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October 4, 2015

Short-Lived Shows

Short-lived shows: Surface

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 11th 2008 2:01PM
SurfaceDon't you just hate it when you get hooked on a show and it's yanked unceremoniously off the air, leaving you hanging into infinity? Yeah, me, too. Such was the case with Surface, an alien-sea-monster-inspired drama that aired on NBC during the 2005-2006 season.

The series starred the soulful Lake Bell as Laura Daughtery, a marine biologist who encounters a strange creature on the ocean floor. She writes up her report, only to have it confiscated by the government in the name of national security.

Meanwhile, nerdy teen Miles (Carter Jenkins, whom I predict has a huge career ahead of him, though not if he keeps signing on for shows like the short-lived Viva Laughlin) stumbles across a strange egg on the beach and takes it home. Imagine his surprise when out hatches a weird amphibious creature that emits an even weirder electrical current.

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Two short-lived ABC shows coming to DVD

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 22nd 2007 3:28PM

Salvage 1When the Billy Bob Thornton movie The Astronaut Farmer came out, a lot of us were amazed how the plot sounded similar to Salvage 1, a TV movie and later short-lived series on ABC that starred Andy Griffith as the owner of a scrap and salvage company who builds a spaceship and goes to the moon. I don't think this show has been seen that much since the late 70s, but TVShowsOnDVD is hearing from a source that Sony is going to release the show (the pilot movie and all the episodes, including 4 never shown on ABC) some time in 2008.

But that's not the only DVD news that TV fans are going to be interested in...

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The Nine is resurrected for six episodes

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jul 6th 2007 8:01AM
The NineFans of ABC's canceled-too-soon series The Nine will be happy to know that the six unaired episodes of the series will see the light of the small screen this summer.

The series, starring actors such as Tim Daly, Chi McBride, John, Billingsley, and Kim Raver, will return to ABC in its old 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays timeslot starting August 1.

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Remember when FOX used to give shows a chance?

by Paul Goebel, posted May 1st 2007 1:56PM

Nathan Fillion at the precise moment he learned 'Drive' was canceled.I will never forget being in high school and hearing the news that a new network would soon be premiering. It was only going to be on a couple nights a week, but instead of airing reruns and crappy local shows, it would air all new programs; it was unprecedented.

That network was called FOX, and while many of the programs were of no interest to me, I was really impressed at how they followed through with their promises. Specifically, cutting edge programming and big budgets. I watched Al & Peg Bundy say things that my parents didn't want me to hear. I watched George C. Scott in the only sitcom he ever starred in. Most importantly, I was witness to the phenomenon that became The Simpsons.

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Short-Lived Shows: Salvage 1

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 26th 2007 3:01PM

Salvage 1I thought of this show a few weeks ago when I started to see the commercials for Billy Bob Thornton's new movie, The Astronaut Farmer, about a guy who builds his own rocket in his barn so he can blast into space.

Salvage 1 was a short-lived show that starred Andy Griffith as a salvager who sells scrap that he finds and goes on various adventures with his cohorts (rescuing people, battling fires, getting involved with crooks, that sort of thing). The series co-starred Joel Higgins (Silver Spoons), Trish Stewart (whatever happened to her?), and Richard Jaeckel (Spenser: For Hire), and it was based on a TV movie of the same name in which Griffith built a rocket on his own and blasted off into space.

I can't tell you how much I loved this movie when I was a teen. If you had asked me in the late 70s what the best movie of all time was, I probably would have said this one. Sadly, the show died after only a season and a half. It couldn't quite match the charm of the pilot, but was pretty darn entertaining.

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Short-Lived Shows: Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Feb 3rd 2007 6:02PM
Garth Marenghi's DarkplaceLast month, I started taking a course in basic video techniques. The first day of class, the professor gave us a large packet on all the number one no-no's of amateur filmmaking. The next evening, I happened upon a few episodes of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and suddenly, I saw everything in that twenty-four page packet spring to life before my very eyes. The hilariously cheesy effects, poor acting, and continuity so awful that it would have made even Ed Wood weep... Somehow, within six short episodes, this show had done every television "don't".

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Firefly's lost tapes of River Tam - VIDEO

by Kevin Kelly, posted Jan 12th 2007 3:02PM
lost tapes of river tamEver wonder what happened to River during all that time she was locked up in Alliance hands? Well, now you can see what happened if you watch the lost tapes from her "sessions." This almost amounts to torture for Firefly fans, because while we get some tantalizing background hints about River, it just makes Browncoats (like me) wish that this series would return.

Can't someone pony up the cash and get this great show back on the air, make a direct to DVD movie, or even a video podcast? I'd even settle for a traveling minstrel & puppet show at this point. Check out the never released grainy black & white footage after the jump. It features River (Summer Glau) and Joss Whedon himself playing her counselor.

(NOTE: The video below is currently shorter than it should be. We're working to get it fixed. Keep checking back.)
(UPDATE: Fixed now. Enjoy!)

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Short-Lived Shows: Small Wonder

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 13th 2006 12:01PM
Small WonderTechnically, this show may not have been short-lived enough. Small Wonder ran for four seasons - from '85 to '89 - in syndication. Whenever I am baffled by the popularity of tween vehicles like The Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, I just think of the inexplicably high ratings little robot Vicki got in her first year and the solid following that held on until the show's demise.

The show's conceit involved a robotics firm engineer designing an AI cast-off from Annie to come live with his family. The robot was a "Voice Input Child Indenticant." VICI. Vicki. You get it. The Lawson family had quite a time trying to keep the monotoned Vicki's origins a secret from those pesky Brindles next door. They couldn't possibly destroy the adorable bundle of bolts that Dad had so lovingly (and sorta creepily if you think about it) put together and kept at home long past her beta-testing date.

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Short-Lived Shows: The Adventures of Pete & Pete

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 9th 2006 9:25AM
Adventures of Pete & PeteRemember the days when alternative music and indie movies were actually alternative and independent? When I was in high school in the late 80s and early 90s, you got beat up for liking Hal Hartley movies, listening to bands from Athens and thinking Crispin Glover was the best part of Back to the Future. Members of Generation X that had taken a liking to punk rock or arty movies had to wait until college to find like-minded folks. This may, of course, be my romanticizing memory at work, but if your glory days were anything like mine, than The Adventures of Pete & Pete was your show.

The Nickelodeon show started out as a series of shorts and developed into a show which ran for three seasons between 1993 and 1996. The show's eccentric cast of characters included two brothers named Pete, their mom, the metal plate inside mom's head, dad, the eldest Pete's best friend Ellen, Artie the strongest man in the world and little Pete's tattoo Petunia. The show followed the kids' adventures in the suburban town of Wellsville.

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Short-Lived Shows: Sonny Spoon

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 7th 2006 10:07AM

Sonny SpoonHey, say that headline 5 times real fast.

I was watching Ebert & Roeper this weekend, and the fill-in for Ebert (he should be back in 2007) was actor and director Mario Van Peebles, who most recently won acclaim for directing the movie Baadasssss!, playing Malcolm X in Ali, and as a cast member on the show Rude Awakening a few years back. But back in the late 80s he starred in a really fun Stephen J. Cannell show titled Sonny Spoon, about a con man who helps people (and himself) out of various jams. He used his connections on the street, the help of a bar owner (real-life dad Melvin Van Peebles), and, best of all, several disguises to solve the crime. You don't see that enough on television these days, people using funky disguises. I think some of the heist shows have used them here and there, but it was a major part of Sonny Spoon. And the show was hip without being annoying, and was just really entertaining.

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Short-Lived Shows: Cop Rock

by Richard Keller, posted Nov 6th 2006 9:32AM

Cop RockAll right, let's get into this Cop Rock thing that the A.V. Club has just mentioned as one of the top "lamentably lost" television shows. Trust me folks, the show was not something to lament about. In fact, I'm sure there are people out there who wish the show would just be lost and buried deep into the ground.

I guess you could say that the concept of the show was unique. Created by Steven Bochco, who was known as the driving force behind the police drama Hill Street Blues, Cop Rock combined said police drama with musical theater. Each episode of the short-lived series, which ran on ABC from September to December of 1990, began with a music-video style credit sequence with theme music by Randy Newman. Then, throughout each week's program, characters would break out in song and dance during the middle of a scene. For example, a jury would sing out "He's Guilty" in Gospel format, or a lineup of Hispanic suspects would proclaim racial discrimination in a pithy little ditty.

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Is there a connection between Lost and The New People?

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 26th 2006 9:19AM

The New PeopleThe New People was a short-lived (17 episodes) Aaron Spelling drama that aired on ABC in late 1969/early 1970. It didn't have any name stars, but guest stars included Richard Dreyfus, Richard Kiley, and Tyne Daly. It was about a group of 40 college students involved in a plane crash and find themselves trapped on an island named Bomano. The island is deserted, but has buildings, supplies, and roads.

Some people wonder if Lost owes a little bit to this show. The setup is the same (a plane crash on an island where people start a new society), and weren't there originally 40 survivors of the Lost plane crash? The phrase "the new people" sounds a lot like "the Others." And Rod Serling created the show and wrote the first ep under a pseudonym, and J.J. Abrams has said many times that he's a huge Rod Serling/Twilight Zone fan. Alas, there is no connection. They didn't even know about the show before, and producer Damon Lindelof wishes he had known about it before so he could have named Charlie's band The New People instead of Drive Shaft. Heh.

After the jump, a video from the pilot episode. It's very 60s. Bonus: old commericals and the theme song, sung by The First Edition, with Kenny Rogers! Groovy.

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Short-Lived Shows: Foofur

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 22nd 2006 3:01PM

foofurThe creation of Foofur, a Saturday morning cartoon that ran on NBC for two seasons starting in 1986, is typically credited to Freddy Monnickendam, the man who helped bring The Smurfs to American television and who later created The Snorks. However, Don Markstein of Toonopedia writes that the cartoon is more precisely attributed to Phil Mendez, who created Kissyfur one year earlier. Whoever created it, Foofur was a staple of my Saturday mornings, and I was glad to find a few episodes on YouTube.

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Short-Lived Shows: Outlaws

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 18th 2006 9:39AM

Rod TaylorThis show only last 11 episodes, in 1986-87, but they're episodes I remember fondly.

In 1886 Texas, Sheriff John Grail tracks down four outlaw cowboys. Before anything can happen, a weird force comes out of the sky and zaps them to 1986! When they get there, they form a detective agency and solve crimes (OK, not right away, but they find it's the only thing they can do), all the while trying to adjust to all the new inventions and culture of the modern world.

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Short-Lived Shows: Voyagers!

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 6th 2006 9:01AM

voyagersThe cool thing about portraying time travel, whether it be in books, movies, or television, is that no one has figured out how to do it in real life so you can pretty much just make it up as you go along. It's not as if there are people at home who have actually time traveled yelling at the screen: "Damn it! That's not how we did it when we went back in time and used Marie Antoinette's head as a soccer ball!" That is, however, a line from my new screenplay about time travelers who go back in time for the sole purpose of kicking around severed heads. It's called The People Who Go Back in Time and Kick Severed Heads Around.

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