It's that time again - Fall TV has officially begun. There are lots of shows that I am looking forward to (a future post), but it always gets me thinking about shows that got canceled too quickly. Here are some more shows that didn't get the time they deserved:
1. Kitchen Confidential - Bradley Cooper. As a Chef. Often Shirtless. How could this show get canceled? FOX honestly didn't even give the series a chance (I think they canceled it after 4 episodes - they didn't even attempt to air the rest of the season - only 13 episodes were produced). I really liked the show (and not just for Cooper) - I thought it was funny and a little bit quirky. Plus, the plot was different - there aren't any shows about Chef's or restaurants for that matter - any industry that has to deal with the public is sure to be interesting. I really liked all of the characters and actors (Erin Hayes was Becky Sharp the love interest for Jack - who is also his biggest competition, Nicholas Brendan as the Pastry Chef - completely different than his Buffy character and Owain Yeoman as the Sous Chef - who was hilarious, I am surprised he isn't a bigger star). The best episode is the one that reunites Cooper with his Alias co-star Michael Vartan. Genius.
2. My So-Called Life - One of the worst cancellation decisions in the history of television (and most critics agree). I remember watching the show when it aired but I was only 13 so I can't say that I realized its relevance to pop culture then. Later, when it started airing on MTV, I watched it in awe. It had groundbreaking characters like Ricky and Rayanne (characters that one could actually relate to), groundbreaking dialogue and emotion and the most groundbreaking teenage romance ever. Two words that make every girl who grew up in the 90's sigh - Jordan Catalano. Possibly the dreamiest guy ever - of course played by the equally dreamy Jared Leto (who is still one of my favorite actors - robbed of an Oscar nomination twice for Requiem for a Dream and Chapter 27). The weakest link was Claire Danes - although this is her at her best (she is one of the worst actresses working today), she did kill it as Angela Chase - I still remember her dancing to Blister in the Sun with an over-sized t-shirt on. It only lasted one season, but it is considered to be a cult classic and is often included as one of the best shows on television.
3. The Black Donnellys - 4 Catholic boys growing up in Hell's Kitchen. If that doesn't remind you of one of the greatest films ever - then you obviously haven't seen Sleepers. (you should - it is amazing). I was very happy when this show was premiering because it was so reminiscent of one of my favorite films. Plus it had Jonathon Tucker (who was actually in Sleepers!), Olivia Wilde (love her!) and was created by Paul Haggis. The show was really good - it was a faithful depiction of a working class Irish Catholic family who was often involved with the Irish mob (as was everyone living in Hell's Kitchen). It was dark, mysterious but also highly entertaining and actually kind of funny. NBC cancelled the show after only 7 episodes, while the other 6 episodes were streamed online (an interesting fact about the show - it was the second highest streamed show on NBC's website - right after it's #1 show Heroes - so obviously it had a fairly large audience).
4. Firefly - Joss Whedon just can't catch a break. Ever since his extremely successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (and Angel spin-off), his series seem to get cancelled rather quickly (this show and Dollhouse). I can kind of understand why Firefly had a hard time finding and audience. I admit that I didn't watch it when it aired back in 2002, but after reading several articles that list it as must watch television - I finally gave in. It was weird - sort of a Western, sort of Sci-fi and mostly odd. But its oddity is what made it a great series - what other show can be described as "futuristic" and "retro" in the same sentence? What made it an even better series was that it had one of the best casts of any series ever. Seriously. Gina Torres (Anna Espinosa on Alias), Adam Baldwin (the brilliantly sarcastic John Casey on Chuck), Alan Tudyk and Summer Glau (both on Whedon's other series Dollhouse) plus surprise cameo appearances by Mad Men's Christina Hendrik's and a very young Zac Efron. The star of the show, Nathan Fillion, is often praised by Entertainment Weekly and now I see why. He reminds me of Gale Howard (only Howard is much prettier), but he is witty in this weird self-absorbed way, while still being charming and charismatic.
5. Jack & Jill - Back in 1999, a new "Friends" like show premiered on the WB (remember the WB??!) starring the super adorable Amanda Peet as Jack and the super hot Ivan Sergei as Jill, along with other notable cast members - Justin Kirk, Simon Rex and Sarah Paulson. I can't say that 10 years later that I remember much - but I do remember really liking the show and being extremely disappointed after it was canceled after a mere 2 seasons. It also ended with a giant cliff-hanger. So unfair.