It’s very hard to say what will be successful in regards to TV series. For every Firefly that is cut short, we get 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, I like both, but it does raise the question of how many series have we missed out on, because of a truncated run, or a completed but failed 1st season. Being something of a DVD Boxset fan, have been thinking about series that maybe got overlooked.
Here’s 5 of them, decided to ignore the obvious route of Firefly. We all know that ended too soon, but we did get a cool movie out of it.
2007’s Bloodties was technically 2 seasons, but I got them as a job lot. A supernatural procedural, it was about a PI called Vicki, (Christina Cox) who had to leave the police and her partner Mike (Dylan Neal) for medical reasons, she’s going blind. After getting a missing persons case from local barmaid Corina (Gina Holden) she comes across vampire Henry Fitzroy (son of Henry VIII) and the two battle a demon. From there, we get more and more supernatural stuff and an intense love triangle between Vicki, Mike and Henry. It had action, character stuff, a great expanded cast (including the best deadpan medical examiner on TV) and a will they won’t they romance that I actually cared about.
This 2003 gem was released after the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film and was completely CGI animated, it had a sterling voice cast including Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane, a pre-Sharknado Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn and Anelle Brooks as original character Indira Daimonji. Playing more with Peter’s on campus life mixed with villains soap-opera complications, this was more like the comics that the movie, whilst still using the movie’s story as a jumping off point. It ended with a cliff-hanger and then replaced by the superior Spectacular Spider-Man series, which was then replaced by the disney-fied Ultimate Spider-Man, so was condemned to an unfair obsolescence.
Friends with Better Lives
To avoid this just being cartoons and vampire shows, I remembered this charming little show from 2011. Friends with better lives if about a group of 6 friends, all in different phases or states of relationships. Will (James Van Der Beek) is recently divorced, Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) is very single, Bobby (Kevin Connelly) and Andi (Majendra Delfino) are married with a child and Jules and Lowell (Brooklyn Decker and Rick Donald) are just now engaged. Playing with the differences between their lives gives the comedy a relatable feel to most people, we’ve all been one of those situations or another. The performances and dialogue elevates it from other similar shows and it shows how James Van Der Beek was wasted doing shit like Dawson’s creek when this and other comedy roles show how funny he can be.
This is a show I appreciated only because it was championed by the MIGHTY Rosie, so I want to say thanks to her for getting me to stick with it.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Back in 2008 after the relative success of X-Men Evolution, Marvel tried it again, mixing the movie versions and the recent comics into a Wolverine-centric X-Men series. A good voice cast, some solid writing and a dual timeline narrative, with Wolverine running the X-Men team in 2008 and Professor X at the end of the world in 2028. Professor X communicates with the past to prevent the horrible future that he is caught up in, giving this a very Terminator vibe. Add in the usual villains and a FBI like Mutant Response Department. This series very much had it’s own identity, whilst still accessible to the characters no matter where you had seen them before, or even if you had. The season ended with the Sentinel based armageddon being averted, but something more along the lines of Age of Apocalypse happening instead, but since the series ended and Marvel concentrated on non X-Men properties to maximise their own movies and tv projects. We’ve been left hanging since. Although it is one big story, so at least we got some kind of climax.
Kind of saved the best for last and this is another re-watch suggested by the MIGHTY Rosie.
Another 2007 alumni, this was another vampire based procedural, but this one had a difference. Mick St John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a PI trying to live his life. The odd thing about him is he’s a vampire. There’s 300 or so of them in LA and he’s no villain or killer, he has boundaries. Vampires like their secrecy, having suffered the torch and pitchforks of the past, so when an internet news site starts reporting on a vampire-slaying, Mick looks into it, finding Beth Turner (Sophie Myles) who is trying to make the news-site a proper news outlet. They are immediately drawn to each other and there’s good reason.
Less supernatural in nature, this version of vampires are just a bit different, no coffins and gothic shit here, they a stronger and faster and have fangs and all that, but they don’t explode in sunlight and crosses don’t do much. Mick is affable and charming and as different from other vampires, like his blood dealer Guillermo and best friend Josaf Kostan (a hilarious Jason Dohring) as any people can be. Well paced and interesting, this series was and remains an enjoyable bit of tv fluff that had something of a cliff-hanger ending.