I noticed a lot of the shows I’ve loved have ended after two seasons, a somewhat strange number that makes less sense to me than shows that end after their first. So anyway, I present to you in no particular order, 8 great shows that ended way before their time:
Dead Like Me (2003-2004)
Ellen Muth, Mandy Patinkin, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Laura Harris
This is the show that inspired me to write this list in the first place. ‘Dead Like Me’ focused on the ‘Daria’-sounding Georgia “George” Lass (Ellen Muth), an 18 year old girl who becomes one of many grim reapers after a fateful encounter with a rogue toilet seat from a Soviet space station. The show may sound ridiculous, but ‘Dead Like Me’ was one of the most original and funniest shows of 2003, showing that even though your life may suck, being (un)dead is undoubtedly worse.
Networks: Showtime (US), Sky1 (UK)
Christina Applegate, Melissa McCarthy, Jennifer Esposito, Kevin Dunn
One of the most surprising television hits in recent history, 'Samantha Who?' debuted in 2007 and became the most watched sitcom on television that year, surpassing juggernaut Two and A Half Men. Christina Applegate starred as Samantha, a victim of a recent car accident who was suffering from amnesia. Samantha realises that before her accident she was…well…an absolute bitch, and therefore hated by most people. Aided by childhood friend Dena (Melissa McCarthy) and fellow hilarious yet bitchy Andrea (Jennifer Esposito), Samantha sets out to make amends to everyone she’s ever hurt or offended, which is a hell of a lot of people.
Networks: ABC (US) E4 (UK)
Tru Calling (2003-2005)
Eliza Dushku, Zach Galifinakis, Jason Priestly
Wanting to disappear out of the Buffy spotlight and inevitable typecasting for years to come, Eliza Dushku opted out of a proposed 'Faith the Vampire Slayer' spin-off of Joss Whedon’s cult favourite 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' to star in 'Tru Calling'. Dushku starred in this supernatural drama as Tru, a recent medical school graduate who takes a job at the city morgue. However, the dead start to reach out to Tru for help, as Tru revisits the day they died to try and save their lives. The show had a strong first season, but was cancelled by Fox after a very short 6 episode second, and last season.
Networks: Fox (US) Sky1 (UK)
Eliza Dushku, Tahmoh Penikett, Fran Kranz, Olivia Williams
The second entry from Eliza Dushku saw her reunite with TV and film mastermind Joss Whedon. This time, Dushku played Echo known as a “doll”, a human in a complete blank state. Echo, along with many others is imprinted with various personalities and hired out by wealthy clients for business engagements. Ranging from the ordinary to extraordinary the show focused on Echo’s eventual self-awareness in her blank state. With an interesting, complicated and therefore niche premise, the show was expected by most to only last one season, but SURPISE! Fox decided to give the show another (and final) shot with a second season, bringing the total number of episodes to a grand 27.
Networks: Fox (UK) Syfy (UK)
Courtney Cox, Ian Hart, Josh Stewart
Probably the most underrated and unknown show on the list is 'Dirt', which saw Courtney Cox return to television 3 years after the end of Friends in 2004. Hailed as “Devil Wears Prada meets Nip/Tuck”, Cox starred as the ruthless and ice-cold Lucy Spiller, editor-in-chief of fictional tabloid DirtNow. Each episode focused on the work that goes into making a tabloid publication that actually…well, prints the truth, as well as the affect it has on the subjects of Spiller’s cruel and heartless articles.
Networks: FX (US & UK)
Rickey Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis
The only English, and not-cancelled-but ended show on the list is the original version of 'The Office', created by Stephen Merchant star Ricky Gervais. 'The Office' was loved around the world as much as it was here in the UK and spawned a number of international versions in Germany, Sweden, France, and the U.S, where the show will enter its ninth season in autumn. The Office is often also thought of as the show that brought the “mockumentary” style to television, used in 'Modern Family' and 'Parks and Recreation', among others.
Networks: BBC1 (UK) BBC America (US)
Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009)
Peter Krause, Jill Clayburgh, Natalie Zea, Donald Sutherland
When lawyer Nick George’s (Peter Krause) father is murdered, George decides to become the lawyer to The Darlings, the richest family in New York City. George, who has ties with the Darlings themselves, takes the job as he believes that they are the link to his father’s mysterious death. 'Dirty, Sexy Money' seems to me more than any other show on the list to have had the staying power to remain on the air today. Viewership started out exceptionally strong, but dwindled towards the end of the first season.
Networks: ABC (US) E4 (UK)
Eli Stone (2008-2009)
Johnny Lee Miller, Victor Garber, Loretta Devine
Oh, Eli. Eli Stone starred Johnny Lee Miller as the title character, a high flying lawyer based in San Franciso. After a near fatal brain aneurism Stone begins to hallucinate frequently at home and at work, but soon realises that his hallucinations are closely linked with his cases and the various people in his life. Eli Stone bared some similarity to Ally McBeal in its content, but the show is a must if you are a George Michael fan, as every episode features, and is named after one of his songs…he even makes an appearance during one of Stone’s aneurisms dancing on his coffee table…
Networks: ABC (US) 5 (UK)