With ABC cancelling Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue recently, we decided to look back on other TV series that were cancelled too soon.
(1 season, 22 episodes, ended in 2012)
Sarah Michelle Geller plays a pair of twin sisters who are complete opposites. There’s Bridget, a recovering drug addict and stripper, and her wealthy sister Siobhan. The pilot shows them getting reacquainted, when Bridget wakes up to find her sister gone, under the impression she committed suicide she decides to become Siobhan. Bridget’s life soon becomes more complicated as she discovers the darker side of Siobhan’s life and that someone is trying to kill her sister.
The drama was filled with action and suspense and driven by sordid plot twists. Despite being nominating for a ton of awards and winning half of them, Ringer was cancelled due to decline in ratings after a three-month hiatus.
9. Twin Peaks
(2 seasons, 30 episodes, ended in 1991)
Much like the majority of David Lynch’s work, Twin Peaks is hard to place within an established genre. Notably like Lynch’s Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks explores the surface of a small town and the seedy underbelly of life lurking below. What is great about the serial drama is as the series progresses; characters are exposed to lead double lives. The unsettling tone, weird humour, supernatural elements all accompanied by Lynch’s love of surrealism made Twin Peaks unique and engaging.
With the serial drama’s main narrative resolving in the middle of the second season, and other story lines becoming more obscure and lengthy, interest in the program seemed to have stopped and led to cancellation.
8. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
(2 seasons, 12 episodes, ended in 2010)
The series follows an American, Todd Margaret (David Cross), who gets promoted to running the London sales team for an energy drink.
What is refreshing about this sitcom is the narrative structure. Each episode begins with a scene where Todd is in trouble – in season one, he is a defendant in a British court. The episodes then continue to flash back to portray the events leading to the dire circumstances. It has a strong cast who are no strangers to comedy such as Will Arnett, Sharon Horgan and Blake Harrison and the hilarious outcomes are due to Cross’ deliverance as a man who knows nothing about British culture, nor sales. Unfortunately with a niche audience, it only lasted for two seasons.
(1 season, 14 episodes, ended in 2002)
The show fused the Wild West theme with outer space motifs. The strange setting and premise captivated audiences immediately.
However Fox aired episodes out of order and it was soon cancelled. Only 11 out of 14 episodes aired which led to success of DVD and Blu-ray sales. The success of DVD sales led to film Serenity.
Joss Whedon’s attempt at a multi-genre program is still one of the most interesting and intriguing science fiction TV series to date.
6. Pushing Daisies
(2 seasons, 22 episodes, ended in 2009)
Forensic fairy tale, Pushing Daisies starred Lee Pace as a pie-maker with the ability to bring dead things back to life with his touch. Co-starring Anna Friel the series is quirky romantic comedy and consists of a unique visual style.
Sadly the ratings didn’t match with the hype surrounding Pushing Daisies and it was cancelled after two seasons. Since creator Bryan Fuller stated he would love to do a mini-series or a film there has been speculation about the possible future of the program.
(1 season, 6 episodes, ended in 2010)
With Peep Show star, Matt King as one of the writers Whites is a refreshing take on workplace comedy that features all aspects of a sitcom including the will-they-won’t-they romance.
Whites is about a deluded executive chef way past his prime, who runs a restaurant with his best friend Bib (Darren Boyd). Writer King based the sitcom on his experiences working in restaurants. It features a strong cast of British comedians but unfortunately it received mixed reviews. Spending cuts led to the BBC deciding it would not be renewed for a second series.
Upon cancellation Alan Davies posted on twitter: “Just heard Whites was cancelled by the BBC last week. Gutted. Worst news I’ve had in my whole career…”
4. Back to You
(1 season, 17 episodes, ended in 2008)
Like a less ridiculous Anchorman, Back to You starred Kelsey Grammer as a pompous anchor and Patricia Heaton as his snappy co-anchor. Characteristics that both actors perfected in Fraiser and Everybody Loves Raymond, but combining the two along with comfortable familiarity of workplace comedy, Back to You is a great, witty sitcom with an excellent cast.
Though it had a decent premiere, ratings soon dropped. Grammer tried his best to save the show and get it aired on another network. With mixed reviews it was suggested that ‘Til Death was renewed instead of Back to You.
3. Bored to Death
(3 seasons, 24 episodes, ended in 2011)
Author Jonathan Ames, created the show that stars Jason Schwartzman as a fictional Ames. He is a Brooklyn based novelist who spends his time with cartoonist friend Ray (Zach Galifianakis) and his boss, magazine editor George (Ted Danson).
Fresh from a breakup and struggling with his second novel, Ames posts an ad on Craigslist in an attempt to reinvent himself as a private detective. Bored to Death is a brilliantly deadpan, sitcom driven by a first person narrative. The sitcom is all about Jonathan’s attempt to find a sense of purpose.
Despite having a strong cast including funny cameos from Kristen Wiig and Kevin Bacon, as well as hilarious outcomes it was cancelled after three seasons. However Ted Danson revealed to a journalist that there is a good chance a film could happen.
2. Freaks and Geeks
(1 season, 18 episodes, ended in 2000)
Judd Apatow’s short-lived comedy introduced and eventually made stars out of Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, James Franco and Linda Cardellini to name a few. The best thing about this show was how it depicted that horribly ambiguous time of our lives people refer to as secondary / high school. It didn’t glamorise it and focused on more awkward, relatable characters. Released alongside programs that focused on sex and drama, Freaks and Geeks was a hilarious coming of age sitcom driven by growing up and figuring out who you are.
1. Arrested Development
(3 seasons, 53 episodes, ended in 2006)
This may be an obvious number one but Arrested Development is the first show that people think of when it comes to cancellations of television programs.
It is a ridiculous yet brilliantly witty comedy that follows the worlds most dysfunctional and delusional family and how they deal with their father being sent to prison for ‘creative accounting’. With an absolutely excellent cast and brilliant writers, Arrested Development provides hilarity through incredibly bizarre plotlines and subtle gags.
Despite its praise and multiple Emmy awards, the show never did well ratings wise and was cancelled after 3 seasons. A huge mistake made by FOX, one they will never live down.
However our years of protesting and speculation are over, the cult following the show picked up has led to a new mini series and a film.
– Tara Costello