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TV Series Mercy Killings

2010-05-19 14:18
Cancelled TV shows

Oh, how amazing it all once was, when the cheerleader was just a scared teenager who didn’t know why she couldn’t die. And the mere mention of Sylar would make your heart race. It didn’t take long for the Heroes writers to reduce the still-brilliant first season momentum into a ridiculous cut-and-paste job in the follow-up seasons. A show so reliant on the strength of its characters started introducing truly dumb new ones (Maya and Alejandro, we’re looking at you) and getting all twisted in its own mythology, there seemed to be no way back for this once groundbreaking show. I can’t help thinking that Zachary Quinto (who played serial killer Sylar) is the only cast member to escape this sunken ship with his dignity intact.

Flash Forward
Again with the fantastic premise and the sloppy delivery. After only one season, ABC has cancelled this sci-fi drama due to low ratings. Once you've seen the characters' futures, is there any suspense left? The storylines became increasingly intricate and the reward just wasn't enough to justify the required investment from the viewers. It's time to flash back to the drawing board, folks.

Ugly Betty
Aw, it's not because she's ugly. It just got old. The original Spanish telenovela, Yo Soy Betty, la fea (I am Betty, the ugly), only aired for two years from 1999 to 2001, and then wrapped up neatly. The American version should have followed suit. The fourth season (currently airing on M-Net) is its final and oddly, it contains some of the best writing in the series' history. The low ratings could in part be attributed to its Friday night death slot on ABC in America, but this show had been sitting on the shelf for far too long. Betty deserves better!

To borrow Forrest Gump’s catchphrase, Frank Black’s first two seasons can best be described as boxes of chocolates – you never knew what you were going to get. Most of the episodes were absolute crackers, and up until those final moments of season 2, they managed to blend a fine balance of episodic thrills and a murderously suspenseful overall story arc.  Throw into the mix wildly offbeat, perfectly-written episodes like “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense” and “Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me”, and you’ve got classic status all over it. So when Black resurfaces at the start of season 3 to join the FBI after what we thought was the apocalypse, our immediate response is “huh?”. The only shame is that it took another 22 episodes to all but suck the life out of what once was a brilliant second title for X-Files creator Chris Carter.

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks became one of 1990s' top-rated shows, a critical success both nationally and internationally. Reflecting its devoted cult fan base, the series became a part of popular culture, referenced in other television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and song lyrics. Declining viewer ratings led to ABC's insistence that the identity of Laura's murderer be revealed midway through the second season, a ratings ploy which interfered with several other long-running story lines.

Lipstick Jungle
I can see how the producers imagined this poor woman's Sex and The City would take off like its big sister. But not all Candace Bushnell novels are equal. And this is the dud. The actresses were great (Brooke Shields, Kim Raver), the fashion was fantastic, but it had no legs. Powerful women chronicles have been done to death on TV, so you need something wow to stand out. There was no wow here. The show limped its way to two seasons and in SA we only got to see seven of the last 13 episodes. I don't think we missed much.

Big Shots
Talk about a waste of time and money. Here's another team trying to cash in on the Sex and The City recipe, only this time – with boys. While we're thrilled we were only subjected to 11 episodes, the truth is this show should never have been made. Lame characters, ridiculous plots and just an overall sense of it being a bang-up job made for television trauma. This was Dylan McDermott's worst career move ever. They did him a favour by cancelling it.

A medical show without tear-jerking drama was so refreshing that no one had the heart to admit that the show stopped being funny after four seasons. Five painful years later ABC finally pulled the plug on this ailing comedy. Let's remember Scrubs for the great show it once was. RIP.

Honourable mentions: Gilmore Girls, Prison Break, Knight Rider.

Which shows are you glad to see gone from your screens? 

Like a movie that should have ended 30 minutes ago, there are TV shows that deserve to be put out of their misery.

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