80s Flashback: The Misfits of Science

8 Jan

You know how it goes.  You fall in love with a TV show, get to know its characters, start digging the intricacies of the plot, and maybe even clear your calendar so you’re watching it as it airs in real-time rather than catching it on ye olde DVR or Hulu later on.

Then they cancel it.  The bastards.  Sometimes, the writers get enough time to wrap up the major plot threads and bring the story to at least some semblance of a conclusion.  Sometimes, you’re just left cold, with questions left unanswered and emotional payoffs left outstanding.

As I write this, @Noxilite and I have two episodes left of Caprica to go.  Tuesday night, SyFy took time out from their Very Important WWE matches to air the last five episodes.  I’ll let you lot know how (or even if) the wrapping-up went.  I’ve avoided spoilers, so I’m not sure whether the story just stops or not.

Just after I geeked out over here about Stargate: Universe, Siffy killed that, too.

I’ve come to some shows well after they were yanked off the air:  Veronica Mars.  Jericho.  Wonderfalls.  Firefly*. One of these days, I’ll give Dollhouse another shot.  The TV execs have their excuses, most of which come down to money and number of viewers and whatever it is they want to put in that time slot instead.  I’m left shaking my fists at brilliant plots left abandoned and stories whose endings will only be written as fanfiction.

Some shows do get to run all the way through:  Battlestar Galactica.  Lost. They’ve re-upped Fringe and Castle so far.  Sometimes the fans can resurrect a run — Farscape’s fans rallied hard enough to get a four-hour miniseries to tie up the plot.  Jericho got a brief stay-of-execution when fans sent twenty gorram tons of nuts to CBS executives in protest.

But those are posts for other times.

When I was a wee girl of seven, a new show began airing on NBC:

The fonts are SO EIGHTIES, omg.

That’s right.  I’m talking about Misfits of Science. It ran for a whopping fifteen episodes, and the sixteenth was never aired.

Do you know what it was about?  No?  Boy howdy, did you ever miss out.

It was about people with super powers, driving around in an ice cream truck and helping people/fighting crime/saving the world.  I shit you not.  It was the best show ever. Check out the theme song.

Courteney Cox was in it, as troubled telekinetic teen Gloria Dinallo.  (It is at this point, by the way, that my internal soundtrack always, always helpfully supplies another bit of the ’80s:  Laura Branigan’s “Gloria.” I’ll have that earworm warring with another as soon as I move on to another member fo the cast.  My inner soundtrack is DJ’d by an asshole.)

Gloria has a huge crush on the ever-cool Johnny B.  (And now, Laura Branigan goes to war with The Hooters in my head.)  Johnny was a rocker who got electrocuted onstage, and thus developed the power to control electricity.  It really sucked if he came into contact with water.  In one episode, the bad guys stuck him on a raft in the middle of a swimming pool to put him out of commission.  I would have totally fought Gloria for him.

There was super-tall El, who had the ability to shrink for short periods of time.  Poor El had to keep an extra set of clothes on him at all times.

Their ringleader was Dr. Billy Hayes, who had no powers of his own aside from herding these lovable mutant cats.  A moment of silence, please, for actor Dean Paul Martin, whom I have just learned was killed in a plane crash in 1987.

I probably couldn’t tell you the specifics of any one episode, really, since it’s been, oh, twenty-five years since I’ve seen one.  The DVD only came out in Germany, so I’m stuck with watching whatever fans have tossed up on youtube.  All I remember is being glued to the TV when it came on, and wishing I had cool superpowers, too.  There was probably seven-year-old Mary Sue fanfic going on in my head in which I saved all of the Misfits from Certain Doom.

And then it was gone, poof, off-the-air.

There’d be others, over time, and I’d learn to cope with the disappointment that came with tuning in to find reruns of some crappy sitcom in the slot where my favorite characters ought to have been.  Maybe someday we’ll talk about Covington Cross — which was, apparently, partly killed by Ross Perot.  WTF.

What shows have you loved that got canceled?  Did the writers have a chance to finish telling the story, or did they disappear from the airwaves without notice?  Share in the comments!

*(I know, I know.  I was watching Star Trek: Enterprise while Firefly was airing, and I want those hours back.)


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