In a Sea of Canceled TV Shows, How Did YOUR Favorites Fare?

I had started to write about canceled shows last fall after the abysmal Charlie’s Angels was unceremoniously dumped along with Playboy Club and a couple of others. What stopped me? The cancellations never seemed to end! But then the season settled in and suddenly it was time for holiday breaks, then mid-seasons shifts and so on.

But now we are nearing the end of Season Finale month, and the networks have spent the last few weeks compiling lists of shows that will or will not be returning – and they have been BRUTAL!

I will list them all out in a bit, but first, here are five shows we have really enjoyed this year, a few of them are new and a couple that have been around for a couple of seasons:

Revenge – what started as an unashamed ‘guilty pleasure’ has turned into our favorite show this year. We were big fans of Everwood with Treat Williams, Gregory Smith and Emily VanCamp during the entire run, and have followed them since. Smith landed on Rookie Blue (see below), and VanCamp spend four seasons as the half-sister on the Calista Flockheart / Sally Field vehicle Brothers & Sisters before landing her own show with Revenge. The basic plot is so simplistic that we wondered how it would manage a full season, but aside from the titular ‘revenge’ plots there is constant intrigue, backstabbing, plot-twists and more.

The show is full of delicious characters to the point that average characters stick out like a sore thumb (Charlotte for most of the year and Declan’s cheesy accent early on), and great interactions and wonderfully detailed subplots and subtexts and other great little nuances. And Nolan’s wardrobe in particular, but all of the ‘thematic’ uses of wardrobe in general.

But don’t let that make you think that the show doesn’t dip heavily into the cheese territory. Emily has managed to skulk around the Hamptons un-noticed using just a barely different wig and sunglasses; Ashley’s character has managed to advance by basically screwing everything up, betraying those who pay her and having no skills … and on and on. But one of the best things is you can see that the show adapted to fan feedback, and despite being a drama has never taken itself too seriously.

Suburgatory – we actually saw the pilot while waiting for Bruno Mars to perform at the New York State fair … and thought it was dreadful. In that context it came across as smarmy and pretentious and obvious and patronizing. But then since it was in between ‘The Middle’ and ‘Modern Family’, we watched it. Suddenly it was alternating between sending up school and affluent suburb stereotypes and actually delving into a deeper character study – albeit comedic – that looks at the interpersonal relationships of people more complex than they appear … or not. Also, Jane Levy and Jeremy Sisto are perfect in their roles as father and daughter.

Person of Interest – the description is “An ex-CIA hitman and a scientist team up to prevent crimes before they happen.” The reality is that the two central characters are so well done and acted that you genuinely care about what is going on, and the action and plotting is so tense and twisted that you can’t pull yourself away. There is intrigue and conspiracy and each week there is someone new to save – but often things are not as they appear.

Flashpoint – squad-based tactical cop shooter drama. This team is the elite response force, ready for just about anything, so each episode brings about a new challenge. But given the nature of the job the characters are wrapped up in each other’s lives – and some more than others! The show actually finished its fourth season, but flew below the radar and ended up getting shifted to the ION network, where it will have a fifth and final season. The stories are well written and paced – enough to keep my FPS-shooter-loving son engaged on the weapons and tactics and my FPS-shooter-hating wife engaged with the stories and characters.

Rookie Blue – Proving that our attachment to ‘Everwood’ isn’t gender specific, it was Gregory Smith (Ephram) who originally got us pulled into this show. The show has been a ‘summer filler’ over the first two seasons, and that is true with the third season as well – it just started on May 24th. The show has been uneven from the start, sometimes falling too much into soap opera territory and relying on too many tropes. But it is generally interesting and well acted with some fun plot elements and stories to hang on to – and the main lead characters are intriguing enough to keep us coming back.

Anyway …now back to the main thing: cancellations. YahooTV has a slide show with a bunch of canceled shows. Here is the full list of cancellations (and ending shows) by network:

Show Network
Charlie’s Angels ABC
Desperate Housewives ABC
Man Up ABC
Missing ABC
Pan Am ABC
The River ABC
Work It ABC

A Gifted Man CBS
CSI: Miami CBS
How To Be A Gentleman CBS
Unforgettable CBS

One Tree Hill CW
The Secret Circle CW
Ringer CW

Alcatraz Fox
Allen Gregory Fox
Breaking In Fox
The Finder Fox
House Fox
I Hate My Teenage Daughter Fox
Napoleon Dynamite Fox
Terra Nova Fox

Are You There, Chelsea? NBC
Awake NBC
Bent NBC
Best Friends Forever NBC
Chuck NBC
The Firm NBC
Free Agents NBC
Harry’s Law NBC
The Playboy Club NBC
Prime Suspect NBC

Breaking Bad AMC

In Plain Sight USA

HawthoRNe TNT
Memphis Beat TNT
The Closer TNT

Bored to Death HBO
How To Make it in America HBO
Hung HBO
The Life and Times of Tim HBO
Luck HBO

Eureka SyFy
Sanctuary SyFy

Not mentioned here is ABC Family, which recently canceled the gymnastics teen drama ‘Make It Or Break It’ … none too soon. The only show more deserving of the axe is ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’, which began as a cautionary tale about the consequences of teens having sex even just once, and has devolved to the point where they need to introduce new characters to have sex with existing characters, and one of the characters has been married and divorced twice by junior year. Ugh.

So … how did YOUR favorite shows do?

Categories: Gear Bits, News

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11 replies

  1. I can vividly recall the cry of horror from the other room when my wife found out that Secret Circle had been canceled! She is still in the denial stages of the grief process, working with other fans to circulate a petition to keep the show on the air. (I’m “secretly” ROFL in the safety of another room as this happens… 😉 )

    I did like Harry’s Law a lot, and A Gifted Man, but I’m certain I’ll survive their cancellation.

    • Aww.

      More importantly does your wife watch “Vampire Diaries”? If not it would easily fill the teenage supernatural tv show fix (and it’s mildly less embarrassing to admit to watching, or so i tell myself)

      • Yes, she’s totally addicted to Vampire Diaries! It was Buffy during her time. I think she has some sort of vampire fixation – LOL!

        • There is nothing wrong with that…Buffy is a classic!

          I watched the finale of Vampire Diaries on the first floor of our house and woke up Sarah, who was asleep upstairs, with my excited yelling. :)

      • Vampire Diaries….? Really? Nothing but a teenage soap opera. Borderline ridiculous. (I have not missed a single episode, don’t tell) :)

    • We also liked ‘A Gifted Man’ … but only caught a few episodes. Interestingly there is a new fall show that looks nearly identical in premise, with a man who is in a coma still able to communicate at times to his wife .. or something like that!

  2. Interesting note – apparently PanAm had much better numbers overseas. As a result I heard they are in talks to possibly continue on one of the net services like Hulu or Netflix (I’ll have to research to remember which one!). I guess it’s important to note that the American market isn’t the only market for American TV shows either!

    • Ah – THAT was the one! I knew I had heard something about a possible web-series extension, couldn’t recall.
      The global market perspective is always interesting, just as Doug (and others)clamor for UK shows and are frustrated by delays, so too do US shows have broad audiences who await new episodes – and just as we question some cancellations while other shows are renewed … so do folks in other countries.

  3. The only shows that I watch are all coming back: Amazing Race, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory and The Office. I was a huge fan of the The Office but it has become almost unwatchable; still, I’ll stay with it. I used to watch How I Met Your Mother, but that *has* become an unwatchable waste of time. I also watch Curb Your Enthusiasm when it’s on (great show), Veep (meh), but that’s pretty much it these days. Everything else I’ve tried really stinks. (That includes the strangely acclaimed 30 Rock, by the way.) I’ve been trying to watch Parks and Recreation on Netflix but that’s pretty mediocre as well.

    And, of course, the BBC’s Sherlock – great show. Downton Abbey was ok, but pretty soapy in the second season.

    I’m not sure that network TV has ever been so bad, at least in my memory.

    • I’m bummed about Revenge, Missing and Ringer although in the case of Ringer I’m not sure where they could have one next.

      Most likely written with Siri. Please excuse any and all errors.

  4. 3 that I will miss most are:
    Eli Stone (this was a few years ago)

    I know, I’m a geek.