Friday, September 02, 2005

A Salute to the Shows that Networks Cut. Plus Premiere Dates!

For TV fans like myself, this is "the most wonderful time of the year" as the famous song says (albeit about Christmas), but there's also the air of sadness as the cold, hard reality sets in that some of our favorites aren't returning. Now, we'll never know what happens to Meg from American Dreams, or whether Joan and Ryan Hunter were set to battle over good versus evil on Joan of Arcadia. And, did Tru ever triumph over Jack on Tru Calling? Was he really in the wrong or just making sure the universe worked as it should? All these questions, and yet, no answers because these shows and others were abruptly cut off before their time by their respective networks. With all the excitement of the new season premiering this month, let's take a moment and reflect on the shows we lost this past season.

Let's start with ABC, the network that's coming off of one of its most successful years in recent years. Their most high profile cancellation is the Tim Daly private eye caper Eyes, which came late to the party debuting last March. The show came in with a lot of publicity and a flood of critical praise, but it just couldn't attract an audience. Once Grey's Anatomy (a show that premiered around the same time and on the same network) became a huge hit, it stole most of the thunder and Eyes was left with little buzz. Unfortunately for the show's fans, ABC closed these Eyes after only one (short) season.

Next we have CBS, a network that finished number one last season. Unfortunately a number one finish means that the shows that aren't performing as well are cut. Enter Joan of Arcadia and Judging Amy, two shows that most likely would still be on the air if they had been on any other network. Both shows had strong fan followings, but it wasn't enough to convince Les and Co. to keep them on the air and leaving Joan fans with the explanation, "we think talking to ghosts skews younger than talking to God." So Ghost Whisperer starring Jennifer Love Hewitt will take over Joan's Friday slot and Close to Home will try to conquer Amy's old Tuesday slot, and fans are left wondering what happened to their favorite characters.

NBC cancelled fan favorite American Dreams this season after only a three-year run. The 60s era show was wholesome and chock full of American values, but according to NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, audiences aren't responding to this type of programming because they weren't tuning in to American Dreams. Executive producer Jonathan Prince had wanted to do a wrap-up episode for fans, but it appears that NBC has now squashed that idea. Hopefully, the show's third season will be released on DVD with the some sort of resolution.

Fox, UPN, and the WB had their own round of cancellations, but most were not as high profile as the other three networks. Fox renewed, then cancelled, then aired, then cancelled just the last episode of Tru Calling, leaving fans wondering what happened between Tru and Jack. UPN neglected to renew the critically acclaimed drama Kevin Hill, opting instead for buzz show Veronica Mars. A smart choice, but it would have been nice to have both shows return. Finally, the WB cancelled fan and critic favorite Jack & Bobby after the show struggled to find a decent audience in its Sunday or Wednesday night slots. All these cancellations leave fans bummed and wondering why our favorite didn't make the cut. Unfortunately, the television industry is a business and the shows that fail to produce, get left behind. It would be nice, though, if these fallen shows were allowed to air one last episode to tie up all the loose ends and give some closure to the fans who invested so much into the characters and their stories.

Okay, now that we're done honoring the shows we'll miss, it's time to remember that all our other favorites will be back with new episodes this month. Next week, I'll be doing a brief refresher course on where we left off with some of our favorites. That's all next week on Pass The Remote!!!

QUICK CUTS

*It looks like Michael Vartan is leaving the cast of Alias. TVGuide.com is reporting that SPOILER ALERT - DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED - his character will be killed off this season. END OF WARNING. A rep from the show spoke about Vartan in The New York Post (in response to fan rumors about troubles on the set) in the past tense. No confirmation from ABC yet. Stay tuned.

*UPN is releasing details on Veronica Mars' season premiere. The episode, titled "Normal is the Watchword," marks Charisma Carpenter's first appearance on the show. UPN gives the summary as "Veronica's return to 'normal' life gets interrupted by a series of surprises." For full episode information, including spoilers, visit The Futon Critic. The episode airs September 28th.

*The big six networks are confirming the special for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that I mentioned yesterday. Shelter From the Storm: A Concert For the Gulf Coast will be a live one-hour special simulcast on CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, UPN, and WB. No guests or hosts have been announced yet for the September 9th special. All funds raised go to help those affected by Katrina.

*CBS is releasing details on Cold Case's third season premiere. The episode marks Sarah Brown's first appearance as Det. Josie Sutton. The network's summary says , "Rush and the team open the 1988 case involving a teenager who was killed on the same night his daughter was born." The premiere airs September 25th.

*And finally, want to know when your favorite show premieres? Visit TVGuide.com's Fall Preview 2005 section. There's information on all the new shows, plus a link to a printable page with all the premiere dates you need.

That's all for today. I'm off on Monday for the holiday, but I'll be back with all new television news on Tuesday. And don't forget coming next week, it's recaps of all your favorite shows. It's like a quick study session before the big exam. Don't miss it!

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tati said...

Jack & Bobby *cries* I'm still not over it, can't believe they cancelled such an intelligent and original show. I only followed the 1st season of American Dreams but I was so sorry to see that one go too! I love the 60's.

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