Should We, As A Culture, Start Leaving Cancelled Shows Alone?
Haley Chouinard is not a crackpot. She just thinks cancelled shows should stay cancelled.
We are currently in the midst of a cultural epidemic of not leaving well enough alone. From '80s comedies to beloved boy wizards, seemingly nothing is exempt from possible resurrection. And nowhere is this "can't let it go" syndrome more evident than with TV shows. Gone are the days when a network cancelled a show and that was truly the end. Nowadays, any show with a remotely vocal fanbase can have a shot at a second life, and it is not okay. We need to return to a simpler time, when cancelled shows were never heard from again. I am not a crackpot, I just think that we should stop bringing back cancelled shows.
When a show gets a second life, it often gets pushed farther than the material can naturally go. And we don't need to know what happens to every character all the time. Does anyone actually want to know that grownup DJ Tanner becomes a widowed veterinarian? Because I really don't. Look at shows like Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life, and Clone High, all cancelled after one season before going on to become beloved cult classics -- partly because they didn't meander on long enough to get bad.
Extending something that's failing isn't always a lifeline. More often than not it just gives the show room to fall harder. A prime example is The Mindy Project, a show that has never quite settled on what it wants to be. The show ran on Fox for three seasons before it was cancelled, only for Hulu to pick it up, almost immediately. The show's run on Fox ended with Mindy (played by the show's creator Mindy Kaling) pregnant and engaged to Danny (played by Chris Messina) -- who, in a grand romantic gesture, flies all the way to India to meet Mindy's parents. While that might not have been the strongest way to end a series, it was a good enough place to leave the characters. The audience could have imagined that the pair lived happily ever after. Instead, we saw Danny turn into a patriarchal monster, and the consequent markedly unfunny disintegration of their relationship. One season on Hulu dismantled three seasons' worth of rooting for this couple to make it. I love Mindy Kaling as much as the next person, but The Mindy Project should've stayed dead.
I was a huge fan of Community, but after Chevy Chase and Donald Glover left the cast, it was time to let that one go. And NBC did. They cancelled it after Season 5, only for the show's sixth season to be picked up by Yahoo's (now defunct) streaming service, Yahoo Stream. Community was a brilliant, delightfully bizarre show that was stretched way farther than it needed to be. Instead of going out on a high note, it kept going until no one even cared that it was still on, if they could even find it.
Nashville was cancelled in May, and it didn't seem likely that anyone would be too upset by this news (with the exception of my father, who inexplicably loves this show). Even Britton herself seemed at peace with the idea. However, a matter of weeks later, it was announced that the show would be picked up for another season on CMT. Nashville had a strong first season, but if we're being honest, it's been getting increasingly soapy for a while now. I doubt it's going to start winning Emmys after it moves to basic cable.
We're living in a golden age of television. There are more quality shows airing right now than there ever have been. So, why are we clinging to failing programs? I'm so fatigued by this culture that I can't even manage to get excited about the Gilmore Girls revival: I loved that show with my whole heart and soul, but I don't want to see thirtysomething Rory Gilmore revisiting her dumbass old boyfriends.
It's this inability to let things fade away that brought us the Entourage movie. Is that the world we want to live in? Let's move past this moment in popular culture and start leaving cancelled shows alone. I am not a crackpot.