Life After the Chopping Block: Pushing Daisies, one of my go-to websites for articles and updates, has a poll asking “Which new TV show will be cancelled first?” (click to cast your vote and, maybe more importantly, read the incredibly entertaining comments). It’s a really important question. Many people refuse to start watching until they know they won’t get attached to a doomed show. This year, if the poll is any indication, both Dads and Lucky 7 are first in line for the chopping block.

The fact is that a lot of factors go into cancellations: marketing, quality, timing, etc. Critically praised shows get cancelled for lousy marketing and fan-loved favorites die because of the cost and then there are the conspiracy theories. It’s incredibly frustrating but, unfortunately, it’s part of the primetime viewing experience.

In an effort to spread the word, this series of posts will give you information of a possibly-unknown past show that was cancelled before it’s time. If you haven’t seen it, watch it! If you have, rekindle the fire and give it a second viewing, share it, post about it. With Netflix looking at cancelled shows to pick up (it worked for Arrested Development), we can always hope for our dearly departed favorites but, more importantly, we always have our DVDs.

Pushing Daisies (2007-2009): This one is– and maybe always will be– my moved loved cancelled show. Creator Bryan Fuller is a genius when it comes to quirky, whimsical hour-long dramedies (see: Dead Like Me later). He seems to love to take something macabre, like death, and make it lighter. Witty, quick-spoken, sometimes goofy dialogue permeates this series that is full of interesting characters, unbelievable whodunnit cases and bright-colored, timeless settings. The story follows Ned, a piemaker and owner of “The Pie Hole,” who has unique ability to touch dead things back to life, although not without consequence. He teams up with a private eye, Emerson Cod, who uses Ned’s abilities to solve murder cases. Things get a bit more complicated when Ned brings back his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles. Although he has waitress (the wonderful, wonderful Kristin Chenoweth) Olive Snook pining after him, he can’t help but love his first kiss, Chuck. Unfortunately, he can’t touch her again, ever or she will go back to being dead. There are so many subtle quirks that make this show the criticially-acclaimed gem it was. Chuck’s aunts, cheese-loving agoraphobes that used to be synchronized swimmers, Olive’s tendency to break into song, Chuck’s wardrobe, Ned, Ned, Ned and, um, Ned. Why was it cancelled? The writer’s strike of 2007 interrupted production and good ol’ ABC refused to properly advertise when it returned the following fall. No surprise that ratings are low when even fans couldn’t figure out when it was coming back. Live after death: Fans were outraged and rightfully so. This show was nominated for 12 Emmys in 2008 and won three, five nominations and four wins came in 2009. But ABC let it die and even Ned couldn’t revive it. A painfully quick wrap up was thrown in for the last episode but Bryan Fuller promised it would live on. Fans were promised a series of comic books (now five years later, they still haven’t materialized), there was talk about a miniseries or a movie (Torchwood got a miniseries from Starz and Kickstarter rebooted Verionica Mars), and Fuller even expressed interest in a Broadway musical adaptation but, so far, nothing. The WB did buy Pushing Daisies and reshow episodes (see their website for full episodes) and even the cable channel Chiller shows episodes. It’s dead but not buried.

Up next: Firefly


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