GeekPlanetOnline’s resident telly addict, Gillian Coyle, likes to write about the box almost as much as she likes to watch it. From soap operas to space operas, if you need some thoughts on a television show she’s your woman…
I recently read something that made me feel sad. A friend on another SF forum said he didn’t ever intend to watch The Middleman because he couldn’t face falling in love with another cancelled show. He still hasn’t gotten over Firefly. I understand that feeling.
Sometimes it feels like TV execs are being wilfully perverse in the shows they choose to cancel. Beautiful, shining gems excised from the schedules simply because not enough people watch them. What price art? Shouldn’t the quality of love outweigh the quantity? Of course, I live in the real world, and I know that if the figures don’t add up, it’s axe time. That doesn’t make it seem any fairer though, and it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
I’m a big fan of Bryan Fuller. Unfortunately, to love El Fuller is to invite heartbreak time and again. Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies. I’d even include Heroes, since for me the show has never lived up to the promise it showed in season one, when Fuller co-exec produced and wrote for it. He rejoined the show briefly toward the end of season three, just as I was about to give up. His return gave me fleeting hope that it might be worth sticking with, but then he left again, and so did I.
Of these lost loves, Wonderfalls is the one I loved most, and the loss that hurts most. At least Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies had some semblance of an ending. Wonderfalls just stops. Every episode is a carefully crafted thing of beauty and it hurts that the thirteen episodes are all there will ever be. It rankles still more that so few people have ever had the chance to fall in love with it. It has never had a region 2 DVD release, and probably never will.
I’ll mention Firefly, but only in passing, since the internet probably has more laments addressed to Firefly than any other prematurely cancelled show. Also, it got a movie and comic books. Lucky old Browncoats. Pity the fans of Carnivàle, of American Gothic, of Sarah Connor, Dark Skies, Space: Above and Beyond, Tru Calling and so on and so forth…
Occasionally, one of them manages to have a proper ending, if the cancel notice is delivered far enough in advance. Take Dollhouse for example. I’m so very sad to see it go, but I’m happy with what we got. Epitaph Two was lovely. Dollhouse is a complete story, and it’s beautiful. The same goes for Angel. I don’t understand how some people feel that’s unfinished. Not Fade Away is one of my all-time favourite series finales. It’s perfect.
I can understand my friend’s reluctance to watch The Middleman. That one hit hard. The Middleman is sublime. There isn’t even a target at which I can aim my bereaved rage. If Javier Grillo-Marxauch doesn’t hate ABC Family for cancelling the show, and actually thanks them for the support they gave it, it seems a little churlish of me to do otherwise.
But I disagree with my friend’s decision. Despite the many times I’ve had my heart broken by the loss of a dearly beloved TV show, it’s been worth it.
Once the pain of loss has mellowed, I can treasure the time we had together. I can revisit the episodes, thanks to the miracle of DVD. I can talk about them with my fellow mourners. We can share our pain and reminisce about the good times. I can spread the love; show them to friends who missed them. I may never completely get over my lost loves, but given my time over, I’d do it all again.
As with all heartbreak, at some point you have to get back in the saddle. Risk disappointment, or settle for a poorer life.
I hope my friend reconsiders and watches The Middleman. He will have his heart broken, but first he’ll fall in love, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Now, for pity’s sake, will someone please give a Bryan Fuller show a third season?