Sometimes shows go on a bit too long after losing direction or inspiration before they are cancelled. The X-Files, Alias, and Twin Peaks come to mind. But then sometimes they cancel a show while it's still in its creative prime.
One show that comes to mind in that regard is Lie To Me. Based, if loosely, on actual science, this show about a human lie detector had a number of well-defined and fascinating characters. Tim Roth played Cal Lightman, a behavioral psychologist specializing in microexpressions, especially as regards telling if someone is being truthful. Kelli Williams played his partner, a psychologist specializing in body language. Among the supporting characters, the standout for me was the luminous Hayley McFarland who played his daughter, the one person who had the power to read and confound him. Although she sometimes displayed the bad judgment and recklessness of youth, she could also display a wisdom well beyond her year when it came to her father.
I really miss this show. If you're unfamiliar with it and have Netflix, watch it there.
What is your story? (Let's stick with programs recent enough that someone in college today might have seen them.)
@ Steve "FOX is really great and not promoting and then canceling good shows"
Absolutely. They are 100 times worse than NBC on this account.
I agree 100%. There was an endless supply of storylines with that show, and it was just getting good when they pulled it.
Yup. Lie to me is one for me as well. Also, Dark Angel, Profiler, Pretender, Firefly, Heroes, Doll House, and Stargate Atlantis. Back in the late '90s, there was also Space: Above & Beyond, Millenium and VR5.
These were all shows that won awards after their 1st and/or 2nd seasons, then were suddenly cancelled after their 2nd season, or during (or after) their 3rd one ...
Addendum: at least Fringe was renewed for a 3rd season ...
The mention of Dollhouse reminds me of another one starring Eliza Dushku who is good no matter what she's in. I'm referring to a short-lived TV series named Tru Calling, where her character worked in a morgue and got requests from the dead for help. About halfway through each show the day would rewind to morning and she'd use the relived day to try to keep something bad from happening.
Firefly, Jericho and Flash Forward
Thanks for all the reminders of shows that died too young. I discovered Firefly after it was cancelled. If only it had been promoted better. I've been praying (yeah right) that SyFy would pick it up, but so far no.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was great. I'll watch anything with Summer Glau in it.
I liked The Event, but I had bad feelings about its survivability early on. I feared they had no idea where the show was going and were making things up as they went along. That's what I think happened with Twin Peaks. David Lynch just lost interest after a while. It's easier to keep episodic shows going longer than ones that are an ongoing story. Probably Alias is one of the non-episodic ongoing soap operat story-type shows that was successful the longest, because they kept changing the focus of the story.
The biggest problem with The Event, of course was: black President?! WTF! Never happen. LOL
Buffy and Angel I discovered after their run, and I wish there were more. I was always amazed at the makeup of the demons on the Buffy show. The show had a very low budget but managed to look presentable every time.
Also, Buffy had a couple classic and very creative episodes. Once More With Feeling, for one, which was a musical. Hush was another good one which was shot mostly in total silence. Then there was the season 5 opener, Buffy vs. Dracula, in which the only child Buffy suddenly has a younger sister who, apparently, has been part of her life and that of her friends all along.
Buffy was pure airheaded fun, but Angel, despite being a character from Buffy, was an almost totally different show. Much darker and contemplative. Angel is one of the all-time classic conflicted heroes.
I knew from the first episode that Flash Forward wouldn't make it.
It's very hard for the soap opera shows (the ones with a continuing story) to keep going unless they get a fantastic start.
Not really canceled, but I think writers just decided to stop making more seasons:
HBO – Flight of the Conchords