Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week! I was thinking about what I wanted to write about while I was looking through my TV collection. I looked down and saw both seasons of HBO’s Carnivale and thought it was such a shame that the show ended right when the apocalypse was just getting started. So this led me to think what my favorite shows were and which ones never really had the opportunity to live up to their full potential. Now, I’m not talking about shows that had five seasons and then were canceled, I’m talking about shows with one to two season wonders who barely got off the ground, but showed real promise. So here are my top five picks!
1. Green Lantern the Animated Series
I’ve talked about this show before in the ANTiFangirl archives. This show is really worth checking out and is currently now available on Netflix. It’s definitely a show that had the most potential and made me believe in the possibility that DC and Warner Brothers was back on the right track. The show had powerhouse Bruce Timm who is affiliated with great DC adapted cartoons like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League, as well as a different and unique animation using CG. The story line has Hal Jordan, Kilowog, A.I. Aya, and Red Lantern Razer traveling through space to defeat the Red Lanterns and then later the Anti-Monitor and Manhunters. It has one of the best love stories I’ve seen on TV and also celebrates heroism, loyalty, friendship, and of course the willpower to hope and to fight for what’s right. Due to the poor sales of toys and the silly Green Lantern movie’s negative reception, the show was canceled after one season.
HBO released the show Carnivale in September 2003 and the show only lasted for two seasons. The show was created by Daniel Knauf who apparently had a six year plan for the show, but HBO canceled it, forcing it to end right before the apocalypse began. The premise is a story of good versus evil, centering around a traveling Carnivale through 1930s America and in the middle of the “Dust Bowl”, large amount of dust storms spreading from Texas to Oklahoma to Kansas. The main protagonist is Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl) who is gifted with the power of healing people but at the cost of another life. Ben doesn’t risk hurting other people unless completely necessary or even as a weapon, but mostly if he needs to heal someone he uses the vegetation around him or animals. The antagonist is Brother Justin (Clancy Brown) who has many different abilities and is on the side of evil. While Brother Justin is on the other side of the country, Ben and the Carnivale make their way slowly towards him on the circuit that “Management” tells them to go. The show is filled with magic, love, murder, mystery, and incredibly unique characters. Supposedly the show was canceled due to the expense of the large cast and locations. Of course, with Game of Thrones that doesn’t seem to be the problem anymore. Waiting two seasons for the two characters to go into battle ends on a cliffhanger and left loyal fans infuriated.
3. Tron: Uprising
Talk about a show that barely saw the light of day, and not only that but was buried under the powerful thumb of the Disney Company. Like Green Lantern, this series suffered from the fact that the film didn’t do as well as they wanted and the toys didn’t sell so it’s time slot was moved to Monday mornings at midnight on Disney XD. The show has amazing animation, a great soundtrack, and was developed by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz of Lost and Once Upon A Time fame. It tells the story of Beck, a young program who is being trained by Tron who is in critical condition after a confrontation with Clu. If you’re unaware of the Tron universe I advise you to stop reading, please go watch both Tron and Tron: Legacy and then come back. Beck becomes the vigilante “the Renegade”. He seeks to protect the Grid and bring down Clu (who you do not see until the final episode) and his forces who bring tyranny to the city of Argon. Beck attempts to rally other programs to his side in hopes of bringing about a revolution or an “uprising”. The show finally gets to it’s final episode and the war is about to happen and then it ends. The show is streaming on Netflix currently, and I totally recommend you check it out.
ABC Family shoots out family dramas every day. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for trashy TV like Pretty Little Liars, but that’s really all I can handle as far as the melodrama, and that show is pretty fun and pretty popular on the TV Tropes. I remember seeing commercials for the show Bunheads, and my first thought was, that’s a really dumb name. I was a ballerina for over ten years, which makes me instantly turn away from any show having to do with dance. I’m just too critical. The show came and went pretty quickly, but then I found out that the show’s creator was Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girls. I checked it out when it came to Amazon Instant and spent a whole day just tearing into the season. The dancing is great and they get a lot right, in fact the dance teacher reminded me very much of my dance teacher’s mother, who never used to show us the choreography but trusted us to just tell us what she wanted to see. So because the show was so specific to talk about the correct phrases and techniques of ballet I could see how the young audiences who are used to vapid teenage heroines, might be a bit bored by this. Sutton Foster plays the lead character, Michelle, a Las Vegas showgirl who finds herself married to her frumpy number one fan after she is turned down for an audition for Chicago. She moves with him to a small town and finds that he lives with his mother, a dance teacher and owner of a dance studio. They’re only married for an evening before he dies in a car accident leaving Michelle stranded and also obligated to remain there to help his mother. She begins to bond with a band of sixteen year old ballerinas. It’s funny, and heartwarming and only lasted for one season.
So for my number five pick I was a bit pushed and pulled in different directions so I thought I would just list off a few poor souls. In one instance I thought of Veronica Mars, another show that I have talked about here before. In another instance I thought of Twin Peaks. But both of these shows got their fan service in films, while both shows had amazing first seasons, they suffered a bit in their second. While Veronica Mars’s kickstarter filmed wrapped the show up quite nicely, Twin Peaks’ Fire Walk With Me told of Laura Palmer’s last days before her murder and the appearance of Dale Cooper.
Other choices for number five came in packages like Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me. Dead Like Me released a film in 2009, and Pushing Daisies like Veronica Mars and Twin Peaks suffered a bit in it’s season 2, but also Fuller is planning a kickstarter film for the series as well. Kingdom Hospital was another thought since it embodied plenty of Dark Tower references, but failed to meet expectations as far as audience numbers. Arrested Development had great potential in it’s first three seasons, and was recently picked up as a Netflix show with a so-so season 4 that missed the mark with it’s character voice. Freaks and Geeks was another choice, and was a surprise failure considering that most of it’s cast are now A list stars, but really where was the show going to go? It was really a, there really isn’t life after high school kind of show. Laugh all you want but Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to TV in the show Ringer might have been a bit silly, but it was entertaining, and the show was canceled after it’s first season. And of course, I can’t not talk about the infamous Firefly, which I was a fan of, but let’s be honest, haven’t we talked this show to death? I still think that Joss Whedon is waiting for the call that the show will get renewed, even though it aired over ten years ago.
Recently I started watching the first season of Young Justice which was definitely a front runner for my number five pick, but I haven’t seen season 2 yet, because Netflix takes forever to release new seasons of cartoons. I’m not sure why DC keeps throwing away the only good things it’s doing in the hands of both Green Lantern and a show that does both Dick Grayson and Wally West amazingly well.
I hope you check out these shows and become just as outraged as myself that they ended before their time began :).
Thanks for Reading!