Shows That Deserved Better
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of TBT here at Truth Bee Told! I’m actually not going to talk about one show in particular this week but rather a string of shows that I love with my whole heart and that all have one thing in common: CANCELLATION. The scariest word in the TV industry and honestly one of my greatest fears as a TV show enthusiast—“What if I start this new show and love it and then it gets cancelled?” haunts my mind, and is the reason sometimes I won’t start a show until its second and even third season is confirmed. I have trust issues (for good reason lol).
Now that I’ve briefed y’all on one of my greatest fears, let’s take a sad little jaunt down memory lane with a few of my favorite, albeit short-lived shows:
Firefly is an American Space Western drama television series which ran from 2002–2003, created by writer and director Joss Whedon. This show was ahead of its time by about 10 years and would honestly be thriving in this sci-fi loving economy.
It definitely has its flaws and when I did a recent rewatch some of it didn’t age well (re: serious cultural appropriation, sexist jokes, etc.) but, that being said, we owe more than one of our current fave sci-fi shows to Firefly’s broad vision & pop culture influence. Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Expanse, even my personal favorite The 100 seem to be strongly influenced by parts of the Firefly mythos: a ragtag group of space outlaws/fugitives who get slapped together because of survival and then become a found family of weirdos that you love with your whole heart. The cast ensemble chemistry of Firefly was a DREAM! Nathan Fillion at his peak, the incomparable Gina Torres! The always underrated Alan Tudyk! Firefly had more levity in its story than any of the shows I mentioned above, but show creator Joss Whedon had said his plan was to go darker as the show went on.
Unfortunately its life was cut short. It didn’t even get a full season. 14 episodes is all we have of this world and only eleven — YES ELEVEN (11) — episodes aired on Fox in the fall of 2002. There is a whole dramatic saga of Fox hating the pilot and airing Episode 2 as the pilot, even though all the character introductions and plot setup in the pilot were VITAL! They then aired episodes out of sequence and deferred episode airings for the World Series.
All in all it was a disaster, and Fox pulled the plug on this “money pit” because they didn’t have the vision for it. It had such a passionate fanbase though that after it was cancelled Joss Whedon spent years planning, making, and getting financing for its movie spinoff Serenity, one of the few theatricality released movies based on a TV series that wasn't a reboot, and that was actually good. So if you have 11 hours to kill, give this classic a binge watch.
Tidbits and random thoughts:
Zoe and Wash have one of the best TV marriages ever
Jayne is one of my favorite characters and it’s all thanks to Adam Baldwin’s brilliant acting
I love the Tams, they’re one of my fave TV sibling duos
I am Kaylee Frye (the way less sexy version lol)
I will forever be bitter I was cheated a proper slowburn ship of Kaylee and Simon
Firefly panels at cons still fill up to this day
You can stream Firefly on Hulu Plus in the U.S.
Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon. It premiered on February 13, 2009 on the Fox network and was officially canceled on November 11, 2009. The final episode aired on January 29, 2010.
Another Joss Whedon show that was cut short — this show is a concept, let me tell ya! I don’t even know how to explain it to y’all, but think futuristic “escort” service where the escort (called a “Doll”) gets their memories wiped after every encounter with a client. It can be sexual or a client could just want to pretend they have a spouse to score that sweet condo in the gated community, it’s WILD. This show is nothing if not unique and ambitious in its 27 episode run.
Related: Alias: The Show That Started It All
To be honest, the biggest flaw of this show was that the lead character was weak. But, like Firefly, this show had an amazing ensemble cast! The characters went so well together, the chemistry is amazing, and the development some of them got in such a short series is remarkable. Fox, again, cancelled this show after 2 seasons. As it happens, Joss was afraid this might happen and recorded his finale episode of Season 1 to tie up the story if need be; however, he did get to plan his last season and give it a more satisfying end. Don’t watch this show for the main character, watch it for the amazing acting of Dichen Lachman and Enver Gojokaj as Sierra and Victor; they are THAT ship. Also Olivia Williams, Amy Acker, and Fran Kranz give absolutely stellar performances in this show. It misses beats here and there but when this shows gets it right, you feel it.
Tidbits and thoughts:
Alan Tudyk guest stars and he is so unlike any character I’ve seen him play before it’s amazing.
Enver Gjokaj is the real MVP of this show, like watch him emote as 5 different people in a single episode. WHERE did he go after Agent Carter? I need him back on my screen
The Season 1 finale will throw you for a loop
I miss this show a lot
You can stream Dollhouse on Hulu in the U.S.
3. The Hour
The Hour is a 2011 BBC drama series centered on a new current-affairs show being launched by the BBC in June 1956, at the time of the Hungarian Revolution and Suez Crisis. It stars Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, and Romola Garai. Oof, this one still stings. I started watching this show thinking it was a mini series, to find out it wasn’t and had been cancelled after season 2— which ended on an absolute CRACKER of cliffhanger. I was inconsolable for days. The cast was brilliant, I am a huge fan of Ben Whishaw and will literally watch anything he’s in (seriously, I suffered through Cloud Atlas for him).
The costumes and story were fabulous; it felt a little like a Madmen/Downton Abbey hybrid. Alas, it never found its die-hard audience. If you plan to watch this show, prepare yourself — it gives you nothing but questions in the series finale (since they were writing a third season prior to the cancellation) and you may actually lose your chill over that fact like I did.
Tidbits and thoughts:
I think Romola Garai is so beautiful and talented, I need her in more things.
Ben Whishaw could read me the paper and I’d cry and clap and tell him he’s brilliant
Seriously I am mad all over again thinking about the Season 2 finale
Why didn’t they just make one more episode?
If you like romantic angst this show is for you
You can purchase The Hour on Amazon & iTunes.
4. Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies is an American fantasy comedy-drama television series created by Bryan Fuller that aired on ABC from October 3, 2007 to June 13, 2009. The series stars Lee Pace as Ned, a pie-maker with the ability to bring dead things back to life with his touch — an ability that comes with stipulations. Together with his formerly deceased childhood crush Chuck (Anna Friel), private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), and co-worker Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth), Ned uses his abilities to solve murder cases. This show was one of the most unique and joyful romps about death I’ve ever seen! And sadly it was a casualty of the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike (also RIP Heroes).
It was too fresh and unwatched to gain that time back. Heck, it was a hard season for dependable juggernauts like Grey’s Anatomy and Breaking Bad, but I’m still mad about my little soft pie maker show getting axed. I would like to add that this show got 12! Emmy! nominations! It only has 22 episodes between two seasons but it was and is just that good! Lee Pace and Anna Friel are magnetic, and Kristin Chenoweth is just the sassy cherry on top. Bryan Fuller just has a magic touch with shows (Hannibal, American Gods) but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be, and honestly that’s a shame.
Tidbits and thoughts:
The use of vivid color in this show about death is just so...perfect
LEE PACE is like a mythical being
It’s narrated like a fairytale
This was the Jane the Virgin of this last decade
Seriously if you like JTV, give this show a chance
You can watch Pushing Daisies for free on The CW Seed app in the U.S.
This article is just scratching the surface of shows gone too soon:
Fringe was forced to wrap its run early, only being given a 13 episode fifth season to finish when they already had a planned Season 5 and 6 of 22 episodes each to end on.
Related: Why You Should Be Watching Fringe
Heroes had an amazing first season and then the writers strike happened. It struggled on until season 4 but by then no one was watching the train wreck it became.
There are still people bitter about Jericho.
Hannibal could’ve captivated a while longer.
Agent Carter deserved at least 5 seasons.
The list could keep going. But the good news is nowadays with Netflix and other streaming services it’s easier and safer to be a daring show creator and still have a long running show! It’s easier to be a new fan and not live in constant panic of cancellation, but it still happens (Sense8 fans, y'all okay?).
But to quote Tennyson: "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Well that wraps up another TBT here at TBT! What are some of the cancelled shows that still hurt your feelings to think about? Comment below or @ us on twitter at @tbtmedia!