I blame the culture for my cultural illiteracy!

While I don't watch network programming* (instead I watch only old movies, and occasional documentaries), I hate being a cultural illiterate. An unpleasant fact of life is that not knowing what's on TV is probably a form of cultural illiteracy.

How regrettable that is might be open to debate, but when I saw Glenn Reynolds' roundup of this season's canceled TV shows, I thought that if I clicked the link, I might find myself with an instant cultural education. Sure enough the link went to a complete list of canceled shows organized by network:

In the Motherhood
The Unusuals
According to Jim
Samantha Who?

Harper's Island
Without a Trace
Eleventh Hour
The Unit
Worst Week


King of the Hill
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Kath & Kim
Knight Rider
Lipstick Jungle
My Name is Earl (may get picked up by Fox or ABC)
Medium (may move to CBS)

If I really wanted a cultural education, what I should have done was to click on each show's link above. Alas, I lack the patience!

Which means that I may not be culturally qualified to answer the question which follows the list:

Which shows are you saying "good riddance" to?
I have never seen any of them, I do not know what any of them are about, so good riddance is fine with me! I guess that means I get a 100% score.

But will I ever know what I'm missing?

* I guess the proper phrase is "episodic television." (From Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd's lively debate on the relative merits of TV versus movies.)

Glad those guys can duke it out while filling me in!

I obviously prefer movies, but I was a sucker for The Sopranos as well as Dexter (assuming watching the later DVDs counts.)

posted by Eric on 05.21.09 at 01:32 PM


Not *all* episodic television is dreck. I can recommend Bones, Reaper, House MD, and occasionally Dollhouse. In another category is Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch, both of which are worth an occasional view.

the gripping hand   ·  May 21, 2009 1:56 PM

So you're a cultural illiterate if you don't watch those TV shows? Well, as they say, you and me both.
I don't regret it much. I prefer conversations about the human condition, history, politics. If that makes me a dull conversation partner, so be it. It's a pity that so much of historical pop culture got lost. Apparently it wasn't considered worth recording. Since it illuminates what makes people of the era tick, it should be in the history books. But overvaluing pop culture to the exclusion of the opinions and attitudes not entertaining enough to make show topics is a more serious pity. It keeps people uneducated.

martin   ·  May 21, 2009 3:16 PM

I'm proud to admit I can help you with only one, that is 'King of the Hill'. It's a cartoon.

Loonie-Tunes are way better.

dr kill   ·  May 21, 2009 4:03 PM

Yet another thing we have in common. Our TV is almost exclusively used for DVDs. The reception in our neighborhood is so poor that we only get one network, and it's green and wavey. (Oddly, we live near the center of town. ??)We opted out of cable to save the money.
The only TV I've watched in the past 10 years is collections of show seasons on DVD. I've watched House (liked it a lot), but the only one of the listed shows I know is the Sarah Connor thing, and it never did much for me.
I think I'm the only adult American who has never seen a single episode of Seinfeld.

Lynne   ·  May 21, 2009 4:09 PM

Whoops, I take it back. We watched some of Earl. Earl was ok, I guess. I've got a soft spot for Jason Lee- I've always suspected he can do a lot more than he's been asked to do, actor-wise.

Lynne   ·  May 21, 2009 4:13 PM

I only know King of the Hill from this list. But it is a favorite show and I am sorry to see it go. It's been on for 12 years, so I guess it's not surprising it's being retired.

SteveBrooklineMA   ·  May 21, 2009 8:16 PM

Given this list of cancelled programs I have a few questions:
Kath & Kim
Knight Rider
Lipstick Jungle
My Name is Earl (may get picked up by Fox or ABC)
Medium (may move to CBS)

Does somebody at NBC programming have a K-L-M fetish?
Do all of the other programs on the network also start with one of those letters, or is it just the flops?

GaryC   ·  May 21, 2009 8:29 PM

All I use for TV these days are sporting events, PBS British comedies, maybe PBS mysteries.

I occasionally saw King of the Hill over its 12 years. Maybe once or twice a year. It wasn't bad. A cartoon comedy about a TX suburban family. Some funny characters.

With the Internet, ads are much less intrusive and time wasters.

Gringo   ·  May 22, 2009 7:55 AM

Of those on the list "My Name is Earl" is perhaps the best, and a personal favorite, although I've not followed it much the last season and it may well have gone down-hill, as the original premiss was somewhat self-limiting. "Without a Trace" was an ok cop show about missing-persons but was otherwise indistinguishable from a million "CSI" types like it. I only watched if I stumbled onto it. But if you put a gun to my head those are the only two worth keeping.

virgil xenophon   ·  May 22, 2009 12:55 PM

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