Networks cutting all the best TV shows

Why does it seem like all of the more artistically brilliant TV shows are getting cut?

Most of the TV I watch ends up being what my wife watches. She has a knack — at least in comparison to me — for finding good new shows. One of the more recent ones we started to watch was Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Whedon is also the creator of the fantastic western sci-fi series Firefly.

We learned today (via Twitter) that Dollhouse has been cut. Whedon has had terrible success with Fox; Firefly was also cut after one season. Dollhouse isn’t as good, in my opinion, as Firefly but it’s still some of the more brilliant television on right now.

What is it with networks cutting the best shows? Pushing Daisies is another example of an incredible show in concept and execution, and it barely made it through two seasons (the writer’s strike may not have helped that). Chuck is still another (although it may be getting a second chance), as are Joan of Arcadia and Veronica Mars.

Not all good shows get lopped. The Office, Psyche, Monk and Bones are still around and are all worth watching. However, none of these are as stretching or imaginative as Whedon’s shows, or Pushing Daisies.

I’m trying to think of something concrete that links the shows I like that get cut together in order to compare it to the characteristics of the shows that are given longer runs. Why do the shows I’m most in tune with seem to be the ones that are cut? Some people suggest that a lot of these shows end up being cut because they are more intellectually engaging — they have “smarter” writing than your common prime-time fare.

Seems to me that’s a sound assessment. Heaven forbid we should want to watch TV that’s intellectually engaging.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

8 Responses to Networks cutting all the best TV shows

  1. Marissa L. says:

    Don’t forget Freaks and Geeks! The best one season show out there. Though Firefly is a close second.

    I didn’t like Veronica Mars…

    • pcNielsen says:

      Veronica Mars isn’t probably the best example above, but was one of the first in the conversation about smart writing so I including. Haven’t seen Freaks and Geeks, although I think I’ve heard of it. We don’t have cable most of the time; most of the TV we watch is via Netflix.

  2. jim janknegt says:

    I am a Joss Whedon Fan, love Buffy, Angel and Firefly.I watched the first season of Dollhouse but quit after the 1st episode of the second season. In fact, I don’t think I finished the 1st episode. Perhaps I am too sensitive to the issues surrounding marriage and family in our society and how they are under constant attack but I just couldn’t emotionally stomach how they profaned the sacrament of marriage in that episode.

    The shows I watch currently are Monk, Psych, House, The Closer, Survivor and The Amazing Race. All of these I watch via computer.

    • pcNielsen says:

      It took me a while to get into Dollhouse. I was worried it was going to go the way of Lost and be somewhat incomprehensible, but it didn’t.

      The marriage episode I kind of saw coming after the first season, so it wasn’t too shocking. Just seemed to follow the utterly amoral line of thinking of the Dollhouse.

      We still watch house but I find it very formulaic. I was hoping he’d be institutionalized for most of the season. Don’t watch any reality TV that I can think of. Used to laugh at the Bachelor; the hyped up drama cracks me up every time! Watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition in its early years, before it sold out.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Oh, and the wife’s decided we need to watch Buffy since it’s another Whedon creation. Even though I really don’t get vampires. At least Buffy came before the latest inane vampire craze, I guess.

  3. larrycoleart says:

    I have to say that we at our house are MAJOR monk fans… Tony Shalhoub is amazing in this series. Sure, somewhat predictable story lines, but Tony’s character keeps us coming back. Now that we are at the final season, we are sorta sad… I wonder what new show will displace Monk in the seasons to come? Sometimes I think that Monk’s appeal is that he is sort of an exaggeration of most people’s personalities… lots of quirky anomalies, yet each still brilliant in our own ways.

  4. Pingback: TV as a time-suck, and as a part of us « The Aesthetic Elevator

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