I was in love with “My So Called Life.” I thought the show was brilliant, I wanted a proud out of the closet gay friend like Ricky, and Jordan Catalono, well it just doesn’t get any better. Rayanne Graff was your average high school drunk girl who had all sorts of deep seated issues, but darn it she accepted you as you were, and then slept with your crush. The show lasted one glorious season and then several more in reruns on MTV. It may never have reached the cult classic status it now has if it had continued to run until the story ran out.
What would the second season of “My So Called Life” have looked like? Ricki was already out of the closet, Jordan and Rayanne already had an affair, and if I remember correctly Angela was dating the original television “man candy” Jordan Catalona in the last episode? Well at least Jordan was trying to win her back after he accidentally slept with her best friend Rayanne.
The show had nineteen episodes. It never had time to become cheesy, although the episode 15, “So-Called Angels” with Julianna Hatfield as a homeless girl did get a little campy. We never saw the awkward transition from college to high school that we saw in shows such as “Saved by the Bell,” “Beverly Hills 91210,” and most recently, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” “My So-Called Life” was tightly packaged into a glorious nineteen episode gift ready to be shared for years to come.
There were several shows in the 2006-2007 season that didn’t make it, but should have. I am not saying that just because a show lasted a whole season, it brings the show to the same cult classic status of “My So-Called Life.” Most shows that were cancelled deserved to be, but there are a few shows worth mentioning from this past television season that should rise to this cult classic level, but probably don’t even have enough episodes to make it to you local video store on DVD.
The first show I would give cult status to is NBC’s “The Black Donnellys.” The motto of the show was “Family above All.” We followed the tale of the Donnelly brothers: Tommy, Jimmy, Kevin and Sean as their lives turn from petty crime to full out organized Irish mob madness. There is nothing these four Irish brothers wouldn’t do to protect each other, even kill. The series was raw and gritty. It was probably too much for prime time network television, but I could not stop watching it. The show was narrated by Joy “Ice Cream” who was in jail for who knows what and narrated through a series of flashbacks given to investigators about how the Donnelly brothers became involved in organized crime. The series focused on how they go from boys to mobsters, and shows how their new life affects their relationships with friends, family and lovers.
The second show that might not make cult classic status, but is equally brilliant and credited to the man who turns everything to gold, Jerry Bruckheimer is the short lived Fox lawyer series “Justice.” The show revolved around the four disparate lawyers that make up the “dream team” behind the firm of Turk, Nicholson, Tuller & Gaines. This team, led by Victor Garber who played media darling Ron Turk and Kerr Smith who played your boy next door turned brilliant lawyer, Tom Nicholson, showed at the very end of the show what actually happened in the case. We find out if their defendant who got off, and note this dream team never loses, was actually responsible for the crime. I loved the ending, you got to test out your own theories on what actually happened and see if you are right. I guess when a show gets preempted for five weeks for the world series it doesn’t stand a chance.
Another show that I would definately say is up there with these three is, “Knights of Prosperity.” I have to say I never laughed so hard in my life then at these loveable everyman and woman characters as they tried to rob Mick Jagger. I thought it was brilliant and laugh out loud funny. It’s regular guys trying to pull of an Oceans Eleven scheme with the brains of the cast of the little rascals. Hilarious. I can not believe this show only lasted a mere two months.
It’s sad to me, when my favorite shows seem to get canceled after such a short time on television. I don’t know why the networks don’t give quality programming such as the shows listed above a chance, yet play “Are you Smarter Then a Fifth Grader” five times a week? Television shows such as “Paradise Island” can get a few seasons on Fox, but a thought provoking series such as “Justice” gets cancelled after a shortened season. I guess I will never understand the networks.