Shows Gone too Soon… Television is a democracy. Citizens vote with their eyeballs glued to screens; deciding which shows continue and those that shall perish. The network, schedule, surrounding program and competition all factor into what will garner the attention of fans or what will consumed by the cancellation bear. Despite clever writing, stellar cast and good (for TV) special effects, sometimes the best shows don’t win this competition.The odds are not always in their favor, and sometimes a show that you or I might love loses due to being underrated (literally). Television is nothing like democracy; Television is the Hunger Games. Reaper 2007 | 31 Episodes This series balanced freak-of-the-week episodes, with an overarching mythology while showcasing a charismatic cast. Bret Harrison (no stranger to short-lived shows) stars as Sam Oliver, an underperforming shlub whose parents sold his soul to the devil. Now Sam and his zany friends capture escaped souls in this supernatural, comedic, action-adventure series. The first season aired during the 2007 writer’s strike and was continually shuffled around. Despite great side characters and humorous interactions from the entire cast, this series was never able to find the necessary following. It is worth your time and unlike the other shows on this list, does offer a sense of closure during the second season (and series) finale. Dark Angel 2000 | 42 Episodes (Only 20 Count) Jessica Alba. There was a time when this movie star, who is able to excite fans into thinking Fantastic Four, Sin City or Good Luck Chuck areworth watching, was on the small screen. And even she couldn’t save this series. Dark Angel is set in a post-apocalyptic America where the government is militarized and is big brother from 1984 (it’s a book, that I hope you read). Alba plays a genetically modified soldier, Max, who is trying to live under the radar…until she meets up with a radical organization that is bringing the truth to an oppressed population. Max struggles with her desire to stay safe, protect the innocent and bring down a corrupt government. There is a second season…it is terrible and not worth watching. James Cameron was involved in the first but not the second. There are mutant cat people and bee-hive controlled soldiers. It is truly a parody of itself. I can only assume that the show was re-piloted due to a less than stellar reception. Firefly 2002 | 14 Episodes The greatest show ever created…and then quickly cancelled. Firefly is able to balance action, intrigue, romance, comedy with a cast of flawed characters that fans can’t help but love. And no one watched it when it aired. Not even me. Fox mishandled the episode order and rotated the viewing schedule to make watching the series like a shell game. The show lives on in Netflix and Hulu as a fan-favorite. Fans were able to gain a bit of closure with the movie Serenity but this series was too short lived. No space-western has a right to be this good, but Firefly ended up being a perfect blend of all genres and a charismatic show that everyone who watches will immediately love. Fox bundled the cancellation of Firefly so much that when they optioned another Joss Whedon show, Dollhouse, they let it run two craptastic seasons to prove they gave it an honest go. Kitchen Confidential 2005 | 13 Episodes This series was ahead of its time. Before Waiting, there was Kitchen Confidential. Set in a new restaurant in New York, Jack Bourdain, played perfectly by Bradley Cooper, must hire, train and supervise a staff of misfits. Jack is a former 5-star womanizing chef who needs to find a new path in life…but as anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant business knows, that isn’t always possible. The series is hilarious and contains a robust cast of side characters whose careers continued to bloom after this show was cancelled. Traffic Light 2011 | 13 Episodes Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a show with a guy who is married, one has a long term girlfriend and the other dates around. The premise is subpar but the execution is stellar. Traffic Light centers around three best friends at different stages of their lives, but they continually act like best friends in every scene. Their female counterparts are refreshingly integrated into the group’s antics and aren’t adversarial to the boys. Everyday mundane situations like driving, receiving a raise or camping are always entertaining and oftentimes laugh out loud within this series. Level Up, Friends!