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On the 5th day of Festivus, TV gave to me...

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 19th 2008 1:01PM
Pushing Daisies
... five canceled shows.

Some shows, like critical darlings The Shield and Battlestar Galactica, are allowed to end gracefully; major story arcs are wrapped up and fans are left satisfied. Others are yanked from network schedules like unsightly weeds from a rose garden.

The networks yanked a number of shows off the air this season. Most of them, like The Ex List, probably deserved the axe, but there were four that deserved more time to develop an audience and one that I'm really gonna miss. In no particular order, they are:

moonlight cbs
1. Moonlight, CBS: Moonlight started out as a guilty pleasure for me. This vampire detective show was no Angel, probably my favorite vampire detective show (there are more than you think), but it hooked me after only two eps. I mostly watched for the leads, Alex O'Loughlin and Sophia Myles, who always managed to elevate the often-stock material with their fine performances.

Moonlight was canceled in its first season just as it was finding its footing as a lovely fantasy/romance. A lovely fantasy/romance with lots of hand-to-hand (or is it fang-to-fang?) vampire combat, of course. The show was never perfect, but it might have gotten there. Now we'll never know if Coraline returned to throw a wrench in Mick and Beth's happily ever after. (Fans can catch O'Loughlin on the big screen in the upcoming Kate Beckinsale thriller Whiteout.)

pushing daisies
2. Pushing Daisies, ABC: Now here's a sad story. ABC dumped Daisies just a few months after it scored two Emmy wins and twelve nominations. Just another reminder that quality and critical acclaim won't keep a show on the air. Still, a major network is no place for a fairy tale-like show about a pie maker who brings people back from the dead. This thing belonged on cable.

Bryan Fuller's odd but sweet almost-procedural is daring in its use of magical realism and its bold, dreamlike visuals. Stars Lee Pace, Kristin Chenoweth and Chi McBride will likely have no trouble finding new gigs, but I doubt they'll ever appear in a small-screen project as ambitious as Daisy's Barry Sonnenfeld-helmed pilot.

Fuller and crew are retooling the upcoming season two/series finale to give the show some closure, but die-hard fans might still be able to follow Ned's undead adventures. Rumor has it that Daisies will live on in comic book form.

my own worst enemy
3. My Own Worst Enemy, NBC: I'll admit it. I'm a Christian Slater fan. That's the main reason this Jekyll and Hyde spy drama worked for me. If you plugged in, say, Channing Tatum or Wentworth Miller in the lead role, I probably wouldn't have tuned in. So, I can't say that I'm too broken up about NBC's decision to cancel My Own Worst Enemy after only nine episodes.

It wasn't a bad show. It was actually quite fun and suspenseful, and it reminded me of old school action/mystery shows like The Equalizer or The Fugitive. I think eventually dropping the split personality gimmick to focus on the spy angle would've helped Enemy creatively, but nothing would've saved it from getting the axe. NBC has made it clear that it wants to play it safe and cheap with Leno at 10 p.m.

eli stone abc
4. Eli Stone, ABC: Pushing Daisies received a lot of praise and hype for looking like nothing else on TV, but Eli Stone was just as imaginative and original. It just wasn't always dressed up in such bright colors. Unfortunately, only in its second season, it's headed for the chopping block just like Daisies; probably to make room for cheaper reality shows like the new season of The Bachelor.

Fans can look forward to some closure on Dec. 30, when the final episode will air. Word is that Eli might share a scene with a special family member.

stargate atlantis
5. Stargate Atlantis, Sci Fi Channel: The current fifth season of the Stargate: SG-1 spin-off has been one of its best yet. At least it's going out on a high note.

I'm always charmed by the show's fun tone and the obvious cast camaraderie that makes its way on screen. Atlantis is one of the only shows on the air that recycles old sci-fi clichés but somehow remains surprising, fresh and fun with almost every ep. It's well-written, engaging and quality light sci-fi, not fluff like Flash Gordon. Plus, it's one of the few sci-fi shows airing on the so-called Sci-Fi Channel.

Five seasons might seem like a good run for a show, but SG-1 lasted 10 years. I was hoping Atlantis would at least make it to six or seven, especially with the recent addition of Robert Picardo to the cast. Thankfully, the franchise will continue with TV movies and the upcoming Stargate Universe. The final episode of Stargate Atlantis airs January 9.

Six shows you should be watchin'
Seven shows a-thrivin'

Eight stars a-shinin'
Nine foreign Americans
Ten shows on DVD
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Twelve shows a-stinkin'

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ABC and NBC only had me as a viewer on three shows - CBS gets the rest of my view time. Not sure how they intend to get more of my time when they've now cancelled two of those shows: Lipstick Jungle and Eli Stone. Will Brothers and Sisters be far behind? If so, I will no longer have need of the remote control.

December 29 2008 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

well, it hasn't been officially cancelled yet, but The Middleman also hasn't been renewed and had it's initial order cut by one episode...

heck, they haven't even announced a DVD set yet. This was as quirky in its own way as Pushing Daisies, and it WAS on basic cable - didn't help.

See if you can find episodes somewhere and enjoy a very fun show

December 23 2008 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M. Reddick

I guess that I'm a multiple loser as Moonlight, Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone were all appointment television for me. It seems that the American public is only interested in reality T.V. (i hate it) and police tales. Attempts at anything else or anything imaginative seem destined to cancellation in this current environment.

December 23 2008 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Moonlight was a helluva lot better than True Blood, which people are raving about. Aside from the lovely (and blond!) anna paquin, True Blood is pathetically stupid... shapeshifters and humans hunting vampires moreso than the contrary. The whole point of Vamps is that they're the top of the food chain. Damn True Blood is dumb. Just dumb.

December 20 2008 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

I'll miss Pushing Daisies. Very clever and entertaining.

And -- sob! -- goodbye Stargate Atlantis as a weekly TV series. Looking forward to the made-for-DVD movie ... sometime in the future.

With Robert Carlyle now added to the cast of Stargate: Universe, I'm looking forward to that series premiere in '09.

December 19 2008 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel M

I am sadden by the cancellation for Pushing Daisies! The show is just getting better, I've read the issues the show encountered first season but still, a great show!

December 19 2008 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I miss Moonlight too...It was awesome watching Mick St. John scare the poop out of Columbian Drug Lords (Was he columbian?)...That was the first time I had seen a full blown quinceañera on a t.v show...not bad.

December 19 2008 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm in complete agreement with you, Mike, on all 5 counts and I'm with Joe in continuing to mourn the loss of Journeyman. I haven't yet threatened to avoid network series until they've gotten a full season or two under their belts, but I think it's a policy I'm putting in place beginning with next Fall's new season. It's just too bad I'm not part of the faulty, dead-but-not-buried Nielsen ratings debacle so there'd be at least one less viewer counted next year.

Yeah, no new network shows for me. I'll stick with what I'm watching until they're canned for new reality garbage and focusing on cable nets for their quality programming that gets time to develop a following.

December 19 2008 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can anyone tell me if My Own Worst Enemy ended with any storylines being wrapped up or any conclusion to the ongoing storyline arc? I have all the episodes saved on dVR but i'm ready to hit delete if it's not worth my time and there are not some answers.

December 19 2008 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tony's comment

The show actually did the opposite. But it was wholly satisfying seeing them fulfill some of the potential of the premise by pulling out all the stops. The last episode fits so much into the hour that it stands as the proof of the writing staff's talent. It's worth watching.

December 19 2008 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess technically Moonlight was last season, but let me be the first to mention Journeyman, the show that I, and millions of other fans of good drama, mourn daily.

December 19 2008 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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