This list is gonna bring up a lotta hurt…
Starting with the one that hurts the most. The cancelling that reverberates in the circles of sci-fi fandom to this day. Joss Whedon’s first series that wasn’t buffy related took us on a journey through a cowboy-fied space, where there aren’t any aliens, just horses, duster jackets, revolvers…and spaceships. All this mixed with the trademark wit and snarkiness that Whedon brings to his scripts resulted in a truly delightful TV experience. Fox, Firefly’s production company though, took it upon themselves to completely mishandle the plucky little series in ways such as showing episodes out of order that made it quite hard to follow and led to its unceremonious cancellation. Cutting the series after 14 episodes left a lot of unresolved plot threads and questions that wouldn’t be addressed until universal bought the rights to make the movie Serenity, which sated the fans, the self-named Browncoats. Still, this cancellations is one that still hurts a lot of people.
Ash vs the Evil Dead
Who doesn’t love a dose of the one and only Bruce Campbell? Well ok, I admit theres probably a few out there that can’t handle the amount of pure chiselled chin that Bruce brings to the screen as Ash, the master of the one liner, and that may have contributed to the really low ratings Ash vs the Evil Dead suffered from, but I have another theory. Starz put a lot of Eggs in this established properties basket, as shown with the quite frankly fantastic production value and effects that must have cost a pretty penny. Starz hoped that this show could elevate them to a legitimate competition to the bigger on demand companies such as Netflix and Amazon prime. This in my opinion led to not enough of a wide audience able to watch this fantastically gory and hilarious show. Ash vs the Evil Dead would have thrived on one of the bigger networks where an potential home for a revival after its cancellation could have worked, but alas Bruce Campbell has hung up his Boomstick and Chainsaw hand up for good and retired from playing Ash. Not Groovy…
Probably the best example of a spin-off from another successful show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favourite shows of all time so Angel had a lot to live up to for me, but live up it did. Darker and grittier than its predecessor, I had to stay up well beyond a reasonable bedtime when it was shown late on TV (I was about 10 so I had a semblance of a curfew, I’m still cool) and it was worth the sleep deprivation. Following the exploits of brooding vampire with a soul Angel, setting up a private investigation agency in L.A. With the shady law firm, Wolfram & Hart providing the antagonist throughout Angel’s five season run, it gave the feeling that the show was building up to something massive. But rather unceremoniously, Angel was given its marching orders. Now five seasons seems like a good run but with Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumni Spike being added to shake things up and [spoilers] Angel and friends taking over the aforementioned Wolfram Hart, it seemed like something great was brewing. What happened instead was an obviously rushed finale that, though exciting, left us thinking what could have been.
The Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones. Rome had everything that people love about the biggest show out today. Shocking violence? Check. Shocking betrayals? Check. Lotsa nudity? Double check. Ok so there aren’t any Ice zombies or dragons, but to be fair, it is based on real events so some might’ve taken issue if elves and stuff were thrown in. Still in my mind Rome still matches GOT in terms of quality. It’s the first HBO series that I saw and I was blown away, yes with the mature content but also the story beats and twists. The characters are also fantastically fleshed out, to the point where I can’t take anyone but Ciaran Hinds playing Julius Caesar, and Caesar has been and will be played by so many other great actors. Unfortunately though, problems with financing the already expensive show arose as disasters like the gorgeously built set partially burning down put the nail in Rome’s coffin and it sadly bowed out at two seasons.
Bryan Fuller, when will you ever catch a break? The show runner of other cancelled projects such as Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me, as well as dropping off projects like Star Trek Discovery and American Gods due to his ambitious ideas, that are apparently beyond what budget he is given, feels the sting of cancellation again with arguably his best work Hannibal. This show made horrible acts of torture, cannibalism and violence look like a beautiful piece of art (quite literally in some of Hannibal Lecter’s murders) which already pushed the boundaries of what you can get away with on TV. Add the fact that Anthony Hopkins had already played the title character of Hannibal Lecter in three movies to critical acclaim, this series and in turn Mads Mikkelsen, the new actor taking up the Lecter mantle, had an uphill struggle to define themselves as different from what came before. Define they did though, it’s an absolutely awesome work of art but it seems that the main reason it was cancelled at its third series, was apparently due to a third of its audience being illegal downloaders. Damn you internet pirates, is there nothing you wont plunder?
Do you think those choices were spot on? Or are you seething that I missed the show that’s cancelling broke your heart? Either way, drop me a comment.