November 12, 2013 via Pepsi
Five TV Shows That Ended Too Early
With so many television shows ending of late, we got to thinking about the ones that weren’t given the same honor. In the cutthroat world of TV it’s all about the ratings, regardless of critical reception and a loyal fan-base. Cancellations happen—sometimes even mid-season, leaving plot lines unfinished and an unsatisfied hunger for what might have been. Some of our favorite shows are the ones that were cut before they had a chance to bloom. An early ending even has the power to propel a show towards cult-status regardless of whether it actually deserves it or not; without seeing the story develop fully, we often assume the best outcome. On the contrary, if left on the air too long a show can eventually nose dive and undo what made it so great to begin with (ahem, Dexter). Here’s our list of five TV shows that ended before their time was up.
Twin Peaks is one of those rarities of television that just keeps coming back. Over 20 years old, the show originally aired for a two-season run from 1990 to 1991. David Lynch’s masterpiece revolves around a small town murder mystery where local prom queen Laura Palmer winds up dead and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate. With typically Lynchian characters and bizarre subplots, Twin Peaks is so strange it’s sure to stand out. After ratings dropped once Laura’s killer was named, ABC forced Lynch and co-writer Mark Frost to wind up the series in an abrupt and somewhat unsatisfying ending. Lynch was so frustrated with the outcome he released a film two years later that tied up loose ends. Twin Peaks is available for instant streaming on Netflix, as is Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me if you’re in it for the follow-up film.
Freaks and Geeks
Produced by a then-unknown Judd Apatow in 1999, Freaks and Geeks got caught up in one of TV’s most disastrous recipes for failure: an awkward time slot. It’s enough to give a good show with a loyal fan-base terrible ratings. Launching the careers of most of its cast including Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and James Franco, the ‘80s-set high school comedy felt like a trip back to class that actually seemed real. Revolving around a brother-sister combo and their respective groups of misfit friends, the show followed Lindsay’s group, ie. the “freaks” and Sam’s, AKA the “geeks.” Drawing comparisons between dropouts and nerds that never seemed so obvious, the show was a breath of fresh air both in its representation of high school and its hilarious—and now famous—Apatow humor. Cut short after only one season, the show remains a cult favorite relegated to late-night re-runs. Since Apatow hit the big time rumors have been flying around for years of a revival. Here’s hoping those rumors become headlines.
Set in Deadwood, South Dakota in the late 1800s, this HBO drama series follows an ensemble cast as they go about their lives in the corrupt Western town. Interweaving fact and fiction through characters and events from this real-life place, the show delves beneath the skin of society and observes human behavior through crime and corruption. Known for its colorful language and gritty portrayal of the era, Deadwood won numerous Emmys and was a critics-pick. After three seasons the show was cancelled by HBO. The network said the show was just too expensive to produce, leaving fans unsatisfied with the ending since.
Cancelled after two short seasons, Party Down revolves around a Los Angeles catering company, staffed entirely by aspiring actors and writers waiting for their big break. The comedy’s thick sarcasm, lovingly self-deprecating characters, and realistic irony was like Los Angeles’ nod to Woody Allen. Each episode centers on a different party that the group has to cater, introducing new supporting characters and cringe-worthy scenarios every week. Only a few years old, the show stars a who’s who of strong comedic actors breaking into the spotlight over the course of the last few years– Glee’s Jane Lynch and Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott both play lead roles. Although it was well received critically, low ratings and losing Jane Lynch and Adam Scott to their respective burgeoning shows were deciding factors in its demise. Check out Party Down on Netflix, and familiarize yourself with a good money-making scheme if you’re an aspiring Hollywood actor.
Another HBO period production, Carnivàle was a short-lived series centered on a traveling carnival during the Great Depression. Archetypal fairy-tale themes like magic and the battle between good and evil kept the series rich in plot, but confusing for viewers at times. Originally planned for a six-season run, HBO pulled the plug after only two seasons due to high production costs and a flailing viewership. Although the show was never given a proper finale, the creator Daniel Knauf soothed fans’ distress by offering up details of the immediate fate of major characters and a “pitch document” that provided extensive background information on the show, answering many of Carnivàle’s mysteries. Check out Carnivàle on Netflix.