Sometimes, we have shows with a planned arc, headed by showrunners that know when to quit, that don’t get cancelled, allowing for a good conclusion, à la Orphan Black. Sometimes, we have shows that overstay their welcome by a bit, but not a horrible amount, in the style of Scrubs. Sometimes, we have shows that drag on way past the point where they should have ended, like Supernatural. And unfortunately, we also have the shows that got cancelled before they could really live.
Also known as that brief, glorious time when Karen Gillan got to be funny, and #StarringJohnCho was real.
John Cho is great at being the straight man to a more obviously absurd costar – we saw it in the Harold and Kumar movies with Kal Penn, and we see it here, with Karen Gillan. It only made it to six episodes airing before cancellation, but luckily, we got to see the other seven. It involved gently mocking all types of people and relying on characters for humour, rather than jokes – in fact, it reminds me a fair amount of The Good Place, with a leaning more towards the romantic end of the comedy spectrum. After all, a selfish saleswoman learning to be a better, more considerate person from a nerdy man that she occasionally irritates and falls for? Which one are we talking about?
I was, admittedly, disappointed when I watched the first episode and learned they’d veered away from the idea of being about an insurance company in the world of DC to being a tech company instead. If I recall correctly, the reason given was that it would be beyond skeevy for Bruce Wayne to own and profit from an insurance company. As true as that is, it could have easily been solved by having Bruce not own the company. Nothing else would have even needed to change!
That being said, a show set in the fictional equivalent of Cleveland, where people get annoyed at superheroes and supervillains delaying their morning commute and where dating a henchman is like dating a bass player? Comedy gold.
Okay, I know what this looks like, but I swear that I’m not just saying that because it has Emma Dumont in it. Partially, sure. But not entirely.
I could never get into Gilmore Girls. But this, by the same showrunner, is funny, sweet, enjoyable – and actually, probably even better for having one season than it would have been with more. It’s a little specific, revolving around a dance studio, and for me, at least, it’s a bit heavy on things that happen just for the sake of plot convenience, but it’s good enough that I’m willing to forgive it for the stretch of disbelief.
Plus, you know, Emma Dumont.
4. Birds of Prey
Ah, 2002. The days before Batman Begins, Superman Returns, and Iron Man. Hell, this was even before X2 came out. Unlike today, when superhero movies and shows seem to be coming out every few months, in 2002, Smallville was it. Everyone’s superhero needs could only be satisfied with that or good, old fashioned comic books. Which was why I find the fact that this show got cancelled a travesty.
Barbara Gordon as Oracle! Helena Wayne existing at all! Harley Quinn as Helena’s therapist! Birds of Prey did “a Batman show without Batman” over a decade before Gotham did, and while it may have been several steps in the direction of cheesy, it was charmingly so.
This was, unless I’m very much mistaken, the first female led superhero series since Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. More than that – it wasn’t just the lead character that was a woman, it was other costars and the villain as well, not to mention many of the characters showing up in just a couple of the episodes. Alas, 2002 might have been too soon. The world wasn’t ready for that level of glory.
These four are only a handful of the excellent shows that got one season before cancellation. Goodbye to them, and all the others, including the ones yet to be cancelled. We’ll miss you!