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Canned: An Introduction

The world of television is a dog-eat-dog business.

And, like any business, its products live and die by one thing: how much money they’re rackin’ up.

This is why, an unfortunate amount of the time, good, interesting, and thought-provoking shows slip through the cracks, and those dedicated fans are left wondering, “what happened?  Is it my fault?  How could such quality television get thrown away when filth like Daisy of Love just keeps coming back like a herpes-ridden horror movie villain?”  Often good shows come and go, leaving fans wondering how the characters they gave so much of their life to ended up, hoping for a movie that can tie up all their loose ends.

Then, on the other hand, there are those shows that seem to overstay their welcome, and when they do get cancelled after two merciless seasons or so, us TV-watchers welcome it as a fresh start; a chance for better shows to enter the mix, and hopefully not fizzle and die a painful TV death.

On that morbid note, let me welcome you to Canned, where I will be watching shows cancelled early in their runs (through the magic of the interweb) and see if they truly deserved to fade back into the obscurity from whence they came, or if maybe, just maybe, they deserved better than their untimely fates.

The origins of this project come from a couple different places.  First, a friend/coworker of mine named Angela alerted me to the existence of a show called Kitchen Confidential, a sitcom based on the tell-all memoir by Anthony Bourdain.  I was a fan of Bourdain’s other show (and by other show I mean the only one he had any control over), No Reservations, so on Angela’s lukewarm review of the show, which I think amounted to “it was kinda…eh,” I decided to look into it a little more.  As it turns out, the show was cancelled only four episodes in, with nine more unaired in it’s first season.  From the sound of it, the show should’ve been pretty terrible.  I was surprised, then, to find that it wasn’t really so bad (more on that later).  After watching an episode or two, it got me thinking: what other shows got cancelled before their time?  In my research I found that there were a surprising amount of quality shows that ended after only a season or two, and some that I thought got cancelled long before they actually did.  Some shows were unable to finish their ambitious storylines before they got axed, and some seemed to have no clear end, but still left unanswered questions.  I decided to explore these unfortunate casualties of the television world, to shed new light on them and give them the second look they deserve, or perhaps don’t deserve.

I decided to use another blog series, called My Year of Flops by Nathan Rabin, head writer at The AV Club.  In his series, Mr. Rabin examines notorious critical and commercial failures, and decides if they’re as bottom-of-the-barrel as their reputations may lead someone to believe.  I sincerely hope Mr. Rabin finds it in his heart to be merciful and not sue me, because as we all know, there’s a fine line between homage and rip-off.  I just hope Mr. Rabin finds me on the former half of that comparison, assuming he’d actually find out about it.  Only time will tell…

So with that, I hope you enjoy reading about my trips into the exciting world of shows cancelled early in their runs, and I hope in the coming weeks that I can make anyone who reads these posts rediscover lost TV gems, forgotten with time, but still worth a look.  Unless I hate it, in which case you can bet on me telling you to avoid it like the plague.

Stay tuned for my review of the aforementioned Kitchen Confidential, and all my future posts coming soon!

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