I thought it might be nifty to compile a list of canceled, or finished tv shows and grade them on a scale of when they should've ended. Here are the categories, and you'll see what I mean...
Canceled before their time - These are TV shows that showed signs of greatness but never got a chance to prove themselves because they were canceled so quickly.
Cancelled in their prime - These are shows that reached their very peak and got chopped off in their prime, never showing signs of becoming greater or worse.
Finished at the right time - TV shows that knew exactly when to bow out and leave our screens with grace and dignity.
Cancelled too late - Okay, these are the shows that should've been cancelled years ago but for some reason were allowed to keep going until they eneded up dragging their once great name through the mud. Some shows that couldn've been true classics have been ruined by their last few seasons when the writers just run out of ideas.
Now my contenders for each catagory are:
Cancelled before their time - Okay you knew this would be here, but, Firefly. This show got off to a slow start but it really built up a core group of lovable characters and an interesting universe. Pity it only lasted 12 episodes
Cancelled in their prime - Futurama was a great show, and maybe I'm the first one to admit this but the last season was the weakest of the lot. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it contains none of my favourite episodes. In my mind, it was a good thing that this show was cancelled when it was, because the DVD movies have proven that it couldn't survive any longer.
Angel is without a doubt one of my favourite shows ever to grace my television screen and I was so upset when it was cancelled after 5 seasons. But if Buffy was anything to go by, it was a good thing that we're only left with fond memories of an amazing show.
Farscape, I cannot say enough good things about this show. It was one of the most surreal and engaging sci-fi shows ever produced that ran for 4 seasons that got progressivly better with each one. The only problem was that the show was nearly impossible to get into for first timers unless you started at the beginging. There were rarely any alien-of-the-week episodes in the later seasons, instead the show focused on character and plot devlopment. The show ended with a cliffhanger, and when it was announced that there would be no more, I (and many others) were FURIOUS! Luckily we got a tele-movie to cap it all off, and while it wasn't great (they had to cram a whole season's story into 2 hours) it gave us a satisfying ending to a great show.
Even though it's not over yet, I will add Stargate Atlantis to the list. This show has been getting better and better and now the news has hit that this will be the last season, I'm devastated. Again, like it's parent show SG-1, it might be a good thing that it ends on such a high note instead of dragging on.
Finished at the right time - Seinfeld immediatly springs to mind as a show that knew exactly when to end. This show was in top form right to the end and I wouldn't have it any other way. 10 seasons of top notch comedy, capped off by one of the most fitting endings the show could have, everyone goes to prison
Cancelled too late - Okay, here we go... Buffy. What the fuck happened? Season 5 was without a doubt the best season of the show, but things went into RAPID decline afterwards. The final season was nearly unwatchable, capped off by an extremely rushed ending just to get it over and done with. How I wish this show ended with Buffys death in season 5 instead of bringing her back and dragging her name through the mud.
Stargate SG-1, again a show that had a truley awesome season, capped off by a great finale, finishing off the bad guys once and for all. What do they do next? Well, after 8 seasons of one enemy, why not just make up a new one even though you know most SCI-FI hsows don't last longer than 8 seasons. I really didn't mind the cast change, bringing on some familiar farscape faces was a welcome addition, it's just a shame that the new villains really weren't that interesting and allot of the stories were being recycled. It's a shame they didn't end the show with the fall of the Goa'uld.
Black Books, I know what you're going to say, it was only 3 seasons, but maybe you're so blinded by how hilarious the first season was that you can't remember how fucking awful the third was. With the departure of Father Teds creator after the first series of Black Books, the show went downhill. The second season was still okay, but the third season is like a totally different show. It's like a show imitating the greatness that Black Books once was. The best British comedies usually only last about 2-3 seasons, leaving audiences with many fond memories, it's a shame Black Books couldn't end when it could still have been seen as a classic alongside Faulty towers or the young ones...
Again, it aint over yet but fucking seriously, the Simpsons... Does anyone even watch this anymore? After nearly 10 years of utterly shithouse episodes, and a mediocre movie, can't they just put this thing to sleep?
That's my list, what's yours?