended and women were no longer needed in the workplace in the same capacity, that their skills and desire to work on something bigger than themselves didn’t just vanish like their jobs. These friends couldn’t be more different but they all bring different skills to these investigations that no one else can or is willing to solve. The show only lasted for 2 seasons of 3 and 4 seasons, respectively, so it’s a short, easy watch that is highly enjoyable.
Stargate Universe This is another show that I seem to have a divergent opinion on due to my viewing order. This is the only show in the Stargate franchise that I’ve seen so I’ve had nothing to compare it to. The first few episodes are slow but I instantly loved Eli Wallace and he was enough to keep me going to a while. Then as I watched more, I started appreciating the other characters more and more until suddenly there were several that I love. As we learn more about them, all of the characters become deeper and more engaging. Two of my least favorite characters in the beginning ended up being my favorites in the end and that’s the sort of growth I like to see. If you can make me sincerely love a character by revealing more sides of their personality, those are characters I want to watch. Compared to the characters, the sci-fi falls a little short for me, though it it is still entertaining to watch. It also features Robert Carlyle being his normal, extremely talented self, which is always a bonus.
What are some of your favorite shows that didn’t run for long but you still think people should see?