A supernatural glitch in your DVR occurs. At first you panic, hitting lots of random buttons on your remote control, but then are RELIEVED to discover that no, your entire series recording of Golden Girls has not been deleted! But then, just as things appear to be back to normal, there's a puff of smoke, and a fairy appears! You have apparently freed the TV fairy from a televised hell in which she was made to watch endless reruns of Are You Hot?, and as fairies tend to be when freed, she is very grateful and wants to grant you magic wishes.
Now, the fairy has only TV-related powerz, and so she offers you the chance to go back in time and retroactively CHANGE the history of your favorite TV shows with 3.5 wishes!
You can go back in time and erase from the fabric of TV history THREE individual episodes of any TV show you want! The rest of the series(es) will not be altered. What do you choose?
1) Oh, that's easy, 'Wrecked' from BtVS Season Six. The one with 'just say no to drugs=magic=sex with Spike' - there is a lot wrong with Season Six, as well as much that I love, but that one is actively maddening in a way that even the return of Riley is not, though, now I mention it, that is a tough call. But other episodes have to be deleted and I must not waste even part of a wish.
2) 'Closure' from X-Files Season Six. If there is one thing worse than a mystery that is never solved, it is the dumb solution. Discovering that Mulder's sister Samantha was in fact carried off to a better place by fairies is the point at which I nearly abandoned the show forever, and I would have regretted that.
3) Xena 'Married with Fishsticks'- the dumb mermaid sitcome episode. That is forty minutes of hell that I want never to have happened. Xena was good to me, mostly, even during its Christian phase and the cover versions musical, but that was inexcusable.
You can go back in time and revive ONE unfairly cancelled television show and return it to the annals of TV history!* *CHOOSE WISELY, because if you attempt to revive more than one show, the wish will backfire and you'll instead be treated to a whole bunch of crappy made-for-TV "reunion" movies full of replacement actors.
That is a tough call, because to pick my first choice does rule out other shows that I love dearly. I guess that I use the wish unselfishly and go with 'Twin Peaks' because that was a show that did so much that was awesome and ground-breaking in terms of demonstrating that audiences could be hornswoggled and love it. It had Audrey Horne and the cherry stalks; it had the demon Bob; and it had David Duchovny as Denise. Yes, folks, before Ava Moore and Alexis Meade, there was Agent Denise, and she was disturbingly pretty, given Duchovny's subsequent career. Of course, if 'Twin Peaks' went on, there might not have been an 'X-Files'.
So, as a supplementary, if 'Twin Peaks' would be too great a disturbance in the Force, what to go for? 'Popular' probably, because I always wanted to find out what happened next to Brooke and Sam and Nicole, but then there is the risk that Ryan Murphy might not have had the iron enter into his soul and get to do the far more bitter and twisted show that 'Nip-Tuck' is. (And, by the way, absent the dud bit with the witness protection programme, why do people hate Season Three so much? The Carver plot is a piece of brilliance and entirely fits the whole shadow double structure of the show's other seasons. But I will write my essay later and not here.)
Of course, I could go for the real stamping on a butterfly and changing the world route and opt for 'Rock Follies', a show that aired before many of you were born. The rise and fall of a crappy 70s girl band, with more femslash potential than you could wave a drumstick at, and Stephen Moore as the depressed husband of one of the three. Comedy Gold and interestingly terrible music. On my first trip to the US, I made myself very popular in an NY drag bar by spoiling the other drinkers for several hours with a close account of the second season - in those days, my memory for lines and actions was improved by alcohol rather than otherwise, and they kept the drinks coming, oh yes they did.
To balance out the historical TV viewing schedule, you now have the power to retroactively CANCEL, at any point during the series, any one show! Alternately, you can wield your destructive might and DELETE one whole entire series from ever having been made.
I am tempted to make myself unpopular and say that, good as it was, 'Firefly' needed to be thoroughly baked for two or three more years of thinking and that Joss should have finished what he was working on viz, 'BtVS' and 'Angel' rather than haring off to do something else not especially well. But there are great episodes and great characters and 'Serenity', so I will go with the safe option and cancel 'Alias' before that awful fifth season. In fact, I am almost tempted to take out Season Four, in spite of Nadia, or Season Three, in spite of the girlslash potential. The show I loved was the one with Irina Derevko in it, and her sisters did not really count, even when they were Isabella Rosellini and Sonia Braga. Power does go to the head, I find - bwahaha.
LIFE AND DEATH! You can now bring ONE character back from the dead... and, to restore the balance, you must also kill off a character! They don't have to be from the same fandom.
This too is a tough call, but only because it is hard for me to say whether I am more irritated by the loss of Cordelia or the loss of Lilah from 'Angel'. Two great women characters, sacrificed to the network's demands for more Spike (not, let us be clear, that I mind Spike in S5 of 'Angel' one little bit.) It has, in the end, to be Cordelia, my fanfic muse, simply because there are so many things in S5 where her presence would have made for Comedy Gold - can I say, Cordelia and Puppet Angel, Cordelia and Illyria?
It would be cheating to sacrifice PC Reg Hollis or Ken Barlow,(notoriously dull UK soap characters you don't know about, USians), and predictable to kill Riley. I spent some minutes contemplating the heroic death of Xander at an early stage in Season Seven, torn to pieces by the Ubervamp and actually getting to do something interesting in a season that felt like Nick Brendon was waiting to get out of jail. In the end, though, it has to be the very annoying Harper from 'Andromeda', because I hate him. And if the fairy throws in Dylan and the priest, I won't complain. I wish, I really wish, that that show had been about its women characters and not all that tiresome boy angst - I might have watched it for them...
Bonus tradeoff: you can delete a single scene, relationship pairing or plot arc from any series that gave you hives... AND you can plug in any one [scene, pairing, plot arc] that you never got to see!
Another tough call - the Quadrangle of Doom is a strong contender, of course, as are various things mentioned above. In terms of sheer 'hide my eyes' potential, though, it would be the self-sacrificing love of the irritating Marcus for the glorious Ivanova; wimpy man pesters strong dyke is never an attractive plot line.
Well, of course, I am spoiled for choice as to the trade/off. Buffy/Faith; Chiana/Jool; Julia/Ava; Wesley/Giles (and that almost got to be semi-canon if we can trust the commentaries). In the interests of sanity, though, I have to decree that it is the plotline in which someone explains to Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew how the whole Civil War aftermath/Wild West thing in 'Firefly' is a meme implanted in the inhabitants of the Outer Planets by the Alliance in order to keep them dumb and poor - it would have been so easy for Joss Whedon to have fixed that nonsense, and he never ever did.