Firefly (and Other Murdered TV Shows)

Malcolm Reynolds and his crew live on the edge of the law, preferring to do jobs -- legal or not -- on the outer planets where Alliance influence is weak. Things get sketchy when they unknowingly take on two Alliance fugitives: a doctor and his genius little sister. The Alliance had been secretly experimenting on her, and they desperately want her back.

Half a season, 14 episodes. Fox killed this one partially by airing the episodes out of order. Fortunately Joss Whedon is the leader of an online cult with the motivation and power to finish the series. Though I think all of us would prefer if it never ended.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
Brisco County, a Harvard-educated lawyer-turned-bounty hunter, is after the infamous bandit John Bly Gang that murdered his father, Marshal Brisco. It's a western, but with sci-fi and steampunk elements thrown in. Oh yeah, and Bruce Campbell.

Fox (once again) gave up on this one after 27 episodes. Fortunately the secret of John Bly had been revealed by then, but still.

Nowhere Man
On a date with his wife, photojournalist Thomas Veil returns from the bathroom to discover his life has been erased. Nobody knows who he is, not even his wife. Every trace of his identity is gone. He discovers it's somehow related to a picture he took years before, but he doesn't know why. He must keep the negatives safe from a mysterious organization out to get him, while at the same time trying to learn the truth about what happened to him.

The defunct UPN canceled it after the first season, 25 episodes. Long enough to find out some cool things about Thomas' past. Not long enough to find out what they meant, dang it.

Pirates of Dark Water
Ren, the exiled prince of a sunken kingdom, is charged with finding the 13 Treasures of Rule to stop the ever-hungry Dark Water from consuming the world of Mer. He has an "unlikely but loyal crew of misfits" on his side, but the Pirate Lord Bloth is after him, trying to take the treasures for himself.

This one died on ABC after 20 seasons (although it started on Fox Kids -- a trend?), after Ren had found only eight of the treasures.

All of these shows had hardcore fans and critical acclaim, but they didn't make it. If there's a lesson for writers here, it's that everything's subjective. Though at least in writing, if you have fans and acclaim, you can self publish.

What were your favorite murdered shows?


Emmet said...

Holding onto the FOX and Nathan Fillion connection, Drive got about 4 episodes in before FOX came up behind it with a spiked bat... total douches!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I haven't seen the others, but the demise of Firefly was just a crime. This is also why my brother never watches a new series until it has at least a couple seasons under its belt. Then he gets them on DVD.

This kind of story-telling broken-promise is why I give up on TV shows pretty quickly if they don't capture me completely - whereas with a book, I'll keep reading. At least I know that it will have an ending.

Tim said...

How many times did Family Guy get canceled? (Also by FOX)

Unknown said...

I found Firefly hard to get into - as soon as I realise I loved it they pulled the plug on it. I watch it every time they run the repeats. Nathan Fillion was an absolute star in it.

Natalie Whipple said...

To add to the FOX hate, I'm still mourning the loss of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Dude, it was so cool, only made it two seasons.

L. T. Host said...

@Natalie: same here with the Sarah Conner Chronicles. I was so sad when they canceled that one :(

A couple other gems that should have lived longer: Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies. Both pretty morbid, but very clever shows.

fairyhedgehog said...

Firefly was the only one of these I watched and it was a crying shame it was pulled.

IanBontems said...

I miss Firefly too. It was such a weird mix of genre at first, but when I got into it, it just felt so right. And then they cancelled it. ho-hum.

Victoria Dixon said...

I never got to see Firefly until they killed it, but I fell in love at that point. (Of course.) We also loved Brisco and saw every single orphaned episode. God forbid they should go with unusual concepts. Of course, you'd think they'd learn. The fans saved the original Star Trek after paramount wanted to kill it in season two. They went out of their way to kill it during season three. Idiots.

Adam Heine said...

For me (esp. being on the other side of the world), I only get into a show if I know it has a satisfying ending. A shorter show like Firefly is actually more appealing to me so long as the mysteries are (mostly) answered.

When I got to the second episode of Firefly, and learned that the show had a proper ending with Serenity, I immediately went online and bought the DVDs for both.

And I'd heard about the Sarah Conner Chronicles. Sadly, I missed that one entirely.

Daniel Smith said...

Loved Brisco and Pirates. Pity.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm late to the party, but I would like to add a mention to the list: Freaks and Geeks. Seriously. Only got eighteen episodes, fifteen of which were aired during it's original run.