@CancelledAgain or: how I learned to live with PTTVSCD.

For those of us who love television there is nothing worse than the realisation that our favourite tv series has  just been cancelled. There should be a word for that depression you feel when your beloved tv series gets axed; I would even propose that PTTVSCD (Post Traumatic TV Series Cancellation Disorder) is considered a legitimate syndrome and is included in the DSM-V. Why not? It certainly affects a lot of people; and the results can be devastating for some (hint=me).

Many of these tv series I watched years after their cancellation. For others, I had to endure the pain and suffering of watching them slowly getting axed by their networks. It is a painful process, but in the rare occasion that the tv show gets one more season (Twin Peaks, Arrested Development) , or a movie  (Firefly, Dead like me) due to fan campaigns etc, it is the best feeling in the world for us tv junkies. My list of favourite cancelled tv series is unranked, because I love each and every one of them. For those that I’ve watched years after their cancellation, like The prisoner, or Freaks and Geeks, the pain was bearable. But for others, like Firefly, Pushing Daisies, Terriers, and Fades, I will admit I’ve shed many tears.

I. The ones I was lucky enough to watch after they were cancelled.

Twin Peaks

My first contact with the Twin Peaks world was when I read “The secret world of Laura Palmer” by Jennifer Lynch, during my high school years. I knew back then that it was from a tv series and I vaguely remember watching some Twin Peaks episodes in greek television.  I also remember watching the movie in VHS and thinking that there was something wrong with the videotape, because of the abrupt ending. But it wasn’t until three years ago that I managed to watch the entire series. And I  feel like I should rewatch it soon; I’ve really  missed Special Agent Dale Cooper and all his little quirks!

Freaks and Geeks

I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to watch this one so many years after it had aired. But I did, and I was shocked by how entertaining it was and how fresh it felt. Surely, it has aged a little bit, but, to me, it felt as smart, funny, and moving as it would have felt if I had watched it years ago.

If you are a fan of Freaks and Geeks, check out My mad fat diary, too.

The prisoner

How can it be that a tv series that was broadcast in 1967 is better than all the tv series broadcast in 2013?

British television at its best.

No.

Let me rephrase that.

Television at its best.

“I am not a number, I am a free man.”

I could start listing all the ways in which The Prisoner has changed  television as we know it, but I’d rather not. For those of you who would be interested in such a list you can check out this post on the 10 greatest examples of the Prisoner’s enduring pop-culture legacy.

The only thing I want to share with you, dear reader, is that the iconic Opening Credits/Sequence of The Prisoner

…always makes me think of  Patrick’s dream sequence in Steven Moffat’s Coupling (I found it only in Italian, but, to be honest, I think it’s extra funny this way. Right?)

Also, don’t watch the remake!

Deadwood

Al Swearengen is maybe the best written tv villain in the history of tv villains.

And this is definitely the best tv fight scene in the history of tv fight scenes.

II. The Joss Whedon Effect on PTTVSCD.

If you search the web for cancelled tv shows you are bound to observe two things: a) the topic of cancelled tv shows is a very frequently discussed one, b) in most lists Firefly is ranked as number one favourite cancelled tv show. No other fanbase has gone through so much heartache, and no other fanbase has worked so hard to keep their beloved series on air. Since day one, with the airing of Buffy’s pilot on March 10, 1997, Whedonites always had to pray for Whedon’s series, beg the networks, make campaigns. Even the simple mention of the name “Whedon” or the word “Firefly” can trigger a panic attack in Whedonites who suffer from PTTVSCD.  Recurring flashes of the day Firefly or Dollhouse got axed,  and night terrors where Whedon’s next projects – currently S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers 2-are crucified  by both critics and audiences, are not uncommon.

Firefly

This “Don’t mess with Firefly” campaign for Free Speech feat. Neil Gaiman always makes me smile.
In 2012, Browncoats Unite, a documentary on Firefly was broadcast on Science Channel.
I cried like a baby.
You can watch the 10th Anniversary panel of Firefly on the San Diego Comicon 2012 here:
Dollhouse
Dollhouse is most probably the most off-balance of Whedon’s projects. With a  Friday night death time-slot, the networks interference in the pilot, and poor ratings from the start, the show never had a chance.
I believe that Dollhouse could have made a great television series, if it had been given more opportunities. Either way, I will always be grateful to Joss Whedon for writing and to Fran Kranz for portraying the character of Topher Brink so magnificently.
III. Underhyped:  Terriers, Carnivale, Awake, Fades, Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Terriers
Terriers was doomed since before it was aired. The network failed to provide it with a good time slot and promoted it in such a way that the audience had no idea what the show was about. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought it was a reality show about dogs.
Terriers was a very character-driven show. It is the relationship between the protagonists, Hank (Donal Logue), an ex-cop, and Britt (Michael Raymond-James),  a (more or less) ex-thief , that is at the heart of this show.  Terriers is – or, hopefully, will be- one of these tv series that gain the respect and love they deserve retrospectively. For the few of us who watched it  every week, wondering whether it would be picked up for another season, knowing that the ratings were poor but secretly wishing for some divine intervention that would save it, the cancellation was a slow, painful process. At least Terriers had a decent finale; one of my favourites, actually.
Gotta Love the Terriers Theme Song!
Other shows, like the more recent Awake, or the older and most tragically cancelled Carnivàle, didn’t give us the satisfaction of a true ending. We all love cliffhangers in our tv shows. Since the ultimate cliffhanger “Who shot J.R.?” in Dallas, we ‘ve  all enjoyed not knowing what will happen next. But, if we’re being honest, in a season’s finale the cliffhanger is not as welcome as in mid-season. And, if the show gets axed, a cliffhanger finale is the worst thing that could happen to us tv maniacs. We almost wish we hadn’t watched the series at all.

Carnivàle

After all these years, I am still angry about this one. I will never stop recommending the show, though. It may not have a satisfying finale, but it is one of the most beautiful and horrifying things I ‘ve ever watched.

Carnivàle: Opening Sequence


Update: A few hours after I wrote and published this post, I came across this article on Daniel Knauf’s plans for Carnivàle.

Awake

Awake has an intriguing central premise: the protagonist, Michael,  lives in two separate realities after a car accident. In one reality  his wife , Hannah, survives the accident; in the other reality his son, Rex, does . Michael does not know which reality is “real”, and uses different coloured wristbands to differentiate the two (green for Hannah, red for Rex). He also uses details from both realities in order to solve crimes.  Awake was a procedural that, given time, would have become more and more serialised, I think. It had a brilliant cinematography that ensured that the audience always knew in which of these two realities Michael was in. The sessions with the two psychologists were by far the best  part of the series. But I have to admit, I watched this show mostly because of the compelling performance by Jason Isaacs. I was left with too many questions unanswered  but I continue to support and recommend this series. It is new, refreshing. We need more series like this one in our tv nowadays.
The Fades
The Fades was cancelled almost a year ago but the wound is still open. It gave life to one of the most well-written and well-portrayed tv friendships I’ve ever watched. Iain De Caesteckers performance was jaw-droppingly good, and, believe me, I do not say this often, especially for such young actors. But this kid is fantastic; it’s no wonder Joss Whedon wants him in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Anyways, I  was shocked to read that The Fades was cancelled  due to the fact that there wasn’t enough money for both Being Human and The Fades, so the network axed the programme with the lower ratings. No, I wasn’t shocked. I was furious. Because, Being Human is a show that even in its best days, was not half as good as The Fades. At the time of the cancellation, Being Human had turned to shit, really. Following the cancellation of the series, a BAFTA award gave us hope that the series might get a renewal but as Andrew Blair of Den of Geek explains in his article, the cancellation was actually due to the fact that The Fades was too good for its demographic.
I blame the fucking British kids!
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
TTSCC  is one of the most undehyped/underestimated shows in American tv. At first, I was reluctant to watch it, because it seemed like a very b-version of the Terminator movies and I wasn’t sure about the cast, either. The series proved to be far better than I ever would have imagined.

The show could get rather perverse sometimes… which is only one of the reasons why I loved it.

III. @CancelledAgain

Whenever tv addicts hear the names Tim Minear and Bryan Fuller, they shudder. Almost all the tv series  Minear was involved in, were cancelled before their time. Let me count them for you: Terriers, Wonderfalls, Dollhouse, Firefly, Drive, The Chicago Code.  It is a well-known-fact in the tv industry and an inside joke for people like me,  who watch too much tv. So, if you come across the twitter account  @CancelledAgain, know that it belongs to Tim Minear. Follow him and offer a “pat pat” or a “there, there”. He’s been through so much…

Also, there is no such thing as watching too much tv. Bazinga!

Bryan Fuller’s Tetrafecta of Doom includes: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Mockingbird Lane.

In one of these beautiful shows Tim Minear’s name overlaps with that of Fuller’s . Minear was also executive producer in both Joss Whedon‘s aforementioned  cancelled shows: Dollhouse and Firefly.
I believe that if these three guys (Minear, Fuller, Whedon)  were to create a tv series together, this tv series would be the best thing in television since the invention of moving pictures, and at the same time so doomed that we would never get to watch it. The script would burn in a  tragic fire that no one would know how it started, all hard copies and backups would accidentally get deleted by some moron assistant, all the cast would catch a virus and start getting ill, crew members would die in car accidents etc.

IV. 6 Seasons and a Movie

I wanted to end this post with a happy note: the tv series that, with ample love and support from  fans, managed to get a renewal or a movie! As I have already mentioned, Firefly and Dead like me got a second chance to end things properly with a movie. Not the most ideal scenario for hardcore fans of the shows, but better than nothing, I guess.

Serenity

Dead Like Me :Life after Death

It is not easy living with PTTVSCD. But we get by with the support from our families, the help from our friends, and, most importantly, the rare, but oh so blissful occasion that one of our favourite tv series actually gets renewed. In the case of Arrested Development we had to wait 6 years, but the miracle finally happened, and the show will return for its much-anticipated fourth season on Netflix this May!

Hurrah, Hurrah!

 

Arrested Development

Update:

I realised that there are three of my favorite series missing from this post, and I couldn’t help it, I had to update it.

Life

Every time I get a craving for fruit, I remember Damien Lewis.

The I.T. Crowd

About an hour ago I started checking out I.T. Crowd YouTube videos in order to choose my favourite ones for this post. Now all I want to do is  finish this goddamn post and go watch the entire series again!

Veronica Mars

Today, Kickstarter launched the Veronica Mars Movie Project. If you are a fan of the series, miss it, and die to watch a Veronica Mars movie, here’s your chance to make it happen, people!

So…

I wanted an epilogue for this post,

and I found the perfect one.

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5 thoughts on “@CancelledAgain or: how I learned to live with PTTVSCD.

  1. PTTVSCD is a real issue which when diagnosed has to be treated with extreme pampering of the person affected…

    there are many more mentions that one could make for any kind of series: sitcom, drama, procedural, fantasy etc…we have all suffered from PTTVSCD
    Two examples of series that their fans and their campaigns made it possible for the series to continue for another season were Jericho and Community
    I am mad with studios for their constant search for the next best thing, the big ratings and the proliferation of shows they produce only to cancel them shortly after
    Personally i also miss (besides all the ones you mentioned!!!! which i love) some less acclaimed series like Surface, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Love Bites, IT Crowd, Life, The Unusuals, I Just Want My Pants Back, The River, Head Cases, Sinchronicity, Love Monkey, The Loop, Invasion, Committed etc
    What can i say i like watching shows which are going to be cancelled 😛

    Or shows which have had a good run and i will always miss like Veronica Mars, Malcom in the Middle, BSG, BTVS and the Gilmore Girls to mention a few
    TV addiction is a serious illness 😉

    • Τι ωραία, καποια απο αυτά δεν τα χω δει! Το IT crowd ήθελα να το βάλω αλλά δεν ημουν 100% sure οτι εχει κοπεί. Μάλλον ήθελα να ελπίζω. Πάω να κλάψω στη γωνιά μου (βλέποντας The Americans που btw πόσο γαματο!)

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