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Resolving Cliffhangers: Ten Canceled TV Shows and How They Should Continue

Witches of East End featured image_mini

With the recent cancellation of Witches of East End, my thoughts turned to other shows from the past that were unfairly canceled too soon. In fact, it’s always hard to lose a show you love to cancellation. You’ve invested time watching these characters and their stories. So it seems a cruel trick to have them abruptly end without a proper end to their story. For viewers, it’s like reading a good book only to find that the final chapters have been torn out and it’s the only copy in existence. So you will never know the ending.

Yes, the world of television is much more expensive than a book, but it seems there should be some sort of better system in place than just yanking a show off the air without a real end. (And I personally don’t count book tie-ins or comic book seasons as actual resolutions.) No wonder after shows (typically with a growing cult status) get canceled fans group together to try and save their favorite series for another season. It worked for Roswell in getting the show a second season. It worked for Jericho. It even worked out for Chuck, for a while anyway. But these are the exceptions, not the rule. It’s almost impossible to bring back a show once it’s been canceled.

Fans then feel frustrated, angry and even mourn the loss of their favorite TV Shows. While I get upset as much as the next person, the only time I really “felt” it was with the cancellation of Moonlight. That was the only time I actually called CBS Studios to make a complaint (the woman on the phone saying that they’d never received this many calls over a show before). They really missed the bar with the cancellation of that show as only months later Twilight became a huge hit. So while Moonlight was already a popular cult hit (with 7-8 million viewers on a Friday night with ratings easily high enough to be construed a huge hit today with the average rating share between 1.8 and 2.0+), it clearly would have grown to much larger numbers with the popularity of vampires hitting an all time high the following year. But I digress…

What then can viewers do about their favorite shows getting the boot? With Veronica Mars taking a giant leap forward with a fan-funded movie, 24 returning to FOX after years of cancellation, Netflix bringing back the once canceled series Arrested Development, there does seem to be more options popping up than ever before.

The TV market is quickly changing with the growing popularity of online streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. They’ve even begun adding original content, which could be the wave of the future. Plus with the return of Arrested Development, could we begin to see more of our favorite canceled series brought back on these online streaming sites? Netflix did recently give The Killing a final shortened series to air exclusively on Netflix.  CBS recently jumped on board starting their own online streaming service. And while now their service isn’t really worth the price, perhaps they could grow and bring back some canceled shows to air exclusively on their online service only?

With this changing market, will studio executives begin to reward their loyal customers more with a bit of good will? Mark Pedowitz of the CW seems more forward thinking than others making decisions on the renewal of shows based on decisions other than just Neilsen Ratings. Hopefully this trend will only grow and spread to others.

That all said it seems to me that there needs to be a better system in place so as not to leave viewers hanging. Perhaps showrunners should be given just enough advanced notice about whether or not their show will be canceled so they can write a proper finale. Why do the studio heads have to wait to the absolute last minute? Usually it’s easy to paint a picture of how well a show is doing before a season finale is filmed. That is, unless it’s a British or cable show filmed in advance. For those, a TV Movie, Mini-series or even a limited final season could do the trick in rounding out unfinished plotlines. Then again, if writers are unsure about their show perhaps they shouldn’t film endings to be so open-ended.

Anyway, going back to what this week’s top list actually is, I thought it would be fun to pick 10 popular canceled shows and talk about where they left off, in what medium they could return (TV Show, Limited Series, Mini-series, TV Movie, Feature Film or Online Streaming) and what “plot” the writers could run with. So a fun little bit of speculative fiction on my part. It’s all in good fun meant to put it out there in the universe that there are ways to bring back some of these awesome shows canceled far too soon!

So without further ado, this week I explore –

Ten canceled TV Shows from oldest to most recent and how they could continue:

Freaks and Geeks (canceled in 2000):

Photo: NBC
Photo: NBC

Cliffhanger: Lindsay and Kim run off to go to a Grateful Dead concert.

Medium: Independent Feature Film, Veronica Mars style

Plot: With many cast-members of this canceled series now huge stars, it makes sense to have this show be turned into a full comedic feature. Basically, the film could take place in the early ‘90s at their 10 year high school reunion, or even at their 20 year reunion in the early ‘00s. You can imagine the rest…

Dark Angel (Canceled in 2002):

Photo: FOX
Photo: FOX

Cliffhanger: There’s a face-off between transgenics and cops with Max as their leader and everyone in danger. With a war coming (the public aware of transgenics) and Max and Logan still not able to touch, this was a horrible way to leave fans hanging.

Medium: With James Cameron as Director (he was the creator of this series and even directed the 90 minute finale), this series could return as a full length big budget feature film with Cameron still in the Director’s chair. He does like his pet projects. What better way to continue this series than as a big budget sci-fi film? The premise is fantastic and could work in today’s market of dystopian sci-fi without the necessity of an audience seeing the TV Series first.

Plot: It is 10-15 years after the show’s cliffhanger and Max and Logan are in the midst of a full out war between the government and transgenics. At this point, Max and Logan are able to touch (have the virus be mentioned and briefly explained as a side comment – that plot got more than enough focus to continue with) and are married with a child. They’re the leaders of the transgenics and sympathetic humans with Alec (Jensen Ackles) and their other friends by their side. With persecution at a tipping point, they must stop the corrupt government before they’re all destroyed. It could be the ultimate underdog movie with an optimistic ending.

Roswell (canceled in 2002):

Photo: WB
Photo: WB

Cliffhanger: Liz and the gang go on the run. Max and Liz get married in Vegas, eerily similar to what happened in the timeline when future Max appeared asking Liz to change the timeline. While events are slightly different now, could Earth still be on schedule to be invaded? Could Michael and Isabel still die?

Medium: Limited Series Run on the CW (or even Netflix). Mark Pedowitz as the new president of the CW seems very forward thinking, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him airing limited series in the near future.

Plot: It’s the year 2014 (the year the original future Max came from) and enemy aliens are trying to invade Earth and destroy humanity. The world has become dark and looks “dystopian.” Max, Michael and Isabel work as a defense against their enemies with Liz, Maria and Kyle by their side. The timeline is slightly different this time around, but can they win? Or will Max ultimately decide to once again travel back in time to attempt to change the future?

Gilmore Girls (Canceled in 2007):

Photo: WB
Photo: WB

Cliffhanger: Rory gets her first big journalist job and Luke and Lorelai begin seeing each other again. (But what about that wedding and baby we were supposed to have?)

Medium: Movie that airs exclusively on Netflix.

Plot: It would be silly to have the movie be about Luke and Lorelai’s wedding as that would mean they waited about 8 more years to get married. Um…no. So let’s fast forward a few years and Lorelai is pregnant with their second baby (yeah just making it up as I go) while Rory’s planning to marry a successful lawyer. That is, until Jess shows back up into the picture. Then all kinds of crazy things happen. The family dynamics of the Gilmore Girls returns mixed with the crazy antics of all the people of Stars Hollow. Meanwhile, we get to learn what has happened to most of the characters. And okay, let’s at least give Luke and Lorelai some wedding flashbacks.

Blood Ties (canceled in 2008):

Photo: Lifetime
Photo: Lifetime

Cliffhanger: By the end of the season, Vicki had to make some dark choices which created a rift between her and Henry. And at the end when she refuses to make a choice between Mike and Henry, they both leave her behind with Vicki left alone and crying.

Medium: A Lifetime show, this could work as a TV Movie.

Plot: It’s all about the love triangle…and the supernatural demons of course. In a battle of good and evil, Vicki, Henry and Mike must defeat the darkness rising to protect the city and each other; that is if Vicki isn’t overtaken by the darkness inside of herself.

For purely selfish reasons, I think the TV Movie should stray from the books. In the books, Vicki turns into a vampire which permanently separates her from Henry (as vampires can’t handle being around each other in this mythology) so she ends up with Mike. I say have Vicki turn into a vampire and end up with both.

With a slight tweak to the books, Vicki is killed and turned (now having her sight back in the process) and makes the same choice to be with Mike. But years later (and I mean years), way in the future, after Mike has passed on – it’d be cool to even see the scene, Vicki and Henry once again cross paths. They discover that their love makes them different from other vampires and they can actually be together. So then they continue to go on supernatural adventures together fighting crime as a duo…FOREVER. Yes, I am that sappy…

Moonlight (canceled in 2008):

Photo: CBS
Photo: CBS

Cliffhanger: Mick and Beth seize the moment and decide to be together. Meanwhile, there’s a list of vampires going around with Mick and Josef’s names on it. It seems a vampire culling is coming to Los Angeles (seen before in famous historical events like the French Revolution) headed by a mysterious group.

Medium: As much as I would LOVE a continued TV Show, at this point I think a TV Movie or Miniseries would be the best bet and should air exclusively on CBS All Access Online Streaming!

Plot: It’s about 7 years since the events of the Moonlight finale and a lot has changed. Mick, Beth, Coraline, Josef and the vampire Royals are working together to stop all the vampire destruction.

With a modern day French Revolution going on across the country (it eventually spread past Los Angeles to other big cities), the gang all moved to New York to go into hiding. With state of the art scientific research and Beth’s unique blood connected to the French Royal bloodline (a descendant of Marie Antoinette), they were able to perfect the temporary cure for longer periods of time, helping them all remain hidden. Because of that, Mick, Josef and Coraline have all aged about 5 years.

Mick and Beth are still together, but their relationship seems doomed. Will they be able to stop the cullings? Or will one or both of them die? Will Beth be able to become a vampire so they can be together? Or will Mick find a permanent cure using Beth’s blood to save him from vampirism forever?

Primeval (Canceled in 2011):

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Cliffhanger: Future Matt makes an appearance letting them all know the future is still doomed.

Medium: TV Show with a final 6 episode season.

Plot: The Primeval group desperately searches for another way to save the future. In the process, they stumble upon some of Helen Cutter’s research focused on “Claudia.” Mysteriously, Claudia disappeared in one timeline and returned in the new timeline as a completely different person – their friend and former co-worker Jenny. Only Nick and Helen remembered the original timeline with Claudia. The group discovers that Claudia may be the key to saving the future. So they have to find a way to bring her back.

Chuck (Canceled in 2012):

Photo: NBC
Photo: NBC

Cliffhanger: Sarah is left without her memories of Chuck, leaving them to start all over and/or attempt to get her memories back.

Medium: TV Movie airing on Netflix.

Plot: Chuck and the gang go on one last spy adventure and in the process Sarah gets her memories back. Then Chuck and Sarah end up happily ever after.

The Paradise (Canceled in 2013):

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Cliffhanger: Denise and Moray decide they can’t marry until she becomes a success.

Medium: The Paradise should continue as a Christmas TV Special.

Plot: It will be more than a year after series 2 ended and Denise and Moray now have competing shops on opposite sides of the street. The special ends with the marriage of Denise and Moray of course with lots of scheming Catherine on the side.

Witches of East End (canceled 2014):

Photo: Lifetime
Photo: Lifetime

Cliffhanger: Dash casts a spell that makes him and Killian switch bodies – with Killian left in prison. Ingrid is pregnant with either Dash or the monster’s baby, Aunt Wendy is dead and in the Underworld, while Frederick is left for dead by some ancient witch hunters.

Medium: If a season 3 can’t happen, then I don’t see why Lifetime can’t make a TV miniseries out of these likable witches! Lifetime is known for TV Movies and it would show some goodwill on their part for leaving us all in the lurch.

Plot: The 2 night miniseries should start on Asgard. It would be awesome if part of the miniseries worked as an origins story as to why Joanna and Wendy don’t get along with their sister. In past Asgard, we’ll meet Wendy and Joanna’s sister as well as Thor who obviously has an interest in Ingrid. But she’s drawn to a different sort, the Trickster – who is finally revealed to be Dash. Perhaps in the past Dash tricked Thor and killed him, sending him to the Underworld. That way in the movie there will be a fun triangle between Thor, Ingrid and Dash (who will turn out to be the father of the baby).

In the present, we’ll go to the Underworld with Aunt Wendy and her sister (not Joanna). There they cross paths with Frederick and Thor. Eventually all of them will make it out of the Underworld and back into the East End. In East End, the girls and Joanna mourn Joanna and Freddy, while dealing with the persecution of the witch hunters (which we also discover was started many years before by their sister and Dash – who doesn’t remember his own treachery).

And while Killian and Dash have switched bodies, it doesn’t take long for Freya to discover the truth since Freya can see Killian’s soul. She’ll quickly be able to recognize that it is not “Killian” inside of his body. Some kind of magic (by Ingrid?) should be able to resolve that.

In the end, the women come together using their unique abilities to defeat their sister with the help of Dash who wants redemption (dying in the process), stopping the witch-hunting for good. Freya and Killian are finally able to break their star-crossed curse, Ingrid begins seeing Thor and Joanna and Wendy become even closer as sisters. Everything works out, that is until the next supernatural problem pops up.

What are some of your favorite canceled TV Shows? How would you bring them back? Do you have any fun story ideas on what you’d like to see happen? Let me know in the comments!



Read our interview with TV Writer Kira Snyder As She Talks New Book, Moonlight and The 100

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By on November 12th, 2014

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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8 thoughts on “Resolving Cliffhangers: Ten Canceled TV Shows and How They Should Continue”

  1. It was so nice to catch up with Veronica Mars and gang that I suspect many fans would appreciate having the same chance for many of these shows you mentioned. I’m only on S3 of Gilmore Girls, but my spoiler reading has revealed I’m going to be disappointed in some of the ending plot threads and the “getting there,” so it’d be really fun to see a movie produced to give fans a more “stable” conclusion that’s for sure. Come on, TV execs, take note of these fandoms! 😉

    • The Veronica Mars movie was awesome and a nice tribute to fans of the show. I think all of these shows definitely have enough fans that adding to them would still bring out a lot of excitement! Yes, Gilmore Girls is awesome, but the last season the main writer left so it didn’t really end the way it should have. Thanks for your thoughts!

      • That’s the spoiler vibes I’m getting for GG too. It’d be nice to have fans rally for a movie of it too, because I’ve a feeling it could use more closure. 🙂

        • It definitely could! Especially since there’s a mystery surrounding what the original writer had in mind for the ending. She said that she had specific final words planned to close out the show, but won’t tell anyone what they were. So here’s to hoping we get a movie of sorts and we all get to find out!

  2. I love your idea for Blood Ties. I will always believe that it was a victim of Army Wives’ success. It ended up not getting a fair shake.
    Great article as always!

    • Thanks! Yeah, you’re probably right. Though they really should have waited it out. It seems both Blood Ties and Moonlight were canceled right before the huge vampire crazy. Pity. Anyway, thank you.

  3. Gotta say… your Gilmore Girls ending sounds WAY more satisfying than what they actually did. I feel like Rory regressed in the reunion. roflol


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