Before we get into the new season of shows, I think it’s time for a reality check. Some of the shows you fall in love with won’t last.

[Insert Debbie Downer sound effect here. Wah-waaaahhh.]

But it’s true! I don’t know percentages and I haven’t done any actual research, but you know as well as I do that the majority of shows developed and debuted each year just don’t make it.

However, being the TV lovers we are (do NOT tell me I’m alone in this), we can’t really resist jumping into the fall season. We’ll find new shows to love, just like always, and we’ll wail and whine when half of them are canceled.

It’s unavoidable. So with that in mind, let’s reminisce for a bit about our favorite, canceled shows.

When it comes to lamenting lost TV loves, critics and viewers alike always mention the same short-lived series as brilliant yet canceled, loved but lost. Arrested Development, Firefly and Freaks & Geeks join Undeclared, Wonderfalls and My So-Called Life in a universal list of shows that got a bum rap/didn’t get a chance/got screwed by the networks.

I can’t argue with that. Arrested Development, Firefly and Freaks & Geeks are easily in my top 10 favorite shows ever. But I didn’t watch them when they were originally broadcast; I watched them all on DVD.

So for me the cancellation of those shows was sad, but delayed. And didn’t sting quite as much as it did for those who were devoted fans from the get-go.

And in the list of shows that are no longer, some of my life-long favorites are on the list, too, of course. Ed, Gilmore Girls and – to a lesser extent – Monk were beloved, at least by me, and their endings left a gap. But . . . much as I loved them (and I DID), they had run their course. It was time.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t grieved – just a tiny, slightly more than normal bit – over the loss of good shows. I have. They aren’t necessarily short-lived by definition. But their passing made me sad, so very sad. Here are the top 10 shows off the top of my head.

  1. Veronica Mars: I was late to the party on this one, but once I began watching in early Season Two, I was hooked. I love, love, loved this show and was SO bummed when it was canceled. You know what didn’t help? The promo for season four, where Veronica was in the FBI (part one and part two). Ohhh, that would’ve been so good!
  2. JAG: One of the first shows I watched obsessively, JAG had a good, long run. Despite that – and the fact that, if I were honest, I’d kind of lost that loving feeling for Mac, Harm and all the rest of the JAG crew – I was really bummed when it ended. So bummed, in fact, that I refused to watch its spinoff, NCIS, for a few years. Yes, that’s right. I blamed Jethro Gibbs for the end of JAG. There is no room for reasoning in my world of TV obsessions.
  3. Better Off Ted: Dark.Hilarious. Jerked around by ABC and canceled way too soon. The end.
  4. Sports Night: It’s been way too long since I watched this show. But I loved the fast-talking, witty banter that’s made Aaron Sorkin famous, and I was supremely bummed when this show was canceled.
  5. Miss Match: Have you ever heard of this one? It starred Alicia Silverstone, and I loved it. She was an attorney by day and matchmaker by night, and the show was adorable and funny and I loved it. Have I mentioned that I loved it? Excuse me while I go to find it on DVD now . . . (Update: Dang it. It’s not on DVD. Sadness.)
  6. The Middleman: Nerdy, quirky and watched by approximately 23 people, I loved it anyway. Even though I didn’t get all the nerdy pop culture references. Still. Loved. It.
  7. Pushing Daisies: Ned and Chuck and Olive and the singing and the pies and – oh, forget it. I didn’t watch every episode, assuming at the time that I could always catch up later. That’s what we always think, isn’t it? We always think we have more time. *sigh* (The good news is, at least, that this show IS on DVD.)
  8. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: I realize that some of you, like so many critics before us, may have hated this show or at least felt extreme disappointment in its execution. I’ll agree that it didn’t live up to its potential. Yet. I mean, maybe it could have. If it had been given more of a chance. And just think: If Studio 60 had taken off, we wouldn’t have had to suffer through The Good Guys or Mr. Sunshine.
  9. Samantha Who? Great show. Great, great show. So funny – and a fairly original premise. And cut short at just two seasons. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Up All Night makes it worth it . . .
  10. Miss Guided: Look, I wouldn’t say that everything Ashton Kutcher does is golden. (Please do not make me watch him on Two and a Half Men in the name of being a good TV blogger. Please.) But this comedy starring the very funny and deserves-to-be-more-than-a-sidekick Judy Greer was good. Better than seven episodes, I’ll tell you that.

Honorable Mentions: My Boys (one of my favorites and I do miss Jim Gaffigan and the rest of those wish-they-were-my-real-life-friends characters), Ugly Betty (why did it have to end, just as it got so much better?), 10 Things I Hate About You (yes, I realize I should neither watch nor get attached to ABC Family shows at age 32, and yet, I do.), Love Monkey (will somebody please cast Tom Cavanaugh in a show that lasts?), and Traffic Light (by far, the best and funniest of last season’s shows about younger couples and singles and their various adventures and hijinks, no offense to Happy Endings).

There you have it. The shows I miss most and was saddest to see go. What about you? What show cancellations have made you the saddest?

This post will be linked to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.


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