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(Courtesy photo) "Star Trek" was canceled after 79 episodes.
Scott D. Pierce: 10 TV shows that died too early

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Dec 15 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Apr 08 2013 11:32 pm

Television shows are like people. Eventually, they’re all going to die.

Even "Guiding Light" got the ax after 57 years on TV (and 15 years before that on the radio).

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We feel sad when a TV show dies after eight, 10, 12 seasons. It’s like losing an old friend.

But the real TV tragedy is that some shows don’t live to a ripe old age. They’re taken before their time, when they’ve still got a lot of entertainment in them.

Occasionally, great shows can rise from the grave. Seven years after Fox canceled "Futurama," it returned on Comedy Central. Six years after Fox axed "Arrested Development," it will return on Netflix in the spring.

But that’s the exception. Sadly we’re never going to see more episodes of these 10 shows:

10. "Sports Night" • (1998-2000, 45 episodes) Aaron Sorkin’s "SportsCenter"-inspired comedy was loaded with rapid-fire dialogue and lots of laughs.

9. "Freaks and Geeks" • (1999-2000, 18 episodes, three unaired) A teen drama/comedy executive produced by Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jason Segal and Busy Phillips. NBC would kill for that today.

8. "Firefly" • (2002, 15 episodes, three unaired) After a slow start, this show quickly found itself. A decade after it was axed, fans still complain.

7. "Better Off Ted" • (2009-10, 26 episodes, two unaired) This show was smart, wry and flat-out hilarious. Too bad not much of anybody watched.

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6. "Eli Stone" • (2008-09, 26 episodes) There was something magical in this show about a lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) who was either getting messages from God or suffering from a brain aneurysm.

5. "Star Trek" • (1966-69, 79 episodes) It’s still hard to believe the original series only lasted three seasons. (And although "Star Trek: Enterprise" lasted four years and 98 episodes, that show didn’t hit its stride until Season 4.)

4. "Everwood" • (2002-06, 89 episodes) This made-in-Utah series was a fantastic family drama. When The WB and UPN merged, the management of The CW decided to keep "One Tree Hill" and kill "Everwood." I’m still mad.

3. "My So-Called Life" • (1994-95, 19 episodes) This may have been the single best TV series ever about teenagers. And it didn’t turn the adults into caricatures.

2. "Brooklyn Bridge" • (1991-93, 34 episodes) This charming comedy about a Jewish family in 1950s New York grabbed your heart and wouldn’t let go. And Marion Ross ("Happy Days") was magnificent as Grandma Sophie.

1. "Homefront" • (1991-93, 41 episodes, one unaired) This serialized hour, set in post-WWII Ohio, was the perfect mix of great writing, great characters, drama and humor. It should have run for a decade.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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