I know I don’t usually talk about TV much, but I do have a couple of TV shows I want to pay tribute to.
There are three TV shows to which I was very committed that were cancelled in their prime. While this is often considered a tragedy, I maintain that it can be a good thing. Why is that? I’m getting there.
First, I present to you three TV shows that were cancelled too early that you really should Netflix the crap out of.
Freaks and Geeks (1999)
At a time when every show in the world was about trendy high school kids, this show was about the rest of us. The kids in high school
care about popularity, had interests outside of the “norm” and it made it funny. The show didn’t always have a happy ending, but life doesn’t work that way. It was little touches of realism like that that gave this show a lot of heart and really made it something you could identify with. The problem being people watch TV and movies for idealized versions of everything. The show was cancelled after 18 episodes due to low ratings.
This show was a little more traditional than Freaks and Geeks, but done by the same guy (Judd Apatow). It was a movie about college kids dealing with….well….college. It doesn’t have as much heart as Freaks and Geeks, but is funnier. It was also one of the first major gigs for Jay Baruchel, who is now Hollywood’s favorite everyman when you can’t afford Shia Labeouf. The dialogue is largely improvised and absolutely hilarious. There are enough celebrity cameos to go blind on (none of which were very funny) but that was my only complaint about the show. That and the fact that it was cancelled after 17 episodes. Low ratings. Again. Life’s a bitch.
This show is proof that the universe hates us. This show had everything. Adventure. Humor. A compelling premise. But more importantly, CHARACTERS. The characters on the show are genuinely interesting people. They are well developed, fun to watch and you care about them. The relationships feel real and it’s an absolute joy to watch. It was cancelled after 14 episodes. The movie Serenity was made as a follow-up (which was amazing, watch that movie), but nothing has happened since. Probably because Serenity tanked. Proof that people are idiots.
As much as I loved these three shows and was sad to see them cancelled,
there is a silver lining: they never got a chance to get lame. One of the downsides of the TV medium is that shows will always outlive their popularity. And their popularity always outlives them being good.
I loved Lois and Clark, but the Season 4 was by and large crap. There were a couple good episodes, but once the tension of the titular characters getting hitched was gone, the writers seemed to think the next logical story progression was a jealous high school friend who shrinks people as revenge and makes them live in a doll house. With a Steve Young cameo. Groan.
The fact that these shows never got lame means that I never felt in anyway jaded toward the show. I never had to see what I knew and loved go bad. I will only ever have positive feelings for Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared and Firefly. And that’s worth something.
For Attebiz Movie Reviews, I’m the J-Man.