At the beginning of May, the axe dropped on my new favorite show, Almost Human. Fox killed another sci-fi show. Big surprise there. That makes three pretty good sci-fi shows in the last twenty years they have canceled, Space Above and Beyond, and appearing later on this list, Firefly.
I appreciated how Michael Ealy and Karl Urban played off each other in Almost Human. The show had a pretty diverse cast, and Lili Taylor nailed the role as the police captain. What I loved about Almost Human was that it was basically tying itself directly into the Bladerunner mythos right down to Karl Urban eating noodles a lot. The technology of the show positioned itself about 50 years behind the technology in Bladerunner. I really hope that Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu picks the show up; hell, even if SyFy picks it up, I would be happy. I realize part of the problem was the show cost a lot to mak, so Fox should have just asked JJ Abrams for some of that Star Wars money.
I didn’t have to rack my brain too hard to be inspired to write what five shows ended too soon for me.
- Sports Night. Aaron Sorkin’s first foray into television, Sports Night, hit my TV viewing habits at the right time. It drew me in with it being about a fictional SportsCenter type show, and kept me with the awesome writing and great characters. Josh Charles and Peter Krause had amazing chemistry together as the Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick expys. My favorite character was either Dana or Natalie, Dana being played by the brilliant Felicity Huffman. Natalie was probably closer to who I am, the kind of cute sports nerd who had a crush on the nerdy boy. This is one of three shows that I remember watching a lot of after I had come out to myself. I allowed myself to actually not hyper masculinize and feel comfortable saying my favorite character was a girl. Obviously the argument against this show staying on the air is The West Wing, the show we wouldn’t have gotten if Sports Night stayed on the air.
- Firefly. Even with all my problems surrounding Joss Whedon of late, I am still a Joss fangirl. Firefly was a great show. I think people really connect with it because it was the closest thing we had to a Star Wars-type TV show at the time. Some of us prefer shows in outer space with no scientific babble like Star Trek clogging up good fighting time. Firefly had everything that a good Joss show does: humor, action, a bit of romance, and emotional heart-wrenching violent death. (Yes, I know that happened in Serenity.) While we did get Serenity in the end, it felt a little different. A movie should come after a long-running TV show or at least something with more than one arc. People always talk of reviving the show, but I feel without certain elements, the show could not be restarted.
- Freaks and Geeks. Paul Feig’s amazing show about outcast groups at high school in suburban Detroit in the 1980s mattered to me when it came out. The appeal of watching a show that focused on people who would not be out-of-place in my high school cliques interact was definitely high for me. As a member of both the Freaks and the Geeks, I had an interesting world view towards life. The impact of watching a show where you could readily identify with most major characters cannot be understated. Most high school shows up to that point only had a token nerd or freak, Buffy excluded. It seemed those shows focused on attractive popular kids to sell to the unwashed masses. This show’s contribution to the current movie and television world can not be understated either. Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jason Segel are all household names. John Francis Daley has found a niche as a psychiatrist on Bones. Martin Starr actually appears twice on this list and can currently be seen in the probably canceled after two seasons Silicon Valley on HBO. Busy Phillips was on Dawson’s Creek before this show, and has had some awesome roles since then including her great run on Cougartown. The show had some of the best one-shot roles for a lot of soon-to-be famous people, too. I would have liked to have seen more than one season but alas, I am stuck with a great moment in time with memories of that one season.
- Terriers. Donal Logue is a genius and underappreciated. Anyone who has seen this show gets that. An alcoholic ex-cop starts an illegal private investigation firm with his ex-con best friend. Best.Premise.Ever. In all seriousness, the show was a dramedy and people do not ever know how to take those. People who were expecting laugh out loud comedy were taken aback by some of the show’s bleaker moments, and drama enthusiasts probably did not like all the dark comedy sullying their drama. FX did not know how to market the show and I believe that hurt it. If it had appeared on HBO or Showtime, it might have lasted longer as they understand how to make a really good black comedy. People are joking they want Hank and Britt to be the detectives on Season Two of True Detective. I can totally understand that. FX should have given it more than a year to find its footing. Hell, they allowed Sons of Anarchy about four seasons too many. They couldn’t have borrowed a season from that shit show?
- Party Down. Ken Marino, comedic genius. I wanted to leave it at that, but that would discount the entire cast’s hilarious take on Hollywood catering. Created by Rob Thomas (no, not the guy from Matchbox Twenty, the guy from Veronica Mars), and produced by Paul Rudd!, Party Down at least got two seasons. The cast had great chemistry throughout the series. Lizzy Caplan played my favorite character, Casey, and Adam Scott introduced me to his swoon factor with this show. Jane Lynch leveraged the first season into her role on Glee, and Michael Shur and Greg Daniels poached Adam Scott after Season Two for his turn as dreamboat Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation. Losing Jane was hard, but my favorite episode was in Season Two. “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday” had the meta humor people appreciate about Curb Your Enthusiasm or Arrested Development. Roman (Martin Starr) and his sci-fi writing partner, Kent (McLovin), bring along their half-finished script. Steve Guttenberg, playing Steve Guttenberg, suggests they all act out the script. Hilarity ensues, I assure you. Starz didn’t know how to market the show and losing stars after both seasons seemed to put the nail in the coffin. Rob Thomas had a replacement for Henry (Adam Scott) worked out, but Starz didn’t believe in that direction. I guess Party Down needed its Henry. Most of the cast reunited as the characters from the show on an episode of Children’s Hospital, “Party Down.” Only Adam Scott and Jane Lynch were missing.
A few other amazing shows had to be left on this list but I am sure someone will bring every one of them up in the comments. I excluded Arrested Development because it got three seasons in its first run and a pretty funny fourth season from Netflix.