Weekend Watchlist: TV shows gone too soon


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Mads Mikkelsen stars as the titular character in NBC’s “Hannibal.”

By The Pitt News Staff

Shows get canceled. It’s a fact of life. It’s also a fact that some shows should not have been canceled. Period. Here are some of our favorite shows available to stream that the television powers-that-be decided to end prematurely. Gone too soon, but never forgotten.

Everything Sucks! (Netflix) // Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

Set in Boring, Oregon, in the late ’90s, “Everything Sucks!” does an excellent job portraying a set of teen characters who aren’t quite representative of their hometown name, but are just boring enough to make for an interesting, yet simplistic plot. The storyline follows two students at Boring High School — Kate, the principal’s lesbian daughter, and Luke, a first-year A/V club member. Luke and Kate have their meet-cute at A/V club, and Luke quickly realizes his crush on Kate. Once the A/V club teams up with the drama club, Kate realizes she’s crushing on budding actress Emmaline. Once rumors spread of Kate’s sexuality, she quickly starts dating Luke.

Another adorable, quirky take on ’90s nostalgia, Netflix ultimately canceled the show in April 2018, just two months after the show launched. According to Business Insider, the reason “Everything Sucks!” was canceled so quickly was because not enough viewers finished the first episode. Despite a charmed fanbase of those who enjoyed the breezy 10 episodes, that wasn’t enough to earn the show a second season. Sad.

Bunheads (Freeform, Netflix) // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Contributing Editor

Writer, director and producer Amy Sherman-Palladino is no stranger to television success. She is the creator of the critically acclaimed show “Gilmore Girls,” which ran on the CW for seven seasons, and the award-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. While “Gilmore Girls” is her distinguished older child and “Maisel” is her doted-on youngest child, many people forget about her middle child — the grossly short-lived “Bunheads.”

“Bunheads” is the story of Michelle Simms (Sutton Foster), a former Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries one of her admirers to start a new life. She moves with him to the fictional town of Paradise, California, but just days after their wedding, he tragically dies in a car accident. Michelle is left alone in Paradise and begins teaching at her mother-in-law’s (Kelly Bishop) ballet school, and in classic Amy Sherman-Palladino fashion, antics ensue. “Bunheads” ran for one 18-episode season on ABC Family (now Freeform) in 2012. Though it was praised by critics, it was ultimately and unfortunately canceled.

Hannibal (NBC, Amazon Prime) // Megan Williams, For The Pitt News

NBC’s sexy and sickening take on classic villain Hannibal Lecter immediately enticed viewers who were looking for a little edge in 2013. Over three seasons, the show followed protagonist Will Graham, a professor with an empathy disorder that allowed him to truly understand the minds of psychopaths, and Hannibal — the titular character himself — acting as Will’s friend and therapist. The two aid FBI agents in solving the most vicious crimes — here, “Hannibal” deviated from other shows of its kind, choosing to show graphic, disgusting atrocities. In the second episode, a ‘garden’ of dead women being used to grow mushrooms is the main plot line.

Best of all, “Hannibal” was graphic in its depictions of Hannibal and Will’s developing sexual and romantic relationships, something avoided so frequently by mainstream programs that the trick has its own name — queerbaiting. The risks that thrilled its most faithful viewers did not bring rewards holistically, though. “Hannibal” was canceled after its third season.


Firefly (Fox, Hulu) // Thomas Wick, Senior Staff Writer

“Firefly,” though short lived, caused a ripple across the galaxy. This sci-fi western featured a rich ensemble of characters travelling through space on the ship known as Serenity, taking jobs, fighting off bounty hunters and getting as far away as possible from the militaristic government known as the Alliance.

It’s a masterpiece of television with interesting character relationships, great humor and excellent direction from the one and only Joss Whedon. So naturally Fox decided to cancel such a beloved show after just 14 episodes. There isn’t any definitive reason behind it’s cancellation, though airing on a Friday night certainly didn’t help. The decision left fans devastated for years. There have been attempts to explore the series in other media, such as a 2005 followup film “Serenity,” multiple comic books, merchandise and even a role-playing game. But regardless, the cancelation of “Firefly” has to go down as one of TV’s greatest mistakes.


Pick 5: The Get Down (Netflix) // Delilah Bourque, Contributing Editor

“The Get Down” first premiered in August of 2016 and was canceled after one season. The show was split into two parts — Netflix released the latter half in April of 2017. The story follows Ezekiel “Books” Figuero (Justice Smith) in 1977 Bronx, New York, as he and his group of friends navigate transitioning to adulthood and seek to become superstars as rap trio “The Get Down Brothers” in a brand-new music genre.

The story line, though stuffed into only 11 episodes, is fantastic. There are multiple subplots, but none become so tangled as to be confusing or so irrelevant as to become boring. The show tackles different themes, spanning from Book’s love interest to Mylene’s (Herizen Guardiola) struggles against her controlling, pastor father (Giancarlo Esposito) to a homosexual love story sub-plot between one of the Get Down Brothers, Dizzie (Jaden Smith), and a fellow graffiti artist (Noah Le Gros.)

“The Get Down” also benefits from the stylistic genius of creator Baz Luhrman. Late 1970s Bronx springs to life under his direction. Luhrman’s style is colorful and exorbitant — which crafts the magical world of the show.

Had “The Get Down” come at any point other than peak “Stranger Things” fever, it would have lived on to be a Netflix great. Netflix itself spent weeks promoting the show, if memory serves, just to see its life cut to a tragic single season run.

Honorable Mention: Freaks and Geeks (because it isn’t on Netflix anymore)// Caroline Bourque, Managing Editor

It’s been 20 years since this cult classic first debuted, and though it ended after just one season, its legacy lives on today. This 1999 coming-of-age comedy first graced the silver screen during the era of ‘Must See TV’ — a time when network television was at an all-time high. Unfortunately, it was not yet the era of the underdog. Squished into a post-prime time slot on NBC alongside big hitters like “Frasier” and “Friends,” this poignant sitcom gave airtime to the high school archetypes you never saw on screen in the late ’90s.

“Freaks and Geeks,” set in the early ’80, follows the lives of siblings Sam and Lindsey Weir — the former a first-year geek, the latter a junior geek striving to fit in with the freaks. Around each Weir sibling is a friend group seemingly comprised of stereotypical hippie burnouts and A/V club dorks. But thanks to the efforts of an all-star writing cast — led by Judd Apatow and Paul Fieg — these archetypes unravel in surprisingly complex ways when confronted with typical teenage problems. In a time when “Seventh Heaven” offered puritanical, PSA-oriented storylines, “Freaks and Geeks” gave a voice to the earnest oddball just looking for a place in the world.

Not only that, but it provided a career springboard to a whole host of future legends, including Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Phillips, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. This is largely thanks to Apatow’s prolific rise in becoming a top Hollywood producer. As he famously said in a 2014 interview, “Everything I’ve done, in a way, is revenge for the people who canceled ‘Freaks and Geeks.’”