When ABC canceled* the insane-office-politics sitcom Better Off Ted in February, they decided not to show the last two episodes. I don’t know what they were waiting for, or why they didn’t just throw them on at 3am on a Sunday to get it over with, except that it would have let people watch it on DVR and Hulu. They eventually decided to show the two episodes in the timeslot for the seventh game of the NBA finals in June, since the finals never go to a seventh game…except, of course, this year they did.

I was beginning to think we’d have to wait for the DVDs just to be able to see the last two episodes…except there was no sign of a season 2 DVD release, either.

The wait is over: as of the first of the month, Better Off Ted Season 2 is available online at Netflix Instant, Amazon Video on Demand, and iTunes. The whole season, including those last two episodes!

We watched them both tonight. They were great: just as funny, quirky, absurd (in every sense of the word) and uncomfortable as ever.

I’m really going to miss this show. Really, I’ve been missing it since February, but there was always that thought that, somewhere in a network vault there were two more new episodes to see, if ABC would ever let them out.

For now, they’re streaming online. Here’s hoping for an eventual DVD or Blu-Ray release — some form of semi-permanent library. Because I don’t trust ABC to keep the show available long-term.

*Technically they didn’t officially cancel it until May, but production was shut down and they hadn’t shown an episode since February. It was pretty clear they weren’t going to bring it back.

So, the last few TV shows I was waiting to hear about have been officially canceled.

FlashForward is two episodes away from its season — now series — finale. I’ll miss it a little, but I think I’ll miss what it could have been a lot more than I’ll miss what it actually was. The book was fascinating, and the pilot episode was absolutely fantastic, but since then it’s just been a study in missteps and missed opportunity, week after week. It was canceled yesterday. At least they built the first season around a one-year main arc, rather than relying on future seasons happening.

Heroes I won’t miss at all, actually. I loved season one, and even liked most of season two, flawed as it was…but I gave up on it during season three. The “Villains” arc was just plain annoying. I gave each of the following arcs a shot, but “Fugitives” is the kind of story that always bugs me, and “Redemption” just didn’t grab me at all. It was canceled today.

Better off Ted, though…that one I’ll miss. This one followed the Pushing Daisies path so precisely it’s bizarre: A short first season with Too Good to Last stamped all over it, then a surprise renewal, then cancellation halfway through season two…with several episodes left unshown. Maybe now that it’s officially toast, ABC will put the unaired episodes up at 3AM on a Sunday or something…again, like they did with Pushing Daisies. Or maybe we’ll just have to wait for the DVD. (There’d better be a DVD.)

Oh, well. Just like with Pushing Daisies, it’s a season more than I thought we’d see.

Next year: At least Castle will be back, and Leverage starts season three next month. I haven’t been paying much attention to new shows, but I’ve been keeping half an eye on No Ordinary Family, sort of a Fantastic Four/Incredibles type show about a family that gains super-powers, mostly because the mom is a speedster. (She’s also Darla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.) It was picked up by ABC yesterday. I suspect this means that if the show actually proves to be good, it’ll get two short seasons with the last three episodes left unaired for five months.

The final season of Lost is off to a good start. They found a way to follow through on the cosmic reset button that didn’t bug the heck out of me, explained some things, and set up an intriguing direction for the final arc. It will be really interesting to see how the two narratives relate.

The only downside is that it looks like ABC has decided to throw Better Off Ted under the bus. I was really hoping that it was only preempted for the two-hour premiere, but there’s no sign of it next week. It would be nice if they’d at least let the show finish out the season.

Also: really angry at ABC News’s scare tactics of “OMG Al Qaeda intends to attack us!” Um, yeah. We knew that. We’ve known that for over a decade. We’ve known that since before 9/11. Trying to scare your viewers into a panic at every commercial break is not what I’d call responsible journalism.

Anyway, Lost spoilers below

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Seriously, doesn’t this chair look like it was made of the material they were trying to find a use for in the first episode of Better Off Ted…and turned into a chair so irritating that it increased worker productivity because people couldn’t get comfortable? (You can see it in the middle of this 10-minute preview.)


It was the chair in our hotel room (the converted bank office with the impressive lobby). Fortunately it wasn’t nearly as scratchy as Viridian Dynamics’ “Focus Master.” (Incidentally: more Better off Ted episodes are starting up in a couple of weeks for the summer!)

Some graffiti on plywood in the Gaslamp District area:

And then there was this “You Are Under Surveillance” sign. Something about the combination of the sign, the stairway, and all the posters on the walls just looked interesting.

A quick look at TV shows we’ve been watching this season.

Lost – Good season, learned a lot more than I expected about DHARMA, major cliffhanger. Renewed for a final season…in 2010. (Hard to believe that’s less than a year away)

Pushing Daisies – managed to maintain the tone & quality, but canceled halfway through the year. Supposed to get the last 3 episodes starting at the end of the month. A 12-issue comic book miniseries has already been announced.

Bones – I only saw a few episodes, but liked them, and Katie’s been watching it regularly. Fun off-format season finale w/ a nasty cliffhanger. Returning, according to the voiceover during the credits.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – turned out to be a surprisingly solid, complex show. No word on renewal yet, but I’d like to see more. Update 6: canceled.

Dollhouse: Started off weak, but got really interesting as the season progressed. It’s not a comfortable show by any means. No word on renewal, but if I had to choose between this and T:SCC, I’d take SCC. Update 2: Unofficial sources say it’s renewed, but I wouldn’t count my actives until they’re all back for their treatments.

Heroes: I gave up 2 episodes into the “Fugitives” arc, but Katie kept watching. Deeply problematic show but its high points were very good. Renewed, and I hope it’ll improve next year.

Better Off Ted – fun, painful, quirky all rolled into one. Sort of like a less-nerdy Dilbert or Office Space. I’d like to see more, but it doesn’t seem likely. Update 3: Holy crap, it’s been renewed! That’s a bigger surprise than Dollhouse!

Castle – favorite of this year’s mid-season replacements. Would definitely like to see more, but would be okay if this turned out to be all. Unlike, say, Drive. Update 1: Cool! It’s been renewed!

Battlestar Galactica – finished off with a very good final season. Caprica, on the other hand, was tedious. May take another look at it when the series launches.

Update 4: Forgot to mention The Unusuals, which we checked out, but neither of us found interesting enough to stick with. The ads built it up to be…well…unusual, and it wasn’t. Castle and Bones both routinely dealt with more unusual cases. For anyone who did like it, prospects look dim. Update 7: canceled.

Update 5: EW has a running tally of all the network shows.

Update 8 (May 18): The decisions are in for all of them now. I’m sad to see Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles canceled (especially in the same week that Terminator: Salvation opens), and I’m still annoyed at losing Pushing Daisies halfway through the season, but the other shows we watch have had a remarkably good survival rate this year.