Everybody go ahead and start to shut up now, because NBC has an announcement: Mike O’Brien’s two-season scholastic sitcom A.P. Bio has just been canceled. Starring Glenn Howerton, Patton Oswalt, and one of the best ensembles of young performers currently working in TV comedy, the show cast Howerton as a deeply unsentimental philosophy professor trapped in his own personal hell, failing to teach high school biology to Ohio over-achievers while plotting a wide variety of revenges on those he’s perceived as wronging him.
Although the series occasionally struggled to figure out its tone—Howerton’s Jack spent a lot of time telling his students he didn’t intend to emotionally connect with them, only to inevitably emotionally connect with them—it papered over most of the cracks with a cast of absolute ringers. Besides Howerton and Oswalt, the obvious stand-out among the adult cast was woman-of-the-moment Paula Pell, who between Wine Country, Documentary Now!, and her turn here as cheerfully deranged school secretary Helen, is having one hell of a year. But the real star of the show was the chemistry between Howerton and the cast of regulars playing his students, including Nick Peine as class whipping boy Marcus, Eddie Leavy as the deadpan Anthony, and most especially Allisyn Ashley Arm as Heather, Jack’s go-to teenage henchperson on his various largely-futile schemes.
It’s not hard to see why A.P Bio got knocked off the syllabus; its ratings have never been all that great, and most critics were turned off by its weaker opening season. It’s still something of a shame, though, if only because O’Brien had managed to put together a pretty phenomonal cast, and seemed well on his way to nailing down the show’s lesser elements as it finished off its second year on the air.