Each year, it is always the same. As April and May come around, the clock ticks down on a number of television shows whose time has run out. While some shows will go quietly into the night, others will feel like we have been slapped in the face by a bucket of cold water. But no matter whether it is an expected death or an unexpected sudden demise, a number of viewers and fans will still mourn the loss of these shows.
The Fall 2010 season began with the heavily hyped premiers of such cutting-edge dramas as LONE STAR and MY GENERATION — only to find that a few short weeks later, they were nowhere to be found on the broadcast schedule. Others such as OUTLAW, UNDERCOVERS, RUNNING WILDE and THE WHOLE TRUTH lingered a while longer, and then also quietly disappeared.
Then less quietly and with much more gnashing of teeth, were the shocking cancellations of CAPRICA, STARGATE: UNIVERSE, and TERRIERS — and somewhere in the midst of those wild outcries were even more shows falling beneath the guillotine, such as: RUBICON, LIFE UNEXPECTED, UNNATURAL HISTORY, TOWER PREP, CHASE, and THE GOOD GUYS.
For some, the end has been long-announced and we can simply enjoy the remaining episodes that have been granted, such as the grand send-out for SMALLVILLE after 10 sensational seasons, MEDIUM, GREEK, and the EMMY-challenged FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.
As the 2010-2011 season winds down, it is time to say goodbye to a few more shows whose bubble has burst or which is about to burst. While fans may be praying for a last minute reprieve — and it could happen, for once in a blue moon it does — it is perhaps time to say our “goodbyes” now and appreciate the time they have left.
On the endangered list are: CHUCK, HUMAN TARGET, PARENTHOOD, HELLCATS, THE EVENT, THE CHICAGO CODE, and V.
(Note: Shows such as OFF THE MAP, NO ORDINARY FAMILY, THE DEFENDERS, and THE CAPE are already considered beyond hope.)
There is a beautiful song by the band Sanctus Real entitled “Say Goodbye.” Whenever I found out that yet another one of my TV shows has died, I think of this song — for its haunting melody echoes through my soul and allows me to savor everything I loved about a particular show.
For normal people, they grieve for human lives that are lost. Then for those of us who are TV addicts, we grieve for the television shows that we have lost. It may seem silly to grieve over a television show, but as any good television writer knows, the characters on a television show are created to be a part of our lives. They are meant to draw us in and make us care about them. And, for some of us, they are closer to us than our own families — because we live alone, live apart from loved ones, or are otherwise cut-off from others by time and circumstance. Television was intended to be our surrogate family and it does a superb job of it; which is why so many fans are heart-broken when they learn of the impending or sudden demise of a television show.
So it is time to face the cold hard truth: some shows will not get another season. They will not be granted a stay of execution. It is time to anticipate the end and savor every last second remaining.
The CHUCK fans may fervently protest that there is no way that NBC would dare cancel a show that has delivered such a staunch and loyal audience for 4 seasons. Yet it is time to realize that 4 seasons is a mighty good run for any television show.
Even V, HUMAN TARGET and PARENTHOOD were lucky enough to survive their first seasons and were given another “bite at the apple.”
It is shows such as THE CHICAGO CODE, THE EVENT and HELLCATS that are getting short-changed. They are coasting through their first season, but that may be the end of their run.
Why TV shows fail is a mystery that has been pondered for decades. But the ultimate reasons are that people stopped watching and the shows became economically-unviable. It is not that they became stale, outdated or unappreciated — they just could not deliver the eyeballs needed to keep them on the broadcast schedule; and they are given their “pink slips” to make way for new shows to be launched in the Fall season.
It is the cycle-of-life in television. Shows debut, they get a limited life-span, and then they end. Some life-cycles are longer and some are shorter. What really matters is whether each were loved.
This is the time to remember what you love about these shows before they are gone. Cherish each and every moment that is allowed to grace the television screen — for, if this is the end, you will want to remember it knowing that you were there for it in the end.
While the rest of the world celebrates Springtime and the awakening of life, we must take the time to sit by the bedside of our shows and await the determination of their fate. The bubble is bursting and we must take the time to say goodbye — for nothing on television lasts forever. We should be grateful for the time given us and all the wonderful memories bestowed upon us. I know I am. I am a firm believer that it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
This past year introduced me to the joys of many amazing television shows — and, to each of them, I toast their memory and wish that future fans discover them in their after-life — whether that be on DVD or on the internet. We live in fortunate times that there is time yet to still discover these departed shows and I encourage you to discover the ones you missed and which may make your heart sing. That is what television is about after all: bringing joy into our lives for a time — touching our lives so that an indelible mark has been made reminding us of something so extraordinary that it will be remembered forever.
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