Intelligent, quirky TV shows score airtime, face unfair cancellation

Well-written TV shows with superstar casts, witty dialogue, and shocking twists aren’t as common as most would like them to be, but when they air on television, they inevitably gain a dedicated following. In some cases, the show is a momentous hit that the whole nation watches and discusses. In others, the show is discontinued before it can reach all of its potential audience.

Better Off Ted

Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington) works at Veridian Dynamics, a powerful but soulless company that develops and sells everything from retina scans to weaponized pumpkins. On an average day, the company would create itchy chairs that improve productivity or macaroni and cheese with extra fun. (Disclaimer: Extra fun macaroni may cause blindness if consumed more than two times a week.) Ted, with occasional guidance from his young-but-wise daughter Rose, struggles to find a balance between morality and loyalty to the company.

Better Off Ted, which aired on ABC from 2009-10, satirizes the lack of morality of multinational corporations and uses dark humor and wit to freshen old story lines. Even though it lasted only one season, the series is available on Netflix and Sidereel.

Commander in Chief

Commander in Chief aired on ABC from 2005-06. The series starred Geena Davis as Mackenzie “Mac” Allen. When President Teddy Bridges dies of an aneurysm, Mac, his vice president, takes over. Chosen for her gender and independent stance rather than merit, she is expected to resign and allow the speaker of the House to take office and carry out his agenda, since he holds the same conservative views as Mac’s predecessor. When she’s close to resigning, the chauvinistic speaker of the House makes a mistake and insults women, prompting Mac to go through with the oath of office.

Although it was cancelled after one season due to a competition for ratings, the drama didn’t go unnoticed. It won one Golden Globe, was nominated for 14 other awards, and was mentioned in the documentary Miss Representation for increasing the likelihood of the viewer accepting a female president.

Watch Commander in Chief on Hulu, iTunes, Xfinity, and Amazon Instant Video.

Pushing Daisies

From 2007-09, Ned the Pie-Maker solved murders with his recently-resurrected childhood sweetheart and a private investigator while running a pie shop alongside a neighbor and waitress who’s in love with him in ABC’s modern fairytale Pushing Daisies. From the time Ned was a little boy, he’s had an eerie, but magical ability to bring the dead back to life, but his gift (or curse) comes with limits and consequences. First, one touch brings the deceased back, but a second kills them forever. Second, if the revived is not killed again within a minute, someone or something dies in its place.

Pushing Daisies sounds dark from the description, but the quirky series is full of whimsical scenes and bright, candy-colored images.

In its two seasons, Pushing Daisies won 15 awards and was nominated for 38 more. The dedicated fan base pushed for more and now a resurrection on Broadway is underway for the beloved show.

Pushing Daisies is available to watch on Amazon Prime Instant Video, and this post contains links for every episode.

While it’s difficult to know that some treasured characters will never go on any new adventures, the stories that made them so loved still exist. If this knowledge is difficult to accept for some viewers who need more from their favorite shows, keep in mind that there are always fandoms to support obsessions.

One thought on “Intelligent, quirky TV shows score airtime, face unfair cancellation

  1. Good topic for an article. I used to love Better off Ted and Pushing Daisies – I was so mad when they got cancelled!

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