Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some Cancelled TV Shows

By Charlie Reese

Sometimes, a television series is cancelled before anyone in the series is ready for it to be. Cancelled TV shows are a part of life for networks that look to the ratings as their guide. Some series only last one or two seasons. In some cases, the shows have received critical acclaim and have a large fan base. Fans have mounted protest campaigns to bring a show back. Some have returned, only to flounder again. In the end, the viewing figures have to justify the enormous cost that goes into production. Working in TV is a precarious career and nothing can be taken for granted.

Cult followings may not be enough to save some productions but many cancelled TV shows will not be forgotten and they live on in re-runs and DVD releases. It's strange to think that the original Star Trek was axed despite the pleas of Trekkies everywhere. It debuted in 1966 on NBC and the first two seasons received Best Dramatic Series nominations. The final episode was broadcast in 1969. The series has now been remastered. Since then, the franchise has blossomed with Star Trek movies, and more TV series with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise. Trekkies now await the release of a new film based on this original show.

ABC premiered its drama, Day Break in 2006, only to air six episodes of the thirteen that were made. The unshown episodes were later broadcast on the TV One cable network. The plot's main character was detective Brett Hopper, played by Taye Diggs, previously seen in Private Practice. Hopper has been framed for murder and sets out to prove his innocence. The twist to the show was that the detective was in a time blip, as in Groundhog Day, and had to re-live the same day. A DVD of this one season cancelled television show is available with commentary from stars of the series.

Sometimes, a sequel does not have the same success as the original that inspired it. Nevertheless, Joey has a loyal following. A spin off from the mega hit Friends, Joey's debut was on NBC in 2004. It was cancelled in 2006 without finishing its run of episodes. The Joey Tribbiani character was reprised by Matt LeBlanc. Joey has re-located to Hollywood to further his movie ambitions and lives with his sister Gina (Drea de Matteo) and his nephew Michael (Paulo Costanzo). Old buddy David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller in Friends, lent his support by directing a couple of episodes. The axe still fell even after the show won the People's Choice Award for Favorite New Television comedy. The DVD of the first season is widely available but the second season DVD has limited distribution so far and has not been released in the USA or UK.

Arrested Development was a Fox sitcom, centering on the Bluth family. It ran from 2003 to 2006, winning 16 Emmy Awards and it broadcast around the world. The show's dysfunctional family could not be saved but there are plans for a movie version. Ron Howard was the Executive Producer and narrator for the cancelled TV show, which starred Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor and Portia de Rossi. Recurring roles were played by Ed Begley Jr, Henry Winkler and Liza Minnelli. - 16651

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