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On Those Shows We Love That End Too Soon

Terriers was arguably the best new show of 2010, but shortly after its finale this season, fans of the show found out that it would be the series finale and not just the season finale.
Ratings for the gritty FX drama about two buddy detectives looking for trouble were catastrophically low for its entire run, but Terriers' cancellation was still greeted with sorrow at what could have been.
Another great show gone when it seemed that the show still had more greatness to give in future seasons.
"Another" because Terriers joins the short list of perfect little shows that never made an artistic misstep before their low ratings caused network executives to pull the plug.
Freaks and Geeks remains the ultimate in one-season-and-done shows, a sweet realistic portrait of a ragtag crew of high schoolers which never caught on with audiences when it originally aired.
And another show which aired its series finale in 2010 - Party Down - was 2 seasons' worth of low ratings but engaging stories about a ragtag band of Hollywood caterers.
One question fans of shows like these ask themselves in the face of cancellation is whether or not cancellation is, in fact, a good thing.
Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights are examples of fantastic little shows that had more-or-less perfect first seasons, the quality of which subsequent seasons couldn't quite match and so perhaps sullied the overall brands of those shows.
Even Arrested Development, a show that many fans consider cut down prematurely, had a noticeable dip in quality in its third and final season which made acceptance of its cancellation slightly easier to accept.
And then you have the fantastic little shows that hit it big, became mainstream, and lasted for so long that they became pale parodies of themselves toward the end of their runs.
The Simpsons.
The Office.
These shows became so successful that network executives extended their runs past the point of consistent artistic viability.
In watching these shows during their late periods, you still enjoy the characters and world they live in, but you're greeted with sense of sorrow in recognizing what these shows used to be, when anything could seemingly happen in these worlds and the writers somehow made it work.
The short list of perfect shows is short for a reason.
So is it better that we never got to see a possible decline? Or would renewing those shows we love have been worth it even if there had been a massive decline in quality? I choose to ignore the question and celebrate whatever moments of greatness I am lucky enough to get, however I get it.
I hate cynicism - it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.
But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.
I'm telling you, amazing things will happen.
-Conan O'Brien in his last The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien

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