The Darkest Timeline, Indeed

Don’t forget about submitting your entry to the HijiNKS Ensue 6 Year Anniversary Fancy Bastard Fancy Fan Art Contest. Submissions are due this Friday. THERE ARE PRIZES! Details HERE.

Phoenix Comicon is in 2 weeks (May 23-26)! I will be there with David Willis at Booth 1749. Would you like to be our intern for the weekend? We can offer a con badge that will get you in, probably some lunch and in return you’ll get to work at our booth, getting shirts, making change, etc. We’ll make sure you get time to check out the show as well. Email comics at hijinksensue dot com.

The only comfort I took during the final 30 minutes of this season of NBC’s Community is that it was likely THE ACTUAL FINAL 30 MINUTES AS IN FOREVER. With creator Dan Harmon gone the spirit of the show has progressively tanked all season. The characters have become parodies of themselves, which is no small achievement considering that USED to be part of the fun of their dynamic. When handled with subtlety and smarts, self-parody can be the foundation of some very endearing moments. With this season, Community has replaced subtlety and smarts with a sledgehammer and a pie in the face. It reads like bad fan-fiction. At it’s core (considering the driving creative force behind its inception is long gone) it IS bad fan-fiction.

My friend, and Leverage co-creator, Jon Rogers said to me, “…You wanted #community so now you’re going to EAT EVERY BIT OF ITMonkey’s Paw, #community fans. Goddam monkey’s paw.” He’s right. Community fans made a deal with the TV Devil, and he’s a dirty dealer. They traded Community’s soul so that it could have a longer life. But is it really Community? Is it even alive? ZOMBIE TV SHOW ATE MY BRAINS! Coming this fall to NBC.

The only thing incorrect about Rogers’ statement is I (ME, the actual ME) did NOT want Community without Dan Harmon, just like I didn’t want a final, bizarro season of Scrubs, just like I didn’t want and continue to not want more seasons of The Simpsons or Futurama. Do like Jerry did. Leave on a high note and leave ’em wanting more.

[Thanks to Mikey and an actual Yaoi I saw at SDCC for inspiring today’s alt-text.]

COMMENTERS: Which show or fiction series (books? do they make… books?) do you wish had been cancelled before it was and why? 

Comments (45)

remember how everyone was on about 6 seasons and a movie?

I’m pretty sure it’s worked like a monkey’s paw. We’ll get our 6 seasons and a movie and in the end it’ll be like watching a car crash in slow motion, we all know it’ll be horrible, but we just can’t look away.

Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 107 weeks ago

Came here to say that.

When it looked like it wasn’t going to be renewed, JMS got the major plot points wrapped up for the end of the fourth season, not wanting to leave fans hanging if there wasn’t a fifth. And I’m not suuure if the problem was that there was a fifth season after the pre-existing threads were more or less tied up, since he’d basically ditched the teep war thread in order to be able to fit it all in, so it’s not like he just pulled something out of his ass. I think it’s more that the fifth season was, well, kind of awful. It has some great Bester moments, but Jesus, Byron. Pun kinda sorta maybe intended. It just wasn’t the B5 we’d had for the first four seasons, and while it was still probably better than most other shows on TV at the time, it was still… yeah.

I can happily ignore season five in its entirety. Didn’t bother getting it on DVD. And frankly, “Sleeping in Light” at the end of season 4 is my favourite episode ever, I think. It is a really well-done finale to the series, and I just don’t think there was a NEED for more B5 after that. In the context of the series. Which was about the Shadow War, and stuff. More B5 *stuff* would definitely be cool. I’m still pissed about Crusade, and how long ago was that? Gods damn you, Time-Warner. Gods damn you.

Isn’t “Sleeping in Light” on the Season 5 DVDs, though? I know it was filmed at the end of Season 4, but it wasn’t broadcast until Season 5.

I honestly didn’t think Season 5 was that bad. It just… wasn’t that good, either, I suppose. I liked the ideas, and seeing some of those plot threads resolved was kind of nice. I think it was–almost literally–anticlimactic. Or perhaps post-climactic. Anyway, I didn’t dislike it, but I can skip it on a rewatch without any guilt, too.

Besides, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Legend of the Rangers. Does B5 fan orthodoxy even consider that canon? I know I don’t.

Mike Konecny's avatar

Mike Konecny · 107 weeks ago

As I watched season 4, it felt as though my heart was being ripped out of my chest. With the finale I felt a sigh of relief as if I could finally come to term with the death of a loved one. With the announcement of season 5, I realized I will have to go through that horror again. This is the darkest timeline!
tudza's avatar

tudza · 107 weeks ago

One swell poop?
UnitedShoes37's avatar

UnitedShoes37 · 107 weeks ago

Geez. Why is so much of this season’s TV making me feel like Butters in “The China Probrem”? Y’know, “I don’t know, I thought it was pretty good.”

I mean, I had my doubts about Community without Dan Harmon (and I still say the whole, Harmonless season should’ve been set in the Darkest Timeline), and I was as confused as anybody during “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS”, but I don’t feel like whoever took over Community this season or Steven Moffat have been raping our good friends Abed and the Doctor. They’ve just stumbled a bit. There were some genuinely enjoyable moments in this short season of Community, and they got Neil Gaiman to come back and write another spectacular Whopisode, not to mention Diana Rigg managing to be even more snarky and almost as delightful as she is as one of the greatest C-characters in all of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Is all the hyperbole really necessary? Hell, maybe, just maybe, if we show Community the same love we all showed it when we thought it was going to get murdered, the current showrunners will find their footing a bit more, and we all know Doctor Who isn’t going anywhere, even if Clara’s plot goes even more batshit than “The Overly Compressed Narrative of River Song” (a.k.a. “Let’s KIll Hitler!”)

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

See, THATS why I kept watching…because it’s still a lot of fun despite the stumbles. Next year, Community will finds its footing and things will be great.
Riff's avatar

Riff · 107 weeks ago

It’s been so depressing watching season 4. Community used to always be the last show I watched on a Friday night, but now I’ll watch it first to get it out of the way, if I even bother to watch it at all.

One of the worst things about it is all the fans who say “It’s still good! It’s still good!” like Homer chasing the pig down the river. I’m going to stab the next person who says, “I guess I just like liking things,” in reference to the show.

As someone part way through the third season of Community, my question is: where do I stop? I am happy for the show to go out on a high note in my own mind.

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

Tom327Cat's avatar

Tom327Cat · 107 weeks ago

Oh My Gosh Yes! Firefly! By “Heart of gold” the series was really beginning to show it’s age and feel tired. When I saw “Objects in Space” I knew It had jumped shark hard. Thank goodness Joss was smart enough to not try and push a TV special to wrap up loose ends.

2 replies · active 107 weeks ago

 Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 107 weeks ago

You have angered the gods. Beware… they are coming for you.
Khel's avatar

Khel · 107 weeks ago

I firmly believe that Scrubs ended at season 8 and this fabled 9th season people talk about were just the fever dream of an emotionally disturbed sociopath
w00hoo's avatar

w00hoo · 107 weeks ago

I played BtVS rpg with someone who’d only watched to the end of Season 5. That was a good enough line to draw beneath it for him. Because the rest of us had seen all 7 he finally caved and watched the last two. He wished that he hadn’t.

While I love Supernatural, I’m only watching it because it’s there. I’d have been comfortable with them finishing when they said they would…

1 reply · active 106 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 106 weeks ago

For me, the way they ended Angel at Season 5 by being yank-cancelled in favor of more fraggin’ *Charmed* really ticked me off, and to this day I really don’t care to watch 90% of the Big 4 broadcast’s shows.
The ending to the season/series mostly wrapped things up and left a good set up for the comic series, but still felt rushed at the end, and bummed me out.
Unrepentantfangirl's avatar

Unrepentantfangirl · 107 weeks ago

For books Alex Rider. After book five they should have just said no. Oh god. Please no.
Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 107 weeks ago

Mostly every sitcom right now.. 2 and a half men, the big bang theory, how I met your mother.. I stopped watching all of them.

It annoys the crap out of me when series that used to be based on humor eventually start relying on vicarious shame and call it comedy.

Chuck, anyone? They were sorta prepared for the axe, the season 2 finale could have been a… well, not maybe a perfect ending, but an ending nevertheless. The show got renewed but I can’t compare its actual ending to s2 because at some point I lost interest or something. It was fun to watch but nothing to obsess over, maybe I’ll watch the rest if I have nothing else to do.

As for Community, a friend promised to have an introductory season 1 marathon with me if I swore to never watch season 4, nor acknowledge its existence.

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

Yeah, same here. Third season just kept getting worse and worse until I never even finished the last two or three episodes. As artificial as it was, the Masquerade was necessary to keep the show inflated. Once they started letting the non-spies know what was going on, they lost the balance of the show.
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 107 weeks ago

This is going way, way, way back in time, but remember the old “Beauty & the Beast” TV show on CBS at the end of the Eighties? Yeah, they could have ended that one about two-thirds of the way through the second season. The third season was completely unnecessary and completely changed the tone of the series, to make it more attractive to the 18-24-year-old male demographic, when a large part of its appeal was that it was one of the few shows at the time that were NOT already aimed there. It was a bit like if, for the new season of, say, “Once Upon A Time,” they decided to cross it with “The Unit”. Not that “The Unit” wasn’t a great show, but it’s not what “Once Upon A Time” is about. It was a pretty big slap in the face to people who actually liked what they were already doing with it.

–Shut up. I was seventeen, okay?

I loved that show. A comedy about a financially struggling family. In the final season (8 or 9) they won the lottery of 100 million dollars. They continued to live in their three bedroom house and fix it up a bit.
When I think of that show, all I remember was that last awful season.
Cherie's avatar

Cherie · 107 weeks ago

For books: I would say any Piers Anthony Series that went more than 3 books. If he starts a world with the idea that he is only going to write a specific number they tend to be good all the way through (Blue Adept), but if it is more open ended, he takes a major nose dive after the 3rd book (Xanth, Incarnations of Immortality)
I liked the BSG finale too! I often feel like that may have been because I hadn’t watched it as it aired, but all at once (or rather compressed over a few weeks) after the series was done. It probably lessened the potential disappointment because I had no time to speculate on where things were going, and ultimately disappointed that it didn’t line up with my expectations.
LOST. As much as that show was based on the mysteries and the questions it posed, I would have rather it got cancelled before the sixth season could air. I’d rather have dealt with the nagging questions about what it all meant than had almost everything explained poorly.

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

something was explained?
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 107 weeks ago

Babylon 5 is one of the famous shows affected by cancellation threats. It had been planned for five seasons, but was going to be cancelled after the 4th so they condensed all the plot resolution into that season. Fans loved the plot-dense pace, and it got renewed for a 5th, leaving Straczynski to scramble for things he could do with a story that was done.

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

Bryce's avatar

Bryce · 107 weeks ago

And of course when I typed this it wasn’t showing any other comments, for some reason.
For books, I’d have to go with the Ender series. It should have stopped when the original series stopped (i.e., Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind). Going back and filling in every nook and cranny of that universe really just detracted from what made the originals so appealing. I think the Bean books especially detracted from the character of Ender (“Ender is a super genius and that’s why he’s the hero BUT WAIT BEAN WAS REALLY A BIGGER GENIUS ALL ALONG.”)

Of course, in the end, the author retroactively ruined my enjoyment of those books much more than all the other works in the series, so… *shrug*

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

I so agree!! And he keeps coming out with more filler for the Ender’s universe. The original series was enough, and I too think that making Bean more of a genius than Ender sort of stabbed his character in the back.

That being said…. MOVIE!

I loved the “Shadow” books.
They were a completely different feel, with the international sociopolitical maneuvering instead of family problems or whatever “Speaker of the Dead” was about. The villain was really terrifying, and seeing Peter’s change from a kind of scary kid into a decent leader was also fascinating.
DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 107 weeks ago

Personally I think the whole season of Community would have played better in its ACTUAL timeline – not this weird “every winter holiday in early spring” bullshit.
NBC is more at fault than anyone related to this season of Community.
Next year, watch the episodes at their correct times of year, and everything will be more easily understood.
Liam's avatar

Liam · 107 weeks ago

X-Files. Those last few years without David Duchovny and with Robert Patrick and that other woman was just unbearable.
Teeth, the Season 3 finale was Dan Harmon’s attempt to leave on a high note. There are some mixed opinions of it, but it means well and nearly, very nearly, ties a bow around S1-S3.

Anyone else notice a chalkboard in the S4 finale taunting us with the “Six Seasons and a Movie”?

That said, I actually somewhat liked the S4 finale. It WAS an attempt at a paintball finale (albeit without committing to anything like the old wanton damage of show sets). It hit a lot of the right notes and nearly proved the new writers room have almost gotten it. Biggest complaint was the cop out “it was all a dream”, because S1-S3 spent so much time subverting that. I think if they had owned that choice, and pushed for the crazy Sci-Fi consequences we all might actually be somewhat looking forward to an S5 that could be the closest thing to a half-hour comedy Fringe we might ever see…

Tara's avatar

Tara · 107 weeks ago

NCIS. I stopped watching after season 8 because even then I could hear it’s death rattle, and keeping it going now is just a cruel kick to the groin of what it used to be. I don’t understand why consistently the worst shows on TV keep getting the highest ratings, like Two and Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. I guess people watch them out of habit, like they’re tricking themselves into thinking it’s still worth their time.

1 reply · active 106 weeks ago

Gregory's avatar

Gregory · 106 weeks ago

Respectfully disagree, it’s had some rough patches, but this past season with Ziva and DIrector Vance on the warpath has been pretty awesome and the finale was great. I’m actually shocked it’s been able to avoid getting stale. Just my two cents.
Maximum Ride…after James Patterson made the kids anti global warming vessels for no reason at the end of Book 3, along with the Stupid ending of that book, I gave up. Those are the only Patterson books I’ve ever read and it’ll probably stay that way.
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 107 weeks ago

This is going way, way, way back in time, but remember the old “Beauty & the Beast” TV show on CBS at the end of the Eighties? Yeah, they could have ended that one about two-thirds of the way through the second season. The third season was completely unnecessary and completely changed the tone of the series, to make it more attractive to the 18-24-year-old male demographic, when a large part of its appeal was that it was one of the few shows at the time that were NOT already aimed there. It was a bit like if, for the new season of, say, “Once Upon A Time,” they decided to cross it with “The Unit”. Not that “The Unit” wasn’t a great show, but it’s not what “Once Upon A Time” is about. It was a pretty big slap in the face to people who actually liked what they were already doing with it.
The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 106 weeks ago

I’m thinking about “Enterprise”, not necessarily charitably, but how it got cancelled in a very cruddy way in Season 4, after starting to get good.
IMO, the showrunners needed a kick in their aft warp coils about 1.5 seasons earlier to get on the stick and write some good character-driven stories.
The way that series was handled and ended basically killed off TV versions of Trek to this day, sadly.
Alyson's avatar

Alyson · 106 weeks ago

I realized it was horrible when Abed wore a Doctor Who shirt. That shit wrinkled my brain.
Joel: I just shotgunned Simpsons Season 24, and its getting better. They write stories with real character development, and take bigger chances, instead of like “this is what Homer would do in Brazil.” Better gags, more realistic characters. More rewarding all around.
Also, I think from Season 23, the episode called “The Book Job” was as funny as any Season 8 episode.

Not Cool Cool Cool Cool, NBC

Not cool cool cool cool at all. 

TV actors live under the constant threat of their livelihoods being ripped away by some faceless executive. Which I suppose is better than having their faces ripped away by some lifeless executive. It has to be an unbelievable shock going from a professionally unemployed actor to making 10’s of thousands of dollars a week to wondering how you’re going to afford your pool boy’s Lexus payment when essentially not of the decisions that affect those major life changes are in your control. Hollywood is basically a glorified temp service broadcast to the world.

I’m a big Community fan, and it’s a shame to see NBC shelve their second best show (sorry Abed-heads, but 30 Rock is perfect) because not a wide enough swath of middle America can relate to its deep pop culture references, bizarre concept episodes and general geekiness. It’s one of the only shows actually pushing the boundries of what can be done with a comedy on network TV. I guess the problem is if you keep pushing boundaries, you eventually hit a wall. I hope the show rebounds and comes back stronger than ever, but it might just be too quirky, smart and genuinely funny to survive. At least we still have Whitney, right? What do you bring to your Whitney viewing parties? Chocolate? Red wine? A bullet?

COMMENTERS: Lament the seemingly inevitable demise of Community, or dare to proclaim why you won’t miss it once it’s gone (is it because you had your human heart replaced with a can of powdered turnips?). Feel free to post links to your Inspector Spacetime fanfic in the comments as well.