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Anyone who has watched the FOX network in the last few years has been burned numerous times by their cancellation policy. FOX seems to work on the idea of “If we make it, we must cancel”. Last year they spent about six months advertising a new show starring Nathan Fillion called Drive. Six months of ads lead to three aired episodes. I”m sure there are many blogs out there who still can’t get over the cancellation of Firefly, and many other. FOX is famous for launching a dozen new shows, and canceling all of them by seasons end. In the last few years I think the only shows that have made it are House, and 24. As I sit here I’m watching a show that met a similar fate, so I thought I’d talk about a few that I liked that never made it.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

This western themed comedy starred the great Bruce Campbell as the bounty hunter son of a legendary marshal. I don’t think I need to mention anything more to show how uniquely great it was other than his horse Comet, who didn’t know he was a horse. It was a fantastic comedy, with sci fi under tones, that launched the same night as another sci fi FOX show you may have heard of, The X-Files. One made it, the other didn’t. I don’t think I need to say which.

Touching Evil

A unique police drama starring Burn Notice’s Jeffery Donovan. He played a detective returning from a year long sabbatical after he was shot in the head. Much like his character in Burn Notice he played a quick mouthed near savant, though Evil had much darker tones. It was adapted from a British mini-series, and as such had only two options; canceled early, or sucking massively (I’m looking at you U.S. The Office). Although that’s another post altogether. Touching Evil unfortunately fell into the first category of British adaptations.

Threshold

It followed the T.V. pattern of “If it works, make three more.” It came out roughly the same time as Invasion, and a few other conspiracy, Lost-like whole season story, type shows. It stared several my favorite actors; Brent “Data” Spiner, Charles S. Dutton, and Peter Dinklage. If you don’t know who Dinklage is check out The Station Agent, you’ll love it. The main problem with season long story shows is when they are canceled you’re left hanging. I’m sure that we all have found a show that we have like that is either canned mid season, or has a big cliff hanger finale that is never picked up (I’m lookin at you A.L.F.).

Sporstnight/Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

One followed, and the other preceded, show creator Aaron Sorkins work on Emmy winner The West Wing. As a fan of his White House drama I have no problem saying that both his other ventures into television were superior. All of his TV work to date have been shows that take you behind the scenes. Sportsnight went behind the camera on a Sportscenter like show, while Studio 60 looked at the world behind late night sketch comedy. Sportsnight made it two seasons, while Studio 60 only aired about half of one (though thanks to DVD the rest of the first season was filmed and is now available). They featured his trademark of incredible dialogue, long “Goodfella’s through the kitchen” kinds of shots that don’t break flow, and characters far smarter than any you normally see on American television.

These are only a few of the many many many shows that met an early death. Anyone who has seen the opening of the returning premier of Family Guy knows the list of shows that FOX alone has left in its wake. I’m sure there are more, so what are some of your favorites?

  • zohner

    This wasn’t a FOX show but CBS really, really screwed Jericho and its fans. Fans were able to get seven episodes in a shortened second season but CBS did that to get them to stop sending peanuts to their mailroom more than anything else. That had to have been the best show I’ve seen on network television in a long time.

    As for FOX shows, the show that I was most disappointed in being canceled, other than Firefly was John Doe. That show had such promise. FOX execs decided that it would be a great idea to end the season with an amazing cliffhanger where the best friend was revealed to have been the main villain the whole time. Two weeks later, FOX thought that it would be best to cancel the show leaving tens, if not hundreds, of angry fans in their wake.

    And how can we forget our introduction to the lovely, Jessica Alba in Dark Angel? Granted, FOX gave this show two seasons but it could have gone on much longer. It was just another in a long line of examples where TV executives jerked with a show until people stopped watching.

    Now to Drive. Why promote the crap out of a show only to give it three episodes? That makes absolutely no sense. I guess it just goes to prove my theory that Nathan Fillion is cursed.

  • Isn’t there actually a wiki category for Fox Cancellations?

  • Lacey

    I used to watch Tru Calling starring Eliza Dushku aka Faith from Buffy…I loved that show and all we got was 2 seasons of that one too. Hopefully the upcoming Dollhouse with Eliza and Joss Whedon will have better luck.

  • Tim

    I remember Brisco County and Studio 60, and didn’t like either. I thought The Critic was good, but that lasted three episodes. If I had the time, I could get into 24 or House, but I know they get booted if American Idol needs the slot.

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