Monday, February 22, 2010

Canceled Before Their Time

Some television shows get canceled before they even finish airing a full season (or even a full episode). Some show a season or two before getting canceled. Many of these shows deserve to be canceled because they are boring, asinine, inhumane, or otherwise distasteful. But we’ve all had the experience of falling in love with a series only to have it snatched away by those evil media execs before we even get any kind of conclusive finale. The worst part is that other series seem to have an inexhaustible fan base and just keep on cranking out episode after episode, when other quality television is put on “indefinite hiatus.” And some shows that deserve to be canceled are somehow magically revived even though they suck more than Megan Hauserman (see below). Here are some of my favorite shows that were canceled before their time:

Do Over

This half hour comedy aired on the WB back in 2002. The basic premise of the show was that a 34-year-old man gets electrocuted, which all television writers know can cause very curious things to happen. In this case, the guy gets sent back to the 80s as his high school self, with all his adult memories intact. He uses this freak accident to his advantage and fixes everything that went wrong for him in high school. Up-tempo 80s hits and parachute pants abound. I developed a huge crush on Penn Badgely (now of Gossip Girl fame) because of this show, yet now that I look at him I’m embarrassed to admit that. Back when it was on (for a mere 11 episodes), I couldn’t find anyone who watched it. I still can’t.

A teenager wearing grown-up clothes? Now that’s comedy.

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks has become somewhat of a poster child for unfairly canceled television. It is the epitome, the paradigm, the archetype if you will, of short-lived TV shows. The problem is most people saw this show on DVD years after it was canceled, which apparently does nothing to help with its past ratings. The show didn’t really have a premise, unless you count a bunch of high school kids living awkwardly in Michigan in 1980 a premise. There was a group of “freaks,” who smoked, drank, said stupid things, and tried to start a band. Then there was a group of geeks who played card games, watched porn, and dreamt of being cool. While the show only lasted one season, many of the actors have gone on to become very successful, namely James Franco.

Was this face not enough to keep the show going?

Megan Wants a Millionaire

I only saw a few episodes of this (multiple times because VH1 replays all of its shows ad nauseum). I have to say I don’t actually regret its demise because it was, for all intents and purposes, complete shit. The premise of this show is a familiar one: a Z-List reality star (Megan Hauserman of Beauty and the Geek, Rock of Love, I Love Money, and Charm School fame) dates a dozen guys at once and eliminates them one by one until she’s found Mr. Right Now. The only twist was that they were all alleged millionaires and she openly accepted material gifts instead of genuine personal interactions. So why was this cash cow abandoned? One of the contestants killed his wife and then himself after he got eliminated (yeah I’m just as confused as you are), so they thought it was poor taste to continue airing the episodes. Alas, Megan will be back in a new show any day now. It’s only a matter of time.

Pictured: the heavily photoshopped future of television


Like Do Over, no one actually watched this show except me. No one on it is even famous today, unless you count Leslie Bibb’s stint as an Almay spokesperson. The premise, like so many late, great television shows, is a bunch of kids trying to get through high school. Similar to Freaks and Geeks, there is a group of popular people and a group of unpopular people. Their lives are comically thrown together when the popular leader’s dad gets engaged to the unpopular leader’s mom. Hilarity, “very special” moments, and non-sequiturs ensue, until people woke up and realized everyone on the show was played by a 35-year-old. Then it was canceled.

See? They were old.

Dog Eat Dog

I only saw a few episodes of this game show, but maybe that’s because there were only a few to begin with. It ran for a little over a year, making contestants do stupid challenges that usually resulted in the contestant falling into a pool and wearing a wet t-shirt. Contestants chose which other contestants had to participate in these challenges with them, much like a dog eating another dog…There was also a lot of bikini-wearing and general sluttiness. Compared to long-running game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud, I’d say Dog Eat Dog got the shaft.

I can’t say I actually miss this one

Which of your favorite shows were canceled before their time?


  1. Arrested Development! I can't believe that Arrested Development wasn't listed.

  2. I was going to put that but I was never really a fan so I'd feel like a hypocrite. Plus, it had 3 seasons!

  3. I WATCHED POPULAR!!!! I still miss that show!! =/

  4. this is cool.


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