Friday, February 1, 2013

Some of my favorite shows get cancelled and that's okay.

Do you remember Bakersfield, P.D., a sitcom about Giancarlo Esposito as a big-city cop who moves to  small town California and gets teamed up with a big-hearted doofus played by Ron Eldard who always wanted a black partner? Or how about EZ Streets, the cops-and-robbers-and-politicians drama? Or Profit, the acid-edged satire of Adrian Pasdar as a sociopathic businessman who had been raised by television standards? Or how about Ben & Kate, the charming comedy about a ne'er-do-well brother moving in with his sister, a single mom? And I seem to recall a space opera/Western named Firefly?

All of these shows were great shows that got cancelled after one season. When a great show gets cancelled, the Rachel-Ross Kubler-Ross stages of grief are

  1. Denial--"I'm sure those television executives can see what a great show they've got, they wouldn't cancel it."
  2. Anger--"Goddamn the audience that's watching Two and a Half Men instead of this show!"
  3. Bargaining--"Maybe they'll make a movie spin-off..."
  4. Depression--"I might as well go read a book or talk to my loved ones, ugh."
  5. Acceptance--"Hey, they're making a SHIELD tv show, that should be pretty cool."

Maybe I'm only in a good mood because 30 Rock ended last night after seven improbable seasons or maybe I'm just impatient, but I like to jump to stage five pretty quickly. As someone who has tried to do creative work, I think it's a miracle that anything as good as Ben & Kate gets made for even one season. And as a die-hard 30 Rock fan who still recognizes that not every one of their 138 episodes is comedy gold, I appreciate the difference between "getting renewed" and "staying great." (See also Heroes and many other shows that overstayed their welcome.)

I'll take one great season over zero seasons any day, and here's hoping that Ben & Kate's cast and creators go on to do great work elsewhere.

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