Best of TV 2006 – Best Show Cancelled Before its Time

December 20, 2006

This category is to honour shows that the networks didn’t give a fair shake to find an audience and was cancelled in advance of completing a full season.

The nominees are:

  • Day Break
  • Kidnapped
  • The Nine
  • Smith
  • Vanished

The season started so promising with all sorts of new serialized dramas, a welcome change from the glut of procedurals, reality shows and game shows that have invaded the airways.  Now here we are part way through the new season and there have been lots of casualties.

I only watched the first few episodes of Day Break but I liked the premise, I liked Taye Diggs and even more important I liked that the show was finite – 13 episodes and it was going to be over.  The perfect way to fill in the time until Lost returns.  Still ABC couldn’t even commit to running the show for that time frame and ABC has no plans to air the remaining episodes.   It will air much better on DVD.

Kidnapped was also a great show with a finite premise.  I give credit to NBC for committing to finishing the show even after it was cancelled to provide its audience with closure.  After being exiled from Wednesday to Saturday night the show was taken off the air.  The remaining episodes are airing on

The Nine was selected by many critics as the best show of the year.  I liked the concept of a bank robbery which bound hostages together after the crisis was over and a mystery as to what really happened in the bank.  The show was supported by a great cast of TV actors including Scott Wolf, Chi McBride and Tim Daly.  It was also given the perfect timeslot after Lost.  The problem I had was in the execution of the premise which was frankly kind of boring.  Still, I would have liked to see how the show resolved itself.

Smith was a great show on the wrong network.  CBS doesn’t have patience for non-procedurals (the relatively mediocre Jericho being the exception) and this show was as far as possible from the standard fare that fits the CBS demographic.  With name actors, amoral characters and slick filming this show had great potential.  Unfortunately it got pulled after 3 episodes.  CBS put the unaired episodes on its web site and published the synopsis of the next dozen or so episodes but seeing what could have been only made the disappointment worse.

Vanished had some of the worst dialogue on TV, and acting by its lead that could at best be called wooden.  Still there was something that made me watch this conspiracy show week after week.  Just as they killed off the main character and replaced him with Eddie Cibrian who I like, the show got pulled.  The remaining episodes are airing on MySpace.

The winner is:  Kidnapped (NBC).

3 LBS – Season 1, Episode 1

November 16, 2006

I’m getting much less tolerant in my old age. I used to give most new shows at least 3 episodes to decide if it was worth my time. With so many shows that I like and a growing queue of TV on DVD to watch, one episode was enough to tell me that this show isn’t worth my time. I like Stanley Tucci and have been a fan since his brilliant work on Murder One and he’s pretty good on the show. The problem is the dialogue is terrible: “I can’t cut into someone’s brain until I cut into their soul”. Yeah, that’s pretty much a direct quote. The characters are at this point cliched for TV – the tortured, cold, brilliant doctor. The formula is also likely to follow the brain surgery patient of the week like all procedurals.

Don’t just believe me, here’s a link to a bunch of reviews aggregated at Aint it Cool News that concur with my opinion.

Here’s the other reason why I’m not giving this show a bit more of a chance. CBS cancelled the innovative Smith in favour of this formulaic 3 LBS thereby keeping the network’s strategy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as it becomes the all procedural network. I do take pleasure in the show having ratings down 8.33% in households and 17.14% in adults 18-49 from where Smith was. Take that CBS.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C+

TV News: Studio 60 and Men With Trees Picked Up, Six Degrees Almost Cancelled, Jericho Takes a Break and Smith Stream Online

November 10, 2006

It seems like it’s coming down to the wire but lots of news about full season pick ups, hiatuses and Lost-like scheduling.

  •  Studio 60 gets a full season – I haven’t been shy in my criticism of the show but there’s a lot of potential so I’m glad it’s being given the chance to get better.
  • Men with Trees Gets a Full Season but it’s in Six Degrees’ time slot – I don’t watch either of these shows.  I tried them both but neither resonated with me.  I thought Six Degrees had potential but after a few viewings it didn’t look like it was going to live up to its interesting premise.  I’ll be shocked if its hiatus doesn’t really mean that Six Degrees is cancelled.
  • Jericho is going to split its season to run uninterrupted – Jericho’s fall season will end November 29th and the show will return for a winter season February 21.  I like this format for shows like Jericho and Lost.  It lets the show keep momentum by keeping you intersted week to week.  If you care (I don’t) King of Queens will air in Jericho’s time slot.
  • Unaired Smith episodes are going to stream online at – I really liked this show and was disappointed when Smith was cancelled.  From my original posting it was clear that lots of people agreed.  You’ll have the chance to see for yourself the direction the show was headed when they put all 7 episodes and a synopsis of where the show was going on

Fall Season 2006 – How it’s Going So Far

October 30, 2006

In September I launched this blog looking ahead to a season that was ripe with promise.  Lots of new, interesting and diverse shows that catered to the TV snob in me who hates procedurals with their “fill in the blank” of the week premises and favours complex serial shows that require a weekly committment.

So here we are 6 weeks into the new season and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag using this moment as a checkpoint. 

Let’s start with the Good.  Two of my favourite shows on the air right now started this season – Heroes and Friday Night Lights.  Unfortunately at this time only Heroes has been given a full season while Friday Night Lights struggles.  Hopefully the order for extra scripts means NBC is going to give it a chance to grow.  Brothers & Sisters is also starting to grow on me after a pretty rocky start.  If you are not watching any of these shows, please start now, especially Friday Night Lights.

I’m going to give honorable mention to Jericho and The Nine, the first of which has been given a full season and the latter which also has a script order.  I like both shows but there’s something about each that keeps them off my “must see” list.  For Jericho, I love the premise and the mysteries beneath the show but dislike Skeet in the lead and the “crisis of the week that only Skeet can fix” is wearing thin.  The Nine is kind of the opposite.  It has an excellent cast but the premise and mysteries don’t seem like enough to sustain an entire season let alone a long running show. 

Now the Bad which I’m going to split into 2 categories, shows that I hoped would be good and aren’t living up to my expectations and shows that were good but got cancelled early.

For shows I hoped for better from, there is no better example than Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which I picked as my best of the year after seeing the pilot.  It turns out that it’s all been downhill from there.  Check some of my other posts to see why this is my biggest disappointment of the year.  I’m still watching but this one is on life support with me.  I also hoped Vanished and Six Degrees would have been better shows than they turned out to be.  I’m still giving Vanished another chance after the World Series but Six Degrees got dropped long ago. 

As for shows that I liked but got cancelled before getting a real chance to succeed, Smith and Kidnapped were both in my Good list.  Smith got unjustly cancelled after 3 airings (check out this posting for comments from lots of angry viewers) and Kidnapped got sent to Saturday night to finish off its 13 episode run.  Thinking about it a bit more, I’m going to move Kidnapped to the Good category and look at the show as a mini-series since it will actually have an ending and it’s a great show.  Pick it up on DVD next year, you won’t be sorry.

Now for the Really Bad.  In this category is Ugly Betty and The Class.  Ugly Betty lasted 1 episode with me and I have no idea what the critics who love this show saw in it that I didn’t.  The Class lasted two episodes but I knew after the first that it was off my list.  Neither of these shows have anything redeeming about them.  Check out some of my earlier posts on these shows to see what I disliked. 

So where does this leave me 6 weeks into the new season – with 3 shows that I love, 3 I like a lot, a couple I hope will get better before December and some that were either awful from the get go or just didn’t appeal to me at all. 

All in all a season that started with lots of promise but turned out to be the same as all the others.  Bring on the mid-season replacements.

CBS – “Bold and Different” – What Crap!!!

October 20, 2006

Variety published an article today about CBS “throwing out the rulebook” next season and the network’s plan to put on unconventional shows that shock of shocks are not the procedurals that dominate CBS’s entire schedule.

Allow me to up front express my skepticism that this will ever happen.  Sure CBS may try a show or two that are unique but the reality is they won’t stick by them.  When Smith got cancelled and I blogged that I wasn’t surprised given CBS’s track record for not sticking by different kinds of shows, the number of comments from people who agreed was unbelievable to me.

It’s hard to blame CBS though.  The ratings for their procedural shows are huge and the ratings for their non-procedurals are mediocre.  There’s no one to blame but the people who watch their shows in droves.  I like Jericho but I think it’s just CBS throwing a bone to show they are willing to experiment and I don’t have high hopes that is will be on next year.  They really are only giving people what they want.

Still, it’s not what I want and I only hope that the creators who have great shows don’t waste their time putting them on a network that isn’t going to support them.

My rant is over and I feel better.  Let me know what you think.

Jericho gets Full Season Order, Friday Night Lights gets Extra Script Order

October 13, 2006

Zap2It today reported that CBS has given Jericho a full season order. After the Smith cancellation announcement last week, which had lots of discussion on this blog, I held off watching the last couple of episodes of Jericho given CBS’s lack of committment to shows that aren’t CSI clones. I guess I’ll watch now but I’m still not optimistic about its longevity on this network.

Even more exciting to me is the extra script order given to Friday Night Lights despite its sub-par ratings. I’ll be doing a review of this show right after this article but suffice to say I really like it.

Heroes Gets a Full Season, Kidnapped Cancelled and Moved to Saturdays

October 10, 2006

I mentioned Kidnapped being cancelled in an earlier posting but in the wake of Smith being cancelled after 3 episodes I wanted to again give my kudos to NBC for handling this cancellation with the respect a show of Kidnapped’s caliber and its audience deserves.  I will be following this program to Saturdays for the remainder of the show’s 13 episode run and I have no doubt that it will wrap up as brilliantly as this show started.

Also, bravo to NBC for giving a full season to Heroes.  This show may not have the audience of its obvious inspiration, Lost, but it definitely has a talented large cast, an intriguing mystery and lots of superheroes.  On the strength of the first few episodes, I can definitely say I look forward to watching it for many years.

CBS Sucks – Smith is now cancelled

October 7, 2006

I really liked Smith. I just watched episodes 2 & 3 and found it to be not only movie quality with fantastic actors, great effects and a story that really drew me in but also unique on television. On the other hand, I knew this show was in trouble as a CBS show. I don’t believe CBS has patience for shows like Smith which are too complex for the network’s typical procedural or bad sitcom viewer (except How I Met Your Mother).  I doubt Jericho will be far behind and after this announcement I might just stop watching now and not waste my time.  Good luck CBS – you might get ratings with your focus instead on new shows like The Class and Shark (which are terrible and you shouldn’t waste your timing watching) but I have no faith in you and the next time you try and launch a show that doesn’t fit your mold I won’t even bother watching.

Smith – Season 1, Episode 1

September 21, 2006

Now this was exciting TV. I know some reviewers have had an issue with the amoral characters, specifically Simon Baker’s asssassin character. I, on the other hand, found them really interesting to watch the same way I found Tony Soprano interesting the first time he had “coffee” with someone. Ray Liotta was great as the leader and I found Virginia Madsen (someone I’ve liked since Crime Story) to be a strong character as a recovering addict wife on parole. Amy Smart was just scary enough to make her a close second to Simon Baker in the amoral department. Another favourite character actor is Chris Bauer (from the Wire) as the cop who is brought into to chase them. The one character I can’t wait to see more of is Shohreh Aghadashloo who is the true leader of the team providing them with the contracts for the heists. (Now if only she’d scream Behrooooooooooz for me.). As long as the show doesn’t evolve into heist of the week I’m in.

Avi’s episode rating: B+