The little show that couldn’t: The Unusuals

Every once in a while I set out to watch shows that were cancelled so quickly I never got the chance to see. Sometimes it is absolutely clear why the show was cancelled and other times it is just sad that a show with a lot of potential never got the chance.

The latest show I discovered is The Unusuals. I remember when this show came out on 2009, right after Harold Perrineau left Lost and when I heard the rest of the cast list I thought this was bound to be an interesting show. Merely ten episodes later, the show was over.

The imdb description characterizes it as a “darkly comedic drama focusing on the dysfunctional cops and staff of an infamous NYPD precinct”, which I thought was a fitting description. The show is basically a procedural with a hint of dark comedy and quirky dialogue. I found myself laughing out loud more often than with many sitcoms I watch.

Probably what I thought was the most interesting part of the show was the casting. The main characters are played by Jeremy Renner (who you can catch at the latest Bourne movie) and Amber Tamblyn.  Jeremy is great as the tough but charming cop and I am so glad they gave Amber an interesting character as opposed to the winy girls she always seems to find herself playing.

As mentioned, Harold Perrineau is also one of the cops and he does a wonderful job as a paranoid schizophrenic who is convinced he is going to die before his 42nd birthday. His partner is played by Adam Goldberg, who is always fun to watch. The rest of the supporting characters are a collection of “unusual” individuals including the obligatory lady-detective with a hard exterior yet vulnerable inside and the d-bag with a hot wife who always talks in the third person.

The Unusuals is an interesting show with a very distinctive tone. I will not say this is the greatest show of all times, but I believe it is much better than the other million cop shows that are still on the air.

Where to watch it? The entire season is available on Hulu and Amazon Instant Video (free for prime members)

Is it worth watching? It won’t change your life, but I enjoyed the 10 episodes and didn’t feel I was wasting my time.  
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. My husband and I just discovered this show on our Roku and watched all the episodes. We were both disappointed it was limited to just one season!!! (January 2024)

  2. Wasn’t it about this time that Jeremy Renner did The Hurt Locker, and his career took off? Would have been hard to continue without him. So many threads were left hanging, it did seem another season was planned.

  3. This article did not age well. Leo Banks was not schizophrenic, btw you should know by now not to throw psychological diagnosis around like you actually have any actual education or qualifications on the subject.

    Secondly, Leo was not paranoid he was going to die before his 42nd birthday, he WAS 42 & was convinced he was going to die at the age of 42, before his 43rd birthday. His father & grandfather both died at 42 & he was convinced it was his family curse/fate.

    Finally, this show is awesome. I had never heard of it before coming across it last week & I binged entire season 1 & then googled to see if there was a season 2 & sadly no. Although, it worked out for Jeremy Renner to go on to much bigger things which he wouldn’t of been able to do if he stayed on this show.

  4. I started watching this program and found it very interesting, lots of fun, with depth, humor, enough drama without being too much drama. Basically, it's a well-balanced police drama where no one actor takes over the other actor's character. Many of the actors I hadn't seen much at all and really enjoyed the fact that for me they were relatively new. I feel strongly that it was a lack of foresight for what viewers would like to see more of. It seems to have been arbitrarily canceled by a few who wanted some other kind of programming which would have been the rehashing that we now are seeing in many of the shows, and they're not intriguing nor are they interesting. When a series like this gets canceled after so little time being aired, It's a kick in the face to the writers, producers and actors who put a lot into making a unique and not overly dramatic series which pretty much anyone could enjoy. I watched a number of episodes one after the other, because it was similar to reading a book where you wanted to get to the next chapter and see what would happen next. This is the kind of police, drama, mystery, etc., which I want to see more of. I don't believe I'm alone in this opinion!!! It definitely should have been continued for a number of seasons. And if more people were aware it was out there, being well advertised to many, I believe it would run for certainly more than a partial seasonlll There was a lot of material left to cover and it's disappointing for a lot of viewers. When a series drama, mystery, that has this much character to it with great acting and interesting storyline, gets deleted for some of the shows that are now being shoved down our throats, and are basically rehashes of the same old things, it means that those doing the programming are certainly out of touch. I want more programs like this with actors who are not out of sync with today's audiences. To have actors who are portraying people in a way that is actually plausible, is a breath of fresh air in the television entertainment industry. Please, someone reconsider deleting these kinds of more unique programmings. There are a lot of us out here who would like to see more programs like this, with actors who are not always on the screen all the time. I hope somebody on the other end of this is actually listening and maybe does a poll to see how other people are feeling about these kinds of actors and these kinds of programs. Entertainment is supposed to be just that, entertainment. When everything you see on the television is a rehashing of the thing you saw last week, it loses its character, it's uniqueness, and you know exactly what's going to happen when there should be a gradual buildup rather than just smack in your face! Hopefully the others who have commented on this will continue to share this program with their friends in the hopes that there will be remakes of this program with the same actors, and similar storylines, to enter tain and bring good quality humor, drama, and television programming back in to Vogue.


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