Cortney’s TV Digest: Canceled – Volume 1

moonlight_cbs_tv_show_image__1_Every month, I bring you dedicated readers my favorite TV shows of the moment. And while I love reporting on the latest and greatest in TV Land, what is also just as important to me are the dozens of shows that were canceled before their time.

Whether the ratings were bad or the shows were too expensive, many of TV’s best and brightest have been taken off the air before they have a chance to flourish. But while these shows had their untimely demise, these articles should hopefully resurrect them, at least in the form of you watching them and thinking they’re awesome.

Moonlight

So the reviews weren’t great and the show only lasted a season. But had Moonlight premiered a year or two later, it would have been a smash hit. Why? Because it’s all about vampires, and whether it’s TV, movies, or books, vampires are the hottest thing in media right now.  And while competing with HBO’s hit True Blood and CW’s mediocre The Vampire Diaries wouldn’t be easy, it would have at least stood a chance.

Canceled after 2008’s Writers Guild of America strike, Moonlight centered around Mick St. John, who turned vampire after being bitten by his bride on their wedding night. Years later he works as a P.I., protecting humans while hunting down the vampires who harm them. The show feels like a cross between Veronica Mars and Supernatural, while still being as focused on romance as the shows that have followed it.

But because this show focuses on the vampire rather than the female character, like Twilight does, it makes the show more mature, more dark, and more digestible. The show also stars Jason Dohring, one of my favorite TV actors who made his fame on the also ill-fated Veronica Mars. But between the show’s timing, the strike, and its placement in the Friday night death slot, Moonlight was laid to rest.

jericho1Jericho

A television show about a massive nuclear attack on 23 US cities seems pretty gutsy after 9/11, but that’s exactly what Jericho is about. The story focuses on Jake Green, who returns to his hometown of Jericho for the first time in five years and becomes a leader in one of the only places not effected by the nuclear blasts. Meanwhile a newcomer to the town, Robert Hawkins, is one of the only people in the country to know the true nature of the attacks and what to do next.

Every episode of Jericho was action packed, full of depth, and completely compelling. The show was able to balance the massive effect of a completely destroyed United States while still keeping us close to the citizens of Jericho. Abysmal ratings forced CBS to shut the show down after its first season, but the fans refused to give up. Inspired by the final episode of the season, fans sent over 20 tons of nuts to CBS headquarters, forcing the network to reconsider.

A second season aired on the network, but to even worse ratings, and the show was again canceled. The third season is now being released in comic book form, just like the 8th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there are also talks of a movie that would pick up right where the second season left off. While Jericho had a short run and the fan-induced revival was a bit of a failure, this show proved that it’s not always up to the big-wig executives to cancel shows, and that fans can have a voice.

424542Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

After two great shows, Sports Night and The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip show runner and head writer Aaron Sorkin had a lot to live up to. A show within a show, Studio 60 takes place on and off the set of the show with the same name. This live sketch comedy show has seen better days, but after a former writer Matt (Matthew Perry) and executive producer Danny (Bradley Whitford) are hired, things are starting to look up for the show. Studio 60 implements a lot of Sorkin’s signatures: rapid fire dialogue, “walk and talk” scenes where the characters never stop moving and seem to seamlessly travel through sets without ever missing a beat, and a very ensemble-heavy cast with a lot of intertwining storylines.

The show was nominated for five Emmys in 2007, including Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series, and Outstanding Casting in Dramatic Series, the same amount as ratings juggernauts like 24 and CSI, and surpassing shows like Dexter that are all still around today. Yet after one season, Studio 60 was canceled. There were a couple reasons for this. Firstly, the show took several hiatuses, as it shared its time slot with another doomed show, The Black Donnellys, which I’m sure no one ever watched and wasn’t missed when it was axed.

Either way, after each hiatus the ratings for Studio 60 would drop lower and lower, probably because viewers thought it was canceled or just lost interest during the many breaks. But another factor contributed to the end of Studio 60, a little show that premiered around the same time that goes by the name 30 Rock. The shows both had similar premises, taking place behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show, and both have some major star power behind them.

Perhaps it was because 30 Rock is a little more lighthearted, or maybe Studio 60 was just doomed from the start. Either way, if you’re a fan of 30 Rock or Aaron Sorkin, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is worth checking out.

Next time I’ll have some fan favorites, or the shows that should never in a million years have been canceled. You’ll also get some insight into some shows that have needed to be axed for a long time, and the ones that very well may be on their way to the chopping block this year.

  • Shana
    September 8, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Studio 60 was pure garbage. The Black Donnellys has a following and with Paul Haggis as executive producer and director of the pilot, it was beyond fascinating. The Black Donnellys was more likely cancelled because of its violence, since episode three was unable to air due to the FCC cracking down on it.

    I watched an episode of Studio 60 and it was unoriginal and unfunny.

  • WTF!!
    March 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    you have know idea what you’re talking about! the black donnellys was probably the best canceled show of all-time. nobody ever gave it a chance (granted it did have bad ads), but if they did, it would be one of the most popular shows on tv for sure. i highly recommend watching it, because it was awesome.

  • Margroks
    February 16, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I stumbled across Moonlight when it aired on SciFi adn ran right out to get the DVD. I was astounded to discover there was no second season! And while it was nice that we got to see Mick adn Beth get together at the end, it would be nicer if CBS/WB gave us a movie or mini-series to further the story. Alex O’Loughlin is already involved with other projects but I’d love to see him and the rest of the original cast do a little Moonlighting on the side!

  • Kim
    February 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

    I loved Moonlight, and wish it had stayed on for a very long time, but they did end it, which was nice, unlike Veronica Mars where they left it hanging. So I would love to see Both Alex O’loughlin and Jason Dorhing on TV again, preferably in the same show but Moonlight is good left the way it was.

  • wubbywubby Melinda
    January 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    It is sure great to see NEW new & magazine article as well as internet postings on our beloved MOONLIGHT !!!!!!

    That was the biggest mistake CBS ever made and I’ve been watching CBS since As the World Turns came on TV as a child.

    Since Nina is talking about Moonlight again, it would appear to me that she has finally gotten her senses back. She was certainly abrupt when she stated last week that CBS was the first in the Vampire craze. Sounds to me like she is trying to crawl out from under the table with elegance and get back in place !!!

    There are many many Moonlight web sites and have been since 2007 and we are still out there begging for our Moonlight back.

    One of most interesting parts of it all is that there are still so many international fans that cry because they can’t get Sci-FI or Chiller just to see it on the television, and it doesn’t matter if they are re-runs. NOW that should say something!!!

    I also heard that Alex & Jason spent some time together around the holidays in LA !!! Interesting!!!

    The millions of Moonlight fans need there show back on television.
    CBS has tried other things, but nothing is better than Moonlight!!

    • Aeryn
      February 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

      “CBS was the first in the Vampire craze.”

      It certainly was not. Moonlight came after Angel went off the air. I liked Moonlight sure, but it was not the first. By someone saying that, they are completely dismissing Joss Whedon’s work in that area. WB had 2 vampire centered shows that ran a lot longer than Moonlight, and most new vampire shows are often compared to his works.

  • Cortney Zamm
    January 15, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Revivals of shows that have been canceled can really go both ways. Jericho obviously didn’t go so well, but Family Guy has had incredible success after being brought back. It has a lot to do with catering to the existing fanbase when the show’s brought back, and not about creating one for a previously cancelled show. I think what’s more important for Moonlight is getting people to just see the season that’s already out and appreciating it for what it is and not what it could have been.

  • Connie
    January 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I loved Moonlight but a “resurrection” would be a mistake. It would encounter some of the same problems it had before – and there were many – only to be canceled once again. The market is saturated now with much more successful vampire shows. Alex O’Loughlin needs to move FORWARD instead of back. CBS would look foolish when it flopped again and I don’t want to think how it would look on Alex’s resume.

  • Heather
    January 15, 2010 at 7:24 am

    I loved Studio 60 and believe that it was canceled for the shear fact that it was smart. It seems that the networks don’t like smart, well written shows anymore…just stupid reality (newly canceled Eastwick is another example). I’m old school that I watch TV to escape reality, thank you very much.

    And thanks to SciFi (or how every they are spelling it anymore), I’ve gotten hooked on Jericho and would love to see a movie to finish it.

  • Cortney Zamm
    January 15, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Thanks for all the comments about Moonlight guys! I really like the show and I think it really has a lot going for it. It’s upsetting that a show this good got cancelled.

  • sadgirl
    January 15, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Bring Moonlight back…the best show ever on CBS…the best!

  • Laura
    January 15, 2010 at 5:11 am

    I also agree about Moonlight. I wish CBS had at least given it one more season. I know it would gained a lot of success. The show had so much going for it. I still love it and pull out my DVD from time to time and watch an episode.

  • joaniemc
    January 15, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I love Moonlight, too. What a talented cast! I loved the film noir effects, the stylish sets. Mick St. John is a classic romantic hero-vampire and his Beth is modern, independent woman. I loved them together and wish CBS and Silver had given us more.
    Thank you for writing about Moonlight. I hope some of your readers decide to check it out on Chiller or Syfy or dvd.

  • Kathleen
    January 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I also loved Moonlight. I believe if Moonlight had aired in the Fall of 2008 instead if Fall of 2007 it would be gearing up for it’s third season run in 2010.
    It’s sad that CBS didn’t know what they had when they had it. They could have been knowm as the creators of the first and best Vampire series of the millenium rather then the first Network to cancel the first and best Vampire series of the millenium. I’ve got small hopes that they could be talking about more Moonlight but I’m not going to hold my breath CBS is just not that bright. They wouldn’t now a good thing if it hit them in the head with a steel hammer.

  • Martha
    January 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I agree about Moonlight! Fantastic show that new viewers are discovering all the time via Sy Fy Channel and Chiller Channel. Sy Fy is running it again starting January 29!

    Nina Tassler admitted that she talks about Moonlight still with producer Joel Silver! In network TV “code” I believe that means they realize they made a mistake! Why else talk about a cancelled TV show? There are rumors they are doing more than just talking. I hope they are true!!!!!

%d bloggers like this: