By Drew Parton
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back! I really loved the new season, and I think that it’s a great successor to the original. TV seems to be all about revivals now: Arrested Development, X-Files, Twin Peaks, MST3k, 24, it’s almost like they’re out of ideas and want to easily bank on nostalgia. (NOT THAT I’M CYNICAL). But whatever, I’m all aboard the hype train and here are three more cult shows that deserve a second run:
*Firefly is deliberately NOT on this list.
As much as I loved Firefly, I’m actually pretty glad that it didn’t get a second season. I mentioned this in an earlier article about Sherlock, but we get to remember Firefly in its prime. It went out on a high note- free from the inevitable seasonal rot. Think about if Dexter or Lost ended after season 1- they would be remembered as a masterpiece that sadly never continued. As much as I deeply love Nathan Fillion, let’s consider at Castle. A charming and charismatic comedy cop procedural about a crime author that helps the NYPD solve cases. That show had great performances and writing by all, but it decayed like most shows do. It runs out of momentum, it loses its charm, and its characterization. And it went on way longer than it should have, and it just became rubbish. Firefly never got to that, and I’m frankly glad for it. I would honestly hate to see it come back, knowing that it could never re-capture lightning in a bottle. Now on to the proper list:
The Unit Original Run: 2006-2009
The Unit was an action-drama show about an elite Special Forces team simply called “The Unit.” The first season was actually taken from the memoirs of a Delta Force operator. Dennis Haysbert (yes, the Allstate guy) plays Sergeant Major Jonas Blane, the leader of the team. It also features Max Martini, Scott Foley, and Robert Patrick. The series lasted for four seasons in its original run- with a movie planned to end it, but ultimately low viewers doomed the show. This is actually a real shame, because the first two seasons have great moments of action and drama. The episodes usually focus on two general plotlines: the unit team on missions, and the lives of the wives of the operators. While the show became a lot weaker in the third and especially fourth season, it dealt with loss, PTSD, family neglect, and the ethics of war. The show had really great potential, and deserves another chance.
Almost Human Original Run: 2013-2014
Both John and I have never been shy about our love for Karl Urban. He is a criminally underrated actor with the capacity for drama, action, and comedy- and he makes a great star in this 2013 sci-fi cop procedural. In the year 2048, in order to combat rampant crime and the dysregulation of drugs and technology, police officers are partnered with androids. It is a classic tale of human-android partnership and learning what it is to be human and Karl Urban and Michael Ealy share great chemistry onscreen. The show did have problems sorting out what kind of show it wanted to be, rotating between straight sci-fi and being a standard police procedural- and so it was a little weak on both fronts. But the character writing and acting definitely makes up for those sorts of minor shortcomings.
Clone High Original Run: 2002-2003
This bizarre show first ran on MTV back in the early 2000’s and was one of the first creations of Philip Lord and Chris Miller. It was an incredibly strange parody of teen high school dramas- except the whole school is populated by clones of famous people and run by a megalomaniacal principle that is intent on using the clones for a theme park. It was co-created by Bill Lawrence- the creator of Scrubs, and shares a lot of the same voice actors.
Unfortunately, it was cancelled partially because of the controversy in India about their portrayal of Gandhi. Since then, it has garnered a cult following because of the insane writing, where Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi are nerds desperately trying to be cool, Joan of Arc as a moody goth, and Cleopatra and JFK as narcissistic jocks. With all of the Hollywood clout that Lord and Miller have gained through the Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, and their other TV shows, I think that Clone High would stand a pretty good chance at a second run- and definitely would find a place as a niche irreverent TV show. Please- Phil, Chris, I know you’ve visited this website before. If you’re reading this, we need another semester at Clone High.