Ask a Dork: Cancelled Television Shows
Have any TV shows cancellation ever made you upset? Are you wary of getting attached to new shows?
Television and I don’t really talk anymore. It was a cold divorce, but after years of being battered by poorly executed cliffhanger endings, inane beer commercials, and (of course) unexpected cancellations, we decided to go our separate ways. There was a slow build for me to actually break away from spending hours in front of the giant tube in our basement, but with the advent of on-demand video and internet streaming I really had no more room for it in my heart. I do not become wary of getting attached to new shows, as I generally opt to only get into critically acclaimed shows after they are well established and conveniently available on DVD or Netflix. No disrespect to the awesome new shows that are now on network and cable television, but I really have no interest in keeping up to date with episodic content or sitting through Denny’s commercials.
With all that said, there have been more than a few television cancellations that have made me weep. As a longtime Joss Whedon fan, the cancellations of both Firefly and Dollhouse left me in a state of confusion and disappointment in mankind. I don’t know what the hell is up with the rest of the viewing public, but how crazy is it to not watch a Western character drama set in space or a show about rewritable human beings? Avengers may have finally gotten the attention of the American public, but Joss has been making excellent entertainment for years. Unfortunately, he didn’t write his shows for the lowest common denominator, and audience saw them as being “complicated” and “too difficult to get into after missing an episode.” Both of these arguments make me nerd rage.
Then there’s Twin Peaks. Holy crap, was this ever a good show. A girl is dead, everyone in the town is morally ambiguous, and the genius FBI protagonist may actually be insane. Everything about the setting of Twin Peaks feels creepily “off,” but no one can actually figure out what is going on in the town. Well executed, deliberately paced, and strongly acted, yet it only lasted two seasons before getting canned by CBS. Why? General audiences found it too complicated.
Pushing Daisies was another great show. Quirky humour, an amazing cast, dialogue that is both engaging and realistic, and a cinematographer that actually puts effort into his job. Clearly it wasn’t your everyday shlock, but it was never supposed to be either. This show was an experiment in how character archetypes and plot points can be presented. An experiment that general audiences didn’t get.
See the point I’m getting at here? The people that have the most sway in TV Land are the ones that don’t like to think when they watch things. These individuals like their episodes short, easily consumable, and not in any way complicated. Jersey Shore was on the air for SIX SEASONS before it was finally put out of its misery. Six seasons full of fabricated drama, stupid characters (and they are characters – not real people), shoddy camera work, and MTV soundtracks. Thank you general audiences; you kill every good show on the air in favor of schlock that cripples your own IQ. I’m gonna get back to my Netflix, you can have your Honey Boo Boo.