So it’s not just American television …

So lately I have been trying to catch up on some British shows I have missed in the past several years.  Doctor WhoGavin & Stacey … a whole host of them.  And I realized that it’s not just American television that cancels really good television – the British do it as well.  I realized this while watching a British series, Monday Monday, but there are other examples I could give.

For those who haven’t seen it, Monday Monday is a show set in an office environment (namely the headquarters of a supermarket chain).  It follows Sally in her quest for love and acceptance at work, and, of course, the guy she fancies works there, too. Now, given, Monday Monday isn’t the best show (on either side of the ocean) that I have ever seen, but it is slightly reminiscent of Office Space and I really loved it. It made me sad that it lasted only 1 season.  Now given my previous post about romantic tension, you might think that I wouldn’t like a series that focused on a “will they, won’t they” scenario, but actually I love them.  I loved watching the main character, Sally, try to get together with her colleague, Steven.  Sally reminded me a bit of Mary Tyler Moore. (Fun Fact for those who have seen The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Did you know that when MTM started the Mary Tyler Moore Show, her character, Mary Richards, was supposed to be a divorcee?  Instead they made her an ex-fiance because they didn’t want the audience to think she had “divorced” Rob Petrie – her television husband from The Dick Van Dyke Show.) Sally’s character is an ex-fiance at the start of the series too (something I can sadly relate to), and the show follows her as she tries to make a career and find a new guy (something I can also relate to).  You really feel yourself pulling for Sally and even for her and Steven as a couple.

But I have seen other examples of “Brilliant but Cancelled” shows (in our modern-age, think 1990+) in America as well. A list of some of my favorites: Touching Evil (Jeffrey Donovan pre-Burn Notice), Mr. Sterling (Josh Brolin as a congressman), Firefly (Nathan Fillion, pre-Dr. Horrible and Castle), My So-Called Life (Claire Danes pre-almost everything else she’s done), Accidentally on Purpose (Jenna Elfman post-Dharma & Greg) Love Monkey (Tom Cavanaugh post-Ed), Life on Mars (a remake of a British show with the same name), The Worst Week of My Life (also a British import), Keen Eddie (Sienna Miller and Mark Valley), Freaks & Geeks (too many stars in their formative years to name), Knights of Prosperity (Sofia Vergara pre-Modern Family & Donal Logue post-Grounded for Life), The Job (Denis Leary pre-Rescue Me), The Unusuals (Jeremy Renner pre-Hurt Locker and Amber Tamblyn post-Joan of Arcadia), Kings (so any great stars and brilliant dialogue) – and the list goes on and on.

And then there are the shows that made it a few seasons, but sadly no more – the top of this list is Arrested Development, one of my all time favorite series ever (although it has been recently resurrected for a new “season” to be aired on Netflix, but more on that in another post).  You can also think of Daria (and I do believe the cancellation of Daria signaled the official end of “good” MTV), Saving Grace (cancelled, no doubt, because of the cost associated with having a stellar cast), Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcardia, Better Off Ted – and again the list goes on and on.

In British television (and this is also by no means a comprehensive list, especially as I don’t get to watch British shows on a regular basis), you’ve got Black Adder, Faulty Towers (an oldie but a goodie), Coupling (which I put here because I still would have loved a 5th “season” and did not enjoy the American remake and neither did the rest of America), Mr. Bean (because Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius even if you couldn’t tell that from his “Americanized” movie roles), Absolutely Fabulous (aka AbFab, because any number of seasons just isn’t enough – same goes for television with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry).  And the list goes on and on here as well.

What shows do you wish would come back?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to talk tv with you!

-Mehv

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Comments

  • kleeyaro  On March 8, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Sad, but true that so many British shows are short seasons and few seasons. But look at how wonderful most of them are. I have my own blog about British TV that I just started: ilovebritishtv.com. More frustrating than the lack of episodes is the lack of episodes on Region 1, US Format DVD. I watch a great show’s first season and can’t see any more!

    Arrested Development is one of my all time favorite shows. They keep teasing us with talk of a movie release, new season…who knows. And Pushing Daisies was another fabulously written show. Ahh, the good die young as they say!

    • MK  On March 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      So true about the lack of episodes on DVD! Even Netflix will only carry certain seasons (if they carry any at all) and it takes them months before new seasons appear.

      • kleeyaro  On March 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        And sometimes, like with Waking the Dead, they have a bunch on download and then the next time you go to watch them, they’ve cut down on the number of episodes available.

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