I think we all learned a lesson from the post-cancellation success of Arrested Development. Simply because nobody watched and it was cancelled does that necessarily mean it was bad? No sir/ma’am! Despite its low ratings, Arrested Development won Emmys! And Globes! And Critic’s Choice Awards!! And the critics raved! But *tear, viewership dwindled. Finally, people (myself being one of them), caught on, years after cancellation that is. However, in one month, counting down the days, Arrested Development is returning! In its fourth season, seven years later! Yes, there are the abysmal shows that deserve cancellation. Nevertheless, there are also some that were cut too early and just hadn’t found their footing.
On Showtime for a brief two seasons, Huff became an addiction of mine, circa 2008. Starring Hank Azaria, whom you might have fallen in love with, as I did, in 1996’s The Birdcage, as a psychiatrist going through his own midlife crisis, between family, career, and a phantom homeless violinist following his every move, who wouldn’t have a semi-meltdown? For the fangirls out there, after seeing Charlie Bartlett in 2007, and laying my eyes on the devastatingly handsome and charming Anton Yelchin, I thought…MUST SEE MORE, WHERE HAS THIS CHARMING BEING COME FROM?! And there he was…playing the precocious son in Huff. I was addicted. After seeing season one on DVD, I was on a mad goose chase for season two. Turns out it was never released. So desperate to finish the series I resorted to watching the entire second season on YouTube. It has been released on DVD in the last few weeks. Amazon order has been placed.
Freaks and Geeks 1999-2000
If you haven’t binge watched Freaks and Geeks since its arrival on Netflix instant, go now…I’ll wait. And I’ll wait a little longer, in case you want to start right back from the beginning after the final episode…just as I did. Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, along with a who’s who of their white-hot comedic crew for the last decade, bring the laughs and in this instance, most importantly, heart, in the chronicling of groups of teenage, suburban Michigan, high school students in 1980. How often does a show, cancelled after one season, turn all of its teenage actors into mega stars years later? I think not very often! If teenage James Franco, Seth Rogen, and a particularly adorable 19 year-old Jason Segal aren’t intriguing enough, the surprise pop-in’s of recognizable, yet over a decade younger faces, always made me do a double take and giggle.
Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, network comedy, take two. Premiering the year after Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared never gained quite the following or remembrance of its predecessor. I saw Undeclared on IFC about two years ago and was instantly drawn to 20 year-old Jay Baruchel and the sagas of freshmen year at college, in a true Judd Apatow fashion. All is well for freshmen Steven (Baruchel) and his freshmen dorm-mates, until his lonely and recently divorced father decides to tag along for the fun of college life. Like Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared hosts a plethora of familiar, albeit younger, faces; Jason Segal, Adam Sandler, Carla Gallo, Amy Poehler, and super heartthrob…wait for it ladies…Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam, at 21 years old and speaking in his native English accent. Oh boy.
Party Down 2009-2010
Before his Parks and Recreation notability as Ben Wyatt, Adam Scott was on a little cult-hit show on Starz called Party Down. “What channel is Starz? Is it like HBO”. Yes, it should be around there on your TV and I recommend picking up the remote and finding it for future sleeper hits they might churn out. Party Down’s premise is simple, but executed perfectly, and all too common in out fair city of Los Angeles, a group of caterers all having moved to LA to make it big in show business. You may remember or know them as Janis Ian, Karen Walker, or Sue Sylvester, but the ladies on the show, mainly Lizzy Kaplan, Megan Mullally and Jane Lynch, really bring-it comedy wise. With its snarky humor and frighteningly realistic depiction of a group of total opposites failing at a common goal, Party Down has my vote for the next Arrested Development-like resurrection years after its unfortunate cancellation.
Dead Like Me 2003-2004
Saul Berenson, a.k.a. Mandy Patinkin, playing a grim reaper? Fine with me! Showtime’s Dead Like Me certainly had its oddities and dark humor, but that is what kept me drawn to it. It was different from any show on the network, and didn’t revolve around guest stars despite its sinking ratings, like so many shows resort to. It had a following; unfortunately I caught on years later on Netflix. A group of grim reapers living seemingly normal lives in Seattle despite being “undead”? Okay, I’ll tune in. With its snarky humor and grim outlook on life, Dead Like Me appealed to the dark side of comedy that I love and quite frankly, crave on TV.
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