Do my cats have better TV taste than you?

I’m weary of a world that doesn’t embrace a show like this. I can’t live in a world like this. Up is down, black is white, and it’s like everyone has agreed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is overpriced so we just won’t ever buy it any more. Seriously, I can’t have my (twice) yearly splurge of Phish Food?!

See, when you snub your nose at Bunheads, it’s like you’re telling me you hate good stuff.  You can watch as much reality fluff on Bravo as you want (I do!), but consider this one show your soul-saving Flintstones vitamin that you need for a balanced diet of non-crap. And I can scientifically state that Bunheads is 100% non-crap! It’s good and it’s wonderful and I’m still worried it’s going to be unjustly canceled.

Let me explain?

We’ve had ten episodes of Bunheads season one. While more episodes of Bunheads have been ordered, ABC Family has not said yet how many. And that would be a continuation of Bunheads season 1, not Bunheads season 2  But will we even get a chance to fight for a season 2 w hen it looks like the show may be canceled before then? Why is there such hesitancy when TV critics have praised the Amy Sherman-Palladino series? Below, we hope to shed some light on why you may have stayed away – and why you shouldn’t.

Contrary to popular belief, ABC Family does cancel shows sometimes. But the loss of The Nine Lives of Chloe King or Jane By Design didn’t ruffle too many feathers. Yes, cast, crew, and the majority of fans were upset. But the fanbase for these shows (as displayed by ratings) was simply not high enough. (Mercifully, you guys have gotten on board with The Lying Game! Pretty Little Liars is a smash. But nothing will ease the pain of losing Greek.) So, Bunheads could be canceled. In fact, only saying that an undisclosed number of new episodes have been ordered for episodes past ten is not showing a lot of faith in this product.

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has been very open about the fact that her show is a bit different than the ones already on ABC Family. How so? The star of the show is Sutton Foster, who is decidedly not a teenager. She’s an award-winning, beloved actress who is very talented… but she’s still not a teen. And most of the shows on this network center around the lives of teenagers. But on Bunheads, the four teen girls and their storylines come second to Michelle Simms (Foster’s character.)

Putting an older woman as the lead may keep teenage viewers at bay, while the vibe of the network might keep older viewers (women in their 20’s+) equally at a distance. Which is a shame. Because, like My So-Called Life, this is a series that can appeal to both of those demographics. It has the heart of early shows on The WB (Felicity, Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek) which says a lot when The CW has all but thrown away that vintage 90’s formula. Which is funny… because here are clearly many people who long for it.

Joshua Jackon‘s days as Pacey Witter are extremely popular on Netflix Instant Watch. Hell, how many people said, with no irony, that they’d attend a Pacey Con? Fans are not just sentimental, they crave quality that is not being consistently delivered on most networks.

Writing matters. There were many who joked that the kids on Dawson’s Creek were speaking with vocabulary words that real teenagers didn’t use. This is true. But you know what happened? These memorable quotes not only became added to 90’s teenage vocabulary (go on and ask me about “debauchery”!) but they resonated because of how well-written and delivered they were. And this is why we pay writers, because we want to enter a world that has wittier characters than we have, who sound like the best versions of ourselves. Why would you pay people to write a first draft of something and settle with “good enough”? Shows like Ringer and Melrose Place 2.0 failed, not just because of their inane plots, but because the scripts felt like early first drafts that could have been written by a mediocre 16-year-old fanfic writer.

To bring it back to Bunheads (because yea, I was having a tangent moment), the script for this show was phenomenal. The pop culture references ran the gamut from The Craft to the Cupcake ATM, the emotional insights rang with a startling truth, and the banter was witty and enjoyable to hear. This makes the show deserving of a season two.

Are there no problems? Of course there are issues. Not all of the teenage leads are as strong at maneuvering both dance and acting as it may have been hoped for. And yes, Bunheads does feel a lot like Gilmore Girls (how is this a problem?) There are kinks that can be worked out with more time.

But every episode has been a joy to watch for people who love emotional TV. The story is worth investing in. And hey, if you haven’t watched yet – there’s only ten episodes so far. You’ll marathon those quickly and salivate for more. Don’t let this become another Firefly – a case where a great show gets canceled because people are afraid of the concept, or too lazy to check it out because an executive deems it a lost cause. Because you will eventually catch some of Bunheads. And you will love it. And then you will have to pray it’s still around.

I have a suggested tagline for ABC Family… “They don’t just air shows you want your kids to watch, they air shows that you will happily sit down to watch with them.” (I have no kids. But I have two cats, and they totally watch Bunheads with me.)

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Photos: ABC Family

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Follow TV Critic Jessica Rae on Twitter @ThisJessicaRae.

Bunheads (ABC Family) was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. It stars Sutton Foster, Kelly Bishop, Kaitlyn Jenkins, Emma Dumont, Bailey Buntain, Julia Goldani Telles and Stacey Oristano.

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