Tuesday, July 23, 2013

RIP Bunheads (2012-2013)

Look at the disappointment, ABC Family!

I watch alot of TV, and anybody who watches as many shows as I do has to deal with tons of them getting cancelled.  So you would think that by now I'd be used to it and not get too worked up about it anymore, yet it still usually hurts.  Yesterday, after many months of stalling, ABC Family cancelled Bunheads, and this might be the most upset I've ever been about a show's cancellation.  I've spilled alot of digital ink on this blog about Bunheads -- and deservedly so, because it's one of the best shows on television -- so I had a large investment in the show's fate, which had been up in the air since the first season ended in February.  Since then, there were many ups (the cancellation of The Lying Game, all of the various thinkpieces popping up on the internet) and downs (the sets being taken down, good ratings for The Fosters and Twisted, ABC Family barely submitting the show for Emmy consideration), but I was still holding out hope.

Bunheads isn't the first great show to be cancelled this year, as 2013 has already taken the lives of Ben & Kate and Enlightened.  Enlightened is likely to be in the top 3 on my list of favorite television shows in 2013 by the time the end of the year rolls around, and I found its cancellation to be unfortunate, but its ending felt so complete that it was hard to be too broken up about it.  And Ben & Kate was my favorite new comedy of last fall season, but I'm pretty sure we saw all that show had to offer.  The difference with Bunheads was the possibility.  Part of the reason why I was rooting for a renewal was because I was convinced that the show was going to deliver next-level excellence in the second season.  It was already starting to make that leap anyway -- the first 10 episodes that aired in 2012 were good enough, but the back 8 that aired in 2013 were some of the most heartwarming, funny, and devastating television episodes I've seen all year.  Now, instead of getting to see the show's trajectory play out, Bunheads got clipped just as it was blossoming.

Earlier in the year, when everybody was concerned about Hannibal possibly getting cancelled because it's a Bryan Fuller show and it wasn't drawing overly impressive ratings, I was rooting for it too, but if it wasn't renewed I wouldn't have been phased too much.  In fact, I'd easily trade in season 2 of Hannibal to get a second season of Bunheads.  There will be many more gussied-up procedurals.  There will certainly be many more serial killer shows.  But there might not be another show like Bunheads in a long time, which featured such interesting, unique, and real portrayals of women and teens.  In a television landscape overstuffed with blandly "edgy" shows filled with brooding antiheroes, Bunheads was light and easygoing fare, yet it never shied away from dealing with the disappointment and doubt that lurked underneath the surface.  It was unlike anything else on television, but more importantly, it was good.  What's worse is that who knows if Amy Sherman-Palladino has another show in her.  Maybe she'll be too jaded after he experience at the end of Gilmore Girls and now with the cancellation of Bunheads.  Maybe she just won't have any new ideas after this.  But the world will be much less wonderful without her voice.

So goodbye, Bunheads.  Goodbye to Sasha and Melanie and Ginny and Boo and Michelle and all of the other complex and nuanced characters on the show.  Thank you for making me laugh and almost making me cry.  You had a stupid name and were on ABC Family, so people scoffed at you, but you were an amazing television show and you'll be missed.

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