The O.C., Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives: Everyone’s got a guilty pleasure show about the scandalous lives of the privileged. If we’re being honest, none of these shows are particularly deep and the stories they tell are all the same. So why do some shows fail where others rise to iconicism? Here are 10 fashionable dramas that were cancelled too soon…
1. The Beautiful Life (2009)
For fans of: Gossip Girl, The O.C., 90210, 8th & Ocean.
Life span: 6 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Produced by Ashton Kutcher; starring Mischa Barton (The O.C.), Sara Paxton, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Ashley Madekwe (Revenge), Nico Tortorello, Corbin Bleu (To write love on her arms), Elle McPherson, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman).
What’s it about? A group of up and coming models in New York City.
What works: Mischa Barton as fallen It-Girl Sonya.
What doesn’t: The show introduces way too many plotlines in its first few episodes.
2. Young Americans (2000)
For fans of: Dawson’s Creek
Life span: 8 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush), Mark Famiglietti, Rodney Scott, Katherine Moenning (The L Word), Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries), Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife).
What’s it about? A group of students at a New England boarding school.
What works: Boarding school dramas are always a winner. And this one was understated and raw.
What doesn’t: Everything worked and I will be forever bitter about this show ending before its time.
3. The Lying Game (2011)
For fans of: Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth, Finding Carter, Twisted.
Life span: 30 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: From the creators of Pretty Little Liars; starring Alexandra Chando, Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adrian Pasdar (Heroes), Alice Greczyn, Allie Gonino, Blair Redford (Switched at Birth), Christian Alexander (General Hospital).
What’s it about? A set of identical twins who were separated at birth. One’s a rich bitch (Suttton), the other (Emma) is a poor foster kid with a heart of gold. Now, at the age of 16, Sutton decides to go looking for their birth parents and asks Emma to assume her identity in the meantime. Things get complicated when everyone starts liking Emma better than the real Sutton, including her hunky boyfriend Ethan.
What works: The mystery of the twins parentage is very compelling. Why would anyone murder to keep the identity of their parents a secret and why were they split up?
What doesn’t: Emma is the worst. Stop whining. Stop being such a goodie-two-shoes.
4. The Carrie Diaries (2013)
For Fans of: Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, The Devil wears Prada, Hindsight.
Life span: 26 episodes à 43mins.
What’s it about? Carrie Bradshaw’s teen years.
What works: The fashion, the music, the chemistry between Austin Butler and AnnaSophia Robb, Katie Findlay’s Maggie.
What doesn’t work: Making a prequel to an HBO show on The CW. And setting Sebastian up as Carrie’s one true love when you’re addressing an audience that is familiar with Sex and the City and a certain Mr. Big.
5. Hellcats (2010)
For fans of: Bring it on, Stick It
Life span: 22 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Aly Michalka (iZombie), Ashley Tisdale (Highschool Musical), Robbie Jones (One Tree Hill).
What’s it about? A college cheerleading squad.
What works: The music and choreography.
What doesn’t work: The personal dramas fail to compel.
6. Pan Am (2011)
For fans of: The Americans, Catch me if you can.
Life span: 14 episodes à 43mins.
What’s it about? Pan Am stewardesses in the 1960s. One of whom is a Russian spy.
What works: The look.
What doesn’t work: It is very hard to appeal to find an audience that is interested in the juicy sex lives of stewardesses and pilots and Cold War politics.
7. Hindsight (2015)
For fans of: Time travel, The Carrie Diaries, the Nineties
Life span: 10 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Laura Ramsey (The Covenant), Sarah Goldberg, Craig Horner, Steve Tally (The 100).
What’s it about? On the eve of her second wedding, a woman wonders about the What ifs of her adult life and is transported 20 years back in time to the eve of her first wedding and seizes the opportunity to live her life over.
What works: The nineties nostalgia. From chokers, to raves, to video stores, this show is a beautiful trip down memory lane for any nineties kid.
What doesn’t work: Becca is a HORRIBLE person.
8. The Musketeers (2014)
For fans of: costume porn, Alexandre Dumas.
Life span: 30 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Luke Pasqualino (Skins), Tom Burke (War and Peace), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin), Howard Charles, Maimie McCoy, Tamla Kari, Alexandra Dowling, Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Rupert Everett (My best friend’s wedding).
What’s it about? The four musketeers, obviously. For more information see my post “
What works: The relationship between the Musketeers; the many complex female characters. The costumes and settings.
What doesn’t: Everything worked and it was perfect and it had a near perfect conclusion but I still want more.
9. Twisted (2013)
For fans of: Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game.
Life span: 19 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Avan Jogia, Maddie Hasson, Kylie Bunbury, Ashton Moio, Grey Damon (Star-Crossed), Denise Richards (Wild Things).
What’s it about? As a kid, Danny Desai murdered his aunt. Now, at 16, he is released from juvi and permitted to go back to school where he attempts to reconnect with his childhood friends Jo and Lacey. But when a fellow student is found dead in her house, Danny becomes the prime suspect in her murder.
What works: The premise is pretty grim and original. And the unreliable narration keeps you on the edge of your seat – did Danny take the blame for somebody or is he in fact a sociopathic murder child?
What doesn’t work: The love triangle. It’s completely unnecessary and feels forced. Especially since Danny doesn’t have chemistry with either of the girls.
10. Make it or Break it (2009)
For fans of: Stick It, Dance Academy, Bunheads.
Life span: 48 episodes à 43mins.
Cast & Crew: Chelsea Hobbs, Ayla Kell, Josie Loren, Cassie Scerbo, Candace Cameron (Full House), Neil Jackson, Zane Holtz (From Dusk til Dawn), Josh Bowman (Revenge).
What’s it about? A group of elite gymnasts training to make the Olympic team and stabbing each other in the back in their leisure time.
What works: The gymnastics scenes and all the drama related to the sport.
What doesn’t: Sensitive issues such as teen pregnancy or anorexia aren’t explored with the seriousness they deserve.