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Cancelled into Freedom

The TV shows I’ve loved, to the point that I never missed an episode, are for the most part, ones that were canceled too soon. Up until I was in my 20s, I’d never actually had a show where I watched every single episode ever. Oh, I was in love with G Force and Voltron, and possibly a bit Robotech obsessed, but due to how American TV aired these shows, I never had the chance to watch a show, start to finish.

On the first tier of shows are the ‘never missed.’ I never missed an episode of Joan of Arcadia, Veronica Mars, Dollhouse, Women’s Murder Club and The Unusuals.

The second tier, shows I watched, recorded, and tried not to miss were Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, and Battlestar Galactica. I actually missed a few of those shows here and there over the ages. Mostly it was the Thanksgiving episodes I missed.

The third tier, shows I watched only when they were on DVD or video would be Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Firefly, Red Dwarf, Vicar of Dibley (and pretty much any BBC show I liked), Babylon 5 and Missing Persons.

After that, I actually don’t have a lot of shows in my ‘Seen ’em all!’ Bag. I happen to be currently watching, and have seen every episode of Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, and I’m sure some other shows that I record (I’ve probably watched all the NCIS and Bones episodes) but they’re not shows I own on DVD. In fact, they’re so forgettable that I can re-watch them like Law & Order and always enjoy them. I know that Rizzoli & Isles will probably show up under that first tier, as well as the vaunted Platinum Level of TV shows I own on DVD (or Blu-Ray, whatever) that are still in production (right now just The Guild).

The part that amused me, when I made this list in my head last night, was that the shows I loved the most, the ones I made appointment TV, were all about strong women. And the shows I ran out to buy season one on DVD, to tell the people behind the scenes that I loved them, are the same. And most of them got canceled after no more than two seasons. Veronica Mars ended the best way possible, with a ‘Well. There’s that’ ending. Xena gave us weird closure that was at once perfect and totally unsatisfying (but then again, the last three seasons were crap).

That’s the problem, I guess. I used to watch Friends and ER, but I never watched them after they started to suck. A lot of the shows get weird, bogged down by their own mythology, and old. They retell the same stories, and not in new ways, and we stop watching.

While I was livid when Veronica Mars was canceled, I look at Battlestar Galactica and I think that maybe it wasn’t so bad. It could have been a lot worse, and it could have ended like that. Even Dollhouse suffered a shit ending, but frankly, given how Fox treated the show, I’m not shocked.

Missing from this list is, of course, CSI. I don’t own any DVDs of the show. I don’t have any tapes. I don’t watch every episode (if Jorja Fox isn’t in the episode, I don’t watch). Oddly, it’s my ‘meh’ attitude about CSI that helped me longer mind missing episodes of any TV show.

With cancelation, and my subsequent growth, I’ve become less tied to the man. By taking what I like and ripping it away, I don’t care if I miss things. I can catch up on the internet or … not. I may watch it on re-runs or not. Basically … it’s cool.

Which somehow, I don’t think was the networks’ point.