Top 10 Cancelled TV Shows That Should Have A Comic Book
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Garth Marenghi shows us the perilous passage out of cancellation hell...
Television and comic books seem to go hand in hand. Many shows have had comic adaptations, from Davy Crockett and The Swamp Fox to Star Trek and Space:1999, and many more. It was a way for kids and adults alike to take the stories of their favorite characters with them, years before you could download the shows to an iPod. But several years ago, Joss Whedon came up with an ingenious idea: he continued two of his series in comic book form. Both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel got comic versions of their next seasons after the shows ended (Buffy being voluntarily brought to an end; Angel being cancelled). This was then followed by comics in the Firefly/Serenity and Dollhouse 'verses after the cancellation of those shows. So, if I may be so bold, I’d like to put forth my list of shows that were axed way too soon, and should be given a reprieve in the cherished art form...
10: Jack of all Trades
The producers of Hercules and Xena decided that there just wasn’t enough Bruce Campbell on the airwaves, and came up with this hilarious show that put Bruce in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. He’s an American agent who works with a British spy (played by the ever beautiful Angela Dotchin) to stop Napoleon and anyone else who would threaten America. He dons a disguise to become The Daring Dragoon, a hero of local legend. This show was cancelled halfway through the second season, and would definitely catch an audience with comic book readers (of not for the stories, for the connection to Mr. Campbell).
9: Nightmare Café
This series lasted all of six seasons on NBC. Two people die, and end up at an all night café, run by Blackie, played by the inimitable Robert Englund. They take on the jobs of cook and waitress, and help people with whatever problem they might have. Alas, the series was either too cerebral or too weird for American audiences as a whole, but personally, I’d love to see what stories could be cooked up by the right team.
Remember the end of series four? If you don’t, check it out at YouTube, because it really is a beautiful and tear-jerking end to one of the funniest series out there. Brilliant. Honestly, there would be no need to go further. But after Blackadder’s Christmas Carol and Blackadder: Back & Forth, I think we should see what other lives our hero and his faithful companion Baldrick might have had. And who knows, maybe a couple of these issues could end up lying on Hugh Laurie’s desk on House (Blackadder already made an appearance on House’s TiVo list, so why not?).
I seem to be in the minority that really enjoyed this Star Trek prequel series. Sure, it was weak compared to other shows set in our favorite space vessel, but it was better than Voyager. And seeing as every other aspect of the franchise has gotten it’s due in the comics realm, I feel this, too, should get a monthly title. I’d like to see where Captain Archer and crew might travel next. And maybe we can finally settle the arguments about whether or not he ended up being the Admiral Archer referenced in the new Star Trek movie (I think it is, others disagree).
6: Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
A great spoof of bad sci-fi, hospital shows, and just about every other genre out there. It was done with bad special effects, bad acting, and bad dialogue, but it was meant to have all of that. However, we only got one season, and I say it’s time for more. If there isn’t going to be a show, there should be a comic book, where they could really go off the wall. Perhaps even the return of the eye child.
5: Poltergeist: The Legacy
This series was about a secret society of paranormal investigators that found themselves up against vengeful ghosts, demons, witches, and anything else that might fall within the horror and occult genres (I want to say there was even an episode with a vampire, but I could be wrong). Other shows have taken on the same mission, from X-Files to Torchwood, but none of them had quite the same gothic feel to them (not to sell the other shows short, because I’m a fan of both of the shows I listed). There’s so much more that this group could have done, and so many more stories that could be told. Someone should get to writing this one, and soon.
Again, secret society, fighting evil (this time brought to us by X-Files creator Chris Carter). However, this one had former FBI agent and psychic Frank Black, a man who has suffered a nervous breakdown because of his talents, and is quite nearly on the edge. He now works as a consultant for the local police department, where the crimes seem to be getting freakier due to the oncoming millennium. Add top the mix his wife who wants him to stay retired, his daughter, who seems to have unique gifts of her own, and the mysterious Millennium Group, that wants Frank as a candidate. The second season saw Frank joining the group, and his wife dying in the finale. He rejoined the FBI in the third season, where the show seemed to lose itself. The only real resolution we got was in an X-Files episode title “Millennium”, where Mulder and Scully find Frank in a mental ward, and help him reunite with his daughter. But that never sat well with me, and I wanted more. I think we should either do a continuation, or perhaps a prequel series, bringing us the cases that led Frank to his breakdown.
3: Dark Shadows: The Revival
Barnabas Collins and company got a face-lift in the early nineties, but only got twelve episodes (The first Gulf War had broken out, and episodes were interrupted or bumped in favor of war coverage – damn you Bushes anyway!). It ended with a great cliffhanger: Victoria, having been sent back to 1790 to change something that was about to go horribly wrong, is executed, only to be revived in 1991. She looks around the room at the Collins family members, and at last, sets eyes upon Barnabas, and looks in horror, as she now knows what exactly he is – a blood thirsty vampire! The final image from the series was a close up of Barnabas as he realizes she knows his secret. Alas, we would never know what would happen exactly. Rumors abound on the internet, with possible storylines such as the introduction of Quentin Collins, a werewolf, and more monsters and witches. This just screams “fertile comic book source” to me. And even with the rumors of a feature film (by none other than Tim Burton and Johnny Depp), I think it would be alright to have Ben Cross’ vamp grace to pages of the funny books.
A highly decorated, street-wise New York cop finds the man who raped his wife, and murders him in cold blood. Before he can atone for his sin, he is killed in the line of duty, and ends up serving time in Hell. Years later, he is given a reprieve, but with a catch: he must be the Devil’s bounty hunter. 113 souls have escaped from Hell, and he must round them up. The banter between the cop, Ezekiel Stone, and the Devil is brilliant. And the subplots made the series more than just a lone gunman out to get his man. Religious groups called for the end of the series (seriously, do these guys have to ruin everything?), and we never found out if Zeke ever rounded up the rest of his bounty or if he ever redeemed his soul. The dark subject matter of the show would make for great reading, and would possibly be served better by the visual medium provided in comic form.
1: Forever Knight
A knight fighting in the Crusades is transformed into a Vampire, and for centuries, he travels with two companions – his creator, Lacroix, and Janette, a prostitute that Lacroix brought across. Years later, Nicholas runs away, and tries to make amends for the lives he’s taken. In the modern day, Nick Knight is a cop, working graveyard shift (no, really), and trying to keep his true nature a secret from everybody he works with. The only mortal that knows what he is is the medical examiner, Natalie, with whom he shares a deep friendship. The series ended after three seasons. He had killed his partner by trying to save her life, and he killed Natalie, in an attempt to regain his own mortality, only to have it go horribly wrong. He winds up making Lacroix kill him, and that how the series ended. Or did it? All we saw in the final frame was Nick on his knees, with Lacroix standing behind him, wooden stake in hand, cursing Nick for what he was being forced to do. But we never actually see Nick die. This, as far as I’m concerned, means that they could certainly continue on from there. Maybe Lacriox only knocked Nick out, and took him far away. Maybe he convinced Nick to go back to a life of hunting, and to give up on his dream of being human once again.
Come on, folks. Maybe there are some scripts or treatments out there that could be developed into books. Maybe the original writers would like to have their chance to continue their work. I don’t care how it happens, I would just like to see some closure to some of these great stories.
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