TV executives, like gold prospector, sift through the silt and water for years to find the precious, shiny nuggets. Only the TV execs throw the gold away from time to time. Here’s a list of five of my TV favs that suffered a sudden, inexplicable death.
One of the most creative series on TV. It was quirky and imaginative, and even its visuals were unique—what I called goth-bubblegum-kitsch. It wasn’t a fantasy, and it wasn’t real—maybe magical realism? The story of the Pie Maker who can bring people back to life for one minute was a treat. It just couldn’t find an audience on broadcast TV; If it had run on regular cable, it’d be on air until today.
Better Off Ted
This is one of my favorites. It’s pitch-perfect. Most shows take four or five episodes until the cast gels and the writers get into a rhythm, but this one took off from episode one. It was a brilliant satire about the corporate world, starting with the (hilarious) fake company ad at the beginning of each episode. Portia De Rossi once again nails the character. And the two lab guys’ stories were like a series-within-a-series.
“Sports Night” was Aaron Sorkin’s test-drive before he created “The West Wing.” All the key aspects of the latter are in the former: rapid-fire, crisp dialogue, walk-and-talk, a workplace dramedy that allowed the characters’ personal lives to arise because of the job problems. Felicity Huffman is the highlight of the strong cast. It was also the rare series that talked about sports.
It aired 50-so episodes—and this was still not enough. The Blunt Saga had solid, creative writing, but its real strength was the perfect casting. The brilliant-crafted characters matched the actors so well. The quietness of Michel Cera and Jason Bateman contrasted with the craziness of David Cross and Will Arnett. At least now I can see (hear) Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter in “Archer.” It also featured the underrated Portia De Rossi. I miss those “in the next episode” bogus scenes…
This will always be a head-scratcher. Did the Fox executives even watch this before relegating it to the Friday night purgatory? It’s a space western with clever plot, sharp dialogue, a great hero, and brilliantly handled worldbuilding. Put it another way: it was the best version of “The Chronicles of Han Solo” anyone could ever create. And they killed it.
At least some of these gems are now on Netflix.
By the way, if you enjoy TV series, please check out Tiffany A. White’s blog. She knows everything about TV.
Did I miss a favorite of yours? Please let us know of other treasures that were gone too soon.