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October 24, 2014

Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon: Earth 2

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 21st 2009 3:00PM
Earth 2In 1994, I was excited about My So-Called Life and Friends, but not much else on the TV schedule caught my eye. A friend of mine loved ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, so I would go over there to hang out and watch it.

Being sci-fi buffs, we decided we should check out Earth 2, a new show that aired an hour before L&C on NBC. I have this tendency to at least try out all the new science-fiction shows, knowing that even if I like them, the odds of them surviving beyond one season are slim. I quickly gave up on M.A.N.T.I.S. over on Fox, but found myself more intrigued by Earth 2.

What a fascinating and sophisticated look at a science fiction world. It was so much more realistic and grounded than the Star Trek series could ever be. The characters were horribly flawed and they felt much more human. As expected, the show failed, but not before I got 22 great episodes that still resonate in my memory.

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Gone Too Soon: Firefly

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 14th 2009 11:02AM
Firefly
When I first started exploring this project, there were a few shows that I knew were going to be important to hit. This is the first of those. Firefly was Joss Whedon's sci-fi western series. The show mustered disappointing ratings in its short eleven-episode run on FOX.

Since then it's gone on to near mythic cult status. There was such an outcry of support from its loyalists, the Browncoats, over its cancellation that the producers made a feature film sequel. That movie, Serenity, answered a lot of questions about the future fate of the cast. Unfortunately, like the television series, it couldn't find quite enough people to show up and tune in to warrant a sequel. Nevertheless, the few morsels of Firefly we did get are enough to prove that this is one of the most innovative and enjoyable series ever to hit the airwaves.

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Gone Too Soon: Andy Richter Controls the Universe

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 7th 2009 11:03AM
Andy Richter Controls the Universe
When Andy Richter left Late Night With Conan O'Brien to establish his own career in acting, nobody knew that he'd come full circle and rejoin O'Brien years later. At the same time, nobody knew that creator Victor Fresco would do much the same thing.

Andy Richter Controls the Universe was one of those quirky shows that most people, who enjoy a dash of nonsense in their comedy, really dug. It was a very playful show about a guy working in a massive company. It featured a small ensemble with great chemistry on-screen, and had a unique look at big corporations.

A few years later, Fresco tapped that well again, and we got Better Off Ted, another comedy with absurdist tendencies set in a massive corporation with a small cast. Like Andy, it eked out a second season based more on critical acclaim than ratings. As someone who enjoys both shows, I find myself worrying that Ted will share Andy's ultimate fate, cancellation after the second season.

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Gone Too Soon: My So-Called Life

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 31st 2009 2:40PM
My So-Called Life
With the news coming down this week that MTV is adapting the UK's teen sensation Skins for American audiences, it became obvious which show I was going to do next for this column. The thing about Skins that works so well is that it rings of authenticity, which is rare in teen programming. It also features teenagers who are truly acting their age; no old dudes with male pattern baldness pretending to be high school sophomores.

We've seen all this before. A long time ago, before The WB and UPN built programming models for teen audiences, there was a little show on ABC that nobody really knew what to do with. My So-Called Life tackled teen issues, not in "a very special episode" way, but in a raw, unfiltered way. It was wonderful.

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Gone Too Soon: Journeyman

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 24th 2009 2:02PM
Journeyman
I was trying to figure out what show to spotlight for the second "Gone Too Soon" column. As a general rule, I want to give a show a few years off the air before I delve into it. That gives the creators and producers a chance to try and continue the story, if they're interested in doing so, and it gives the actors a chance to move on. Then I read the news that they're going to adapt The Time Traveler's Wife to television, and it hit me.

A man disappearing from his wife to travel through time, and struggling to fix his home life as he went along? That sounded awfully familiar, and to a lot of you, as well, if your comments are any indication. So even though Journeyman's finale aired less than two years ago, it's time we honored it for the great show it was ... a show, unfortunately, about two years ahead of its time.

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Gone Too Soon: Carnivàle

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 17th 2009 10:02AM
CarnivaleLong-time readers of this site might remember the recurring feature "Short-Lived Shows." While this column may bear a resemblance to that beloved early TV Squad staple, there are notable differences. In particular, I'll be going much more in-depth about the show's fate, its cast, continuing fan support, and possible story continuations in different mediums.

Also, to make this column, a show must have actually been good. Shows that are canceled and deserve it certainly aren't "Gone Too Soon." They're perhaps not gone soon enough. Furthermore, a GTS could just as easily have been on the air for years before ending abruptly. If I'm sitting here wondering what happens next and now I'm never going to find out, that's gone too soon.

Which brings us to our first entry. HBO is known for groundbreaking television, but even they didn't know how much ground they broke with Carnivàle in September 2003. On the surface, it was yet another brilliantly produced period piece, perfectly capturing the look and feel of the Great Depression era United States. Underneath, it was nothing short of the epic struggle between good and evil.

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