There is a time of the year that most TV watchers dread. While the rest of the world is relishing in the spring air and warm sun on their faces, TV faithfuls are usually gathered around the interwebs, fishing for information on their favorite programs. Will they get another season? If so, is it a full season order or is it the 13 episode order (or as I like to call it 'kiss of death' order).
I will bet money on it: if you have watched any significant amount of television at all, I am pretty sure that you've been through the dreaded cancellation proclamation.
So Many Come and So Many Go
I have been through this cycle every spring, and I have had many, many shows cancelled over the years. Some really hurt, and caused me to take to the keyboard to vent my frustration over the powers that be and their poor decision making skills. Then again, some of my all-time favorite shows are already off the air, and while I would have wanted them to go on forever, I do recognize that sometimes it is just time to say goodbye.
Yet, there are those that stick with me; the ones that I feel still had life and story to tell. A few of these have been gone so long, the current generation of TV fans probably don't even know what they are, but I just can't seem to let it go. With each new limited series revival, I keep my fingers crossed that some network or streaming service will come to their senses and bring these characters back to life.
Two seasons aired on HBO about a million years ago (or at least that's how it feels). Two seasons of dark, ominous storytelling crafted by master television writer, Daniel Knauf. It was a sweeping, supernatural tale of a man named Ben Hawkins and his quest to not only find a man named Henry, but to figure out his surrealistic dreams and visions. At the same time a world away, a preacher by the name of Brother Justin is experiencing his own dreams and visions, but soon uses these powers for evil.
The story is set in the early to mid 30s and follows the traveling carnival that Ben joins when it passes through his hometown. When it aired its last episode, so many questions were left unanswered and certainly left faithful viewers with an empty feeling knowing we will never actually know what the end game was. Knauf has since gone on to produce some great television including one of my favorite shows, The Blacklist, but no words can describe how desperately I would love to sit down with him and extract the rest of Ben Hawkins' story.
The series had a brief two season run on NBC before unceremoniously getting the ax. What made this particular apocalyptic story unique was that there were no zombies or weird disease that wiped out the population. In fact, a good number of people were still alive and kicking. However, it was an electromagnetic pulse that wiped out the world's energy and power sources, rendering them all unusable. No lights, no batteries, no cars, nothing that required cables, wires or electro-juice would function.
As the show started its journey, viewers were treated to epic sword fights, western-style train hijackings and a Revolutionary-style war among the new nations. It had a strong sci-fi arc with the nanotech that was causing the blackout, the writing was witty and sarcastic, and the characters were more than just one-dimensional heroes or villains. Yet, NBC turned on the show (which was helmed by people like J.J. Abrams, Eric Kripke and Jon Favreau), and decided that the revolution would end.
Even the writers knew that there was more story to tell, so they got together to write a comic book series to finish the story; to give the die-hard fans what they desired, a conclusion to Miles' and Monroe's story. I still say that it should be resurrected. Who knows, maybe in twenty years someone will dust it off and try again.
3. Dead Like Me
Oh, how I love a good tale of the afterlife! Even though the theme can be a little overdone, this Showtime series had a very unique and hilarious approach, not just in regards to death but also what happens after you die. At least, for some that is.
If you were unlucky enough to be touched by a reaper (as their last reap) before your own death, you took their place and spent the next infinite number of years helping people to painlessly cross over into their own personal heaven. Yet, you just get to live in squalor, have a crappy day job and eat at a German diner every day being bossed around by a grumpy, old curmudgeon.
Dead Like Me had some of the best deadpan comedic moments, and helped to revitalize my enjoyment of the word 'moist'. What made this show so easily likable were its characters, and how they each handled the unresolved issues surrounding their deaths before becoming reapers.
George is an expressionless 18 year old girl with no ambitions, aspirations or desire to do anything. Forced to work as a file clerk in a temp agency, she is killed on her first day of the job by a falling toilet seat from a space station. Once she becomes a reaper and learns the ways of her new dead life, she finds that she still needs to get a job and ends up at the temp agency where she worked previously.
Yeah, it sounds incredibly strange because it is. Strange, funny, dark, sad and somehow uplifting. Showtime was the ultimate reaper, killing it off after two seasons. Cancelled before the fans got to see exactly who was leaving the death list for Rube and what exactly happened when Betty jumped into the light.
Add Your Own!
I really could name at least a dozen other shows that should have went beyond two seasons, but I want to know yours!