TV revolution

Some TV series end before their time, but not all of them

Dead Like Me
Dead Like Me
The Middleman
The Middleman
Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks
Police Squad!
Police Squad!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Dead Like Me

This darkly comic show followed Georgina (above, centre) whose untimely and unlikely death (she’s killed by a toilet seat falling from the Mir space station) results in her appointment as a reaper, tasked with sending the recently deceased off to the afterlife. The show itself bit the dust after its second season finished in 2004, but this year’s straight-to-DVD film, Dead Like Me: Life After Death, reanimated the series and tied up some of the dangling plot threads.

The Middleman

Based on a comic book series about a hapless temp worker who ends up being employed by a Men in Black-style supernatural troubleshooting organisation, this TV adaptation was a colourful, sparky hoot that mixed rapid-fire screwball dialogue with extremely goofy action-adventure. And, of course, it was axed almost immediately. Now Les McClaine and Javier Grillo-Marxuach, creators of the original comic, are working on
a comic-book-based follow-up that will conclude the series properly. However, it’s strictly a spin-off of the show and not a continuation of the actual comic, which has been left on its own cliffhanger since 2007. Er, did you follow that okay?

Twin Peaks

David Lynch’s bizarre murder-mystery show Twin Peaks went from critical and cultural hit to cancellation in its second season after he left to film Wild at Heart. Not good news for fans, as the last shot of the show was murderous spirit Bob possessing the body of Agent Cooper. Lynch’s much-publicised theatrical film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was supposed to wrap things up, but – because this is David Lynch – only raised more questions, not least because his original three-hour script was hacked down considerably in production.

Police Squad!

After their 1980 comedy disaster movie Airplane! struck it big, producers Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams moved to TV with cop show spoof Police Squad! The show was a commercial failure and was cancelled after four of its six episodes were shown because, according to the ABC network’s then-head of entertainment, ‘the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it’. What he meant was that it took too much concentration to watch compared with other sitcoms. It’s no wonder, then, that bungling detective Frank Drebin and his colleagues fared much better as the stars of the Naked Gun movies.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Nerd god Joss Whedon has been involved in comic revivals of all his shows, but his biggest success has been Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, which is written by Whedon and other members of the show’s creative team. It continues the story of Buffy and her pals as they mobilise an entire vamp-hunting army. It was so popular that Buffy spin-off Angel got its own comic, Angel: After the Fall. With the future of Dollhouse, Whedon’s latest show, looking bleak, he may be doing another comic soon.

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