Fox’s Lone Star and 6 Other Short Lived Shows That Deserve More Love
Every year television networks broadcast several new television shows hoping that they’ll be able to get a few hits on their hands and renew it until it stops being a cash cow. In all honesty most of the time the shows that they pick aren’t great and if justice actually existed then they would be the ones that were shown the sharp side of the axe, but networks have shown me time and time again that there is no justice in the world. Year after year plenty of brilliant shows get shown the door, and often they have a very vocal fan base that attempt to salvage the show in any form they can. Many short-lived shows have found their places in peoples hearts and lived on in some way, recent cases of this include Firefly, Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies. For every one of these shows that garner the adoration of fans and have made some sort of a comeback there are about ten others that don’t garner that much attention. This list gives you my breakdown of recent short lived shows that haven’t received anywhere near as much love they should’ve done.
7. Touch (2012-2013) Fox, 2 seasons
Touch only lasted 2 seasons, but to be fair it did air on Fox so we’re pretty lucky that it got that far. Touch centres on Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) as he struggles to deal with his autistic child Jake with whom he cannot communicate with, all Jake is interested in making patterns out of numbers. It is discovered that through these numbers Jake sees “the pain of the universe” (Danny Glovers words, not mine. You can’t call Glover cheesy) and Martin must somehow follow the numbers and fix the problems to ease Jakes suffering. Through Martin’s actions, big and small, we see the ripple effect it has on people all around the world. The show was quite refreshing and different to others that were on the tube so naturally no one watched it.
This is probably why Fox got so heavily involved, they may have let the show air a second season but they still ended up ruining it. Season two served as a sort of reboot of the show and lost many of its core characters including Glover and it became highly serialised and focused on corporate corruption rather than Jake’s gift and easing a strangers pain which is what season one was about. It felt like Fox were trying to create 24 and Heroes 2.0 with the second season but they failed exponentially and Touch shed even more viewers. I can’t really blame them for abandoning the show too much as it had changed a lot in two years, it felt a bit more rushed. Regardless of the distaste people have for season two the stories could have been limitless and the show had a lot more to give.
6. The Riches (2007-2008) FX, 2 seasons
We move away from the big networks now and get some cable television, who we all know value quality and aren’t as harsh with the cancellations. I wish I could say The Riches was evidence of that but sadly it was cancelled after just 20 episodes. The Riches follows the Malloy family who are Irish gypsies, theives and con artists. Not playing into stereotypes with The Riches are we? The patriarch of the family is Wayne who is played by Eddie Izzard with Minnie Driver starring opposite as his wife Dahlia who was recently released from prison. Shouldn’t that be enough to make you disappointed that FX cancelled the show? No? Ok, I’ll press on then I guess. The series starts off with the Malloy’s running away from their traveller family to stop an arranged marriage for their eldest daughter, Di Di (Shannon Woodward). During their escape they are involved in a car accident with a couple named the Riches and decide to take over their lives to escape the clutches of the other travelers.
The audience get to watch the born and bred Irish gypsies try to assimilate into the lives of regular people, people they call buffers, while trying to keep their extended family at bay. Members of the family grow accustomed to the buffer life and have to deal with split loyalties, yearning for normality and escaping their past. There are many twists and turns throughout the series and quite a lot can happen in a single episode so you do really need to pay attention when watching it, but I recommend you do as it is thrilling. It is rumoured that the cancellation was as a result of the writers strike and if so I think that makes it one of the best quality shows we lost to it. Izzard did mention a while back about perhaps a movie continuation but there hasn’t been many reports of it since so I presume it’s dead in the water which is unfortunate. Maybe if you show it a little more love we can revive it Firefly or Veronica Mars style?
5. Awake (2012) NBC, 1 season
I was a bit depressed talking about to two season shows and now we’re down to one. Awake is the show that’s holding up to rear of the under appreciated one season shows as it lasted a whopping thirteen episodes! Awake follows Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs), a police officer who lives in two different timelines, one in which his wife has died and the other his son has. When the press release from the show was released I was instantly intrigued but I knew others wouldn’t be. Lost had left a foul taste in viewers mouths in regards to alternate timelines and as we know from the ratings of The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men mass audiences don’t like to think too much when watching television anyway. The people behind the show already figured this out and made it more of a police procedural so it would be easy for viewers to dip into but unfortunately they didn’t.
It’s a shame because the show was captivating, through both the alternate realities as well as Britten trying to get to the bottom of the police corruption that had killed his family member/members/him (who really knows?). The ratings were incredibly low because of the complex story line and probably because NBC kept playing the episodes out of order. The show did attempt to close up the lose ends before ending its thirteen episode run but didn’t quite manage it and it would have been nice to have a television movie to wrap it up completely so the three fans of the show aren’t always wondering what happened.
4. Terriers (2010) FX, 1 season
So we’re back with FX with Terriers which aired thirteen episodes back in 2010. The show followed Hank (Donal Logue) as a former police officer and Britt (Michael Raymond James) who is a former criminal as they form a friendship and become private detectives and end up being more competent than actual detectives. Their cases always seem to start off small but tend to escalate fairly quickly, but don’t think that this is your average buddy-cop type procedural because it isn’t. The characters at times can seem a bit morally ambiguous but whatever they do is for the right reasons. And to earn some cash. The show has a compelling main story arc that is explored throughout the season, which is resolved by the end of the series. The show is brilliantly written and the leads work together well and exude a likability about them on screen that is rare to find. The show is a drama but features a lot of heart and plenty of laughs which I always feel is a true sign of brilliant writing, the ability to go back and forth between comedy and tragedy. Like Awake the series attempts to tie up loose ends and seems to have a fitting finale, but with its brilliant leads and writing theres always room for more.
Unlike the other shows that I’ve mentioned it seems like the network really did want this show to succeed, they didn’t mess around with time slots or episodes so it’s cancellation is pretty much completely due to the lack of audience. The shows ratings were ridiculously low and there was no hope for survival no matter how much the network wanted to keep it around. The head of FX, John Landgraf, actually held a conference call after the shows cancellation was announced so he could explain the decision, and I’m almost certain that this never happens. We can’t lay all the blame at the feet of the network this time because even they were sad to see it go, perhaps if they had marketed Terriers differently then the ratings would’ve been better? In all honesty I had no idea what the show was about so I didn’t bother with it, I only caught it after it was cancelled and realised I (and many others) had missed out on brilliance. Probably shouldn’t have called the show Terriers either, it has nothing to do with dogs.
3. Rubicon (2010) AMC, 1 season
Rubicon was a spy thriller that followed analyst Will Travers who uncovers a conspiracy through a crossword puzzle. Throughout the thirteen episodes (theres that number again, even the show used thirteen as evidence of a conspiracy) we see Will as he attempts to prove that his boss’ demise wasn’t an accident as the public had been led to believe as he was the only one who knew about the crosswords. Will loses trust in those around him as he is forced to try and unravel the goings on in a secret society who may be controlling world events. Not only are we able to see Will and his team of analysts work life but we also get to see the effects it has on their home lives and it is riveting to watch due to it feeling more realistic than other spy thrillers we have now *cough*Homeland*cough* and the actors are quite subdued in their roles which makes them come across as very natural.
Rubicon may not have garnered audience adoration but it was embraced more by the critics than any other show on this list. Unfortunately it dropped almost half its audience during it’s run and debuted the same year as The Walking Dead. With that ratings powerhouse AMC could afford to cancel Rubicon no matter how much acclaim it received. The lack of action and the slow pacing are a couple of the reasons cited for its decline in viewers but I believe that it helped to create the atmosphere on the show. It aided in building suspense throughout, and after about the fourth episode the action and storyline really does pick up.
2. The Fades (2011) BBC3, 1 season
The Fades is the sole British show on this list, and it lasted a six episode single season back in 2011. The show features many British actors who have come to prominence since then due to other work, including Natalie Dormer and Ian De Caestecker. The Fades follows Paul (De Caestecker) as he sees dead people and attempts to stop a looming apocalypse by helping the dead pass over. The Fades isn’t the first supernatural type show around, nor will it be the last but it is highly original and it creates it’s own lore regarding ghosts (and other supernatural creatures) as well as dealing with the real life consequences of them and the human characters in the show. The show may have only been six episodes long but did manage to pack quite a bit in such a short space of time. The Fades did manage to wrap up the storyline a lot more effectively than other shows in this list, up until the lat 30 seconds of the show anyway. That last 30 seconds of it opens up a whole world of possibilities that will always have me wondering, it goes without saying that I find that ridiculously frustrating.
The show probably suffered by being on the wrong network as BBC3 is known for targeting younger people, having an audience that is usually in their teens and early twenties. The show is more adult than the other ones on BBC3 but went largely ignored by the older demographic who would probably have enjoyed the show. Of course the young folk that caught the show were probably too passive to keep up with it so it shed viewers like all the other brilliant shows on the list. It’s unfortunate as the show was very good, I recommend you give it a try anyway.
1. Lone Star (2010) Fox, 2 episodes
Last and the least (no typo) is Lone Star which was created by Kyle Killen, who was also the brains behind Awake, and it lasted only two episodes in 2010 in Fox (Killen must be the most unluckiest guy on television. Luckiest if we’re talking about the quality of his work). Like I said, we should be glad that Touch got two seasons even if they were retouched. Lone Star followed James Wolk as Robert Allen who is a con man who is in love with and married to two different women who are unwittingly a part of his cons. He attempts to live both his lives as he doesn’t want to leave either of the women and the audience get to watch as he attempts to keep his double life and all his lies from falling apart.
I say that, the audience didn’t really get to see much because there were only two episodes. The show had been reviewed well before airing and unfortunately the good reviews didn’t result in ratings. Then again two episodes is hardly enough time for a show to find its footing or its audience so it’s criminal that the show was taken so soon. Lone Star had a brilliant premise and I’m sure that it would have unfolded brilliantly if the first two episodes is anything to go by. I was hooked, and looking on a few message boards I can tell that there were possible one or two other fans of the show. What is even more disappointing about Lone Star’s cancellation was that there were actually six episodes that were completed yet Fox hasn’t aired the remaining four and it has been four years now so I doubt they ever will. Damn you Fox.
Image via FOX
I personally loved the River and wished that it got at least another 2nd season.
I haven’t watched that so I’ll stick it on my watch list. Theres a lot more shows that could be on the list, it was initially suppose to be 5 but I couldn’t figure what to cut.
How was Awake not rapped up? He went insane. Do you want a season with him in a padded cell?
I don’t think the problem was how complex the story was, rather it was how silly it was. The show was fundamentally about a guy who solves cases with his dreams. That’s silly. They also emphasized that by having the cops act very realistic by interviewing each witness twice, writing everything down etc. One of his partners even said something like “I been on the force 20 years and I have never had a “hunch””.
Rubicon was a hard show to get into. I tried but just couldn’t do it. I agree with you about The Riches. I was so sorry to see it go. I loved Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard in it. I don’t think either one gets the credit that they deserve as actors.