On the 5th day of Festivus, TV gave to me...
by Mike Moody, posted Dec 19th 2008 1:01PM
... 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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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