There’s a reason that long serials with eight seasons already released are so comforting. You know that when you start to invest time into watching them, they aren’t going to be cut off suddenly — you can can be assured that the storytelling being wound will continue for at least long enough to conclude or grow so low in quality you’ll no longer care, as there’s nothing worse than a story cut short.
Starting to follow a television show only to have it canceled is very much like having a book read out loud to you, only to have the reader slam it shut after the first climactic few chapters, then wrap it in a towel and burn it in a trash can. What would have happened if Grandpa from The Princess Bride had just closed the book and turned the light off early? It’s a similar feeling. Although, it raises an interesting solution for those of you who like a good book and are feeling down after reading this — a lot of these shows stem from books, or are eventually made into movies. So, if you have to know how they end, there may be a solution. Let’s prod some old wounds and gaze nostalgically at a few canceled shows past that we wish hadn’t had to go so soon.
1. Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies was truly a work of art. The writing was usually quite hilarious yet grim, the acting superb, and the visual art of show was perhaps the most impressive yet. Each episode was like a design dream; the colors, crazy clothes, beautiful buildings, and back drops. Pushing Daisies was like the adult version of A Series of Unfortunate Events crossed with Harry Potter because, for those who didn’t realize, Jim Dale, the narrator for all seven of J.K. Rowling’s books, also played a fantastically comical narrational role for Pushing Daisies.
The show only went for twenty-two episodes (or, two seasons) before it was canceled by the ABC network. It followed the story of Ned, a highly neurotic pie maker with a dead dog he brought back to life through touch and his bizarre power to reanimate the dead, then lay them back to rest, all with a single touch. The twist: if he doesn’t put them back where they should be in a very specific number of seconds, they’ll stay alive, but someone nearby will die.
Ned uses his power by accident as a child, leading to the revival of his dog, which he now pets with a long stick, and for a short time his mother, leading to the death of his childhood sweetheart’s father. Eventually, he uses the power to become a private detective part-time alongside his pie business — which he makes using rotted fruit he freshens up a bit — and to bring his dead childhood girlfriend back to life, leading to the most sexually frustrating but sweet romance you’ve ever seen.
After the show was canceled, the creator, Bryan Fuller — now working on Hannibal – started trying to get a movie and a comic book made. The movie is still in the kick-starter process and the comic book seems to be stalled, but you can read/look at the first color editions online, as Fuller tweeted them as they were produced, and Pushing Daily Daisies kindly collected them.