This time of year can be brutal for TV fans. In the next few weeks, a number of shows will be canceled to make room for the bright and shiny new series that the networks believe will give them the best competitive edge in the fall. The reality is that for every Outsourcedor No Ordinary Familysent to the TV graveyard with little to no fuss, there's a handful of beloved shows that we're not ready to part with just yet. Behold, here are the nine shows we're desperately hoping the execs will give one more chance.
25 Bubble Shows: Which ones will survive?
Body of Proof, ABC
Even if crime and investigation shows aren't your thing, Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) is a spunky enough medical examiner to keep us tuning in. (Don't watch for her kinda cookie-cutter-TV personal problems — watch to see Delany get to be sly and sexy!) Truthfully, we're still miffed about how Delany's Katherine Mayfair was used and abused on Desperate Housewives — they made her a suicidal psycho! She deserves to stick around and show Marc Cherry what he wasted.
The Chicago Code, Fox
Call us suckers, but we just can't lose two Shawn Ryan series in one season. (R.I.P., Terriers!) Although the show stumbles slightly when focusing only on the case-of-the-week procedure that dominates a number of other cop shows, the excellent cast (most notably Jennifer Beals, Jason Clarke, Matt Lauria and Delroy Lindo) has made us care about their characters' respective plights. Plus, shooting on location in Chicago gives this midseason show a unique look and locale for its edgy action. This one deserves at least one fall push before Fox gives up on it.
It's easy to say we're tired of eating Subway sandwiches and giving a Chuck to keep this show on the air each season, but without this spy dramedy, we'd have virtually no other reason to watch NBC on any other night besides Thursday. The show has a small audience, but they are loyal, which at this point is something NBC desperately needs. Plus, with Chuck (Zach Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) now engaged, we'd very much enjoy a Mr. and Mrs. Smith season of married-spy partnership. Some say the writing is on the wall. We just hope it says: "One more season."
Detroit 1-8-7, ABC
Yeah, we know there are more than enough cop dramas on the television dial, but few are as well-acted as this one. It's also one of the few dramas that can be both moving and funny without those emotions feeling out of place in the midst of hard-boiled police action. We're aware that this is perhaps the lowest-rated show on this list, but if network TV really wants to compete with cable, it should invest in more shows like this. Or maybe a cable channel should just keep this one alive if ABC passes.
Fall TV scorecard: Which shows are returning? Which aren't?
Lie to Me, Fox
Two words: Tim Roth. We love the reckless abandon he brings to Cal Lightman, but also that Lightman is a hero who doesn't make light of his clients' unfortunate situations. (You'll get no sunglass-removal puns while standing over a dead body here). We think this show could grow its audience if Fox ever actually gave it a promotional push. And with Lightman finally confessing his true feelings for Dr. Foster (Kelli Williams) in the Season 3 finale, there's still plenty of emotional ground to cover here.
Mr. Sunshine, ABC
Could there be a comedic actor better suited to be on our TV every week than Matthew Perry? Yes, this sitcom has had some problems — most notably how grumpy Perry's character is — but as the first seasons of Cougar Town, The Office and Parks and Recreation proved, comedies often need a season to really find their rhythm. Speaking of Cougar Town, neither it nor Sunshine seem a perfect fit for the post-Modern Family slot, but we think they could both play nicely together in another comedy block, on which ABC president Paul Lee has mentioned being keen. Plus: We need Allison Janney to remain in prime time.
Let's face it: Alias left a big gaping hole in our hearts — right around Season 3, when the show went and "simplified" itself into oblivion —and Nikita has recently begun to muscle its way in there. How? The spy drama started iffy, to be sure. Things were slow and straightforward. Now, it's anything but! Over the course of one season, things have, to quote the Fresh Prince, flip-turned upside-down, and we like watching the sexy-but-deadly Nikita (Maggie Q) take down the baddies.
At first, it was difficult to think of Parenthood without recalling the great small-town drama Friday Night Lights. Both shows come from executive producer Jason Katims, a showrunner specializing in bringing out the extraordinary from the closely observed everyday life. In its second season, Parenthood finally came into its own, telling of the triumphs and trials of the Braverman clan. The finale had us emotional, heartbroken and desperate for more: Adam (Peter Krause) discovered he was about to be a father again, after he lost his job, discovered his daughter was sexually active and hit a major speed bump in his son's Asperger's story line. And that's just Adam! Though we have a hunch this show is safe (we left it off our bubble shows roundup for that reason), how devastating would it be to not see how it all plays out?
It might be too late, and if you gave up midway, we can't blame you. But if you did, you missed one whopper of a season finale. Don't believe us? The show reached its cheesy-gory peak, killing off three —three! — main characters. Loved little V tail'ing her dad to death, but the killing of Erica's son, in particular, was especially horrifically good. As he reached ecstasy, his visitor-lover revealed herself and sunk her sharp, metallic teeth into his neck. As if that wasn't enough, Anna froze the world in bliss while crying blood tears. Poor Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) if this show doesn't come back, wandering alone on a doomed Earth.
Which shows are you rooting for?