The fate of GCB, one of our favorite new shows, will be decided in the next few weeks, and right now, there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll survive. If it does get canceled, at least it’ll instantly become a member of what we’ll call the Arrested Development/Freaks & Geeks/Firefly club. Shows that were canceled before their time, and have gained cult status since they left the airwaves.
All of those programs have rabid enthusiastic followers, and in the case of Firefly and Arrested Development, that fan enthusiasm has directly led to big screen resurrections.
We’re hoping GCB gets a renewal, but while we wait, let’s take a look at a few other shows throughout the years that were unfairly snuffed out, and picture … what might have been.
ABC (October 3, 2007 – June 13, 2009)
Featuring a stellar cast, including Lee Pace, the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth, and Anna Friel as Dead Zooey Deschanel, Pushing Daisies jumped out of the gate, becoming the most buzzed-about new show of the year, and winning seven Emmy Awards for its first season. It would end its second and final season unceremoniously dumped into the wasteland of Saturday.
What Went Wrong?
Stupid writers wanting stuff! The Writer’s Guild Of America strike decimated the first season, and only nine episodes of a full 22 episode season were made. By the time the show returned, the bloom was off, and ratings tumbled. Months after the show was canceled and left the air, ABC finally decided to burn off the final three episodes … at 10 PM Saturday night.
Who knows what could have been if the show had been allowed to flourish, but creator Bryan Fuller probably wasn’t that surprised … having been through it before with …
Fox (March 12 – April 1, 2004)
Before the short-lived Daisies but after the short-lived Dead Like Me, Bryan Fuller created what is still the little seen jewel in his quirky crown. Wonderfalls starred Caroline Dhavernas as a Niagara Falls shop clerk who had to deal with her eccentric family while also having conversations with various animal tchotchkes. The great supporting cast included a pre-Eureka Neil Grayston, the faboo Diana Scarwid (Oh Diana … I am one of your fans), and … Lee Pace again. Hmm …
What Went Wrong?
Let’s see … Fox didn’t know how the hell to market it … the episodes were shown out of sequence … it was up against the similar-but-lesser Joan of Arcadia. or maybe it’s just … the curse of Lee Pace!
Syndication (September 15, 1997 – May 17, 1999)
Matt McColm (One of the most gorgeous men to ever grace the small screen) starred in this comic-book adaptation as Johnny Domino, a San Francisco jazz saxophonist who gained super powers after lightning struck his cable car. I’m not making this sh*t up.
What was his super power? He became able to tune his mind to the “frequency of evil,” which is helpful in tracking down the bad guys, but he also lost the ability to sleep (which is helpful if you want to show him wandering the sleek, rain-soaked streets of nighttime British Columbia). From what I recall, playing the sax while sleeveless and glistening activated his power, but I’m a bit sketchy on that.
That superpower is really not enough to sustain a series, so the show gave him a terrible, ugly supersuit that did … stuff. It also covered up his beautiful body and half his face, making him look like a Folsom performer with pink eye.
What Went Wrong?
Well, the show … wasn’t very good. Plus Taylor Dayne starred in the first episode as Johnny’s love interest, and then was never seen again, which was a fatal mistake.
You’re probably asking, “Then why was this a show gone too soon?” Because in November of 1998, something magical occurred. NightMan did a crossover with another beloved gone-too-soon classic from the 80’s … Manimal. Both shows were produced by Glen Larson, and if NightMan had continued, one can only speculate what other Larson shows would be plundered. Would we have seen an appearance from an Original BSG Cylon? Twiki from Buck Rogers? Automan?? We’ll never know.