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Top 5 TV Shows That Went Before Their Time

I’m not in so much of a political mood these days.  Sorry.  But, anyway, here’s something maybe interesting; my favorite TV shows that bit the bullet WAY too early.  Sadly, I seem to have a taste for these shows, so they stick out.

5.  Star Trek-  Ok, maybe this should be higher up, but here’s the thing.  I tend to think that 3 years is a pretty good run for a show.  Not always perfect, but pretty good.  It’s a rare show that can maintain quality past, say, the 4th season.  Buffy managed it.  A few sitcomy things managed it, since you don’t need a huge thru plotline; Seinfeld for instance.  But most shows decrease in quality even before the 4th season.  So, while I think that Star Trek probably had another good year or two in it, it would have probably reached the end of the awesomeness road sooner than the other shows on this list.

4.  Wonderfalls-  Ivy League girl who comes to work in…a Niagra Falls gift shop.  She’s nicely sarcastic and quirky.  Oh, and bonus: plastic animals talk to her.  It got less than a season (like 13 episodes), but was a really unique and intriguing show.  I was tempted to put a more recent Brian Fuller creation here: Pushing Daisies.  The guy’s a genius and Pushing Daisies, at it’s best, was better than Wonderfalls.  But, I’d actually stopped watching Pushing Daisies a few episodes before it went off air.  No particular reason.  It wasn’t conscious.  The whole conceit  just kind of wore itself out.  So maybe…good cancel?  I’m pretty sure Wonderfalls had some  steam left in it.

3.  Firefly-  Joss Whedon at his second best.  Much better than Dollhouse.  Better than Angel by virtue of not having David Borealis.  And tragically doomed.  At first, I resisted Firefly.  I didn’t like the inside joke culture it had among the folks who watched it.  I was too good for that.  I was stupid.  I don’t think it’s the greatest show ever or anything like that, and I’ll still never be a part of that set, but it was high quality stuff that vanished way too soon.

2.  Popular-  Follows two girls from different worlds who are suddenly thrust together when their parents get involved.  I loved this show; the characters were snarky, smart, over the top, but still recognizable and real.   Does liking a show called “Popular”, make me a girl?  Don’t care.  Yes, it was uneven.  Ok, it had real potential to go off the rails- these types of shows almost always do, since their natural audience (young teenage girls) don’t necessarily have the patience for all quirk all the time.  Still, I think, of all the shows on this list (including the next one) this is the one I enjoyed the most…when it worked.  Two seasons wasn’t enough.

1.  Joan of Arcadia-  Thought I was going to say Arrested Development…right?  Well, I’m not a hipster.  Usually.  Mostly.  Joan of Arcadia was a terrific show with family-oriented, religious themes, which was hitting a kind of high when it was canceled.  The story follows a girl named Joan who can talk to God.  She lives in Arcadia.  Aka, Joan of Arcadia.  I honestly believe this could have been one of the lucky few to churn out more than 4 quality seasons.  Sadly, it only had two.

Honorable Mention:  Tru Calling-   Ok, cheating I know, but I thought up a 6th show just after I finished the original list, so you’ll have to bear it.  In this show, foxy Eliza Dushku gets to relive each day…after she comes in contact with a murdered corpse.  She can then try to save them.  This was actually a surprisingly good show which I stumbled upon the morning after my one and only hangover.  There was some kind of marathon going on and I watched like 6 episodes in a row while I convalesced.  Sadly, it had been cancelled for like 5 years at that point.  After less than two seasons.

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  1. Steve Slow
    December 5, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Arrested Development was great, but I think it’s probably better it ended when it did. The last season was all over the place and I don’t know if they could have kept that crazy plot going much longer than they did. It was short and hilarious, and that probably makes it all that much better.

    Hmm…I don’t know many other shows that finished that quickly, so sadly I can’t comment on much else. Interesting theory about the 4 good seasons rule, though. Personally, I’d say that The Office is challenging that rule, but then again, that depends on who you talk to.

  2. December 6, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Monk finale was this week. It was a good ending – wrapped up all the loose threads. There were a few bad episodes here and there, but all in all, it was a good show.

    Now, if Burn Notice would just come back…

  3. December 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Steve,

    I never LOVED Arrested Development but, yeah, it was a pretty good show. I think you’re right about the difficulty of keeping that kind of plot going.

    Mrs. Peel,

    I wanted to watch the Monk finale, but I have about 6 seasons to catch up on first. Which means I’ll probably never get to it. I’m good at remembering the “shows that went before their time” stuff, because those are about the only shows I have time for. Out of the 6 shows I listed, I watched 4 of them after they’d been canceled. I multi-task like crazy while watching TV, but still, it’s a lot easier to watch a supposedly good show, which you know will only require 10-25 hours of devotion, then it is to try to watch something that’s been going on for 7-8 seasons. Oh, and I never knew that Bruce Campbell was in Burn Notice. I LOVE the Evil Dead movies. Maybe I’ll check it out. They always seem to have the seasons on sale for like 20 bucks.

  4. December 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Burn Notice is great. It’s only halfway through the third season, and it’s a lot of fun to watch, so it would be easy to catch up on. I bought the first two seasons a while back and watched every show in a couple days over Christmas break. The only trouble is that you need to watch it in order, because of how the overarching plot develops. I’d definitely recommend not watching the second half of the third season until you see the first half.

    (Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, and Big Bang Theory are the only shows I watch with any kind of regularity…I don’t have cable, so I rely on my parents to record the shows for me. And then I buy the Burn Notice seasons because it is teh awesome.)

  5. OHIO JOE
    December 8, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Not to change the subject, but Hapy Birthday MWS.

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