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List of Best TV Shows Cancelled by Fox
Fox - The Network We Love to Hate
Every year the Fox network executives break the hearts of millions of tv goers by debuting interesting tv shows that never get the chance to really develop their audience because Fox plays games with the airdates, airs episodes out of order or pulls the show from the schedule within a couple of episodes -- never to be seen or heard from again.Why this happens over and over again is not that much of a mystery. The reason Fox is the both the network we love to hate and the network we just can't stay away from is that they routinely greenlight tv series with premises or within genres that often prove challenging for the maintream tv audience -- particularly those Nielsen family folks.
My Favorite Cancelled Fox TV Shows
So what kind of shows are we talking about?
Here's a few examples: a half-hour comedy without a laugh track that has incest as a running gag (Arrested Development); a drama about a girl who gets life advice from ceramic animal toys (Wonderfalls); a drama about a corporate executive who sleeps in a box (Profit); a show about cowboys in space (Firefly); any science fiction series.
Yes, I am defining my personal favorites as "best"! So let's take a look at some of the shows that I loved watching that our favorite heartless network has cancelled.
Also, it may be incidental or it may be a secret Fox plot, but many of my favorite shows happen to have Tim Minearas showrunner or member of the writing staff. So the first three shows on my cancellation list (Drive, Firefly, and Wonderfalls) all involved Tim Minear as either writer, show runner or producer. Secret network executive plot to torture me? You tell me!
Nathan Fillion in Drive
Drive is the most recent Minear-run show to get cancelled by Fox. It is also the second cancelled show starring Nathan Fillion, so maybe it's Nathan that Fox hates :) (naaah, just kidding... who could hate Nathan?)
Only six episodes were shot. Fox aired four, then pulled the show from the schedule. Then they scheduled the final two eps to air on the 4th of July. Then they cancelled that and re-scheduled for July 13th. Then they cancelled them altogether and put them online. Phew... I'm dizzy just writing it.
Right now, you can download Drive from Amazon. Hopefully, it will eventually be made available on DVD as well, but since it was only six episodes I think the hope is somewhat dim.
Plot: Various drivers are recruited or forced into participating in a secret cross-country road race for a $32M prize. Alex Tully, played by Nathan Fillion, is forced into competing by the promise that the masterminds behind the race will eventually provide him information about his missing wife. Naturally, all kinds of mayhem ensues
Nathan Fillion & Gina Torres
Firefly: The Complete Series
Created by Joss Whedon and Exectuve produced by Tim Minear (he was the showrunner), Firefly is the show that just wouldn't die. It aired 11 of its 14 episodes in 2002. Fox, in their eternal wisdom, aired episodes out of order (including the pilot!). I believe the DVD set features the episodes in the correct order.
After cancellation, Firefly went on to be a hit on DVD. Eventually Fox's loss was Universal's gain as Universal greenlit a film based upon the series, Serenity. The movie was released in 2005 and grossed about $39M worldwide during its theatrical release, not even covering its 40M price tag (not including promo). However, it made $60M during its DVD release!
Plot: Cowboys in Space.
Caroline Dhavernas as Jaye Tyler
This is the show featuring the ceramic animals. Very cute and quirky. 13 episodes were filmed, but only four of them were aired on the Fox network during 2004.
As usual, Fox aired the episodes out of their intended order and then switched the night it aired from Friday to Thursday without bothering to advertise the switch -- that all spells CANCELLED!
Plot: Set in Niagara Falls, the main character, aimless Brown graduate, Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), works in a tacky Niagara Falls gift shop where the various ceramic animals on display give her advice and instructions on how to help "people in need." Very cute show!
The Cast of Arrested Development
Actually, some may gripe, but it may not be entirely fair to blame Fox for the demise of Arrested Development. Unlike most of the Fox shows that barely made it out the gate, only to die on the racetrack, Arrested Development actually had three seasons.
Of course, its timeslot changed so often it would make your head spin, so only the truly dedicated audience would bother following it from night to night. And then they squared it off against Monday Night Football. Hmmm, okay. It's clear that show never had a chance. Let's go ahead and blame Fox after all *g*
Anyway, if you have never seen it and have bizarro cable channels, you can watch it on G4 in syndication. If not, buy the DVD boxed set of all three seasons. You will not regret it. I actually loathe half-hour comedy generally, but this is the funniest show I've ever seen and I watch it over and over.
Plot: During season 1, family patriarch George Bluth is sent to prison for tax evasion and other corporate crimes and his son Michael is left in charge of the family business. Yeah, I'm sorry, that doesn't even come close to describe the insanity of this show. You'll have to watch it.
Jason Priestley and Eliza Dushku
Okay, so maybe the big surprise is that Tru Calling got anything resembling a second season in the first place. The show started out lame and slow and basically proved that Eliza Dushku is a one-note actress, for her character on Tru Calling was simply Faith (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) without the slayer powers.
In my opinion, the show increased in interest substantially when Jason Priestley was added as a nemesis, but by then it was too late and the show was cancelled about six episodes into season 2. All of the Jason Priestley episodes are worth watching and he joins the cast about halfway through season 1.
Plot: Eliza Dushka gets a job in a morgue and while working there discovers that she has the power to hear the dead speak. When they do speak to her she is sent back in time (usually 24 hours or so) in order to correct what wrong and prevent their deaths. Jason Priestly plays her mirror image -- he also travels back in time to make sure events play out exactly the way they did the first time around.
Airing in 1996, Profit was probably just too ahead of its time. Television shows about anti-heroes have never really faired well, even today. And Jim Profit is particularly wicked! Starring Adrian Pasdar as Jim Profit, only four episodes aired on Fox in 1996, but the boxed set of all 8 episodes (or 9 if you count the two-part pilot as two separate episodes) was released in 2005 and the entire run has shown up on cable a couple of times.
Plot: Jim Profit is obsessed with the Gracen family and spends his time working his way up the ladder at the Gracen & Gracen firm by sabotaging his co-workers.
Add your Favorites
This is only a short list of shows cancelled by Fox. These happen to be some of the ones I watched. There are tons of others that I never saw, such as Point Pleasant, Futurama and Undeclared.
So if you have a favorite cancelled show that aired on Fox tv, feel free to talk it up in the comments!