Sunday, May 31, 2015

TV Shows That Got The Ax Far Too Soon.

Sometimes, there's just no saving a good television show. Many times in the past, I've unfortunately watched a favorite program get the ax, at times without resolving a cliffhanger ending. Here are three great examples of much-loved television shows that met premature deaths.

Ugly Americans - This half-hour animated comedy premiered on Comedy Central in 2010, only to be canceled after two seasons in 2012. Featuring a colorful cast of demons, monsters, wizards, beasts and devils, Ugly Americans wasn't your typical cartoon. The plots usually delved into the absurd aspects of real life, offering up commentary on how ridiculous modern living can be. Protagonist Mark Lilly is a social worker in New York City. He works for the Department of Integration, which seeks to manage non-human entities living in the city. Combine that with an on-again, off-again office romance with his boss Callie Maggotbone (a succubus none the less) and you've got the makings of a gut-busting show. Every episode is near perfect, especially the season one finale "The Manbirds" -- naked man-chicken hybrids compete in barbarian-esque "cock" fights. This is one cartoon you shouldn't watch with kids in the room. Ugly Americans was canceled due to not enough financing to keep it afloat -- animation isn't cheap!

Quantum Leap - Representing one of my favorite shows from my youth, Quantum Leap had a terribly sad ending that left its fans wanting more. The show featured Dr. Sam Beckett as he time traveled from one person to the next, leaping into their body and "righting what once went wrong". The show began in 1989 and ran for five seasons on NBC. It was a critical success and garnered decent ratings throughout most of its run. The last episode of season five was purposefully written to be ambiguous -- the network hadn't wholly guaranteed that the show would be renewed for a sixth season. Yet, once production of the fifth season wrapped, NBC re-edited the final episode, changed the content and left Sam to forever leap from one life to the next -- he never made it home. Talk about a bummer.

King of the Hill - Those of you who know me well are fully aware that KOTH is one of my all-time favorites. Over the course of its thirteen seasons, we watched as the Hill Family explored every nuance of American life. Patriarch Hank Hill started out as a somewhat close-minded, bland sort of guy. Yet, by the end, Hank was friendly, out-going and fairly liberal (by Texan standards). Throughout the life of the series, KOTH faced scheduling issues because of the Fox Network -- largely due to Sunday NFL football games. With pre-empted episodes, fans sometimes missed the show for weeks at a time (the entire tenth season was nothing but pre-empted shows from season nine). Yet, somehow, KOTH managed to survive year after year. The show faced cancellation multiple times throughout its run, but ultimately met its demise in 2009 (to be replaced by The Cleveland Show... blah). Four un-aired episodes from the final season were eventually shown later in 2010 via syndication. While the program didn't end on a cliffhanger, myself and other fans feel there was plenty of life left in King of the Hill. For a meager show that started in 1997, it managed to keep up with the changing landscape of television, technology, the internet and how people communicate. I miss it to this day.

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