So for our latest Staff Piece we decided to take a look at shows we feel could’ve gone a little longer. This list is consists of TV shows that could’ve benefited from one more season…
Deadwood (Brian Kronner)
This is one of those shows whose cancellation seemed to make no sense. I mean it obviously came down to the monetary expense of the show’s production and the never stellar ratings like anything else, but it seemed popular enough to survive those obstacles. Critically loved and awarded (28 Emmy Nominations in 3 Years), this is the show that put Ian McShane on the map and won him a Golden Globe during the 2nd season. The show itself ended somewhat ambiguously, with Bullock (Olyphant) and Al Swearengen (McShane) having to join forces against Hearst, who is taking over the town. The season ended with Hearst leaving town, victorious, and many local matters unresolved amongst our principal characters.
HBO declined their option for a full 4th season, instead ordering only 6 episodes, for which show creator David Milch declined. There was a plan for two TV movies to be made, 2 hours a piece, which would have wrapped things up. They, however, never materialized and Deadwood fans weren’t left with much closure. For me, McShane and Olyphant displayed the best on-screen chemistry of any duo on television at that time. Every scene they were in was electric and reminded me of Pacino and DeNiro at the diner in Heat. Though I have to admit, Olyphant seems to have recaptured some of that with Walton Goggins in Justified…
Anyhow, another season could’ve really cleared somethings up and offered closure to a fanbase. It’d be tough to do now, the cast spread onto other good shows like Justified, Sons of Anarchy, True Blood, Treme, Breaking Bad, and Eastbound & Down. But I’d love to see those TV movies…
Tell me the part when Bullock removes his badge doesn’t remind you of Justified when he fight Coover…
FlashForward (Mark Kaiser)
What?!!? Screw you guys, I actually liked the show. How can you not like a quasi-sci-fi/action/mystery/conspiracy show about finding out the who and why a group of people were able to cause the majority of the world’s population to not only lose consciousness, but also see their future 6 months in advance? Apparently it’s very easy since I am writing this right now.
Anyways, unlike shows such as Lost (what the hell do those numbers mean) and apparently The Killing (and for god sakes, did Richmond kill Rosie or not!), FlashForward was at least pretty good at providing answers to questions in a timely manner, instead of keeping the viewers guessing for the whole goddamn series (LOST!!). What sucks about how the plug got pulled on this show is that it was forced to leave questions unanswered for its small audience.
Was FBI Special Agent Mark Benford killed in the FBI building explosion? Did FBI Special Agent Demetri Noh have a flash-forward during the second blackout? What was the end game for the group of individuals causing the blackouts? What the hell did the other main characters’ see in there flash-forward? Where and why is Lita taking Janis? I WANT ANSWERS YO!!
Firefly (Michelle Lynn)
I, like many other Firefly fans, am very frustrated with Joss Whedon. For 14 episodes, Firefly wowed sci-fi fans everywhere. The show blurred the lines between a great western and a creative deep-space drama revolving around a girl named River. Every show involving the future (this one takes place 500 years in the future) and undiscovered space while in a spacecraft, deserves much more time on air. This show had too much left to discover to be canceled. And I know the movie was our consolation prize, but I still want more. For those who don’t know anything about Firefly, go stream it off of Netflix and read about it here.
In February of this 2011, Nathan Fillion did an interview with Entertainment Weekly. During this interview, Fillion was asked if he’d do Firefly again if Castle (the show he is currently starring in) ended tomorrow. His response launched a worldwide frenzy.
“Yes. Yes. I would examine very closely Fox’s reasoning — I’m a little gun-shy. If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet.”
At that time, Unstoppable Signals was launched, as well as an adjoining Facebook page. As a testament to how much fans love this show (and the movie, Serenity) the site reached over $1,000,000 in pledges, but was ended due to lack of support from Nathan Fillion or Joss Whedon. In a Tweet, it was made clear that Mr. Whedon didn’t want to involve himself in the process.
With the season finale ending the way it did, with the crew’s much needed acceptance of River and her abilities, it seems as though the show was just getting started. Regardless of whether the show returns or not, we’ll always have our very fond memories of the ‘Serenity’ spaceship and its precious contents that were the cast of Firefly.
Arrested Development (Chris Tansuche)
We all knew this was going to get mentioned. It is probably one of the most beloved cult shows – alongside anything by Joss Whedon – so naturally we have to mention the wonderful world of the Bluths. One or two paragraphs cannot do the show justice, but being able to watch the antics, awkwardness, and the sheer insanity of one family, and how they bond and push each other made for some of the best television that no one saw.
We were reintroduced to Jason Bateman and his impeccable comic timing as he was surrounded by some of the best of biz, and by those who got their big break. Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross we knew were great, but Cross’ Tobias Funke remains one of the most classic characters in terms of sheer cluelessness and hilarity. We also got to see Jessica Walter own the room as the matriarch of the family, and parlay that into the awesome Archer series. No one knew who Will Arnett was until he informed us that tricks were what a whore did for money…or candy. Tony Hale was terrific as Buster and deserves to have a television show that he’s on that does not get canceled. Love him or hate him, we were also introduced to Michael Cera whose career took off from here.
The inside jokes, running jokes, even the low brow jokes were in full force here and it’s sad that the creator Mitchell Hurwitz could not replicate it again with his last few series. Of course the movie is trying to get written and shot, so hopefully we will see it next year. But you just have to wish that instead of waiting several years for this to work out, that we’d be checking in every week to see what trouble Michael Bluth and family deals with, or better yet, having Gob declare, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE: Yeah, they made a 4th season of Arrested Development. It was released on Netflix and we all gobbled it up like candy. But now we just need one more season…
Sports Night (Megan Husch)
Before he found success on The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin was busy with another project – Sports Night. Premiering in 1998 in ABC’s prime-time lineup, Sports Night focused on the lives of the cast and crew of a show called – you guessed it – ‘Sports Night’, a TV sports news program similar to ESPN’s SportsCenter. Sports Night coupled brilliant rapid-fire dialogue with real life situations in believable and realistic relationships. It was both funny and intriguing. The on-again off-again relationship with Casey and Dana, the sweetness of Jeremy and Natalie, the bachelor antics of Dan, the wise leadership of Isaac – this show had it all!
Sports Night was such a character-based show. The brilliance, for me, is that no character could be “labeled.” There was no go-to comic relief. There was no voice of reason. There was no caricature of personality. Each one could be funny. Each one could be serious. Each one was a real person with flaws, moods, and likability. It was one of the first real comedy-dramas on television; which is primarily the reason it failed.
Maybe it was too soon for a comedy-drama. Remember, this was still in the era of 30 minute sitcoms like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Frasier. Each of these shows had their dramatic moments, but mostly they were all about the funny. With the source material that was written for the show, 30 minutes was just too short and it got too heavy. It didn’t help that ABC mandated a laugh track that still shows up in the first season. The show struggled to find a solid audience because it seemed like it had an identity crisis. It was in the wrong place in the wrong time with the wrong demands from the network. Thus, another brilliant show became a casualty for low ratings.
Freaks and Geeks (Scott Fraser)
Freaks and Geeks came out during the 99-00 season, and featured a heavy cast of characters who all later rose to fame. Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, pretty much the entire main cast is working or ‘famous’. Not to mention the producer/writer of the show Judd Apatow, who releases like three movies a year. That being said, this is a show with a great writing staff, headed up by a great cast, with a great story, that didn’t get renewed for a second season. It never even finished its first season, with only 12 of 18 episodes airing.
It featured a cast of ‘freaks’ (potheads, heavy rockers, promiscuous teens) and ‘geeks’ (nerds, D&D players, non- promiscuous but desperately trying teens) that were dealing with all the problems associated with high school at the start of the 80’s in suburban Michigan. Lindsay (Cardellini…freak) and Sam (John Francis Daley…geek) Weir are both dealing with the recent death of their grandfather, which affects them differently as they start school for the year. Lindsay is attracted to a new (freaky) group of friends, played by Franco, Rogen, Segel, and Busy Phillips (Cougartown), while Sam and his friends, played by Samm Levine and Martin Starr, deal with High school life as only geeks understand. Bullies, girls, and D & D. So while it sounds like it could be your typical High School Dramedy, it quickly dispelled all notions of this with its thought-provoking, devastatingly relatable stories filled with emotion, yes, but also reality.
You went on an adventure through these lives. Peer pressure, drugs, sex, divorce, friendship, overcoming obstacles, it’s all in there. But it was mixed with a humor that was so real and toned down, I can see why it might not have appealed to a wider audience. One of the biggest laughs on the show were usually caused by Mr. Weir (played by Canadian legend Joe Flaherty), who could in the very next scene deliver a poignant and emotional look at raising teens in this new world besieged by rock music and people who die from smoking and cutting class. And the season ended (after 18 episodes, not the originally aired 12) on such a great note. The entire cast has gone through so many changes throughout the school year, and this summer pans to take them on a whole new direction.
Freaks and Geeks needs not one, but TWO more seasons. This would have made a perfect three season (three years of High School) series that would have told a really great story and maybe taught us a thing or two.
Animaniacs (Tim McLeod)
My appreciation of music, comedy, and allusion was shaped in great part by the cartoon show Animaniacs. I should probably be ashamed of that fact, but how can I shy away from a show that was produced by arguably the most successful director of all time (thank you Mr. Spielberg), showed satire in its lightest forms, and exposed me to classic music, movies, literature, and history?
Animaniacs holds a place in my being, as I remember coming home from school and watching the zany Warner Brothers (and their sister Dot) with my sister. We would roll on the floor laughing at the potty jokes, caricatures of celebrities, and witty banter. Even then I knew there were jokes that were going over my head; references to a sled named “Rosebud”, a duck falling from the ceiling and Yakko saying, “You just said the word of the day!” At the time I didn’t understand the richness of pop culture being used to point out how simply stupid people can be when they take themselves so seriously.
A large part of my appreciation for this cartoon show was my history of watching Looney Tunes. Animaniacs shared elements of those classic characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. The music for each episode was written or adapted specifically for that episode, and performed by a full orchestra. Current events and celebrities were the fodder for the writers to chew up and turn on themselves. While the characters from The Animaniacs are admittedly not as memorable as the likes of Bugs, Daffy, or Porky, they certainly were a re-imagination of how those characters were capable of influencing how children perceived pop culture.
I’ve never understood why Animaniacs didn’t get the respect it deserved. I can still show pieces in my middle school language arts class when we are discussing Edgar Allan Poe, and when I taught high school could use clips when reading Huck Finn. The kids love it; to them it’s new and exciting. They ask when that show is on. It is even 50-50 when I ask them if they like it better than Spongebob Squarepants. I suppose that says something…
Veronica Mars (Brian Kronner)
Neo-Noir disguised as teen drama. Creator Rob Thomas cleverly tricked teen girls everywhere into watching a show based off old 1940’s thematic elements without even knowing it. For those of you who’ve seen the show, see if this describes Veronica:
Cold detachment, keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination to achieve one’s own justice. The one who has seen the wretched, the corrupt, the tawdry side of life but still retains his “tarnished idealism”
If you thought it did, it’s actually in reference to the dime novel Detective Sam Spade, made famous by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. This is only one of the reasons that I loved this show. Veronica Mars was a cynical and determined as any character on television and that made her sexy. This is the role that launched my infatuation with Kristen Bell.
Veronica wasn’t the only thing to like though. While I found it easy to get tired of the love story angles, Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) was a total badass. Not a Schwarzenegger, but a real man for sure, and the only character on the show smarter than Veronica. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m kind of pissed he wasn’t on out Best TV Dads list…
This show brilliantly intertwined murder, corruption, and strategy into a brightly colored mystery, and unlike The Killing, it paid off the viewer at the end of the season. Perhaps too smart, or just too awesome, dwindling ratings in the inaugural season for the CW proved too big a hurdle to jump. Not for lack of trying though. Creator Rob Thomas filmed and submitted a trailer for season 4 that would jump ahead a couple of years. I’ve embedded it below. The CW passed and Thomas, Bell, and the rest of the parties involved have been trying to get a movie made ever since. Personally, I would’ve loved to see Veronica out of the classroom and matching wits with the best the FBI had to offer, but it wasn’t to be. Here’s hoping the movie happens someday…
How sweet would that’ve been? It had Walton Goggins!
UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE: Yep, a Veronica Mars record breaking Kickstarter campaign has led to a Veronica Mars movie. Kronner can officially fist pump in the air about the return of his girl.
Terriers (Brian Kronner)
This site started out as a crusade to save Terriers, and as much as I love Archer and Justified and Game of Thrones, my favorite show to come out in the last couple years was in fact Terriers. The characters were great, the actors likable, and the story entertaining. Simply put I loved it.
A 2nd season likely would’ve picked up months after Brit got out of lock up, because as open ended as the finale was, I believe that Brit would’ve turned himself in and not fled to Mexico. He and Hank could’ve picked back up where they left off and this is a show that would’ve remained good for years because of Shawn Ryan. The cancelation of Terriers was the most upset I’d been about a show’s removal since Arrested Development off the air.
Terminator: TSCC (Brian Kronner)
Almost forgot this one. Ending on a season 2 cliffhanger FOX totally screwed us out of any kind of ending to a series that really picked up in it’s sophomore year. John transported to the future and no longer the leader of the resistance? WTF! That is how you end it. In the off season there was a big fan outcry to get this one re-newed, but it fell on deaf ears as the execs moved on from the show with no 3rd season delivered. I had really hoped that SyFy would pick it up.
The mythology within the show was able to work around the terrible 3rd movie and act more as a sequel to T2, which was great. Summer Glau was a beliveable machine, but has yet to land a TV role on a show that can stick…
This is a fan made trailer for the 3rd season we never got…
Smallville (Steve Sanchez)
Okay, I know I may catch some heat for this but hear me out. I loved Smallville, even though I agree that it probably should have ended about three seasons before it actually did, or could have had all the high school year seasons cut out. But honestly, after the final season came out and we kind of got to see Clark doing his Superman thing – I really wished it wasn’t ending.
It would have been great to have seen a whole season of Clark being Superman and they could have just called the show Metropolis at that point. Chloe was out of the picture, Lex no longer knew who Clark was and he’s president, and Lois and Clark carry on a secret relationship where Clark is the dorky co-worker.
It was perfect. Yeah, a little cheesy, but perfect.
So that’s our list. What’d you think? Hit up the poll!
In the comments: What would be your choice if you could resurrect a show for a season?