With HBO’s announcement that the Mike White helmed Laura Dern comedy Enlightened will not be renewed for another season (cue sobs from hysterical, quirky fans of this hysterical, quirky show), we are again faced with the sad task of reevaluating other uniquely brilliant television shows that left us before their time. Sometimes they’re too weird for the general public, other times they’re juggled from time slot to time slot without ever being given the chance to find their audience, then there’s always the victims of cost overruns. No matter what, it’s always a tragic day when one of your favorites is sent into permanent hiatus. Sadly, I have a special knack for finding these programs and have been left high and dry more than once before a story line is resolved or a series gets the freedom to take off and find its audience (a common post season phenomenon in this download/on-demand/Netflix/BluRay world). Sigh. We’ll always have the DVD extras.
Bored to Death
Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) is a writer living in hipster mecca Brooklyn, struggling with his second novel and recently single after his girlfriend moves out because Jonathan “smokes too much pot and drinks too much white wine.” So, like any guy in a rut, he decides to start running a Craig’s List ad as an unlicensed private detective: twee noir antics follow. This charming exploration of Gen Y angst (and old school detective fiction) lasted three seasons and featured a stellar supporting cast of Ted Danson (never leave TV, please) and Zach Galifianakis as Jonathan’s equally white wine and pot saturated best friends. Production costs, a Monday night death slot and ratings that didn’t take into account non-traditional viewership (DVR, on-demand, etc.) doomed the show before we could get a resolution to the brother-sister incest story line (which series creator Jonathan Ames says has nothing to do with the cancellation) that the third season closed on with a delightfully gross wink. Here’s hoping Bored to Death gets a chance at another life; maybe with the long awaited Super Ray film starring Kevin Bacon.