Every TV season cancels beloved shows, programs that had a cult audience, and ones that are put out of their misery. In some cases, the cancellation of certain TV shows can linger for a long time. Fans of “Arrested Development,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Veronica Mars” and other cult TV shows are still mourning their loss, while others have had to learn to let go. After the 2009-10 season, the audiences for a few more programs had to let go, as well. Yet in a few cases, they should not have had to.
Perhaps the most surprising cancellation, and the most undeserved, was that of the original “Law & Order.” The long-running drama had obviously seen better years and had become an afterthought on the NBC roster. However, this TV show deserved a better fate than to be let go days before its season finale – which suddenly became a series finale.
“Law & Order” had been on for a record 20 years, having tied “Gunsmoke” as the longest drama in history. A TV show with that much of a legacy had earned the right to go off on a higher note. What NBC should have done was given it one more year, so it could break the “Gunsmoke” record and craft its own final season. After that, the network could dump it off and let the other Dick Wolf shows step in – but only after giving the original a proper final lap.
ABC is not immune to premature TV cancellations either. The end of “FlashForward” stung a lot of fans, although only 5 million of them watched per week. However, some of them staged their own blackout in front of ABC on June 10, so they were devoted. Although this TV show was put in the trash bin of other “Lost” knockoffs, it could have still salvaged something.
The “FlashForward” creators had a five-year plan, which is why they left so much unresolved in the series finale. But the show had strong overseas ratings, so ABC had an excuse to renew “FlashForward” if they wanted. If they did, the producers would have to know that they skated by on the skin of their teeth.
With the knowledge that they might not have five years to tell their story, the producers could make the second season more revealing and perhaps more satisfying. Therefore, even if “FlashForward” got canceled for good next year, it might not have left so much hanging.
Of course, these TV shows got canceled because of low ratings and financial concerns instead of creative reasons. They can justify taking off a “Law & Order” because it was past its prime and wouldn’t get many more viewers for a final season. They can justify canceling “FlashForward” because ratings kept going downhill in America, and critics were turning against it. On those levels, these TV shows were no-brainers to be shut down.
But for the longest TV franchise in modern day history, one final exception could have been made. For a show with a lot of loose ends and passionate fans who fought against the tide, there could have been a stay of execution. Instead, these TV shows are just statistics for another season filled with cancellations.
As such, “Law & Order” and “FlashForward” fans must go somewhere else for drama in 2010-11 and hope their new favorite shows have a longer life.
New York Daily News- “‘Law & Order’ cancelled by NBC after 20 seasons”
Buddy TV- “Fans Plan Own Blackout To Save ‘FlashForward'”