The Rundown: Gone Too Soon From Television

Above (clockwise): Arrested Development, My So Called Life, Hannibal and Freaks and Geeks
Above (clockwise): Arrested Development, My So Called Life, Hannibal and Freaks and Geeks

Everything old is new again in Hollywood, with studios and networks leaning heavily on established characters and stories as the basis for shows and movies at an alarming rate.

Some of the reboot and remake choices have been solid, while others have come too quickly or just failed to hit the mark, but more than anything, bringing back characters, series and shows we know often makes you think of the favourites that didn’t get enough time to breathe before being pulled from the air.

Here’s a look at 10 such shows that were cancelled too soon.

Arrested Development

Ahead of its time and probably stationed on the wrong network, the chronicles of the dysfunctional Bluth family came to an end after three seasons on FOX. Netflix resurrected the series for one more season seven years later, but you have to wonder if this show came along 10 years later on HBO, would it still be on the air now?

Constantine

Based on the Hellblazer comic book that gave us a middling Keanu Reeves movie as well, the television incarnation of this character got just 13 episode on NBC being getting yanked. The character popped back up in an episode of Arrow, but given the darker nature of its subject matter, an adaptation on premium cable probably would have worked better.

Dead Like Me

A dark comedy about grim reapers that help souls transition to the afterlife, the ensemble headed by Ellen Muth and Mandy Patinkin was excellent and there were plenty of directions they could have gone with the show. Unfortunately, the only direction it went was down into the bin, as the show was cancelled after just two seasons.

Deadwood

Airing on HBO at the same time as two of the best shows in television history – The Sopranos and The Wire – the show earned critical acclaim, but still got scrapped. With premium cable willing to stomach mediocre ratings as long as they come with critical praise, Deadwood might have enjoyed a longer shelf life if it arrived in the last couple years.

Freaks and Geeks

In hindsight, it’s hard to understand how NBC cancelled this one after just one season. The team behind it – Judd Apatow and Paul Feig – has gone on to do great things and the cast grew up to be outstanding. This was a lightning in a bottle opportunity and NBC just didn’t recognize it.

Go On

Matthew Perry has had a lot of swings and misses since Friends ended, but this one feels like it should have gotten a better shake. This ensemble comedy was better than a bunch of the junk that has enjoyed extended runs over the last few years and now Perry is stuck on The Odd Couple.

Hannibal

Another critically-acclaimed, but poorly rated show from Dead Like Me leader Bryan Fuller, Hannibal would have been better served on premium cable with some room to breathe like Dexter had during its run. This spin on the Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham relationship was excellent and ended too soon.

My So-Called Life

Talk about a show that was ahead of its time and featured a cast that grew up to be special, My So-Called Life had teenagers tackling real issue on ABC, with Claire Danes and Jared Leto standing out from a strong overall call. This might be the best show to ever be cancelled after one season.

Terriers

Donal Logue (Gotham) and Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time) as unlicensed detectives – the former a former cop and alcoholic, the latter an ex-criminal – were perfect together. The ratings were super-low, but the praise was super-high and the poor ratings outweighed the critical acclaim.

Veronica Mars

Kristen Bell’s high school sleuth got three seasons in Neptune, California before being pulled off the air, much to the chagrin of the all the “Marshmallows” out there. Unlike other shows on this list, however, the loose ends from this gem got tied up as a Kickstarter-backed movie was put together and like the show, garnered positive reviews from critics.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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