You know the story: You’ve started watching a new show, and it’s awesome. It slowly becomes your new favorite, and you look forward to tuning in and catching up with the characters. And then one day, it’s just gone. Another TV show canceled too soon. It probably happened so suddenly that there wasn’t even any closure.
Sure, there are definitely shows that deserve to get axed. But, there are also plenty of shows that were canceled when they didn’t deserve it. Good shows that disappeared before they should have.
It was a quirky show about a normal guy who made pies… and also has the supernatural ability to wake people from the dead. He teams up with a private investigator, his formerly deceased childhood crush, and a coworker from the pie shop to solve murder cases.
When I think of shows that should have never been canceled, Pushing Daisies is always the first that comes to my mind. This black comedy series drew millions of viewers and earned a loyal fan base. Pushing Daisies was also a hit with critics, and won seven Primetime Emmy Awards.
And then it was canceled.
Pushing Daisies was unfortunately a casualty during the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America Strike. That strike delayed or interrupted plenty of shows, including this one. When the show was postponed, it saw a dip in ratings and never really recovered.
“We were delayed almost a year, so we were never on long enough and consistently enough to build a word-of-mouth,” said exec producer Barry Sonnenfeld. He also felt the scripts were “slightly too cute” and he wished “they’d had a little bit more plot.”
GLOW was a unique fan-favorite show that stood out against the typical run-of-the-mill TV series. The female wrestling dramedy starred Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron, and more. Set in the 1980s, a crew of Hollywood misfits reinvents themselves as the glittery, spandex-clad Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (aka GLOW).
The show had already run for three seasons and was renewed for a fourth. Unfortunately, the series was dealt a serious blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth season was already a few weeks into filming when Hollywood shut down. And as we all know, the shutdowns and restrictions continued for much, much longer than anyone expected.
Lengthy delays, risks associated with the physical requirements of wrestling, and the cost of a large cast all added up to the cancellation of GLOW.
“We’ve made the difficult decision not to do a fourth season of GLOW due to COVID, which makes shooting this physically intimate show with its large ensemble cast especially challenging,” a Netflix spokesperson told Deadline in October of 2020.
Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23
Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 was a snarky comedy that acted like a modern, gender-swapped version of The Odd Couple. Krysten Ritter’s Chloe is an irresponsible party girl with a cloudy moral compass. Her new roommate June (played by Dreama Walker) is naive and fresh from rural Indiana to start a new life in NYC. Oh, and Chloe’s best friend is James Van Der Beek (played by James Van Der Beek!), who is desperate to revamp his fading acting career.
Don’t trust ABC is more like it. It felt like Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 didn’t stand a chance at the network. It was originally aired as a mid-season replacement before being renewed for a second season. The remaining six episodes of season one that hadn’t aired yet were thrown into the second season – but out of order, without any regard to continuity. It was jumbled and confusing.
Ratings took a dip, and ABC pulled the show immediately. The final eight episodes didn’t even air, and instead were put on ABC.com and Hulu.
Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was turning out fantastic series after series for streaming on Disney+, they were developing shows for ABC and Netflix. Jessica Jones was one of these shows, and probably one of the best ones.
Unfortunately, this role for Krysten Ritter didn’t work out, either. The show was canceled ahead of the third season’s premiere. It was mentioned here and there that it could be revived after all of Marvel’s projects moved to Disney+, but perhaps that was just wishful thinking.
It seems unusual, considering the huge fanbase the MCU has right now, but Jessica Jones and the other Netflix Marvel shows didn’t have high enough viewership to justify the costs. Disney also had plans to roll out Disney+, so the company ended its licensing deal with Netflix anyway.
This was one of my absolute favorite shows in recent years, but a lot of people don’t even know what I’m talking about when I mention it. It was one of the best period dramas that you’ve probably never watched.
Full of ornate costuming, lush gardens, and tons of drama, Versailles chronicles the rise of King Louis XIV as he turned the lavish Palace of Versailles into the de facto capital of France. Part of the reason this show is such a feast for the eyes? It was frequently shot on location.
The show was originally planned to run for four seasons but got the ax after the third. Although there were rumors that it had to do with a decline in viewership, the channel behind Versailles claimed they were simply done with Louis the Great’s story.
“The series was meant to chronicle the coming of age and rise to power of Louis XIV and show how he built Versailles to corral his nobles, asserting his absolute power,” said Fabrice de la Patelliere, head of fiction at French TV channel Canal Plus. “At the end of the third season Louis XIV has achieved absolute power, he’s 46 or 47 years old, so we reached the end of the narrative arc that we had envisioned for this series.”
The CW’s No Tomorrow was another unusual show concept, although it was based on a very similar Brazilian series. In it, Evie Covington (played by Tory Anderson) is a straight-laced quality-control assessor in a warehouse who is bored with the status quo. She meets Xavier (Joshua Sasse) who shakes things up and helps her live life to the fullest. The problem is that he thinks the world is ending in eight months and twelve days.
It wasn’t a super cerebral show or anything. This was definitely one of those lighthearted shows that’s easy to digest. Characters were charming, fun was had, and it was an entertaining show to watch. And who doesn’t want to accomplish an “apoca-list” of fun things to do before the world ends?
It received positive reviews, but I guess it just didn’t live up to expectations. Viewership declined during the show’s run, so CW pulled the plug after only one season.
The showrunners clearly weren’t planning on getting axed, so that last episode left viewers on quite the cliffhanger. To soften the blow, the network threw together an epilogue to provide some closure. It was no second season, but it’s more than what most canceled shows get, I suppose.
In Sense8, there are eight strangers from across the globe who suddenly find themselves mentally and emotionally linked to each other. Their telepathic gift makes them targets, and together they’re trying to find a way to survive while being hunted by those who view them as a threat. The show was praised for its representation of LGBTQ+ characters and earned the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Sense8 was well-received by critics and picked up a devoted following, so why did it get canceled?
As it turns out, this sci-fi drama suffered the same fate as many other Netflix shows: The streaming giant didn’t think it was worth it. They decided that the passionate fan base just wasn’t large enough to justify the high production costs.
The show was chopped after the second season, leaving fans with a cliffhanger. In response to outraged fans, Netflix produced a movie-length series finale to tie up some loose ends.
Santa Clarita Diet
Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant starred in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet as a husband and wife real estate team raising their daughter in Santa Clarita, California. Their lives get flipped upside down, though, when Barrymore’s character undergoes a strange transformation and starts showing symptoms of being a zombie.
The comedy-horror series received plenty of positive reviews from critics and fans alike. The on-screen chemistry between Barrymore and Olyphant was a highlight, the concept was different from anything else on TV, and there was plenty of gore and morbid humor.
The third season ended on a cliffhanger, as I’m sure everyone expected it to come back for a fourth season. It didn’t, with Netflix citing that old “not enough viewers to justify production costs” excuse again.
“Netflix took a chance on this odd show and for that we will always be grateful. They were supportive, ever positive, and appreciative of our work. Until about noon today,” read a statement issued by the show’s executive producers.
“Everything ends. This was a thing. And so it ended,” the statement continued. “We’ll miss it but are proud of the work we did and will always appreciate the love and enthusiasm we felt from our audience.”