So remember that TV show about a bunch of quirky but lovable romantics living in Alaska, who approach the ups and downs of life and love with an affable sense of humor? No, I’m not talking about the long-dormant Northern Exposure; I’m talking about ABC’s Men in Trees, starring Anne Heche.
Earlier this week, TV Guide‘s Michael Ausiello reported that ABC has officially canceled the series, which suffered from oft-shifting time slots. It has aired on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, at various times, over the course of its two seasons since it premiered in September 2006. It was also pulled from ABC’s prime-time schedule several times (once to make room for October Road, and more recently due to the WGA strike), leaving large gaps between new episodes.
Not surprisingly, ratings for the show have been uneven. I admit, Men in Trees is not the most revolutionary show on television, but I found myself liking it and liking Anne’s character, Marin Frist, a big-city relationship expert (she writes self-help books) who relocates serendipitously to small-town Elmo, Alaska.
Yes, there were some annoying (and sometimes offensive) characters on the show, but overall the episodes that I saw were heart-warming and cozy, and I mean that in the best possible way. I freely admit that I have a big soft spot for romantic comedy, and Men in Trees did it pretty well. The relationship between Marin’s biggest fan, Annie (Emily Bergl), and Patrick (Derek Richardson) was a little bit odd and a little bit sweet.
Patrick’s mom, Elmo police chief Celia Bachelor (Cynthia Stevenson), was dry and funny.
Marin’s editor, Jane (Seana Kofoed), was a loving parody of the New York literary set, complete with great glasses.
And yeah, I even enjoyed Marin’s dalliances with all the manly men of Elmo.
I haven’t caught up with all the episodes yet, but I’m bummed that it’s over, because Men in Trees was a sweet hour of fantasy on TV. Yeah, it was idyllic, and yeah, there were fairy tale endings every week. That was the point. So if you feel like the rug was pulled out from beneath you, I agree.
ABC will air the remaining new episodes of Men in Trees beginning Wednesday, May 28. Will you be watching?