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 NBC.com.

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).


Fox News: Vanished Cancelled, ‘Til Death and Standoff Renewed for a Full Season

November 18, 2006

Variety reported today that Fox has cancelled Vanished. The remaining 4 episodes will air on Fox’s MySpace site with an additional episode added each week. I admit that I didn’t love the show but I liked it enough, especially with the addition of Eddie Cibrian, to give it a little longer. It’s unclear from the articles if the show is going to be brought to conclusion in the remaining episodes. If the story ends, I may actually watch them online. If it ends without resolution then I won’t bother. Also, if you care Fox extended ‘Til Death for a full season and ordered 6 additional episodes of Standoff to bring it to 19.  I don’t watch either of these so this isn’t really news I care about.


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.


Capsule Reviews

October 6, 2006

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – Episodes 2 & 3

Let me start by saying I still like this show and will continue to watch but the cracks are starting to show. There’s a lot to like on the show. Most of the cast are great and I’d like to give a special shout out to Stephen Weber who is playing such a different role from his Wings character and subtly steals every scene he is in. I still like the Sorkin dialogue despite it being pretentious. I also think there is room for the behind the scenes at SNL concept to grow – especially from the guy who created Sports Night.

Here’s the but. I generally hate the Sarah Paulson character. I get it she’s religious but does she have to bring it into every conversation. I know lots of religious people and their religion isn’t the basis of every conversation they have. I’m indifferent to Amanda Peet’s character – I don’t really like her but I don’t really hate her either. I do definitely dislike her storyline. I mean does anyone actually care about the DUI of a network executive or even more want to read a tell all book about one. People who are generally behind the scenes of TV shows are not celebrities to the majority of people. The sketches are horrible and unfunny. I could go on about this but here’s a link to an article that already has that covered. Finally and here’s the big one. The show doesn’t have enough of a narrative to keep it moving along week to week. I never once felt like West Wing was the political crisis of the week but this show is turning into a weekly procedural about the behind scenes crisis in making a television show. If you’ve read any of my other blog postings, you know how much I hate procedurals.

All this being said, I’m still in for the forseeable future. Aaron, it’s only because I care that I’m so critical. If I didn’t care, this show and didn’t think that there is a lot of promise in this show, it would already be on my cancelled list.

Avi’s episodes rating: B-

Vanished – Episodes 1-7

I don’t really like this show. The acting is generally poor (although I rather like Ming Na and the actor who plays the Senator). The characters are one dimensional and I could care less what happens to Sara Collins or the conspiracy behind her disappearance. Still, I keep watching and I don’t know why. It’s not on the top of my list, I generally don’t end up watching the show until I’ve caught up on almost every other show on my PVR. There’s something about it keeps bringing me back. Fox’s move of starting the show in August probably helped. If it came on now when I have so many other options it would have already been dropped. I keep telling myself only one more episode then it was only until baseball. Now after this week’s episode which killed off the main character, Agent Kelton, who I truly didn’t like and replaced with Eddie Cibrian, (Third Watch, Young & the Restless, Tilt and Invasion) who I actually do like, I might have to watch after baseball. But only for one episode.

Avi’s series to date rating – C+ but bumped to a B for reasons I don’t understand myself.


Tomorrow’s Reviews

October 5, 2006

I’m slowly catching up on the shows I’m behind on and will be back tomorrow with reviews of Lost (liked it but didn’t love it), Studio 60 (still like it but there’s something lacking that wasn’t in Sports Night or West Wing’s early years), Vanished (does it stay on my list after baseball) and whatever else I have time to watch.