Sam’s Hidden Treasures of Television

By Sam Sigal, Media Relations Assistant

Pitchers and catchers are now reporting to Spring Training, and that means one glorious thing: BASEBALL IS AROUND THE CORNER! While the time from the end of the World Series to the beginning of Spring Training is only roughly four months, at times it can seem to be so much longer. While football and basketball have given my life its fair share of excitement, there has been way too many weekday nights after work humming the lyrics to the Vapors’ early 1980’s hit “Waiting For the Weekend.”

However, thanks to cable television, as well as my little sister’s Netflix password, I recently discovered (or shall I say re-discovered) hidden treasures, the term I use to describe my all-time favorite television shows that, despite their extreme excellence, each got taken off the air way too soon.

Below is the list of five shows, in no particular order, which got cancelled too soon. Shows had to have fit into two catagories for inclusion: 1) lasted no more than two seasons and 2) were awesome.

1)Freaks and Geeks
Seasons: 1 (1999-2000)
Total Episodes: 18
Why it was awesome: It was created and directed by Judd Apatow, and included James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal and the guy who grew up to play the dorky doctor in Bones. Watching a cast featuring those before-their-prime actors, as well as a consistently hilarious storyline depicting two separate social groups (the nerds, and the outcasts) in an early-1980s, convinced me why this show is always on any and every list of the top shows that ended too early.
2)Sports Night
Seasons: 2 (1998-2000)
Total Episodes: 45
Why it was awesome: It was a comedy about a fictional sports-news show. Just like how NBC’s 30 ROCK hysterically depicted the behind-the-scenes environment of a sketch-comedy show, Sports Night was both funny, and well-written, as the creator and head writer was Aaron Sorkin, the same guy behind the West Wing, The Social Network, A Few Good Men, and Moneyball, not to mention a weird cameo playing himself in a few episodes of Entourage.
Seasons: 1 (2001-2002)
Total Episodes: 17
Why it was awesome: Undeclared portrayed a group of freshman suitemates adjusting to life in college, and is the second of two Judd Apatow-created shows on this list, and just like Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared was absolutely hilarious, featured really funny characters portrayed by actors who would go on to television and movie stardom (Jay Baruchel from She’s Out of My League, and Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy, as well as two guys Apatow kept from Freaks and Geeks in Jason Segal and Seth Rogen).
4)Eli Stone
Seasons: 2 (2008-2009)
Total Episodes: 26
Why it was awesome: The main character, Eli Stone, is a hot-shot lawyer who finds out in the first episode that he suffers from a brain aneurysm. As a result of his aneurysm, Stone has hallucinations that not only features pop-star George Michael singing to him, but also contains signs leading him towards cases and causes that not better his life, but the life of others as well. While this show is the only non-comedy on this list, and I am normally not one for sappy “find yourself for the good of the world” stories, Eli Stone was probably my favorite show during the year and a half it was on the air. It had the perfect mix of sadness with Eli struggling with his possibly life-threatening condition, and happiness with Eli using his hallucinations for good, as well as being serenaded by George Michael in those visions. You can’t get happier than that, right?
5)$#*! My Dad Says
Seasons: 1 (2010-2011)
Total Episodes: 18
Why it was awesome: I love William Shatner. I love goofy old men jokes. Adding those two things together made for 30 minutes of laughing. However, I barely remember what the show was about outside of William Shatner saying funny stuff. That’s probably a solid indicator on why it the show didn’t last.

Honorable Mentions (two shows that just missed the cut, lasting for three seasons)
Star Trek (3 seasons spanning 1966-1969): Due to the fact that Star Trek has become arguably the most successful Sci-Fi franchise, it is easy to forget that the original show failed to extend past three seasons, and that the cult following came years later.
Arrested Development (3 episodes spanning 2003-2006): A very successful show included on virtually every “cancelled too soon” list. Perhaps the most disfunctional family in television history, the Bluth family never strayed far from our minds, as a series of Netflix episodes and a possible Arrested Development movie are both in the works.

Sam enters his first season as media relations assistant with the Crawdads. Born in San Francisco, California before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, Sam graduated from Rider University with a degree in Communications and a focus in Radio Television, while serving as Student Manager for the Men’s Basketball team during his time there. He spent 2012 as an intern with the Trenton Thunder, the AA team of the New York Yankees. Sam enjoys playing and watching sports, as well as hanging out with friends and having a good laugh (or a bad laugh, if there is such a thing).

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