Brilliant But Cancelled

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1.
Firefly (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them. (44 mins.)
“ Obviously. ” - beckmen
 
2.
Jeremiah (2002 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
In a post-apocalyptic future, a deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity. The only ones who survived... (45 mins.)
“ J. Michael Straczynski followed up his epic series Babylon 5 with this post-apocalyptic scifi show on Showtime. It started out slow, much like B5 did, but in its short-lived second season it started to get really good. Character and plot arcs were building to interesting places. Then, boom. Canceled. MGM didn't even bother to release a proper DVD of the second season, so you are left with either studio-made DVD-Rs (on amazon) that are cropped down to 4x3, or iTunes. For shame. ” - beckmen
 
3.
Touching Evil (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Returning from a year-long psychological leave of absence after surviving an almost-fatal gunshot wound to the head... (60 mins.)
“ Touching Evil was dark, moody, and quirky; featuring a memorable performance from Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice). The show was showing signs of bringing in some arcs, and balancing the 'case of the week' with more long-term stuff. It plays something like a mashup of amc's The Killing and Monk (or Psych, or any of those USA network comedy cop shows). Also, yet another show that never received a DVD release, so the only way to see it is when Universal HD randomly plays episodes, or illegally. Or you could buy the Brilliant But Canceled DVD which features a random episode (not even the pilot). ” - beckmen
 
4.
Arrested Development (2003 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Level-headed son Michael Bluth takes over family affairs after his father is imprisoned. But the rest of his spoiled, dysfunctional family are making his job unbearable. (22 mins.)
“ Another no-brainer. ” - beckmen
 
5.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Set after the events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor and her son, John, try to stay under-the-radar from the government, as they plot to destroy the computer network, Skynet, in hopes of preventing Armageddon. (60 mins.)
“ The Terminator TV series never sounded like a good idea. But despite a rocky premise, the writers of the show actually managed to deliver compelling television and the potential for numerous fascinating arcs. The characters were at the center of the show, complex, conflicted and not only righteous. The show had a unique heart and style, and while it changed continuity from the films...you can always say "alternate timeline" and just go on living your life. Thankfully, this one is actually on DVD and Blu-ray. ” - beckmen
 
6.
Caprica (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two families, the Graystones and the Adamas, live together on a peaceful planet known as Caprica, where a startling breakthrough in artificial intelligence brings about unforeseen consequences. A spin-off of the Sci Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica" set 50 years prior to the events of that show. (60 mins.)
“ "Dallas in space" was one of the first things I heard about this show. Uh-oh. However, despite being set in a rather boring part of the BSG timeline, the show was quite interesting. Like BSG, it explored concepts of religion, philosophy, ethics, and AI. Like BSG, the characters were complex and interesting. Toward the end of its first and only season, it started to gear up for a much more exciting second season. But was mercilessly pulled by Syfy, a network which science fiction fans now despise for its numerous transgressions. While the show is available on DVD, no Blu-ray has been released. So once again, a show that aired in HD, presented in SD on disc for posterity. ” - beckmen
 
7.
Lucky Louie (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A working class family and their oddball friends. (30 mins.)
“ Had this show not been canceled after its first season, we might not has 'Louie' on FX. However, the show was still given the unfair axe. It was a traditional three-camera sitcom, shot with a live studio audience. Only it was made for HBO, so the characters said the kind of stuff real lower-class families said. Swearing, sex, nothing was off limits. With Louie CK's signature comedy, the show was hilarious and somewhat groundbreaking. To this day I don't understand why it was canceled. It was shot on a small handful of sets that looked just a notch better than cardboard, featured a cast of unknowns, and only had a commitment of 13 episodes a year. Well, at least we got the DVD. ” - beckmen
 
8.
SGU Stargate Universe (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Trapped on an Ancient spaceship billions of light-years from home, a group of soldiers and civilians struggle to survive and find their way back to Earth. (43 mins.)
“ Right off the bat Stargate fans were divided on the show. Instead of making a third series about self-contained adventures, the show utilized a series-long arc and focused more on drama and suspense than action. The problem (arguably) is that the writers hadn't quite figured out how to make such a show, and the first handful of episodes were filled with soap opera-ish moments and ill-fitting contemporary music. This combination scared away a large chunk of the Stargate fanbase, as well as nonfans who wanted to see if it was any good. The show quickly found its footing and rectified many of the problems about a dozen episodes in, but by then it had already lost so much steam. Syfy tried to put it up against major network shows such as American Idol, and the ratings plummeted. I still think it was a sabotage operation. Cheaper reality shows get more viewers, so the network had to torpedo the only two prestige scripted shows it had, handing out to fans the excuse "Look at the ratings.". First season is on Blu-ray, second season is DVD-only. ” - beckmen
 
9.
Jericho (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A small town in Kansas is literally left in the dark after seeing a mushroom cloud over near-by Denver, Colorado. The townspeople struggle to find answers about the blast and solutions on how to survive. (45 mins.)
“ Perhaps too ambitious for its own good, the show's fans brought the show back for a truncated second season with a letter-writing (and peanut sending) campaign to the network. However, for whatever reason...the show still didn't perform well enough and was not renewed. We got something of an ending, or at least a transition that works better than the season one cliffhanger. Both seasons available on DVD, but not Blu-ray. ” - beckmen
 
10.
The Job (2001 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
New York detective Mike McNeil is well-known for his unconventional approach of fighting crime. But it also takes a toll in his personal life complicated by his wife and girlfriend on the side. (30 mins.)
Director: Tucker Gates
“ Before Rescue Me, Denis Leary and Peter Tolan had a half-hour, single-camera comedy on ABC. Leary's character was similar. A pill-popping, unfaithful to his wife alcoholic . Only instead of fireman, it was cops. The show was full-on comedy instead of a comedy/drama, and was basically to NYPD Blue what Scrubs was to ER. It remains funny and a bit edgy for network TV, and truthfully, I have always liked it better than Rescue Me. ” - beckmen
 
11.
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (1987 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A group of guerilla fighters battle the evil machine forces that dominate a future Earth. (30 mins.)
“ Airing on Saturday mornings, this live-action science fiction series from J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) portrayed a band of rebels fighting against a robotic army in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The show was dark and featured mature themes, death and all sorts of stuff you don't usually see in a kid's show. Perhaps too progressive, or aimed the wrong audience, the show never made it past its first season. A DVD boxset with an impressive array of extras is currently available. ” - beckmen
 
12.
Deadwood (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A show set in the late 1800s, revolving around the characters of Deadwood, South Dakota; a town of deep corruption and crime. (55 mins.)
“ With it's unique dialogue and gritty feel, Deadwood was unique and at times brilliant. One of HBO's best dramas, and still...three measly seasons, no final resolution. A major pity that the plans for a film fell through, but at least the show is on DVD and Blu-ray. ” - beckmen
 
13.
Dollhouse (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A futuristic laboratory assigns different tasks to its various residents, who then have their memories erased upon the completion of their assignments. (44 mins.)
“ It wasn't until I revisited the series on Blu-ray that I decided to file it under 'brilliant'. The writing features great dialogue, refreshing reveals and mammoth plot twists, and the supporting cast is a revelation. Dushku, IMO is the only weak link here and her acting is at least serviceable. Canceled after two seasons, but they had enough notice to tell an almost complete story. I recommend not watching "Epitaph One" until after "The Hollow Men", as that unaired episode jumps ahead in time and ruins some surprises. ” - beckmen
 
14.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A behind-the-scenes look at a fictional sketch-comedy TV show. (60 mins.)
“ The show was canceled, perhaps partially because it wasn't 30 Rock. It wasn't trying to be 30 Rock. It's not a comedy with dramatic elements, it's a drama with comedic elements. Another show that has taken me a second-go-through to recognize just how great it was. Luckily, you can get it on DVD for around 20 bucks or less if you time it right. ” - beckmen