Should Have Been Cancelled:
5. “Sherlock” (2010-2017):
Everyone loved the modernization of Britain’s greatest detective when The BBC Network came out with a new take on “Sherlock”. The first season was exhilarating, complete with a reveal of the arch-nemesis Moriarty coming out of left field. The second season continued that level of excellence, providing a perfect ending that made total sense. Then “Sherlock” just kept on going. And can any fan truly explain how Holmes survived after hanging himself? Seriously. It’s an honest question.
4. “X-Men: The Animated Series” (1992-1997):
This show was awesome. Short of “Batman: The Animated Series” every kid’s favorite Saturday morning animated show in the 90’s was “X-Men”. Wolverine was a badass. Rogue and Gambit were sexy. The dynamic between Professor X and Magneto was perfection. Plus we got giant robots called Sentinels that from the opening episode established how telling the anti-minority theme Stan Lee was going for in the comics decades before this show debuted. The culmination was the season in which the team went to space and Jean Grey sacrificed herself to protect the group and became ‘The Phoenix’ in the process. Do yourself a favor and stop right there. The series mirrors almost every comic book franchise in that nobody told them when to quit. The final two seasons were so bad that the kid in me decided to jump ship. And I was still watching “The Power Rangers”!
3. “Dexter” (2006-2013):
I thought this show was planned out to end off perfectly. In season 4 of “Dexter” the story comes full circle. Michael C. Hall won several awards, deservedly so, as the titular character. The tale of a serial killer who’s skills have been honed in to focus on and killing other psychopaths for good was a brilliant version of the standard “CSI” formula. The boy born in blood, literally, was destined to be a maniac. Fortunately his adopted father was able to maneuver this kid to only kill those deserving. It is a fascinating character ark with Dexter forced to kill his brother, sexy side chick, police officer partner, and political fan. The ultimate is when Dexter meets a look into the mirror. John Lithgow plays Arthur, a brutal serial killer that Dexter would typically kidnap and kill. Only problem is Arthur has a normal family and preaches the word of god by day. Dexter does eventually take down the monster, but not before Arthur is able to do his horrible deed. Coming home, Dexter finds his newborn son sitting in a pool of his mothers blood. Exactly how Dex came into the world. Full circle. Perfect ending. And then you keep going? For another 4 season’s? I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.
2. “Game of Thrones” (2011-2019):
Stop at season 6 here. As soon as show runners D&D start to go off script for the final two seasons it becomes very clear what good fantasy fiction looks like against utter garbage. I still cannot see what happened during “The Battle of Winterfell” no matter how much I turn my television’s brightness up. Also, did Daenerys realize destroying the entire city and its people you want to rule is not exactly the right way to go? And you end it all with Bran taking over the Iron Throne!?!? Are you kidding me??? Other than The Night King getting himself a dragon that tears down the wall nothing is worth noting. Watch “The Battle of the Bastards” episode towards the end of season 6, excellent. Then stop. You’re welcome.
1. “Lost” (2004-2010):
The show that taught me that yes, you can quit on a show. It does not matter how many years you have spent watching. If you feel a show that is so good from the beginning is going south, I am going to pretty much guarantee you that is a correct feeling. “Lost” was a freight train of sci-fi tension that had the world crazed about what they were seeing. Who doesn’t love a smoke monster, polar bear, and a computer code that will save the world. Unfortunately, “Lost” went so far into its own rabbit hole that answering all of the questions was impossible. Fans like myself understood that when the show was winding down. But did anybody for-see how bad the wrap up would be? This is year ‘2020’ level when it comes to a dumpster fire.
Should Not Have Been Cancelled:
5. “Deadwood” (2004-2006):
I did not love “Deadwood” personally, but I respect it. This is an impeccably crafted show that truly makes one feel as though they are really in the old west. Ian Mcshane stands out as the head of a South Dakota territory with a new sheriff coming to town. Timothy Olyphant is not intimidating at all as the character is supposed to be. But we can get around him as all of the other elements are good to even great. “Deadwood” captures the time period in a way that is darkly poetic. There is a reason why a movie was made despite the show being cancelled after just three seasons.
4. “Giri/Haji (2019):
I was so excited to dig my teeth into this tale of corruption. “Giri/Haji” took a different approach when looking at the Yakuza underbelly in Japan. Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) is a skilled detective from Tokyo currently working in London. His brother Yuto (Yosuke Kubozaku) went a different path in life and is now engrained deep into a criminal organization. Detective Mori is tasked by British Law Enforcement to hunt down his brother who is accused of murder. Doesn’t take long, but what does Mori do once he encounters his troubled sibling? Throw in his co-worker Sarah (Kelly Macdonald) being more than just a friend, a violent showdown between two rival gangs, and corrupt officials on multiple continents works for a thrilling experience. Do not underestimate “Giri/Haji”, which translates as “Duty/Shame”. This is nothing like your typical crime drama fodder. Just watch this clip above and you will see what you are in for.
3. “Gargoyles” (!994-1996):
I know that I am not the only one from my generation that was disappointed when “Gargoyles” was taken away from me during my weekend cartoon’s list. We only got two seasons. Led by the mighty Goliath (Keith Davis), a group of one-thousand year old night creatures from Scotland are now on watch to stop bad guys while waiting on a tower in New York. Both mythical as well as realistic bad guys had no chance against these winged heroes. “Gargoyles” was a unique experience for us 90’s kids because it was gothic horror-esque while also staying in the lane of fun. The animation was dark without trying to be scary. It is a shame these statuesque figures of the night did not get the chance to protect the world more.
2. “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991):
This one I understand. Director David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” was weird as shit, just like all of Lynch’s work. Myself, I’m not a huge fan of his stuff. However, “Twin Peaks” was absolutely fascinating. The quirks and surprises hold up to this day. The idiosyncratic Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) travels to the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer. Seems pretty straight forward. Nope. Agent Cooper discovers he is going down a rabbit hole of insanity from the moment he passes the ‘Welcome to Twin Peaks’ sign on the highway. The ending of season two is completely bonkers, but I would guess given the opportunity Lynch would have delivered in the end.
1. “Carnivale” (2003-2005):
I cannot gush enough about “Carnivale”. It is hard for me to recommend a show that did not receive the opportunity to finish its run properly. However, “Carnivale” deserves a look even though obviously there is no closing chapter. As my film nerd friend Scott Riddle explained this show to me, “It’s basically about good and evil”. That is about all I should give you when trying to encompass a program involving a carnival and evangelist preacher clashing for the sake of humanity. Man do I wish the show runners got the full five seasons they had planned.
Hey, kudos for picking Carnivale, I loved that show, I have the two seasons on DVD and will always treasure them (thank God for physical media, ‘cos is Carnivale airing ANYWHERE in the world right now?). Its a funny thing how Netflix and Amazon have come to ‘save’ shows, but Carnivale has escaped even their attention. I guess its time has gone, but its was so clever, so poetic. If they had somehow slapped Stephen King’s name on it, it could have been the same show and it would have been a huge hit.