The Little Show That Couldn't
Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
At first I was going to post a counter-list to my last entry, listing my Top 10 Best Shows on TV. Sort of a "Shows that should never die" complement to the "Why Won't You Die Already!" post. But then I thought:
  • You already know the good shows out there. Lost doesn't need my online approval for you to know that it's a quality show.
  • I can only come up with so many adjectives for "awesome!!!" before I'm just at a loss for things to write.
  • Top 10 is so subjective - another fellow poster had a top 10 list with 4 of the 10 shows on PBS. Which, I'm sure they're good shows, but not necessarily Must See TV for me.
Instead, I realized that each of those Top 10 worst shows I listed were taking up a coveted network slot. Which means that some other more deserving show probably didn't make it to air. So today's list is about shows that didn't make it, but certainly deserved to.

Ground rules:
  • Must be a recent kill. Yes, I know that Freaks and Geeks and Arrested Development are the reigning king and queen of the Prom of Undeservedly Killed Before Its Time Shows (with My So-Called Life winning the prom princess crown). But those shows have been gone for awhile
  • No top 10. Just a lamentable 3 that I will miss greatly.
  • To head off any and all "But what about Jericho?!?!?!11!@111" comments, 1) I didn't care for it personally, so make the case yourself in your own blog and 2) Two words: Skeet. Ulrich.
Without further ado, here we go:
Alas, We Hardly Knew Ye!!! (3 Best Shows that Didn't Live See Fall 2008)
  1. Aliens in America - It sounded like a recipe for disaster: a Wisconsin family who gets a foreign exchange student is shocked when they find out they got one from Pakistan - cultural misunderstandings and hijinks abound. But, I can honestly say that this lovely little show was my second favorite show on TV while it was on (with only 30 Rock beating it). It hit all the right notes - it was alternately funny, insightful, touching, and then funny again. It was well cast - I loved every character and the kid who played Raja was an amazing find. The show managed to address Raja's culture without being demeaning, or suggesting it was inferior to American culture.

    Here's just one example of how the show delicately handled the issue of Raja's Muslim belief system: in one stellar episode, Raja falls for a Muslim girl he has just met. He courts her formally, spending time with her family, arranging dates where they are supervised. They have a hard time actually getting to know each other though, due to the fact that their families are always around (and Raja, being bashful, instead spends most of his time talking to her parents, and not the girl). Raja's host mother (the hilarious Amy Pietz) finally does a little trickery to allow the two kids to spend time together, without having the girl's family know about this little cultural breach. Raja and the girl hit it off, but later it is revealed that the girl is also secretly dating an American boy on the side. When confronted, she explains that while she loves her Muslim upbringing, there's a side of her that wants to do normal American teenager things as well. Raja is heartbroken, but explains to her that his own personal beliefs cannot allow him to date her and spend time alone with her unless they are married first. I just loved this episode, because they had Raja stay true to his beliefs, and my heart just broke for him because I was able to understand where he was coming from. Just great stuff.

    So what went wrong? Well, to start, it was stranded on the CW, which is the dead zone for sitcoms. Second, for some reason, no one was talking this show up in the media (which surprised me, based other shows that the press made an effort to promote). Third, because of the second reason, no one seemed to know anything about this show. All of this meant that unlike cult shows that found a following in the after life (the aforementioned Freaks and Geeks being one), this show was killed and will likely pass from memory. Do yourself a favor and track down online episodes on YouTube while you can.

  2. Andy Barker, P.I. - This is the second great show that Andy Richter has had that hasn't been given a fair shake. And while I believe that "Andy Richter Controls The Universe" is a superior show (and is in fact is one of my top "Shows that Deserved To Air Till The End of Time"), "Andy Barker, P.I." was still a really fun show with a lot of potential that was better than most shows currently airing. It had a great cast, and Richter was spot on in his performance. Just a shame, this one. Situations like this are why an immensely talented comic like Richter is forced to slum it in Olson twin movies and dreck like "Quintuplets".

  3. Veronica Mars - I'm not going to be able to add anything that the online advocates of this show haven't already said. This show was great, you know it was great, everyone knows it was great, and yet somehow it still got killed. I just wanted to point out the indignity of being killed by the Pussycat Dolls reality show. The fucking Pussycat Dolls, people!
Anyhoo, feel free to discuss. Also, here's my Top 10 Best Shows list, without commentary, since I know you wanted to know:
  1. 30 Rock
  2. Battlestar Galactica
  3. The Office
  4. Deadliest Catch
  5. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List
  6. Dexter
  7. The Closer
  8. Damages
  9. Lost
  10. The Daily Show
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On 10:22 AM , Jeremy said...

What the ef. I see NO Friday Night Lights...