The world of television is a tough one – and even some of the most famous and much-loved programmes out there can get cut with a moment’s notice. As a TV executive, it can sometimes be difficult to strike this balance. A series can become “too popular” and end up being retired before it peaks, for example, while those series which flounder at first may still have a chance of success. This article will look at some of the series which were cut just before their prime – and explain why they ought to have had one more shot.
When TV fans think of sudden endings, Twin Peaks is often near the top of the list. In a sense, the David Lynch cult classic did get its comeback in the end with the arrival of Twin Peaks: The Return in the 2010s. However, hardcore Peaks fans will know that the series was abruptly terminated back in the early 1990s to much chagrin from fans. It was said at the time that a range of reasons fuelled its temporary demise – such as time slot challenges and the confusion that its odd mix of horror and Pacific Northwest scenery sowed.
In a way, Twin Peaks’ later return (and the film) did not quite capture the same spirit as a series that came right before the end of season 2 might have. Momentum was building on a number of storylines, not least of which was the romance between FBI agent Dale Cooper and his lover Annie. In one sense, had the next series been aired sooner, it may have preserved more of the excitement. On the other hand, though, Twin Peaks is perhaps fated to never being fully cancelled. Both the writer David Lynch and the star Kyle MacLachlan have failed to rule out future returns, so Peaks fans may always be able to look forward to the abstract possibility of an all-new season.
Amazon Prime hit Sneaky Pete was unexpectedly pulled in 2019 – and many were left wondering why so many loose ends had not been conclusively tied up when the streaming service cancelled it. The question on most people’s lips was what would happen to Julia, who had been taken into custody following her role in a casino heist.
It was, after all, the season 2 casino heist storyline that hooked most viewers on to this season. The casino setting offered tension and suspense, and it even potentially led some viewers to fill their time post-cancellation trying out their own hand at online casinos. Rizk casino offers this bonus, and there are plenty of other reasons to play – like the sort of tension that Lizzie, Marius and other characters experienced during the show. Sadly, however, it remains unlikely that Amazon Prime will bring back the series – and the storyline is probably set to be buried forever.
As was the case with Twin Peaks, Breaking Bad was partly brought back in a later film focusing just on Bryan Cranston’s character’s sidekick, Jesse. Breaking Bad itself was retired in 2013 after five seemingly endless seasons, and there’s little to suggest that it will be brought back to screens in the US or further afield any time soon.
In one way, it might seem counter-intuitive to reignite a drama that has been classed by many as an example of a modern, televisual epic. It’s already extremely long. Each season has many episodes, and each episode is complicated and dense. However, just because a creative work is long doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to end. On the contrary, Breaking Bad left a number of plot lines and story arcs either unfinished or underdeveloped. The arrival of characters like Lydia Rodarte-Quayle and Todd Alquist towards the end of the show’s run meant that their characters remained relatively underdeveloped. There was little chance for Lydia in particular to undergo the sort of “bad to good” transition that the likes of Jesse did, for example.
Ultimately, fictional universes can’t live forever – even if their fans wish they could. Everything from Breaking Bad to Twin Peaks has to come to an end someday, for better or worse. But in the world of fandom counterfactuals, it’s exciting to reimagine what these shows could – or might – look like if they make it back to our screens.