Television isn’t what it used to be. In fact, it’s much better. Anyone who’s seen Breaking Bad or The Sopranos would have to agree with that. Nevertheless, each generation has had its share of awesomeness that went away a little too early. As we head in to the downtime of the season, here are some TV shows that ended too soon.
HBO’s western drama starring Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2006 and ended rather abruptly for our tastes. That didn’t stop it from being one of the best TV series to ever populate the genre. Despite some criticisms over the excessive use of modern profanity in place of period-specific, it maintains a brutal and shocking tone that keeps you engrossed. Terrific cast, set design — we can’t say enough good about this show, and wish it was still hanging around.
Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy series ran for only two real seasons, but during that time, he gave us some of the funniest TV of all time. Clayton Bigsby, Samuel L. Jackson Beer, Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story (I’m Rick James, B!#@h!), and the Player-Haters Ball — true comedy gold. We understood why Dave left, but sure wish he would have stuck around.
Creator Bryan Fuller has a history of creating brightly imaginative shows only to see them canceled too soon. Dead Like Me was the first example of this, but Pushing Daisies was the best. Colorful and dark in a Tim Burton-esque way, it blended comedy, romance, and the macabre, in a very palatable way that could have been something really special had it lasted beyond two seasons.
It may seem hard to believe now that Family Guy has been on the air for almost 13 complete seasons, but shortly after its third year of production, Fox gave it the axe. However, the show found its footing in reruns and its enthusiastic fan base quickly hastened its return. Now we’re not sure it’ll ever go away, but the viewer response proves this one originally ended before its time.
Good and evil. Free will versus destiny. These themes were explored in detail throughout the two-season run of Carnivale, but 24 episodes in, HBO decided it was time to call it quits because the $2 million per episode price tag was too steep. Creator Daniel Knauf hasn’t been as eager to give up on the project, and we hope he one day succeeds, even if he has to end up going the comic book route. Still, to date, Carnivale fans have been left largely unsatisfied.
Arrested Development was another cult series that had a strong enough following to call for its return on Netflix. While the new shows are pretty solid, you can tell there is a definite loss in momentum from what existed at the end of season three. However, we hope to see more of the Bluth Family soon.
Firefly may be the most successful one-season show of all time. It spawned a feature film called Serenity that was a love letter to fans, but 14 episodes and a movie aren’t quite enough to satiate fans’ longing for more adventures of Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds and crew. And Hollywood is reminded of that with each new Comic-Con.
Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the original Enterprise crew remain the most recognizable and beloved of the massive Star Trek Universe. So much so, in fact, that when the series received a big-screen reboot, J.J. Abrams went with them over TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise in spite of the fact that all four of those spin-offs crushed it in the number of TV episodes. TOS was supposed to run five years but was cut short after three. Today, it lives on through movies, comics, novels, and a surprisingly awesome web series that is attempting to recreate TOS with the final two years of the five-year mission.
Which of these TV shows that ended too soon do you wish were still on the air?