There’s nothing more disappointing than becoming invested in a TV show and finding out that it’s been cancelled. As we’ve seen time and time again, even a great show can get the boot. Critical acclaim doesn’t make up for low ratings, which is one of the most common reasons for show cancellations.
On that note, here is a list of shows that were cancelled too soon.
Re-watching Popular now is like opening a time capsule from 2001. The show is filled with celebrity name drops like Alicia Silverstone and Leo DiCaprio (in his Catch Me If You Can days), as well as artists like Hanson and Limp Biscuit. There’s even a Backstreet Boys/NSYNC debate early in the first season, not to mention metallic jackets and nose rings still being used as a symbol for rebellion.
In terms of a high school drama, Popular had a lot going for it. The show told the story of Brooke McQueen (Leslie Bibb) and Sam McPherson (Carly Pope), two teenage girls on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum who despise each other. Their world is rocked when they’re forced to coexist after their parents become engaged.
My So-Called Life (1994)
My So-Called Life ran for only one season, yet still holds the title as being the epitome of teen dramas. The show ends with The Letter — you know, the one that was birthed from Brian Krakow’s (Devon Gummersall) heart but penned by Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto). Even after Angela Chase (Clare Danes) finds out that Brian was the one who told Jordan what to write, she still chooses Jordan, and it breaks the audience’s heart. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Freaks and Geeks (2000)
Another show that only blessed us with one season and could have given us 10 more. Although “Discos and Dragons” was only meant to be the season one finale, it works well as a series finale. At the end of the series, we see Lindsay lie to her family as she skips out on summer school to follow the Grateful Dead on tour. The episode ends with the audience watching Lindsay drive away with Kim Kelly, and what happens next is left to our imagination. Considering the fact that Paul Feig “figured something bad was going to happen to Lindsay when she was out with the Dead,” it’s probably better the show ended the way it did.
Despite receiving critical acclaim, this dark comedy was cancelled due to low ratings. The show about a woman who tries to get her life back after a series of unfortunate events only ran for two seasons, though it was still very well done.
Dead Like Me (2003)
According to good old Google, Showtime allegedly cancelled Dead Like Me due to “a loss of quality and a sense the problems would continue.” Ouch. Dead Like Me was a comedy-drama about an 18-year-old who dies and becomes a grim reaper. It sounds dark, but it was a great show whose unique premise allowed it to tell the stories of both a teenager’s (Georgia Lass played by Ellen Muth) “life” post-mortem, as well as the way her family deals with her death.
The Get Down (2016)
Another great show gone too soon. The Get Down was a musical drama that told the story of a group of teenagers living in the Bronx in the 1970s, during the rise of hip hop and disco music. The show only ran for one season, which was released in two parts for a total of 11 episodes.
Twin Peaks (1990)
This David Lynch-directed crime drama is credited with paving the way for shows like The X-Files. Twin Peaks only ran for two seasons and told the story of an investigation that followed the death of teen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). On June 10, 1991, 10.4 million American households tuned in to watch the series finale “Beyond Life and Death.” The show was recently revived by Lynch earlier this year and has received mixed reviews so far.
Veronica Mars (2004)
Rob Thomas’ show about a teen private investigator in the small town of Neptune ran for three memorable seasons (albeit season three wasn’t its strongest). The show’s final episode, “The Bitch is Back,” ended on a huge cliffhanger and left us watching Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) walk off into the rain, only to reveal later that a fourth season wasn’t happening. However, never underestimate a strong fan base. On March 13, 2013, six years after the show ended, Rob Thomas opened a Kickstarter campaign to create a follow-up Veronica Mars movie. The campaign’s goal of $2 million was quickly surpassed. Fans ended up raising over $5 million in just 10 hours, breaking multiple records, including the largest successful film project on Kickstarter.
This shortlived series gained a massive following, particularly after its first and only season went to DVD. Because of this, Joss Whedon ended up following up this post-apocalyptic story with a film called Serenity, and later a comic book series.
Unfortunately, a TV series can be widely acclaimed and still yield a low viewership. This was the case for the 2001 comedy Undeclared, a show that was created by Judd Apatow as a follow-up to his Freaks and Geeks. The show’s cast included Freaks and Geeks alumni Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, and followed the lives of kids going through college in the early 2000s, as opposed to the 1980s high school setting of its predecessor.
Arrested Development (2003)
Arrested Development originally ran for three seasons, and in 2013 a fourth season was added on Netflix. This sitcom comedy received wide critical acclaim, but just couldn’t cut it when it came to ratings. Let this be a lesson that if you really love a show, watch it!
Agent Carter (2015)
It’s honestly too bad that Agent Carter didn’t make it past its second season. This show had strong writers and Hayley Atwell’s performance as Peggy Carter was phenomenal. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agent Carter was a show that explored the life of Peggy Carter, a secret agent in the 1940s. Peggy Carter was first played by Atwell in Captain America: The First Avenger. She is known for being the love interest to Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. The show aired in mid-season breaks between Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but unfortunately couldn’t produce a big enough following to stay afloat.
Party Down (2009)
You would think that a comedy created by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd could make it through — apparently not. This comedy about a group of caterers waiting for their Hollywood big break was funny and lasted for two seasons before getting the boot. Although some of the cancellation is blamed on low ratings, it’s rumoured that the show lost Jane Lynch to Glee and Adam Scott to Parks and Recreation, which led to its inevitable downfall.
Witches of East End (2013)
Witches of East End starred Julia Ormond, Madchen Amick, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and Rachel Boston, and has been described as the Charmed of the 2010s. This show ran for two strong seasons before sadly getting cancelled.
Feature photo courtesy of Facebook.