Emily Nussbaum on the Curse of the Ghost TV Fan

You’d think I’d be used to this by now, so many years after weeping over the early graves of My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Wonderfalls, Relativity, Profit, Veronica Mars, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. You’d think I would no longer bear a grudge. You’d be wrong.

It’s not that I can’t pick a winner. Many years ago, I looked at a list of fall premieres and saw, as if lit up in red, Lost and Desperate Housewives. In 2005, I was a programming genius. As recently as last year, I was waving flags for Modern Family and The Good Wife. (And Dollhouse, but even I knew that was a long shot.)

But in 2010, my superpowers let me down. Instead, I fell back into my old ways, perversely yoking my heart to Lone Star (for psychological nuance), My Generation (for catnip watchability), and Huge. The first two ran for only two episodes, but Huge got a full ten, allowing me to fantasize that it might be the junior Mad Men of ABC Family, leading the network into an era of original, smart teen shows. If AMC was the new HBO, this could be the new WB.

Instead, once again, I’m a bereft ghost fan — poltergeisting around my DVR screening list, unable to just let go and move on. I actually continued to discuss Lone Star at a cocktail party a full week after it was canceled. Last night, I lay in bed wondering what happened to that Enron kid’s older brother on My Generation. And I’m clearly not alone in brooding about Huge, an emotionally rich ensemble drama about kids at a fat camp, but a hundred times better than that description sounds. There’s a whole petition to save the show and I signed it. What else could I do?

Because, of course, I know these petitions rarely work. I feel silly sending in the assorted Tabasco bottles, key fobs, locks of hair, DNA scrapings, and other symbolic miscellanea to the networks, like some lunatic throwing pebbles up at a skyscraper window. I know I should learn to love the Mentalist-like procedurals that dominate the networks these days, each with a pretty lawyer or some alarmingly emotional surgeon finding a metaphor for his or her romantic life in every single case. And nobody likes a ghost fan: Even I get sick of my Firefly whining.

Are there any shows you haven’t stopped missing, even a decade later?

Emily Nussbaum on the Curse of the Ghost TV Fan