At some time in our lives, we’ve all stumbled across a TV show and fallen completely head-over-heels in love with it. You’ve devoured every episode as rapidly as you can, grown very attached to the characters, and started concocting your own wild speculations about what will happen next.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, your new favorite TV show is canceled — and it’s usually (horribly) right after the mother of all cliffhangers. Ugh.
What causes awful things to happen to good television shows? Perhaps it’s because the show’s ratings were lower than expected, or because the show’s star signed a major film contract, or because the network shifted its focus to other projects.
But sometimes it’s just because the television gods are cruel.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some Canceled tv shows before their time.
So please dress respectfully, put on a black veil, and join us for our In Memoriam address.
Is it possible that this list would exist without Firefly? You’re absolutely correct.
The show – set 500 years in the future after a universal civil war and created by Joss Whedon, oh he of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame – is certainly the most frequently referenced series when “cancelled too soon” discussions crop up.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, the series follows the crew of the Serenity, a small transport vessel. This ragtag group of misfits, who are more like family than coworkers, are willing to take on any job the big bad frontier throws at them as long as it a) feeds them, b) keeps them out of the Alliance’s crosshairs, and c) keeps them away from the horrifying flesh-eating monsters who live on the universe’s outskirts.
Firefly, like Buffy, was sci-fi at its most human, enthralling audiences with emotionally driven storylines and hysterically amusing dialogue. However, because the episodes were broadcast out of order, the series’ ratings were (naturally) low, and it was cancelled before it had a chance to shine.
Thankfully, Whedon reunited the Firefly cast for a sequel, Serenity, so we didn’t have to wait to find out what occurred next. Despite this, fans continue to demand that the series be given another chance, even after all these years.
Perhaps one day, eh?
High Fidelity, a Hulu original series, rehashed the classic story of Nick Hornby’s original novel and the film version of the same name “from a female perspective,” and it did so with elegance.
It was favorably welcomed by critics and fans alike, starring Zoe Kravitz as the “ultimate music enthusiast and record store owner who is fascinated with pop culture and Top Five lists.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save the show from cancellation after only one season.
“I want to send a shout out to my #highfidelity family,” Kravitz wrote on Instagram in response to the news. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our show.
“It’s cool,” she wrote in the comments area. At the very least, we can watch a variety of different shows starring women of color on Hulu. Oh, no.”
Hmm. We’re wondering if Hulu could be persuaded to alter their minds on this one…?
Wasn’t the OA fantastic? The OA was really fantastic.
Prairie, a young woman who has been absent for seven years, returns home in the series created by and starring Brit Marling. Prairie’s quick reappearance isn’t the only amazing occurrence, as everyone is taken aback when they realize she’s no longer blind.
So, what exactly happened during her disappearance? We won’t give anything away, but it’s not what you’d anticipate. Isn’t it too terrible that the season two conclusion left more questions than answers for viewers?
The OA stars Brit Marling.
That’s right: its abrupt cancellation by Netflix after two seasons sparked widespread outrage, a flashmob, and even a hunger strike.
“Your thoughts and photographs impact us deeply,” Marling said in a long Instagram post in response to the #SavetheOA initiative. Not because the program should be renewed, but because its abrupt cancellation raises wider concerns about the function of storytelling and its fate within late capitalism’s desire for consolidation and economies of scale for some.”
Tru Calling, starring Eliza Dushku and a pre-Hangover Zach Galifinakis, is an outlier on this list, but we stand by it. Why? Because it could very well be the best awful TV program ever filmed.
The series follows Tru (Dushku), a medical student who ends up working at the local morgue after her hospital internship falls through. But on her first day, she discovers that she can travel back in time for one day to assist individuals whose frozen and lifeless bodies end up on the slab. That is to say, she is seen dashing around stopping murders and other tragedies as best she can in the series.
Tru’s life becomes even more complicated halfway through the first season when she encounters a man who shares her skills but strives to protect “the hand of Fate” by ensuring that the individuals Tru tries to save stay dead. Isn’t it engrossing?
Yeah. We’d have liked to see how things played out if the show hadn’t been terminated at the end of season two.
You might not have seen Pitch, but if you haven’t, it’s well worth seeing.
Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) has her aspirations come true when she is admitted into a Major League squad as a pitcher in the ill-fated show.
However, as she begins her professional baseball career, her gender proves to be a greater barrier than she anticipated.
Given that this baseball drama has a phenomenal 94 percent ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you’d think Fox would have invested in more than 10 episodes. Unfortunately, because of its time slot, it was competing with football games, and as a result, it never generated a large enough audience for the network’s liking.
Mind you, there are rumors of a revival circulating, so stay tuned.
In Sense8, eight strangers from all over the world are drawn together by a violent vision, then by their common capacity to interact with one another’s thoughts and actions, and last by the pressing need to figure out what happened and why. Their interest is piqued, but as they search for answers, they are pursued by a mystery organization intent on annihilating them.
Yes, Sense8 was a gripping thriller, and fans were enthralled by it. Fans of the Netflix comedy were understandably disappointed when it was canceled after only two seasons by the streaming provider.
“You’re going to want to cancel it at some point if you don’t have the viewership showing up to justify the expenditure of the series,” Netflix VP Cindy Holland told the Radio Times.
Sense8 fans, on the other hand, were given a bone in the form of a two-and-a-half-hour series finale, which brought the series to a close.
Heroes may only have a 53 percent ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has a devoted following.
For those who have yet to succumb to its allure, it tells the story of a group of regular individuals who obtain extraordinary skills for no apparent reason. Yes, they use their abilities to avert disasters and save humanity from annihilation. People liked it because of the pulpy comic book feel.
Heroes aired for only four seasons, with 77 episodes and over 30 “minisodes” available online. Heroes Reborn, a 13-episode reboot, follows the first run in 2015. And, if you’re still mourning the loss of the inventive and satisfying superhero series, you’re in luck: the full season is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
Agent Carter from Marvel was only on the air for two seasons before being cancelled in 2016. A decision that, to be honest, still irritates us.
Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, is crushed after her boyfriend Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) goes missing and is assumed dead in the series.
Peggy, ever the warrior, combines her administrative duties with her new employment as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent under Howard Stark to make the world a better place.
Atwell told The AV Club, “It’s a shame the network cancelled it and wanted to place me in something more mainstream.”
“Marvel didn’t want it to end,” Atwell continued.
“There are numerous online campaigns calling for her return. Her fans adored her. I believe it was simply a business decision on the part of the network: ‘Let’s put Hayley Atwell in something more broad, less genre-specific, and see if we can achieve bigger numbers.’
“Unfortunately, as an actor, I don’t have any influence over that.” However, it’s likely that characters like Peggy Carter, in subtle ways, lay the way for more female-led stories to emerge. We’re all having the same discussion.”
The second season of ITV’s star-studded version of Sanditon – Jane Austen’s unfinished seaside romance, which she famously abandoned four months before her death in 1817 – had always been planned.
It starred Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood, a joyful and eccentric woman who travels away from her countryside birthplace to Sanditon, a fishing village attempting to remake itself as a beach resort. In a plot that carried us from small coastal villages to the West Indies to London, she was exposed to the town’s “intrigues and dalliances” (and “quite a bit of nude bathing”).
There were plenty of bonnets, of course. Naturally, Charlotte was smitten by the charming and charming Sidney Parker (Theo James) – after all, it wouldn’t be an Austen novel without a hearty dose of romance, right?
Fans, on the other hand, were left heartbroken when the season concluded on a cliffhanger rather than a joyful conclusion, with Charlotte and Sidney crying as they said their goodbyes.
“I’m not sure whether you could tell from watching it, but we were hoping for a second series!” writer Andrew Davies subsequently remarked.
“We figured that if we wrapped up Charlotte and Sidney at the end of the first series, we’d have to introduce a new heroine or something along those lines in the second series.”
Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte Heywood in Sanditon, attends a ball as Charlotte Heywood.
“I sympathize with everyone who was disappointed that Charlotte and Sidney did not have their happy ending,” Davies continued.
“However, happy endings do not always occur.”
Santa Clarita Diet
Santa Clarita Diet, which successfully mixed horror and comedy into one huge delightful zombie milkshake, won this writer’s heart.
The first episode of the series, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as married realtors Sheila and Joel, had their life flipped upside down when Sheila… well, when she basically became a flesh-eating undead zombie.
Despite the obvious drawbacks of the metamorphosis, Sheila ended up looking and feeling better than ever, even if her marriage was undeniably shattered.
The Netflix series, however, was canceled after only three seasons, meaning we’ll never know what happened when Sheila sank her teeth into Joel’s neck.
Victor Fresco and Tracy Katsky, who created the show, expressed their disappointment in a statement, saying, “Like our fans, we were all-in on Sheila and Joel.” Their love story, despite enormous difficulty, was both motivating to write and see. They were mostly amusing, which is crucial in a comedy.”
“Netflix took a chance on this unusual show, and for that we will be eternally thankful,” they continued. They were encouraging, upbeat, and grateful of our efforts. Until around 12 p.m. today.
“Even so, they were only a phone call away from being the ideal studio.” It’s not bad. Everything comes to an end. There was a time when this was a thing. And that was the end of it.”
Star starred Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny, Brittany O’Grady, Queen Latifah, Quincy Brown, and Amiyah Scott as three great singers who are fleeing their pasts and longing for a fresh start as they negotiate the ruthless music industry.
It was gripping. It was quite addicting. It was jam-packed with lovely musical moments. It looked like it was going to be the musical TV drama to end all musical TV dramas, until it was discontinued after only three seasons.
However, there is some good news for Star fans: producer and director Lee Daniels has said that the show will return as a “movie of the week to tie things off for y’all.”
“Be prepared for a two-hour farce!!!!!” Daniels expressed himself on Instagram.
Anne, With an E
This Netflix series, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic 1908 novel, is set in 1890 and follows Anne Shirley, a 13-year-old orphan who has spent her entire childhood in terrible institutions and strangers’ homes.
She is, however, forced to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother due to a fortunate mishap. Over time, the redheaded daydreamer succeeds in improving the lives of everyone around her, and she thrives in her new existence on Prince Edward Island.
Fans of the novel loved the show, and many of them took to Twitter to express their disappointment when it was discontinued after three seasons.
Moira Walley-Beckett, the show’s creator and executive producer, commented on Instagram, “I’m sorry for the sad Netflix/CBC news today.” I wish it could be otherwise, but it isn’t possible. After three beautiful seasons, we have arrived at the end of the red Green Gables road. My heart is heavy, but I’m so proud of this show – proud of my wonderful cast, crew, writers, and directors for working so hard to bring Anne With An E to life in my vision.
“I know you adored this series as much as I did, and for that I am eternally grateful.”
Luke Cage, directed by Mike Colter, premiered in 2016 to a lot of fanfare. The gritty, action-packed drama chronicles the development of a man with super strength and impenetrable skin as he struggles to heal a shattered heart and rebuild a quiet life in Harlem, New York, as a result of a failed experiment.
For two seasons, the show was a fan favorite. “Unfortunately,” Marvel and Netflix said in a joint statement, “Marvel’s Luke Cage will not return for a third season.”
“Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the committed showrunner, writers, cast, and crew that have brought Harlem’s Hero to life for the past two seasons, as well as all of the series’ fans.”
Jessica Jones was terminated by Netflix after a massive 40+ hours of character development, leaving this writer, like many other fans of the superhero series, heartbroken.
Over the course of three 13-episode seasons and a part in The Defenders, the private detective has seen more screentime than any other MCU movie character, including Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, combined.
The fact that Jessica is so much more than a Marvel heroine — she’s a Marvel character developed for and for women – is far more essential.
Jessica Jones is the latest in a long line of Netflix TV programs to be canceled.
Jess was first introduced to us as a bourbon-swilling cop who works night shifts in the slums of New York City. She wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, she’s a sassy, scrappy, caustic (bordering on unpleasant) woman who’s almost dangerously addicted to drink, has relationship issues, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
What was the catalyst behind this? In flashbacks, we saw David Tennant’s Kilgrave drag Jessica into an extramarital affair, shattering her friendships and familial ties, and effectively isolating her from the rest of the world. We also saw him command her to “smile” anytime he wanted, which was a clear reference to street harassment.
It was for this reason that Jess chose to distance herself from her friends and abandon her prior life as a superhero.
Yes, Jessica Jones tackled some difficult topics including abortion, rape, domestic abuse, obsession, and addiction in her series. But it did it brilliantly, presenting trauma in a fresh light… and, by rendering a superhero impotent, eloquently reminded us that abuse may strike anybody at any time.
Geeks & Freaks
Sadly, Freaks & Geeks was never renewed for a second season, but you can guarantee there’s still a lot of affection for Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s show.
The acclaimed teen comedy-drama, set in 1980, featured a group of misfit high-school students as they struggled to grow up and fit in. What is the major focus? Lindsay, a gifted student who abandoned her straight-A image to hang out with the burnouts, and her brother Sam, who is bullied but receives moral support from his nerdy mates.
The comedy, which starred Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, and James Franco, had a terrific cast as well as tremendously witty writing. Unfortunately, Freaks & Geeks’ major competition in the time period was the enormously popular game program Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which averaged 18 million viewers. Due to low ratings, the show was canceled, and we were left wondering what happened to Lindsay and her friends.
Thankfully, the entire event is currently available to see on 4oD. Just in case you’re curious…
The Get Down goes deep into the life, art, music, and dancing of a group of young people in the South Bronx in the late 1970s, when New York is on the verge of bankruptcy and disco is dying out.
The show has been acclaimed for its heartfelt celebration of the beginnings of hip-hop, as well as its brilliant kaleidoscope of genre genres. It is easily one of the most expensive Netflix shows ever created.
Despite this, the show was only renewed for one season.
“The simple reality is, I make movies,” showrunner Baz Luhrmann remarked on Facebook in response to the news. “And the problem about movies is that you can’t have anything else in your life when you’re directing them.”
“As for the show’s true future, The Get Down’s soul, and the story it has begun to tell… It has a life of its own. Because of you, the fans and supporters, the story lives on today and will continue to be recounted someplace, sometime.”
My So-Called Existence
My So-Called Life, which aired for one season on ABC in the United States and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom from 1994 to 1995, was a haven for youthful angst.
Angela, a high-schooler in continual conflict about her exposure to boyfriends, friends, drugs, sex, and plenty more 90s teen trappings, starred Claire Danes as a 15-year-old girl looking for her identity in the much-loved series.
While the show has now become a cult favorite, it was originally canceled due to low ratings and Danes’ unwillingness to repeat her role as Angela Chase for another season. (It’s worth noting that she appeared alongside Leonard DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in 1996.) As a result, the show finished with a massive cliffhanger.
Thankfully, Winnie Holzman, the show’s creator, has responded to the burning topic on everyone’s mind: Is Angela dating Jordan or Brian? Jordan is the answer.
“I imagined a situation in which Angela and Jordan are dating, Delia and Brian are dating, and Angela and Brian are always seeking advise and help from each other about their own disastrous relationships,” she told EW.
Following the incredible adventures of female medics in the British Army, Our Girl has long been popular with fans. The BBC One drama will not be renewed for a fifth season, according to recent reports.
Michelle Keegan, who played Sgt. Georgie Lane on the military drama, left the show after the fourth season, which aired in April 2020.
Tony Grounds, the show’s creator and writer, has recently notified the Radio Times that the BBC and the show’s creative team have decided not to pursue a new lead.
“With Georgie ready to move on with her life in the fourth season finale, it feels like the proper moment for us to do the same,” she said.
“Michelle and I are keen to maintain our professional relationship and, who knows, maybe we’ll catch up with Georgie in the future,” Grounds continued, giving supporters a ray of optimism.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to the show’s fans; it’s been a pleasure to write.”
Veronica Mars is a fictional character created by Veronica Mars
Even though Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was a rape survivor, she refused to let her ordeal define her. Instead, she refused to lose sight of the fact that she was not to blame for her rape, and she spent the entire series trying to find out who her rapist was and bring him to justice, which she finally does in the last episode.
It’s unsurprising that the show has been acclaimed for providing the most “genuine” portrayal of rape’s long-term consequences. It’s therefore understandable that viewers were disappointed when the show was canceled after only three seasons. However, after Bell and original creator Rob Thomas began a campaign to gather financing for a feature picture, everyone’s favorite Californian adolescent sleuth and student reappeared years later.
They raised $5.7 million (£4.4 million) on Kickstarter, surpassing their $2 million (£1.5 million) goal, and the film was released in 2014. In 2020, the show will return for a fourth season.
After his bachelor’s degree is revoked, lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) returns to community college, where he forms a study group with a few oddballs, as anyone who has binge-watched the program on Netflix will already know.
Despite consistently low ratings and the fear of cancellation, Community was renewed for six seasons. So it shouldn’t be accused of being “cancelled too soon,” according to all sources.
We were promised “six seasons and a movie,” though. And, yes, that film is still owed to us.