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Television shows that were cancelled before their prime

Updated on May 28, 2013

All television shows must eventually come to an end. Every season brings about new television shows with premieres that consume the timeslots of shows that have run their course. Some of these newly ended shows make it several seasons and live out their natural life, ending on their own terms. Some defy all odds and stay on the air, despite horrific writing and acting. Still others receive the ominous “cancelled” stamp across them in angry red, and die a violent death while they still have a story to tell. While most shows in the latter group are completely justified in cancellation, every so often a series is terminated, leaving devastation in its wake.

When one has their favorite show cancelled, it becomes hard to start a relationship with a new show, for fear that it will also meet an untimely end. Even though there are many shows that fall under this heartbreaking category (we all know the stories behind the infamous Firefly and Jericho cancellations), this hub discusses just two of the shows that rightfully should still be on the air.

Perfect Couples cast (Dave & Julia, Amy & Vance, Leigh & Rex)


Perfect Couples (NBC) – 1/20/11 to 5/13/11

This NBC comedy starring Olivia Munn quite possibly may have been the perfect comedy. The show revolved around three couples that couldn’t be more different. Dave and Julia (Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods) were the “normal” couple in comparison to the others. They were the couple all could relate to, with a healthy relationship filled with problems that every couple faces. Vance and Amy (David Walton and Mary Elizabeth Ellis) were the “crazy” couple. They would break up over nothing, then escalate their relationship in an attempt to fix it. They couldn’t live without each other, although it was quite plausible that they might kill each other at any moment. Rex and Leigh (Hayes MacArthur and Olivia Munn) were the “stuffy” couple. Rex (Julia’s brother) met Leigh (the wedding planner) at Julia and Dave’s wedding. After knowing each other for just a short time, Rex proposed to Leigh at the wedding. They considered themselves perfect and know-it-alls.

The beauty of Perfect Couples was that at any given time the antics of at least one of the couples was recognizable as a real life scenario. Everyone could relate to or knew someone like that couple. From the group discovering that they suffer age-induced side effects after drinking the night away in a man cave to realizing that Julia is an ugly crier, the show’s humor succeeded in being laugh-out-loud funny without being over the top. Because the situations were relatable, the show had an endearing quality that is unique to primetime comedy.

Perfect Couples was ultimately cancelled for The Paul Reiser Show, a questionable decision on the part of NBC and the end of one of the best comedies in quite some time. The Paul Reiser Show was cancelled after only 11 days and two episodes, making the death of Perfect Couples even more senseless. All of the actors have gone on to other projects, so a reunion is highly implausible. There were thirteen episodes in all, although two episodes never aired on NBC. All episodes, including the two that never saw primetime television airwave, can be found on Hulu or Amazon instant video. There are no plans to release a season one DVD or Blu-Ray.


Support group members Sonia, Anne, Ryan, Mr. K and Lauren


Go On (NBC) – 8/11/12 to 4/20/13

Matthew Perry has had it rough since Friends ended in 2004. After the cancellations of both Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine, Perry was due for a hit show. Until its unexpected cancellation in April 2013, comedy/drama hybrid Go On appeared to be just that.

Perry starred as Ryan King, a popular sports radio talk show host that suffers the untimely loss of his wife. As he struggles to make sense of the tragedy, he enters a support group filled with quirky characters that have also suffered some sort of loss. The group is led by Lauren, who could not be less qualified to run a support group. Anne, the angry lesbian with a hidden soft side, is trying to cope with the loss of her partner. Yolanda, the group’s kiss-up, experienced loss when her fiancé left her. Fausta, a stereotypical yet hilarious Hispanic woman, is dealing with the loss of both her father and brother. Owen, the youngest of the group, is coping with his brother being in a coma. Sonia, the eternal single cat-lady, is grieving the loss of her cat. Danny is dealing with his impending divorce after his wife became impregnated with another man’s child while he was deployed. George is an elderly and blind group member, with an undefined loss. Mr. K is the strange and mysterious member of the group, and one that the other members do not want to know much about. Outside of the main cast, the show also enjoyed some great guest appearances, including Piper Perabo, Courtney Cox and Terrell Owens.

Perry plays the role of Ryan King perfectly, with every affect of a egotistical yet charming radio host who was deeply wounded by the loss of his wife. Go On was a wonderful blend of drama and comedy, offsetting the sometimes silly humor with the stark reminder that King truly suffered a loss. The show deals with the very serious topic of death, yet does so with a finesse that allows the comedy to work well with such a macabre storyline. No other show has managed such a combination and done it so perfectly. Fans may find themselves checking into a support group of their own after the loss of this fine television series. Fun fact: both Christine Woods and Hayes MacArthur, who played siblings Julia and Rex on Perfect Couples, appear as supporting cast members in Go On. Woods played King’s deceased wife and MacArthur played support group leader Lauren’s fiancé. Episodes of Go On can be found on Amazon via Instant Video, with season one now available for pre-order.

What shows do you miss?

While this hub only discusses two shows that were prematurely cancelled, everyone has their own favorites that they wished could have lasted forever. What are the shows that you feel were erroneously cancelled? Share your despair about the show you miss the most in the comment section below.


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      5 years ago

      I still miss Terra Nova.


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