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Your Guide To The Shows That Didn’t Make It To Fall 2011

Upfronts week  — that time of year when network executives tell advertisers and the world at large what shows they’ll be airing come the new fall season, and we all start wondering which ones will fail first – is coming to an end. And while, for most people, that means they can start thinking about the future, I’d rather think about the past… and the shows that didn’t make it to a new season.

The CW
Hellcats
Poor Tom Welling. Sure, Smallville ended on a relatively high note (Well, the ratings were great), but his new gig as producer for this Bring It On-esque drama really didn’t last that long at all. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen any more of this than what’s appeared on the trailers, but still: Somewhere, the cheerleaders of America are probably in mourning for this show. Well, them and those who liked seeing Aly Michalka in a cheerleaders’ outfit on a regular basis.

Shedding for the Wedding
Pun aside, I don’t think anyone is really going to miss this “overweight couples compete to lose the most weight before their wedding” contest. I mean, if I didn’t know better, I would’ve assumed this was a 30Rock joke about how desperate reality TV had become.

CBS
Mad Love
The most interesting thing about this amazingly short-lived show (It only debuted this February) was the cast, which included Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke. Otherwise, it was one of a number of romantic comedies about a bunch of twentysomethings, and CBS already had a much better one of those, How I Met Your Mother.

$#*! My Dad Says
I love William Shatner, but he couldn’t save this one. Also, here’s hoping that the death of this show proves that a Twitter feed isn’t enough reason for a television show to exist.

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
Another short-lived show that only made it from February to May, this spin-off from Criminal Minds proved, I guess, that CBS can’t have two generic crime procedural franchises at the same time. CSI, you can breathe easy for now.

The Defenders
Television, I’m glad you have finally realized that you’re better than Jim Belushi.

NBC
The Cape and The Event
On the one hand, you have to applaud NBC for courting the geek vote so strongly with these two shows. On the other hand, you have to ask why they couldn’t have tried to do so with stronger shows. The Cape was shoddy from the word go – I mean, look at that title – and pretty much a goner from the time it was announced, but The Event really deserves some kind of prize for demonstrating how quickly a show can go from buzzed-about launch with great ratings to a show that no-one is watching because they have no idea what’s going on anymore. Here’s a hint for whoever tries this kind of conspiracy thriller in future: Don’t make it so clear to the audience that you’re making it up as you go along.

Chase
With the cancellation of this, The Event and the much-earlier Undercovers, it strikes me that all of NBC’s big dramas from last year failed. That’s not just a black eye for the network, that should hopefully be reason for them to take a fresh look at what audiences really want.

Law & Order: Los Angeles
…See above. But also: You ended Law & Order after 20 years for this?!?

Outsourced and Perfect Couples
Both shows featured a good cast (and Olivia Munn, who’s now off to the new Aaron Sorkin show at HBO, and seriously, who saw that coming?), but really lazy writing that erred on the side of “Not funny at all” all too often. Which, considering they were comedies, was a problem. Maybe it’s a lesson that NBC should stick to comedies that don’t seem like they could appear on other networks (See: 30Rock, Parks & Recreation, Community, The Office) in future?

Fox
The Chicago Code and Breaking In
There’s a lot of buzz going around the Fox had enough massive successes and new shows that it was excited about that series that would’ve been hits on other networks got culled to make room. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but these two shows may have been victims of being too new to have built enough of an audience to stick around, and of launching midseason when not enough people were paying attention to notice they were even around.

Human Target and Lie To Me
These, meanwhile, are likely the shows that had enough of a following to have made them hits on a network like NBC or (definitely) the CW. And, at least in Human Target‘s case, I’m surprised Warner Bros. TV hasn’t at least tried to take the show to either network – Imagine it paired with Chuck or Nikita, say. I’m particularly sad to see Target go; it may not have been the greatest show on, but it was consistently enjoyable, and the cast were charismatic and suitably tongue in cheek.

The Good Guys
I’m less sad to see this go. It had a lot of potential, but never quite gelled for me. I’m surprised that it actually lasted as long as it did, to be honest – Fox seemed to stand behind the show in a way that it doesn’t for other series (Breaking In or The Chicago Code, for example).

Traffic Light and Running Wilde
Fox doesn’t have the greatest track record with half-hour live action comedies – Raising Hope? Really? – and, looking at these two shows, neither of which were particularly offensive, but also not particularly agreeable, it’s easy to see why. If only some of the mean, funny spark of shows like Glee or even American Idol of old could make it to the sitcom format…

ABC
Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 1-8-7, Mr. Sunshine, My Generation, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map, The Whole Truth and V
Okay, ABC just culled its line-up this year. There’s no other way to look at it; the cancellation list includes new outright flops (Hi, Mr. Sunshine and My Generation!), bubble-shows (Off The Map and Better With You) and old favorites Brothers & Sisters), not to mention V, which everyone expected to have been killed off last year. It managed to do this because it’s got a good enough line-up of existing shows – Castle! Modern Family! I’ll pretty much forgive them anything for keeping those two around, and in the same slots as before – and some interesting choices of new shows (Charlie’s Angels doesn’t look too promising from what I’ve seen, but Once Upon A Time and Revenge, which is The Count of Monte Christo meets Gossip Girl, could both be breakout hits). Look at it as clearing out the deadwood… only to probably end up with the same amount of deadwood once the audience decides what they want to keep this time around.

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Comments

  • http://twitter.com/HeroicTStudios Michael Sacal

    The Defenders was fun. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.e.mansperger Robert E Mansperger Jr

    If I were shopping shows around I would hate for Fox to take interest as they really give almost no support to quality shows. The Chicago Code was cut down too early…

  • Anonymous

    Other than the fact that it wasn’t good, I blame Tyler Labine for Mad Love’s demise. He’s not a bad actor, but casting him seems to be the kiss of death for any new show. (See also: Christian Slater. And Bret Harrison.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

     I think it’s not really that they kill shows. They’ve each done great in the roles they’re cast in. They just pick shows that probably won’t be successful. Not on purpose, it’s just that they’re interested in a show that probably doesn’t have mainstream appeal. Same thing with Summer Glau.

  • Erica

     I actually liked Off the Map.  I agree with all the other cancellations.  TV has really sucked.  I’m ready for Gossip Girl to bite the dust too.

  • http://twitter.com/WeaponX2099 Rashaun Jackson

     Reaper with both Harrison, Labine lasted two seasons. If it had Slater and more State cast members, maybe it could have had 3.

  • http://twitter.com/WeaponX2099 Rashaun Jackson

    The break on Event for three months had to have hurt it. Human Target was good, CW should try to save it, and add Wonder Woman as a DC night. The Good Guys was quirky funny but it was on Friday nights. Outsourced should have been canceled after the first episode.

  • Kdiebold8715

     i agree. i actually though off the map wasnt that bad…i might have possible watched every episode…

  • Anonymous

    New idea for Fox. Cancel all their shows…bring back Firefly!!!!!

  • Mr. M

    That’s quite a list…out of the shows I actually say, I think I’ll miss Good Guys the most (except for the teenager-ish prosecutor), it was just plain dumb fun, and I would love to see Chase show up somewhere else minus the required “will they or won’t they” subplot. 

    Liked Detroit 1-8-7 and Chicago Code, but never felt compelled to watch either one each week.  Kind of liked Mr. Sunshine, but it was no Better Off Ted. Wanted to like The Cape, but it was mediocre; Lie to Me and The Whole Truth seemed too high on themselves (if that even makes sense!). Law & Order LA had some good elements but didn’t come together. I didn’t even know there was going to be another Criminal Minds, but it brought nothing new to the last 10 years of CBS procedurals.  I thought The Event pilot was awful, and I couldn’t even make it through the pilot of Outsourced.

    As for V, so much to be said, but primarily it lacked action; maybe that’s because I reflexively compare it to a couple of brilliant mini-series from my youth. “That’s how you kill your mother!”

    And yes, I would watch the pilot for Hellcats over and over just for Aly’s audition scene.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

     There’s talk of Netflix saving The Event. And The CW can’t afford Wonder Woman, otherwise they’d have grabbed it instead of NBC. They could probably swing Human Target though. If they had a time-slot available.

  • Lastnamecumbie

    the problem is most people dont watch tv but seriously there are some good shows being cancelled like human target, the defenders, criminal minds suspect behavior, and law n order la but i want to know why people watch survivor or the bigges loseri mean really those are dumb ass shows like i dont care if fat ass people lose weight i was fat and lost a ton of weight but i did it without some dumb show 

  • Anonymous

    No Ordinary Family and Lie to Me are two shows that really should have both been renewed.
    No Ordinary Family had smart writing that was intelligent enough for the whole family with out talking down to the children. Not to mention Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz were perfect for their roles. There was so much potential for great stories by the end of the first season; such a shame.

    I still do not understand why Fox canceled Lie to Me. Tim Roth was absolutely brilliant as Cal Lightman. Also, the shows dialouge was smart, witty, and sharp. Most police procedural shows lack the depth and character development that Lie to Me clearly had in spades.

    If I had a choice I’d trade ‘Glee’ and ‘Bones’ to get both of these show back in a heartbeat. I suppose there is no accounting for the tastes of Network execs.

  • stealthwise

    No complaints here, other than The Good Guys, which I knew was cancelled months and months ago.  We still have How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Community, Cougartown…

  • Frank Savage

    I loved the Good Guys. It was like a reverse Life On Mars, with a cop from the 70s thrust into today with all them fancy “computer machines”. 

  • Steve

    whats wrong with Raising Hope? its consistently funny.  

  • Erikgalston

    yes cause Fox is gonna cancel one of there biggest shows (Glee) to bring back a show that didn’t really bring in viewers? 

  • Anonymous

    Don’t get me wrong, I liked Reaper fine. But it debuted just before the writer’s strike, which helped give a few shows that wouldn’t normally make it more of a chance since there weren’t as many new pilots available. (I think that also helped Pushing Daisies get the renewal, too.)

    And Harrison’s The Loop also had two short seasons. And a James Kochalka Superstar theme song.

  • Ian

    Just to point out the comment about The Event ” Don’t make it so clear to the audience that you’re making it up as you go along.” is wrong. As five series were written and then handed to the network.

    The problem with The Event was that it was rubbish. IMO :)

  • http://twitter.com/TXTINGtheWIFE M. G.

    USA Network should pick up The Good Guys to pair it with Burn Notice.

    CW should snag HUman Target or The Cape to fill the Smallville void. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D7VQQXO6APXQZUYUTBXFNXMWSY Jase

     I’ll second that about The Good Guys.

  • Thatdarncat

    So glad to see the back of ‘No ordinary Family’, a rip off of the FF with a guy from the FF. i know Sci-Fi needs as suspension of belief but even i couldnt believe Julie Benz would be with Michael Chiklis.  

  • Hugh

    I miss Terriers, that was a good show that could have been a real success if it was correctly marketed

  • pogofan

     With you on the Benz – Chiklis pairing.  But what killed the show for me (after a half-dozen or so episodes) was the combination of family-dynamics / teens-growing-up elements with the ruthless-secret-conspiracy-among-those-closest-to-you elements.  That was just too creepy.

  • Dblackstar2002

    Network TV is a wasteland anyway. I watch the cable networks,Much better shows there.Type your comment here.

  • Alex

    “Raising Hope? Really?”  Yes, really!  It’s funny with a great cast and if you love one ep you love them all b/c it’s consistent.  It’s like an alt version of My Name is Earl.  And yet you defend “Castle,” a show whose primary audience is middle aged women who need to see everything turned into a damn soap opera.  Raising Hope beats Running Wilde by a large margin for quality of comedy.  Greg Garcia is great at portraying not-that-smart characters in a very intelligent way.  They are all more than just stereotypes.

  • Hugosleestak

    The two shows on the list here that I’ll publicly mourn are Outsourced and Breaking In.

    Breaking In’s best moments for me involved Michael Rosenbaum (best known, of course, as Lex on Smallville). The last episode, which had Rosenbaum’s dumb jock character Dutch going “undercover” with the other characters in high school was absolutely classic. Seeing him in stonewashed jeans and breakdancing in a hallway while a kid off camera yelled, “Get out, grandpa!” had me laughing hysterically for several minutes.

    Outsourced was funnier than Community and had tons more beautiful women. Plus, it had Diederich Bader, which was awesome in and of itself.

  • Mike

    Hey, leave Castle out of this! I’m a young guy, and I much prefer Castle to shows like Chicago Code, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds or Detroit 187. For one thing, it’s way funnier than the rest of the “cop-edy” shows, focused more on the people than on the procedure. And for another, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are 2 of my fave actors, putting them together was a stroke of Genius! 

  • http://www.dangersmith.com Get Banditcat

    The cancellation of Detroit-187 is an absolute travesty. I thought I was done with cop proceedurals and crime shows, then this came on and I loved it.

    ABC seems to have some sort of mental hyper-neuroses with it’s shows. It has consistently put on some of the most fun, creative, best written, best imagined tv shows for the past 5-6 years ( Journeyman, Pushing Daisies, The Unusuals… even Ugly Betty!), then, as if in a manic fit, such shows just get yanked!
    There’s got to be a better way, a better model for keeping more of these shows on a little longer. I don’t get how ‘Smallville’ (albeit an another network) stays on for 10 friggn’ years and Journeyman, or 187 gets half a year.

  • Yanks5179

     Part of it, a BIG part of it, is COST.  It costs a lot less to have a show without a tight team of scriptwriters, actors as cast, and special effects, etc. like a Survivor or Biggest Loser, than it does for a show like Human Target or Criminal Minds, etc.

  • Juan

     Outsourced, Breaking In and Running Wilde were all awesome. VERY underrated…

  • Jim

    The Event pretty much killed itself with Sofia’s repeated “Okay, just do this and I’ll tell you everything.  Everything I’m willing to tell you, which isn’t anything.”  And then Michael chimed in to his daughter: “I’ll tell you everything, but Sean can’t come.  I’ll tell you everything… that a hug can tell you.  I’ll tell you everything… but only after I get back from running around with Sofia, which is why we had to ditch Sean.”  Of course, I’m still a half-dozen episodes back; I’m sure it will get even worse.

    Last time I felt this lack-of-story-raped by something was (no, not Lost!) after Star Wars Ep. 2, where I left the theater thinking “You mean if Obi-Wan or Yoda had just backhanded the kid across the face a couple times, or if Amidala had just said “Kid, you’re way too young for me”, we could have avoided Ep. 4-6?  Really?”

  • Anonymous

    Whether Lie to Me brought in viewers or not is of no concern to me.
    I was simply stating that if I had the choice (which I don’t) I would trade both of those steaming piles of dog-crap for this one show that has more intelligence in it’s opening credits than either of those mind-numbingly idiotic programs could ever hope to muster.
    Lucky for all those that love turning their frontal lobes in to soupy melodramatic mush, that choice is not up to me.

  • Otherguyinmi

    That is why after suddenly cancelling “Pushing Daisies” and “Samantha Who?”, I have vowed to NEVER watch anything on ABC (aka Already-Been-Cancelled) ever again.  I have kept that promise to myself with no difficulty.