Hey, remember that time I started a TV blog? Yes, well, it was a grand idea that didn’t work out and most of the time, I’m cool with that. But on a week like this one, where what was probably my favorite TV show of all time uses Kickstarter to fund a movie?!
Oh, how I wish I still had a TV blog!
But you all like TV, right? So we can talk about this stuff? Good. Because I have some thoughts.
My thoughts aren’t the deep kind about our society that will quickly raise millions to make a movie, while more important causes are left unfunded and struggling. Nope, I want to talk about short-lived TV shows.
[Listen, I get it if you want to talk about the larger implications of a crowd-sourced movie budget. We can chat about that at a later time, though.]
I’ve written before – like any self-respecting
wannabe TV blogger – about the shows I loved that were cancelled too soon. But lately I’ve been thinking that sometimes, shorter really IS sweeter.
Yep, that’s right. I’m saying that I’m actually GLAD that some shows were cancelled before reaching the coveted 100th episode. Don’t hate me. I’m not saying our beloved Freaks and Geeks, Firefly or even Pushing Daisies deserved early cancellations. (I’m NOT. Don’t yell at me!)
But haven’t we all known shows that overstayed their welcome? (Sadly, I’m talking to you, The Office.) Can’t we be happy when other shows DON’T do that?
[To clarify, I was SUPER sad when Veronica Mars was cancelled, and I will be first in line to see the movie.]
Last season, the show I was happy to see cancelled EVEN THOUGH I LOVED IT was Missing. Did you watch that one? Ashley Judd’s son was kidnapped, because it turned out she used to be a spy. So she ran all over Europe to find him. Think Taken, the light version. (I think. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen Taken.) This show was SO GOOD. It had spies, it had Europe, it had a mysterious Italian guy, and it had Ashley Judd.
I loved it. And I was happy when it was cancelled.
I know! That’s crazy, right? Or . . . is it? The thing is, the show’s one short season was outstanding. Other than a few scenes toward the end, it was filmed well and while your mileage may vary on Judd, I thought it was written and acted really well. But let’s be honest – would that level of excellence have lasted, season after season?
I mean, SPOILER ALERT, she found her son at the end of the first season. And sure, they then had Judd’s character go missing in the last seconds of the finale JUST IN CASE it was renewed. Assuming they would’ve found HER at the end of a second season, THEN WHAT?
Going out after a strong, though short, run was the best ending possible, if you ask me.
This year I felt the same way about Last Resort. I loved that show, and you can’t put a price on having Scott Speedman – as a soldier! who loves his wife! and his country! – on my TV again.
But when I read that it was being cancelled, I was relieved. Rather than spend seven seasons creating convoluted reasons to keep the cast stuck on an island (sound familiar?), they wrapped up this wild and crazy story in a dozen or so episodes.
It’s possible, I suppose, that I simply can’t handle committing to dramas for a long period of time. I am the same sad viewer who quit watching Parenthood after a couple seasons because it got to be TOO MUCH. Just . . . too much.
But I think that, even more than that, there’s a certain type of show for me that lends itself to a shorter form, a miniseries-type of show, rather than a drawn-out series with multiple seasons. And it seems, based on Missing and Last Resort, that the type of show I want in small doses is the action-packed kind.
I love action movies. I even said – about both the shows I’ve mentioned today – that they seem like a movie I would watch more than a TV show. I guess that’s why it makes more sense to me for them to be short-lived. That, and I just don’t think I could handle a snake monster on one of my shows.
So, there you have it. I think some shows – EVEN THE ONES I LOVE – should be short-lived. [Even the ones with Scott Speedman.]
What do you think? Have you ever been glad to see a show get cancelled?
I wish Prison Break (remember Wentworth? OMGsh,) would’ve been canceled sooner. I loved the first season and a half and then just didn’t care anymore. It was so, so good at first though. The one I wish wouldn’t have been canceled is Arrested Development. Best show that was never watch. The cast had a great chemistry. Jason Bateman is the most underrated funny man in show business.
I heard that about Prison Break, that it started good and then went downhill. And that’s exactly what I mean! But I never would say that about Arrested Development – that show was genius, start to premature finish!
But The Office isn’t action-packed… although I do agree it’s overstayed its welcome. Perhaps shows should also cancel if they’re losing their most important actors. Then again, even before The Office lost Steve Carrell, it was starting to go downhill. I think most shows should probably have fewer seasons (with the exception of some reality shows maybe — particularly the ones I watch;), because the writers just start trying too hard in my opinion (e.g. The Office, Chuck, Downton Abbey, Community, The Big Bang Theory — not saying I want those last two to end! But I also think they’re trying too hard sometimes). Perhaps shows should have the end in mind when they start, especially shows like Lost and How I Met Your Mother, for example. I agree with you, it’s sad when it ends (of course, I’m mostly thinking of my favorite books, Harry Potter, here:), but it’s worse when they drag it out unnaturally.
No, The Office isn’t action-packed, but it should’ve ended sooner. I was really sad when Chuck ended, but I think it was time. Community, though, is a disaster this year and needs to go away fast!
2 words: Twin Peaks.
Six words: Never watched it. (Don’t hate me.) :)
Yes! The Office has overstayed its welcome. So has Grey’s Anatomy.
I thought Lost did a brilliant job of being only six seasons and have plans to be that from the beginning. Friday Night Lights also was just enough seasons to be excellent. Honestly, I’d rather a show (even the ones I love) go out while on top and drag us viewers along.
Friday Night Lights is still on my “need to watch” list. It’s seemed overwhelming, though, because it did run for a few seasons – so I’m going to trust you that it’s just the right length and hopefully watch it soon!
It seems like many shows don’t think about the long-term when it comes to the premise. They’re waiting to see if the pilot will get picked up, then if the audience will tune in, and then how long they can keep them around. I admired the LOST team for deciding the end game and then sticking to it. At some point, those people needed to get off the island. If you drag out the premise for too long, the audience has no incentive to stick around- though they may tune in for the finale.
It’s funny you say that – I’m TOTALLY a “come back for the finale” viewer, no matter how annoyed I got at a show!
Still can’t believe they cancelled Ringer. Still.waiting.to.see.how.it.ends.
They didn’t wrap it up?! That’s ridiculous. I gave up on that one pretty early, and this makes me even more glad I did! (Though I’m sorry you watched the whole thing and didn’t get closure!!)
Don’t hate me Mary, but I gave up on both Missing and Last Resort after about 2 episodes! Considering they banged them out in about 6 double episodes on Australian TV, often quite late at night, you had to be fairly committed to keeping up.
Can’t think of when I was last glad a show was cancelled early but I agree that almost everything goes on way too long!
One thing that Aussie TV does very well is the mini-series. Shows like Underbelly have totally distinct, one season runs each year. And The Slap was one of my favourites.
Adele, I totally hate you now! KIDDING. You don’t have to love my shows (although it’s so fun when you do)! So interesting that Australian TV does more miniseries than the US. I think that’s so smart – like some of our cable shows having much shorter seasons. I think it just makes more sense when we have more choices and shorter attention spans than ever!
Oh, replying to you reminds me of another show I liked but was glad to see cancelled. Did you watch Against the Wall on Lifetime? The main character was Australian – or had been in an Australian show – I think? I liked the show a lot, even though it was fairly soapy and silly. But I was relieved when it was over after one season (even though it ended on a cliffhanger).
That show has just started showing (again, quite late at night) on the 7 network in Aus. Yes, the main character is played by Rachael Carpani, an Australian. I saw about 5 minutes! ‘Jodie Fountain’ with an American accent was too much for me!
I had the same problem, you might remember, with Daniel Lissing in Last Resort. Just too weird!!
A lot of the shows we watch are sooo tired but I’ve watched them for a long time and I feel like I had to now. (The Office and ESPECIALLY How I Met Your Mother) You’re right – I think it would be helpful for shows to write with a set number of seasons in mind. But I guess that’s not how entertainment works, huh?
I was glad to see a show on ABC Family canceled last year. I can’t remember the name, but the teenage girl lead was essentially 1/2 cat…okay, why wouldn’t that make everyone watch it? But, she was part of a conspiracy of sorts and humans didn’t know these “people” existed and she didn’t even know she was a cat-person until recently. Anyway, the more I type, the worse it sounds and would certainly make anyone think I was crazy for ever watching any episodes. But, after a few episodes, the unwatched episodes just piled up on my DVR. So, while I wanted to know why certain other people cats were after her, I just never got around it it. Then, I was happy the show got canceled, so I could just let the feline fraulein go.