Snuffed Out: Still More Series That Were Gone Too Soon

With the fate of ABC’s Happy Endings decided, it has officially become a member of the “Gone Too Soon” club, TV shows that were snuffed out before they had a chance to flourish … or jump the shark. The club used to be headed by the Holy Trinity of Arrested Development/Freaks & Geeks/Firefly, but Arrested Development has been miraculously resurrected, so let’s put … I don’t know … Pushing Daisies in its place.

While we mourn Happy Endings, let’s take a third trip down TV memory lane. In the first Snuffed Out, we paid tribute to the aforementioned Daisies, as well as Wonderfalls, Nightman, The Book Of Daniel, Popular, The Five Mrs. Buchanans, The Flash, Eerie Indiana, It’s All Relative, Paper Dolls and the newly-resurrected Veronica Mars.

The second Snuffed Out honored The Comeback, It Had To Be You, Mission Genesis, Flo, Women of The House, Baywatch Nights, Dante’s Cove, The Lair, Noah’s Arc, Bagdad Cafe, Free Spirit, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

So what shows should join them in the “Gone Too Soon” Club? Here are some more suggestions. Care to add any that haven’t been mentioned?

Ugly Betty
ABC (September 28, 2006 – April 14, 2010)

You’re probably thinking, “But Ugly Betty had a successful run. What is it doing here?” It’s true, Betty was by all accounts a success. It had Emmy love (with a win for America Ferrera and multiple noms for Vanessa Williams), and its four season run was longer than most “Gone Too Soon” club members. So why is it included here?


In the final season, Betty’s teenage nephew Justin comes to terms with his sexuality, kisses his friend Austin, and in one of the sweetest scenes in recent TV history, the two share a romantic dance. If the show had continued, who knows where they would have gone with Justin’s character. Would he be sharing a class at NYADA with Kurt Hummell? Yes, let’s pretend he is.

What Went Wrong?

By Betty‘s third season, its pop culture zeitgeist had faded, and not even its fourth season creative resurgence could save it.

The WB (October 5 – November 23, 2003)

Travis Fimmel is Tarzan.

Airing for eight episodes until it was yanked from The WB, Tarzan was a modern day update of the classic FOW story, with Sarah Wayne Callies (yes, Lori from The Walking Dead) as Jane, and Lucy Lawless as … oh who cares who she played, it’s Lucy Frickin Lawless. And did I mention … Travis Fimmel is Tarzan.

What Went Wrong?

Okay … Travis Fimmel is Tarzan. So instead of naked in the jungle you have him … fully clothed in NYC helping Jane solve police cases?

New Amsterdam
Fox (March 4 – April 14, 2008)

Airing for eight episodes in mid-season, New Amsterdam starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a 400-year-old homicide detective in New York City. Think of it as NYPD Blue meets Highlander. Here’s the synopsis:

“He was a Dutch soldier in Manhattan in the year 1642 when he stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American girl during a massacre of her tribe. The girl in turn rescued Amsterdam by weaving a spell that conferred immortality upon him. It was also prophesied that he would not age until he finds his one true love, and only then will he become whole and ready for mortality. Flashbacks in different episodes of the show reveal Amsterdam’s centuries of life since, using many names, though usually retaining “John”, marked by loss as his friends, lovers, children (63), and dogs gradually grow old and die.”

John solved crimes each week by using flashbacks to his first-hand knowledge of history, while trying to find the one true love that would free him from his immortality.

What Went Wrong?

It’s Fox. They originally had it scheduled for the fall of 2007, then pulled it at the last minute, which is never a good sign. They finally aired the pilot on March 6, 2008 and then the second episode two days later. Clearly they didn’t know what to do with or how to market the high concept series. But at least Nikolaj Coster-Waldau managed to go on to bigger and better things.

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