All Your Favorite Shows Will Be Cancelled And Dumber Ones Will Continue To Air: An Exercise In Futile Indignation
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All Your Favorite Shows Will Be Cancelled And Dumber Ones Will Continue To Air: An Exercise In Futile Indignation

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | July 24, 2013 | Comments ()

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“Freeks And Geeks” (18 episodes) vs. “The Big Bang Theory” (135 episodes and counting)
I’ve agreed with many who say that “The Big Bang Theory” makes for benignly enjoyable background entertainment. Sure, fine. But as a decent or at all enjoyable representative of geek culture? No, I gotta side with the folks who fling around that “geek minstrel show” label. It’s not great. It’s not even good. But we all know what was great. Bill, Neal and Sam talking “Star Wars” and stand-up comedians and generally doing their damndest to represent the geeks. (Much love to the freaks as well.) And, with apologies to “Community,” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finer game of D&D played on-screen. Long live Carlos The Dwarf and his many friends.
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“Veronica Mars” (64 episodes) vs. “Covert Affairs” (44 episodes and counting)
We can argue the (de)merits of “Veronica Mars” Season Three later, but for now I have a question for you: Who would you rather see be all Sassy Blonde Spitfire Spy? Kristen Bell or Coyote Ugly up there? I thought so. Sure, at the moment, Veronica has got a slight lead on “Covert Affairs” episode-countwise. But this is the USA Network we’re talking about. That damn show is going to run forever. And it chafes because if you’ve seen the trailer for “Veronica Mars” Season Four, you know what might have been. At least we have the movie, marshmallows. At least we have that.
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“Firefly” (14 episodes) vs. “Revolution” (20 episodes and counting):
Is it fair to compare the futuristic old-timey Western vibe of “Firefly” with the hopelessly confused yet futuristic old-timey vibe of “Revolution”? Probably not. But I think we can all agree that it’s a gorram crime that anything as terrible as Someone Turned The Lights Off In The Future was renewed and “Firefly” didn’t even get to play out a full-length season.
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“Terriers” (13 episodes) vs. “Psych” (109 episodes and counting)
Wait up, straight up, hold up “Psych” lovers. You know I’m with you. I too love Shaun and Gus. But “Psych” is, you have to agree, a dumber than the magnificently dry and poignant “Terriers.” “Joanna!” you cry, “that’s like comparing apples to oranges!” But that’s sort of the whole point. Why is it that the shiny bright apples always get so much love when the oranges are much juicier? Once again, all due respect to Shaun and Gus, but it was Britt and Hank I fell in love with and 13 episodes just wasn’t enough.
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“Dead Like Me” (29 episodes) vs. “Touched By An Angel” (211 f*cking episodes)
TWO HUNDRED AND ELEVEN F*CKING EPISODES? Someone get me a waffle, stat.
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“Undeclared” (17 episodes) vs. “Greek” (74 episodes)
“Greek” is another one of those benignly inoffensive shows. An early ABC Family experiment it followed the lives and loves of some generically quirky college kids. Onthe other hand, “Undeclared” (much like “Freaks and Geeks” before it) was a hot bed of future talent. So yeah, I’d trade every single year of “Greek” for one more semester with Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam, Loudon Wainwright and that pillow with Jason Segel’s face on it.
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“My So-Called Life” (19 episodes) vs. “The Secret Life Of The American Teenager” (121 episodes)
You know what the secret life of the American teenager is? It’s zits and boys who lean and boiler rooms and being gay and having terrible mothers and having too-perfect mothers and frustration and introspection and bad grades and NOT whatever it is Shailene Woodley and her gaggle of lip glossed, spray-tanned assholes get up to. Man, 121 episodes? ABC Family must have really low standa-aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
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“Bunheads” (18 episodes) vs. “Glee” (88 episodes and counting)
Because no. They cancelled something. They cancelled the best thing they ever had. Out of deference to the recent tragedy in the “Glee” cast, I’m not going to pile on as I otherwise might. But the idea that that show which has no idea how to subtly and effectively use performance to channel the pain and frustration of being a young girl growing up too fast or a woman growing up all at once still gets a chance and “Bunheads” is over just breaks my TV snob heart into a million tiny pieces. Amanda has written a much lovelier and thorough piece on the recently departed ABC Family show, here. I urge you to check it out and wail with your fellow “Bunheads”-heads in the comments.
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In the meantime, we’ll let Michelle play us out. Because, for a time, all these dearly departed shows belonged to me. Just to little old me.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • You know what I just realized? If Firefly aired today it would be an EFFING SMASH HIT

    (...enough to stay on air, at least. cause geeks have taken over the world).

  • Scott Barrois

    When i think of a show i loved that was cancelled too soon i think of Terriers. It might have been my most prolific TV by appointment experience ever (i refuse to own a DVR.) i watched cuz i was a fan of the Shield and also cuz i recognized Donal Logue from other things and always thought he was enjoyable. but the first few weeks i only had one foot still on the Dock and couldn't get all the way into the boat. but then episode 4 Fustercluck happened and I was hooked. Like a good chess player it confused me with it's movements and Ep 4 was it taking my queen, cuz at that point it was dictating the flow of the game and all i could do was watch my cynicism get checkmated. i remember reading on it got cancelled and i wasn't mad cuz if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt it's john landgraf but i was pretty bummed. but at least FX had the decency to finish it and the rest of that show was just awesome wall to wall.

  • e jerry powell

    I admit it: I was about to write this list off, but then you had to go and bring up Dead Like Me and my heart broke.

    I never thought I could hate a premium cable network more than I hated Showtime. I couldn't until the spring of 2005, when HBO ripped off Daniel Knauf's balls and pulled all his internal organs out through the gaping hole in his groin, that is.

    Sometimes I can't tell who's dumber, the programming execs at Showtime and HBO, or...

    Well, I guess I have to leave it at that, because we know that in the battle of entertainment stupidity, programming execs at the terrestrial broadcasters will always win going away.

  • Brown

    I finally watched Undeclared, and I was underwhelmed. I pretty much would have taken the Freaks and Geeks cast on a one to one basis versus the cast of Undeclared with only a couple of actors being worthy of being added to Freaks and Geeks. It wasn't terrible by any means, but based on what I heard about the show I had higher hopes. It was like thinking it would be an 8 and holding out for a 9 and yet getting very much a 6-7.

  • LwoodPDowd

    You recognize that Psych and Terriers are different vehicles, so why not do a more apples to apples comparison with Terriers. The Mentalist (116 episodes)

  • babykangarootribbiani

    I agree that now when I want to bash Glee, I hesitate, may Cory Monteith rest in peace. However, Bunheads is one of the few shows on TV that actually its teenage characters act like teenagers, and the only other shows that do that right now are awkward and maybe the carrie diaries. The only thing like it out there is Gilmore Girls itself and that;s been off for six years. And it really depresses me that even in generation click with so much social media and a lot more resources to rally support for a floundering show, shows that have loyal fan bases can still be cancelled when it;s like obviously someone is watching them! Then again, someone has to be watching secret life, otherwise HOW HAS IT BEEN ON FIVE YEARS?!
    and that is always my thought watching freaks and geeks. not nescessarily about the big bang theory, but i can watch just one episode of freaks and geeks and think "they canned this after eighteen episodes and two and a half men has been on for eleven years?"

  • DataAngel

    Homicide: Life on the Streets. Now we've got too many cop shows and none of them are as well-written or well-acted.

  • DuBois

    Homicide is my favorite drama from the broadcast networks ever, and I suspect that it always will be. (Oh, well Freaks and Geeks, which was more or less a drama, comes close.)

  • toblerone


  • DataAngel

    Which is also dead. Honeybooboo is why we can't have nice things.

  • cece

    Heart. Broken. Fare thee well Michelle, Truly, Sasha, Boo, Ginny, Mel and the divine Madame Fanny.

  • Guest

    Wait, is that Kate Hudson? I need to watch me some Bunheads.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Yes, that is indeed Kate, but it's from Glee. I don't watch that trainwreck, but the internet tried to make a big deal out of her guest spot.

  • Greg!

    "“Psych” is, you have to agree, a dumber than the magnificently dry and poignant “Terriers."" Your article is as out of line as the article in this sentence.

  • TK the Other (de-lurking)

    My world would have been better not having seen the VM season 4 pilot/promo-y thing. Yes, we're getting a movie, but we're NOT getting a season of WALTON GOGGINS as Veronica's boss. Cruel world, indeed.

  • rob

    Stop trying to make Bunheads happen. It's not going to happen

  • Kobie

    I had never heard of Bunheads before it got shit-canned.

  • Mrs. Julien

    This does seem a missed photographic opportunity to delight in the way Jordan Catalano leans.

  • oilybohunk7

    I still weep for My So Called Life.

  • ayfray

    Didn't My So-Called Life stop because Claire Daines didn't want to do a second season?

  • Nope. Canceled due to low ratings by ABC. :(

  • "Someone get me a waffle, stat."
    I love you, Joanna, and I want to have your babies.
    "Medically impossible" you say? "F*ck you!" I say. You do not know the depths of my deranged, grim-reaper-inspired love.

  • BuffyloGal

    There's a reason I've given up on commercial TV. This article explains it all. I will be streaming on Netflix if anyone needs me.

  • psykins

    Haven't seen it...but I just can't believe that Bunheads could be better than Switched at Birth, which I humbly submit as ABC Family's best show. The awareness that SaB brings to deaf culture is a feat in and of itself, but it also manages to have characters that act like real people and face real consequences for their actions

  • NateMan

    Psych has gotta end. The first few seasons were great. Now (well, when I still bothered to watch at the beginning of the season) I just stared at the screen and 5 minutes after it ended I had no clue what happened, and didn't care even a little bit. Shawn, Gus, Lassie, you rocked for a while, but it's time to fade away.

  • PaddyDog

    Oh how I love that ukulele scene. It is so wonderful and could never happen on any other show.....sob

  • Fredo

    "Life is unfair...."

    OTOH, look at the improvements:

    - Orphan Black over Dollhouse.
    - Justified over Walker, Texas Ranger
    - Archer over Family Guy

    So it's not all bad.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Some points taken there, for sure, but WTR ran for 200+ episodes and Justified has only aired 40 something. It will never get to 200+ (nor should it, because then it would be in danger of becoming a Show That Wears Out Its Welcome.)

    But Orphan Black over Dollhouse? I thank my lucky stars every day.

  • Michelle

    Why do I always feel like I'm constantly defending Dollhouse? Is it really more terrible than I remember?

  • emmalita

    Dollhouse wasn't terrible, but Eliza Dushku was often painful. She had moments of goodness and a couple moments of greatness, but not as often as the supporting cast. Dollhouse could have been much better and I think part of the problem was the star.

  • AnnaKendrick'sLoveMuffin

    Is Walker, Texas Ranger the first show to punch the shark?

  • TheAggroCraig

    Roundhouse kicked the shark. In slow motion. From three different angles.

  • NateMan

    Hey, Dollhouse rocked. At least once they stopped paying attention to Dushku.

  • lowercase_ryan

    You had to bring up Terriers huh? I've come to grips with Firefly, made my peace and all. But I think Terriers is going to sting for a long, long time.

    Unless Donal Logue's run on Copper lasts like 4 seasons. Which I doubt.

  • It would be sweet if Michael Raymond James made an appearance on Copper while Logue is on. ;) (or SoA or Vikings or whatever)

  • URnotright

    Pre-Terriers they guest starred on a season 2 episode of "Life." A nice surprise and a bit of pre-nostalgia. ... Life needs to be added too.

  • What?!? How did I not know this? Now I'll have to go re-watch Life.

  • apsutter

    Revolution is absolute, pure dreck in it's purest form.

  • DuBois

    I was gone after the pilot, or maybe 2 episodes... part of my problem with it was its casting... the only actor who appealed to me was Giancarlo Espositio.

    It's odd to me that Abrams and co. would choose such an uncharismatic cast, especially compared to the actors in Lost. (I have my issues with Lost (mainly with the finale), but my point is, the show had a strong cast, and there's no reason Revolution couldn't have as well.

  • Fredo

    Yeah, I tried to stick with it due to my respect for what Kripke did with Supernatural's 5 good seasons, but I couldn't make it halfway before bailing. That show sucked and not even Gus Fring could overcome the black hole of suck that was the lead actors.

  • TCH

    TERRIERS!!!!! WHY!!???!!!

  • rio

    Hey now, Greek was actually cute. So back off. Also my heart is broken, how the heck am I gonna go on knowing that in the universe Ginny is still heartbroken?? I wanna kill her banana!

  • Ruthie O

    Yeah, I agree about Greek. Actually, in the past year, I've marathoned both Greek and Undeclared thanks to Netflix. And while yes, Undeclared has a ton of talent, I cared about the characters on Greek more. Sure, it was soap-operay, but the backstories and family lives of the characters were clearly drawn. Hell, by the end of the series, I was actually rooting for Rebecca Logan, the "queen bitch" of the show.

    However, the best college life show I have ever seen was never on television: the webseries Dorm Life from a few years back. So fun, hilarious, and wonderfully accurate.

  • alwaysanswerb

    OMG Dorm Life!!

  • Ruthie O

    Right?! I started watching it after posting that comment, and man, Dorm Life is still hilarious on its third viewing.

  • apsutter

    Yea, I enjoyed Greek for a couple seasons. It was actually pretty funny and sweet most of the time.

  • toblerone

    Dead Like Me did get 2 season and a movie.

    *After Bryan Fuller left the show (he was shit canned or left willingly depending on who's side your on) it went on a pretty steady downward slope so I was glad when it was canceled and mourn the show it could have been.

    No Wonderfalls ( 4 aired / 13 total) vs Joan of Arcadia (45) comparison?

    *Yes If you assume the Wax Lion was God and Jaye wasn't just the universe's bitch.

  • DuBois

    No, because there's no good reason to disrespect JoA.

  • Oh, Wonderfalls... I miss you so. And Pushing Daisies...

  • Nina

    Pushing Daisies! *sob* My heart still breaks over that cancellation.

  • Lovely Bones

    I stand by my feelings that Dead Like Me was better after Fuller left, and that doesn't mean I love Fuller any less.

  • ljridley

    Dead Like Me got 2 seasons. I do NOT acknowledge that....whatever that was.

  • Indeed. That-which-shall-not-be-named was not worthy to share the title.

  • toblerone

    But it had Desmond!!! Yeah it was sh*t.

  • apsutter

    I still don't get the love for Dead Like Me. I thought I would love it and I really tried. But the main girl is just awful...I could not overcome it.

  • llp

    The whole thing was worth it for Callum Blue. "I've got illegals in my bottom." It was glorious.

  • NateMan

    I loved the show, but about 50% agree on Georgia. She could be incredibly whiny and annoying.

  • toblerone

    I don't even know how to respond that. I fell in love with Georgia / Ellen Muth instantly and she is #3 on my list of great Television loves (behind Jaye and Britta).

  • toblerone

    And Better off Ted vs The Office. Discuss.

  • I've just gotten sucked into the world of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, and holy shit! This show is waaaaaaay better than I ever expected it could be. How the hell did it get cancelled after a season and a half? I would have liked to see that show up on here as well!

  • Michelle

    I'm happy to hear this - this show is next on my list of shows I must obsess-watch. (Must. Finish. BSG. First.)

  • NateMan

    First season was amazing, 2nd got weird - and the ending just confused me, though I was very drunk while viewing. It had so much potential. It saddens me too.

  • John W

    I think they ended it that way because they knew they were going to be cancelled.

    I thought the show was awesome. It was a better show than Dollhouse which took over its time slot.

  • Krystle Noonan

    I agree with all of that except I Love both Big Bang Theory & Freeks and Geeks

  • llp

    Who downvotes someone talking about what they like? Honestly.

  • Krystle Noonan

    I am not down voting I am giving my opinion. I am not judging them for their choices just saying I like Big Bang Theory and Freeks & Geeks.. Honestly. Who down votes someones opinion?

  • llp

    I know - that's what I meant.

  • Mrcreosote

    Modern Family vs. Happy Endings. MF started out strong and devolved into a painful, unfunny drawn out mess. Happy Endings had one of the stupidest pilots EVAH, yet it got stronger and stronger. So of course it had to die so that Celebrity Wife Swap could be aired.

    Year of Penny MY ASS!!

  • apsutter

    I actually liked the pilot. I binge watched season 1 and loved it from the start. The table scene at Penny's birthday had me laughing so hard.

  • Berry

    Who's Michael Jordan?

  • Natallica

    I was so, SO happy when Ellen Muth showed up on "Hannibal". I loved "Dead like me" and I thought she was insanely talented as George. Oh, and they decided to call her character on "Hannibal" Georgia. I thought it was cute.

  • Guest

    It gets better still. The character's name was "Georgia Mädchen". "Mädchen" is German for "young woman", so the character's name is essentially the same as "Georgia Lass".

  • Bedewcrock

    She did? How did she look? I was so worried about her on "Dead Like Me" because by Season 2 it appeared she had a pretty bad eating disorder (ala Tracey Gold from "Growing Pains").

  • Natallica

    POSSIBLE SPOILER. She looked like this. She played a mentally ill woman who thought she was dead and became a serial killer:

  • Anni

    Better yet, Georgia MÄDCHEN, which is lass in German.

  • Ian Fay

    Hey, Covert Affairs got really good last season.

  • Covert Affairs is enjoyable but the pacing is all wrong, the dialogue is clunky and the plot has holes so large you could put rocks through them. It's very endearing/enjoyable and I love Annie/Auggie, but...let's be real here

  • cecicijywop

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    Haven't seen it...but I just
    can't believe that Bunheads could be better than Switched at Birth,
    which I humbly submit as ABC Family's best show. The awareness that SaB
    brings to deaf culture is a feat in and of itself, but it also manages
    to have characters that act like real people and face real consequences
    for their actions

  • Daniel Lewis

    Second on Covert Affairs being a good show

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