Off the Chopping Block

Sometimes bad things happen to good shows. Sometimes the writing goes bad, others an important character leaves. And sometimes it’s something worse: cancelation. Some of my favorite TV shows have been canceled. It’s a strange kind of grief you feel when a show you love gets axed: sadness, bitterness, and a strange touch of nostalgia. Because you know what was, you fondly miss what could’ve been. Of course, you can always rewatch the show from the beginning, but you’ll never know how it all ends. All that potential lost. Today I’d like to write an In Memorium of sorts for all the excellent television shows that were taken from us too soon. Whether years dead or recent, these programs are ones I will never forget.

  1. Veronica Mars: This show follows the title character, a young private eye who is often commissioned to solve mysteries. Each season also has an overarching mystery Veronica tries to solve as she solves other cases. Veronica also deals with shitty classmates, her relationship with her father, and romance. The first two seasons take place in high school, while the third and final season takes place in college. When the WB switched over the the CW, Veronica Mars was among the shows on the chopping block. Even though the fans held a successful Kickstarter campaign for the movie that came out in 2014 and two novels followed, this show was still done very dirty.
  2. The Lying Game: One of the few ABC Family (now Freeform) shows I’ve liked, it follows long-lost twins Emma Becker and Sutton Mercer as they try to uncover the mystery of who their mother was and why they were separated at birth. The show often borders on melodrama and strains incredulity, but I was hooked. It’s like a soap opera for teens, but better. I even thought it was better than the books! This show ended on a massive cliffhanger and now I’ll forever be left wondering how everything panned out in the end.
  3. Sweet/Vicious: This show, an MTV original, follows Ophelia and Jules as they become vigilantes, exacting vengeance on all the rapists on campus. Despite the outlandish premise, it actually handles the issue very well. The characters are also endearing and I love the friendship that forms between the two girls. The show ended on a hopeful note, but there was still so much more that could’ve been explored (i.e. the showrunners expressed interest in discussing male victims of rape). Alas, the public didn’t give this show enough of a chance, so know we have to pretend Jules and Ophelia are still out there kicking ass and taking down the patriarchy.
  4. Alcatraz: Developed by Lost creator J.J. Abrams, this show follows Detective Rebecca Madsen after she discovers fingerprints that belong to a former Alcatraz inmate. Soon, more former inmates come back to life and pick up right where they left off. The season ended with Rebecca’s death, but suggestions were made that she could come back herself. Alas, the larger mystery of Alcatraz was never solved as the show never made it back on the air.
  5. The Get Down: A Netflix original, this show follows Ezekiel Figuero as he discovers the get down and becomes an MC. Along the way, he meets Shaolin Fantastic, who becomes his DJ. Meanwhile, Mylene Cruz is on her way to becoming a disco star. The show takes place in the ‘70s and deals with issues of race and poverty. It is a moving, poignant show with great music and it deserved to be renewed.
  6. Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23: This sitcom follows in a similar vein to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in that there intentionally isn’t much character development. It follows June Colburn as she moves to New York to get a job on Wall Street. When her firm is shut down, she moves in with a wild woman named Chloe. The two, along with good friend James Van Der Beek, get into lots of crazy shenanigans. It’s so funny and deserved a larger audience.
  7. Lie to Me: One of the few crime shows I’ve ever enjoyed, it follows Cal Lightman, an expert in detecting lies based on facial expressions and body language. He and his team help law enforcement use this skill to solve difficult crimes. It is a truly unique concept, one that was hindered when the writers tried to get them into bigger situations than necessary. If it had stayed the same, I have no doubt it would’ve lasted at least a little longer.
  8. The Soup: This clip show was the only show of quality E! has ever produced. Hosted by Joel McHale, it took scenes and clips from other shows and television movies and mocked them. It’s main target? Reality television. It was a hilarious show, one that we could really use in these overwhelmingly dark times.
  9. Moonlight: The only vampire show I’ve ever liked (besides Buffy the Vampire Slayer), this show follows Mick St. John, a vampire who longs to be human again. While working to help the living, he meets and begins to fall for a reporter named Beth Turner. Despite utilizing the reluctant monster trope, this was still a quality show. Sadly, it only lasted for one season before the station pulled the plug.
  10. Powerless: An NCB sitcom, this show brought comedy to the overwhelming dark superhero genre. It follows Emily Locke as she begins her new career at Wayne Security. Emily optimistically leads her team to create exciting new inventions and gain notoriety. Unfortunately, she couldn’t lead the audience to watch and so the show she carried was cut before the season even ended.
  11. Community: Already a cult classic, this show follows ex-lawyer Jeff Winger as he is sent back to community college to get his Bachelor’s degree. While there, he joins a study group and they find themselves getting into some crazy situations. The show was ridiculous and funny, the side characters as great as the main ones. Fans kept this show alive as long as we could (even earning it a short second life as a web series), but eventually it lost its momentum and was dropped.
  12. The Finder: This show was likely doomed from the start, as it didn’t fit into any one box. Marketed as a drama but remarkably light, this show follows Walter Sherman, a veteran who’s really good at finding things. Each episode, he is hired to find an object for someone and he always succeeds. Unfortunately, the show has some problematic portrayals of Romani people and one of the main actors sadly passed away. Ultimately, despite how much I enjoyed it, it was probably good it was canceled.
  13. Hannibal: The most horrifying crime show I’ve ever seen, this Silence of the Lambs prequel follows Will Graham after he’s hired by the FBI to help solve a series of particularly disturbing murders. He soon becomes entangled with therapist Hannibal Lector (who was, of course, responsible for most of the murders) and even framed. Despite the loyal following, the show only made it through three seasons before getting the ax.

What are some canceled shows you think should’ve been given a second chance? Tell me about them in the comments!

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