March 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM ET
It happens every season: A promising show gets canceled before its time, and this year will be no different. But just because that happens doesn't mean you should miss out on quality, under-appreciated offerings that are on now. Check out some new-to-you shows, fall in love and maybe even save them from cancellation by simply watching.
Here are four particularly worthy efforts to tune in to that could end up on the chopping block this year.
Sitcoms don't get much better than this. Set in the late '80s and centered around the Goldberg family, the show is chock full of nostalgia, laughs (but no laugh track) and even home videos from the colorful decade provided by creator/writer Adam Goldberg, who based the show on his life. It's got an amazing cast (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jeff Garlin, George Segal) that successfully delivers comedy and heart without any bad cheese. (Cheese, after all, is delicious.) And best of all, the show has Troy Gentile as middle child Barry, a loser who is so earnest in his endeavors (master of "kahrah-day" and hip-hop maestro, for starters) that you can't help but love him while you laugh at him.
What ABC probably expected to be fairly successful isn't doing so well in the ratings, probably thanks to the highly anticipated but not-very-good "Agents of SHIELD" as its lead-in. But that could be remedied: As dad Murray would say, "Just tune in, you morons!" (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.)
Friday nights at 10 is a tough time slot to sell. Most folks are either out and about, or crashing after a long week at work. But "Hannibal" — the drama starring Mads Mikkelsen as "Silence of the Lambs'" brilliant psychiatrist/murderer, and Hugh Dancy as FBI profiler Will Graham — is stunningly beautiful. Yes, it's strange to describe a show about serial killers as anything other than "bloody," but each frame of the thriller is like a work of art. (Even the scenes of Dr. Lecter cooking and plating his victims resemble a high-budget gourmet cooking show.)
But there's more to the drama than just beauty in the wicked. Mikkelsen's Hannibal is scarily devious, and the story lines are gripping — and yes, bloody. It'd be a shame to let this gem get canceled as ratings continue to slide in its second season. (Fridays at 10 p.m., NBC.)
The comedy starring Jeremy Sisto as a single dad who moves from New York City to the suburb of Chatswin to raise his teen daughter (Jane Levy) debuted strong in 2011, but has since slid down in the ratings. ABC has already cut the show's budget, cast and the current third season from the usual 22 episodes to a paltry 13.
But despite the trims, the comedy is still big on charm. Its bright, bold colors help the show feel extra cheerful in the picture-perfect neighborhood (and is a bit nostalgic for those who still miss "Ugly Betty" and "Desperate Housewives"), while Sisto and Levy make for perhaps the best (and most adorable) father-daughter pairing ever on television thanks to great acting and smart writing. The show's wit is sharp and the snark is fun, and it's all propped up with a great supporting cast that includes Cheryl Hines, Alan Tudyk, Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell. (Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.)
Fox probably has its cancellation target fixed on this underperforming freshman series. It's a shame, as the comedy about three vastly different brothers in the Army who are all stationed at the same base and assigned to the same detachment made up of misfits is actually pretty funny. Focusing the story on a group of underdogs allows for plenty of opportunity for laughs, but the show is more than that — it's also inspiring in having its dark horses find success in the unlikeliest of places, and is at its core, is all about the things people do for family. (Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox.)
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