Leonard Nimoy is gone. Spock has finally left this planet and beamed up to cosmic places unknown. He wasn’t the first of the original Star Trek cast to leave us. DeForest Kelly earned that sad distinction back in 1999. Then everyone’s favorite fake Scotsman, James Doohan, followed suit in 2005. So we’ve been prepared for another intergalactic parting, especially when you consider the rest of the cast—William Shatner (age 83), George Takei (77), Nichelle Nichols (82), and Walter Koenig (78)—are all in the twilight of their years.
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In case you somehow missed it, Jon Stewart has announced that sometime in 2015, he will leave The Daily Show, the trademark faux-news comedy program he commandeered from Craig Kilborn and transformed into a cultural powerhouse whose format is often imitated but truly, never bettered. “Did I die?” Stewart asked on the 11 February broadcast the day after his announcement, stunned at the outpouring of sadness on social media regarding his decision. Indeed, reading tale after tale of writers and young Americans who became politically active or went out and pursued degrees because of what Stewart has done is nothing short of incredible.
Among the first of Nexflix’s now hefty portfolio of original series, House of Cards has a lot that sets it apart from the traditional TV shows that we’re used to watching. Produced and distributed uniquely for online viewers, the series seems to relish in the freedom Netflix has provided it just as much as its fans savor the cold, calculating evil that is Frank Underwood. While many are eagerly looking forward to the release of the third season, I’ve also been looking back on the very first episode, trying to parse through what made this show feel so unique from the very start.
Unlike the vast majority of television programs, House of Cards never had a pilot phase, and consequentially has no “pilot” in the usual sense of the term. Pilot episodes are typically a means of proving a concept’s viability before the network makes a long-term commitment, but Netflix signed on for 26 episodes before a single scene was filmed. Chapter One is therefore precisely that: the first installment of a much longer narrative, and hardly a self-contained story.
The format of the situational comedy—“sitcom”, as it is most frequently called—was conceived in the post-World War II era. Some dismiss it as sub-par compared to other TV genres, while many argue it’s an art form worthy of respect. But love them or despise them, sitcoms have the power to influence the way we think and to even promote awareness for social issues like gay rights (Will & Grace), alcoholism, and even teen pregnancy (Mom)
The premature cancellation of great TV shows is, sadly, nothing new, as shows like My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Firefly can attest. Yet it continues to happen, season after season. Low ratings, high concepts, and plain old bad timing are just a few reasons why some shows never get a chance to grow past one season.
Unfortunately, some shows seem destined for cancellation right away, regardless of critical acclaim or the support of small, fanatical groups of fans. Below are seven shows that not only were cancelled too soon, but may have also been overlooked as excellent one-season wonders.