I’ve been thoroughly enjoying John Wilson’s Big Damned Heroes article series on the long gone television show Firefly (via the Pandoracon site). It’s taken me back and gotten me rewatching the series when time allows. Along those same lines, an article coming out of SXSW shared a few interesting comments Joss Whedon (the show’s creator) had on the state of this particular television property…
“You know, I keep thinking they’re gonna call me,” he says wistfully. “I keep thinking they’re gonna crunch the numbers and go, ‘Oh, we could make money on this!’ But they don’t… I’d never rule that out, that’s so close to my heart, that’s such a great universe for me. But I can’t just wait by the phone.” (Joss Whedon via Flavorwire)
I would absolutely love seeing this series return and that got me thinking about what might be the top five cancelled series I would love to see return for another season or two. Here, in no particular order, would be my top 5.
1) Northern Exposure
Northern Exposure easily goes down as my favorite television property. I loved it and hung with it even after Joel left town and many felt the shark had been jumped. Having had a little exposure to radio by that point, I felt very drawn to the character of Chris. His philosopher radio-host temperament still resonates with me to this day. I think it was even still rattling around in the back of my head when I began podcasting in 2005 and probably played no small role in my desire to start talking into a mic once again.
Basically, I loved the tempo, the philosophy and feel of the episodes. I’ll admit that for several years there I really wanted to visit a city like the one that was depicted fictionally in the series. I may not have made it to some semblance of Cicely but I did travel to Anchorage a few years back and had my moment. From high atop a hotel tower overlooking the city I was sitting up quite late one night drinking a beer. Looking out my room’s window I could see the lit streets of downtown Anchorage below. Then and there I had the Northern Exposure moment I’ve always wanted as I spotted, walking down the street, a moose that looked like it was air dropped directly out of the show’s opening credits. Perfect!
Chris of Northern Exposure was played by John Corbett. When I heard he was going to be the lead in a dramedy for the then sibling FX network and it would be based on the seedier side of Las Vegas, I was in. What followed was Lucky, a 2003 series that hit me perfectly. Based more off the main Vegas strip in the Fremont Street area of town, the humor and emotion here were perfect. I had seen the comedian Billy Gardell (who co-starred) at a local comedy club a year or so earlier and was on board for this con-filled, trying to give up gambling, love story centered ride. This was a treat that, to my knowledge, was never collected on DVD and is near impossible to find these days (though I still have a copy I digitally transferred from VHS). It was a real shame that this series only lasted 13 episodes / 1 season.
I am new to the Spaced bandwagon only checking out this utterly fun Simon Pegg series in the last few months. Its mix of geek friendly humor and occasionally perfect comic timing were an instant win for me and it’s already a series I plan to rewatch more than once in the years to come. Out of the entire cast, it is the artist Brian that really stole the show for me. He has a dry delivery to his humor that reduced me to near tears more than once. Trust me when I say, if you have Netflix streaming and you haven’t seen this series, you should. If we’re good friends, there’s a great chance you will love it as the geek-centric genera humor alone makes it a win. Two seasons were far too few here.
4) Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Ripper
Okay, it’s too easy to wish for more Buffy or Angel as these two series were simply amazing. I think I’ve seen just about everything Whedon has ever created for television, film and webisode but for me it all began with Buffy. So, if I’m not wishing for more Buffy why is the series on my list? Here, I’m continuing to hope for a potential spin-off which has been rumored but ultimately utterly unlikely for years. As the story goes, Whedon submitted a 90-minute script to the BBC for a show based on the Rupert Giles character from the series. Sadly, a battle over rights has kept the project from moving into development.
For me, Buffy and Angel came to satisfying conclusions. Add to that the fact that I was able to see both series continue with the same writers at Dark Horse Comics and I have to admit that I’ve been pleased with the further adventures of the Scoobies. No, here I want to see a Ripper series or film finally make it to wide release. Ripper, you may remember, was the nickname Giles was given when he was younger and befriended a group to explore dark magic for fun and money. Ripper was also the working title of the property pitched to the BBC. I’ve always kept an eye out for rumblings on this front as he was one of the most interesting elements of both series for me.
Yes, please. May I have another round with the big damned heroes? See the start of the article as someone needs to call Joss with an offer. This series had so much potential with only bits of it realized in what was an incredible 15 episode / 1 movie run.
So there you go, my 5. Care to offer up yours? Chime in below.