The Boneyard: Our Favorite Canceled Television Shows (and the Shows We Can’t Believe Are Still on the Air)

   "Life As We Know It"

"Life As We Know It"

Sean Tuohy’s “Enlisted” post earlier this week prompted Rachel Tyner to ask the Writer’s Bone crew what television show they loved, but was canceled before it had a chance to catch on. She also asked what show should have been short-lived, but is somehow still television.

Stephanie Schaefer: There was a show called “Life as We Know It.” I think it was your typical teen-drama and I forget the exact plot of the show (probably why it was cancelled), but I do remember Rachel and I had a crush on the main character (Sean Faris). I guess Rachel has a thing for guys named Sean ;)

Daniel Ford: I need a ruling. "Life" was technically on for two seasons, but it should have gotten way more praise and episodes than it did. Not only did it showcase the great Damian Lewis and Donal Logue, but had a cool premise and made me briefly consider becoming a Buddhist. Can I still use the show as my answer?

Stephanie: No.

Rachel Tyner: “Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23!” Two seasons, wish it was 75.

Sean Tuohy: Yeah, I agree with Daniel about “Life.” It had two seasons, but during the second season they reset the clock and it went back to season one. It was weird. That was a good show.

And I agree with Rob about “2 Broke Girls.” That show is awful. The cast is good, which is what is sad about it. They are really good.

I never saw “Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23,” but I have heard good things (from Rob and Rachel).

Daniel: “2 Broke Girls” is so awful. On so many levels. And it's still a popular television show. Come on America.

Matt DiVenere: Well, other than my failed attempt to help “Surviving Jack” stay on television, this one is easy. “Cavemen” on ABC. Yes, the one that was made based on the Geico commercial cavemen.

I actually paid for one of the only copies of the entire series from some dude who lives in Florida. It was cancelled after just four episodes but the rest of the season was played in Australia. Don't ask how I know any of this information.

The humor is perfect. It involves Nick Kroll from “The League” as one of the cavemen. I randomly found the entire series on YouTube my junior year of college and everyone at my school watched it religiously because of how funny it is. If you don't laugh hysterically when you watch the Geico cavemen commercial where the caveman is using a metal detector on the beach, finds a key chain that has a Geico keychain on it and then throws it angrily away, then you have no sense of humor whatsoever.

What show can I not believe is still on television? “American Idol.” The entire show is rigged. It was a way to save the music industry created by some big wig at a record company that also owns stock in FOX. They created the show, have an artist already picked out that will "win" before any of the other people tryout. It's an easy way to market a new artist in a time where music was being stolen online and not being paid for.

If you don't believe me, check out the timeline compared to the decline of hard copy CD sales. Then look at post-"American Idol" numbers. If you need more proof, I dare you to name any of the winners from the past five seasons.

Lindsey Wojcik: I fell madly in love with “Up All Night” when it premiered in 2011. Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, and creator Emily Spivey made magic that first season with the relatable storyline of a hardworking and incredibly-still-in-love married couple navigating parenthood for the first time. Applegate, Arnett, and Rudolph were the recipe to comedic success during the first 24 episodes, and Spivey led the way. Applegate and Arnett's characters mirrored what I imagined my boyfriend and I would be like as parents someday. Plus, it was just really funny. NBC saw potential in the series and picked it up for a second season. While the show had modest ratings and great reviews, the fourth-ranked network was not satisfied. NBC's executive branch wanted to change the format from single-camera to multi-camera, and that's where the show’s demise began. Applegate left. Spivey left. And the show ended during its second 11-episode season.

Tell me: Why must networks mess with a good thing again? If the network hadn't messed with UAN, maybe we wouldn't have the “Maya Rudolph Show” and “The Millers.” I'd be ok with that.

I'm with everyone on “2 Broke Girls” as a show that's been on way past its shelf life. And I'll add the now-cancelled "Whitney" to it. How that series got a second season is beyond me. It was just awful. I truly believe multi-camera shows "taped in front of a live audience" are a dying art. If you don't get them right now, it's never going to work. Whitney didn't work and “2 Broke Girls” still does not. But CBS is number one, so what do I know?

Daniel: Matt's Writer's Bone membership is on probation.

Dave Pezza: One word to trump all: "Firefly." Boom.

And “2 Broke Girls” is the biggest pile of shit currently on television.

Stephanie: I agree with Lindsey! I thought “Up All Night” was cute.

Rachel: “2 Broke Girls” sucks and Sean Faris was so hot in "Life As We Know It." But so true that I have no idea what the show is about...

Matt: I will gladly go on probation to defend “Cavemen.”

Yes, “2 Broke Girls” sucks. “Yes, Up All Night” was good thanks to Maya.

By the way, “Dads” on FOX was really good too. A bit too adult for the network, but could have been great on FX.

Daniel: “Cavemen” and “Dads?” Matt, you've set us back years here.

Matt: What can I say, I enjoy thoughtless comedies. I don't always want to think.

Robert Hilferty: I've got to say that going back all the way to 2007 there was this show, "The Black Donnellys" which 2007-me thought was just the coolest thing ever. Irish and Italian crime drama with a sensitive artist kid being pushed into the role of criminal mastermind? Loved it. Seven episodes later it was cancelled. I thought my DVR broke.

As for shows that should have been put out early can I say “The Simpsons?” I love the first 11.5 seasons but now it's just a shambling corpse of something I used to love. Can I specifically say new episodes of “The Simpsons?” Is that a thing?

And as a lover of "Commando" I can't argue with thoughtless fun. Comedies though...

Dave: Nailed it! I found the "The Black Donnellys" on DVD a few years back, and everyone I knew borrowed it at some point. Another spectacular show NBC dropped the ball on.

Stephanie: I remember thinking a show called "Maybe It’s Me" from a former writer from Frasier was funny in middle school or high school.

Hassel Velasco Torres: Has anyone mentioned the Stephan Merchant created "Hello Ladies" yet?

If not, please watch the one season on HBO, it's one of the most painfully awkward shows but it's pretty amazing. They got bumped after one season to make room for “Silicon Valley,” also a good show, rumors of them coming back for Christmas special are flying but nothing is certain.

Stephanie: “How to Make it In America” was also good, but only aired 16 episodes on HBO. Technically it was two seasons, but it was cut too short.

Daniel: "Freaks and Geeks" also in the pantheon. But maybe perfect the amount of episodes it lasted. More of that show might have messed with the magic. Ditto for "Undeclared."

I’m also going to go out on a limb and say Lisa Carroll dislikes "Parks and Recreation" because of its satire of libraries.

Lisa: I am ashamed to say that I only recently started watching "Parks and Recreation" last month.  I went to college with Amy Poehler and I felt guilty for never watching it. I'm through two whole episodes so I have yet to encounter any library satire. They are currently building a park on an abandoned lot.  When I catch up I'll certainly let you (and Amy) know of my disdain.

And, as an aside, I appreciate all the suggestions for shows I should watch.  I'm looking forward to summer vacay so I can catch up on reading and television.

P.S. “American Idol” is crap.  

Daniel: Wait. You went to school with Amy Poehler? 

Lisa: There's probably a whole chapter in her upcoming about how I beat her out for the role of Meg Brockie in “Brigadoon" in 1991, which is why she steered clear of musical theater.  

Or it's just a bigger deal in my head given her mild success in the performing arts industry.

Look for the full story on that on Monday!

Let us know your answers to this Boneyard question in the comments section or tweet us @WritersBone.

For posts from The Boneyard, check out our full archive.