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To all the TV shows I’ve loved and lost (whedonverse actors mentions)

Denise Neil

Monday 30 January 2006, by Webmaster

You know the poet who penned the phrase "’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all"?

It’s pretty obvious that poet did not see "Emily’s Reasons Why Not" two Mondays ago.

I loved that show. Really loved it. And now, it appears, I will likely lose it.

And I don’t feel any better for it, that’s for sure.

"Emily’s Reasons Why Not" was the much-touted Heather Graham vehicle that many critics described as a cleaned-up version of "Sex and the City." I gave it a chance and found it surprisingly smart in a totally silly way. It was one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time, and I couldn’t wait to see more.

But apparently I was the only one who felt that way. I also apparently was the only one watching. The ratings were stinky, and ABC pulled the second episode to air a rerun of "The Bachelor." Now, I read that they’ve shut down production. No one’s saying it’s over, but let’s face it —"Emily" is as good as canceled.

I’ve been through this plenty of times before.

For some reason (bad taste?), I tend to love shows no one else wants to watch. I get wrapped up in the characters. Emotionally invested in the plot. And then a fickle network executive decides its ratings aren’t good enough, and before you can say "My So-Called Life," it’s gone.

I can’t count how many times it’s happened. But I’ll give you a quick recap of the most painful involuntary breakups I’ve gone through with television shows.

Of course, there was "My So-Called Life," the critically acclaimed teen angst show that ABC canceled after just one season. The network moved on, and so did star Claire Danes. But fans were left stranded and wondering what could have been for Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano.

A year later, I heard that ABC was giving "My So-Called Life" producers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz another chance and another show, this one called "Relativity." It starred "Father of the Bride" daughter Kimberly Williams as a young woman who met the love of her life on vacation in Italy, then tried to recapture the magic with him in the States.

It was charming, unexpected, and unceremoniously dumped on Saturday nights when everyone in its target demographic was out at a bar.

"Relativity" also was canceled after one season, and fans were left stranded and wondering what could have been for Izzy and Leo.

Not long ago, there was "Once and Again," also a Zwick/Herskovitz show and also on ABC (I’m beginning to detect a pattern here.) Starring Sela Ward and Billy Campbell as middle-aged divorced people who find love again, it was hailed as one of the best domestic dramas ever. And it was. So, of course, ABC canceled it.

I wish that were all. Two years ago, Alicia Silverstone’s excellent "Miss Match" [Charisma Carpenter and Nathan Fillion were recurring stars on the show.]was taken from me without warning, and before that, I was grateful not to have gotten immersed in "Freaks and Geeks" as its fans frantically tried — and failed — to save it from the same fate.

This year, I thought about watching "Reunion." [With Alexa davalos.]The premise was interesting, and the stars were appealingly clean-scrubbed. Now I’m grateful I never found time for it, or this very minute I’d be wondering who was the killer and who was the killee. Fox canceled "Reunion" before its central mystery was solved.

None of these shows deserved such treatment. None even came close to jumping the shark. But these days, if a show doesn’t instantly find big ratings or a demographically appealing fan base, networks don’t even look for one reason not to cancel it.

Thank goodness for the exceptions, though they’re few. But at least we have "Lost," and it’s not going anywhere. For now.

All this loving and losing has taught me a few lessons.

I shouldn’t let myself get involved in shows that look like they could be high-quality. That goes double if Zwick or Herskovitz is involved. And triple if ABC is.

It seems that I’d be better off investing in something more like NBC’s barfy new comedy "Four Kings." It looks so bad, its commercials should be canceled.

And it’ll probably be on the air for 13 seasons.

So tell me, what favorite shows of yours were killed before their time?