One of the biggest heartaches for television fans is the early cancellation. Out of all the many, many options out there, you finally found a show that you love. The characters feel like friends or family (or maybe it’s the opposite and they’re a train wreck you can’t stop watching), and you look forward to every new episode. But then the news comes — there will be no more new episodes, because your beloved program has been cancelled.
Gah! It’s punch to the gut, a knife in your TV-loving heart! It’s simply disappointing because — darn it! — you wanted to know how the story ends. Do the main characters get together? Do they fall in love? Do they save the small business? Do they solve the mystery? Do they win state???
It’s hard. But while I fully acknowledge the frustration and sadness that come from a favorite show being cancelled too soon, I’ve decided to take back the short-lived show.
TV series used to be all the same. Same seasons, same formats, same lengths. A season was 22-ish episodes, and it ran (approximately) from September to May. All we had to watch over the holidays and summer were reruns. Then, around the time school was back in session, so were new episodes of our shows.
But that’s not how it works now. TV shows are premiering and concluding all year long, for one thing. And for another, many shows are created in a format that looks more like a miniseries than a full-length season. Now a season can be anywhere from six to eight to thirteen episodes long and still be considered complete. Some shows are also being created to only live a short life of a few seasons. The Good Place is a unique sitcom on NBC that will air its final season later this year — and that’s just how the creators wanted it. Five short seasons is all they needed to tell their entire story.
As this becomes more prevalent — and, let’s be honest, as our attention spans grow shorter and our schedules remain jam-packed — short-lived TV shows suddenly seem more appealing. After all, there’s a reason I’ve never watched Lost. It’s not the science fiction of it or the fact that everyone gripes about the ending. No, it’s the SIX LONG, WHOLE SEASONS of it all!
Sometimes you just want something to binge and be done with — and that’s the beauty of the short-lived show. This month, I’m taking back the short-lived TV show, and I’m inviting you to join me! I’m talking with friends on my podcast about four of the most well-known and well-loved short-lived shows:
July 9 – Kristin Taylor and I will talk about My So-Called Life
July 16 – Amanda White and I will talk about Pushing Daisies
July 23 – Jenny Rapson and I will talk about Veronica Mars
July 30 – Lisa-Jo Baker and I will talk about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
I’ll also share some blog posts about what we can learn from short-lived shows. Finally, I’m giving away a guide to the best short-lived TV shows to watch each season. All year long, I’ve got the perfect shows for your binging pleasure! To get your copy, just click here.
As you’ll see in the guide and during our conversations, I don’t stick to a strict definition of “short-lived TV show.” Basically any show that aired fewer than 50 episodes, that fans felt was cut short or left them hanging, qualifies for me. So while Miranda had four seasons, it only had 20 episodes, which doesn’t seem nearly enough (though they did wrap up the storylines quite nicely). And though Stitchers had three seasons and 31 episodes, it left viewers with a lot of questions, so it’s also on my list! Many fantastic short shows aired 13 episodes or less (hello, Enlisted, Hindsight, and The Middleman), though, so it just varies.
I could go on and on about all the short-lived shows I’ve loved and lost, but we’ve got time for that. (A whole month, like I said!) What I’d like to know, instead, is what short-lived show YOU loved and missed and would like to watch again. Share in the comments or shoot me an email, and let me know!