It’s always exciting to discover a new, addicting television series. Counting down the minutes to when the next episode will air, staying up all hours of the night binge-watching episodes…we find shows we love and let them consume us. So it’s equally as devastating when a show we hold near and dear gets canceled. What’s even worse is if it happens before any resolutions are made. Do those two ever end up together? Do the police ever catch her killer? Unanswered questions can drive a person insane. Sometimes the fans’ determination is enough to bring those shows back; sometimes it’s not. But there’s no denying there are a number of amazing shows that desperately deserve a revival.
You won’t believe how much money fans raised to fund a Veronica Mars movie.
A Bad Time Slot And Creative Differences Hurt Freaks And Geeks
A young James Franco and Seth Rogan starred in the teen comedy-drama series Freaks and Geeks, which aired for just one season on NBC (1999-2000). The show, produced by Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, was canceled after only 12 episodes aired, despite the fact that 18 were filmed. The show was praised by both fans and critics alike, but its terrible time slot of Saturday at 8 p.m. led to bad ratings. Moreover, the creators and the network had major creative differences, and the creators refused to cave. Fans didn’t like that they were left hanging, and started a campaign, convincing NBC to eventually air the remaining episodes.
The Cult Classic Futuristic Western That Couldn’t Deliver The Numbers
The cancellation of Joss Whedon’s space western Firefly after just one season broke a lot of fans’ hearts. Nathan Fillion starred as the captain of Serenity, a spaceship that hosted a group of rebels who traveled along the outskirts of space on the wrong side of the law. It had a loyal cult following, who referred to themselves as Browncoats and averaged 4.7 million views per episode. According to FOX’s former president Gail Berman, “It was a wonderful show and I loved it, and I loved working with him [Whedon] on it but that was a big show, a very expensive show, and it wasn’t delivering the numbers.”
False Promises For A Sci-Fi Favorite
Quantum Leap first aired in 1989 and centered around scientist Sam Beckett, who was trapped in time, leaping into the body of a different person or time period each episode. It almost got canceled in its third season because of poor ratings. Fans then spearheaded a huge campaign, convincing the execs to keep it on air. Despite this, it only managed to last two more seasons. After it was canceled, producers announced plans to continue with a revamped series or a theatrical release, but nothing ever came of it. In the early 2000s, the Syfy Channel again announced plans for a movie, but that never came to fruition either.
Married…With Children Had Fans Asking “That’s It?”
The cancellation of the classic comedy Married…With Children not only shocked fans, but also the cast. It was canceled in the middle of filming a season, in a decision that seemed to come out of nowhere to everyone involved. After eleven seasons (1987-1997), the fans were never even given any type of resolution, or “final episode” to tie up loose ends. Apparently, the ratings were declining, so the execs made the decision to pull the plug. There’ve been a number of rumors throughout the years of a reboot, but none have seen the light of day. At least there are plenty reruns to fill the void.
We Guess Emmys Mean Nothing
Actor Jason Lee passed twice on taking the lead role in the comedic TV series My Name Is Earl before finally agreeing to join the cast. It was a good decision, as the show was adored by both critics and audiences alike. The pilot won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing, actress Jamie Pressly won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress, and it was nominated for a number of other awards. The fourth season of the show ended with the caption “To Be Continued,” but it never was. The speculated reason is that the ratings dropped too much was that it started with 10.9 million views and had dropped to 6.6 million views.
Fans Raised $5.7 Million To Fund A Veronica Mars Movies
A modern-day Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars acquired legions of loyal fans who called themselves “Marshmallows.” Regardless, the overall ratings weren’t enough to keep it on air. It ranked #148 during its first season on the CW and rose steadily into its third season, but ratings were never high enough. In its defense, it shared the same time slot as the then uber-popular American Idol. There were plans for a rebooted fourth season, but they never came to fruition. Then in 2013 fans launched a Kickstarter campaign to help make a feature film, earning $5.7 million. The film was in fact made, and released in theaters and video-on-demand platforms.
Remember Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse?
Off And On, Then Off Again
Producer/animator Matt Groening didn’t believe that FOX really ever had faith in his animated science-fiction comedy Futurama, but gave it a chance because of the massive success of his other show, The Simpsons. Futurama’s time slot was changed erratically, and then Fox stopped buying episodes midway through the fourth season. In 2009, Comedy Central picked it up, but It was canceled again in 2013, despite a huge fan base. According to Katy Sagal, who voices Leela in the show, “Don’t worry, it’s not going to end…we’ll find a place.”
Deadwood Was Dead In The Waters
Due to financial issues, the HBO wild-western drama Deadwood did not renew any of the cast’s contracts after the third season, leaving the cast members to pursue other projects. While this wasn’t an official cancellation, it did mean that it was not likely that the cast would be available to continue on for another season if HBO did decide to renew it. HBO reportedly tried to green light a six-episode order, but the show’s creator, David Milch, rejected the offer because he didn’t feel he could do the series justice with a short-order renewal. Fans launched a “save our show campaign,” but their efforts fell flat.
Carnivàle Left Us Hanging
HBO’s Carnivàle was initially praised by critics but soon began to question the show’s approach and execution. Set during the Great Depression, the show was nominated for 15 Emmys, winning five, and set a new audience record for HBO with its premiere episode. It couldn’t maintain those initial ratings, and the creators refused any budget cuts, thus resulting in its cancellation after two seasons, despite being intended for six. This left a number of story plots unfinished, causing angry viewers to send over 50,000 emails in one weekend. HBO refused to revive it and owned the rights to the show, so no other network has been able to pick it up.
Dedicated Fans Helped Fringe Stay On For One More Season
When the ratings for Fringe, a sci-fi series about a fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, started to decline, FOX moved the show to Friday nights. Unfortunately, this just made ratings plummet even further. When it faced cancellation after its third season, fans fought to keep it alive, and convinced FOX to pick it up for a fourth season. The storyline was way too complicated, though, and the ratings got even worse. In an effort to keep it alive, fans did what they could to make Fringe trend on Twitter. Impressed with the dedication and creativity of the fans, FOX extended it into one fifth “farewell” season.
The Writers Guild Strike Contributed To Pushing Daisies‘ Demise
Dubbed a “forensic fairy tale,” Pushing Daisies received critical acclaim and a number of awards, including 17 Emmy nominations and seven wins. Signed for a 22-episode first season, it only was able to complete nine because of the Writers Guild Strike (2007-2008). Instead of finishing up the first season, the second season was a completely new 13 episodes. The ratings were poor and ABC decided to cancel it. The world clearly disagreed with this choice; in 2013 the TV Guide listed the show as one of the 60 shows that were “Cancelled Too Soon” and in 2015 it was voted #1 in Esquire’s “TV Reboot Tournament.”
Dollhouse Was Doomed From The Start
Dollhouse was doomed from the beginning. Created by cult-favorite Joss Whedon, the sci-fi series had terrible ratings from the start. It was a difficult show to market, about a corporation that ran underground establishments, called “Dollhouses,” that would program”Dolls” (a.k.a. prostitutes) with temporary personalities and skills. With Whedon and Eliza Dushku as the stars, it had a lot of potential. According to Whedon, the network wanted to “back away from the concept five minutes after they bought it.” He felt forced to move away from his original vision for the story, and in turn, it lost its original flare. It only lasted two seasons.
Coming up next: the show that was way ahead of its time but would probably kill it these days.
Dark Shadows Was Ahead Of Its Time
Before vampires were sparkly, they were dark and sexy. The gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows aired from 1966 to 1971, and until this day is the only series of its kind. It was originally about a haunted house, but bad ratings led the producers to bring in Barnabas Collins to play a vampire, and everything changed. Barnabas became an instant pop culture phenomenon; he couldn’t even step outside without being bombarded by tons of screaming fans. Despite its success, it was short-lived for a soap; the plot eventually went too far in its weirdness. But with today’s love of the strange and unusual, it would fit right in.
Was Hannibal Greatest Horror Show Ever?
Based on the popular books and films, Hannibal was instantly loved by critics. The acting and directing in the psychological horror-thriller was considered top-notch, and the first two seasons won the Saturn Award for Best Network Television Series and Best Actor (Mads Mikkelsen). All seasons were only meant to be 13 episodes, which was unusual. A drop in ratings caused the show to be canceled after its third season, shocking fans, many of whom believed it to be the best horror-themed television series of all time. Talks about a reboot began last year, but nothing formal has been announced.
The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Plummeted
A wacky western sci-fi, starring the hilarious Bruce Campbell, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. started off its first season on FOX with amazing ratings. By the end of the season, the ratings had dropped so low that the Network canceled it. Fans lobbied for more episodes, but the network refused, despite the success of the reruns and VHS sales. The series was too much of a risk because it was so expensive to produce. According to Campbell, “…Brisco, with its off-kilter humor, wouldn’t have been developed on any other network, yet the appeal of ‘Westerns’ was still rural – not the side Fox’s urban bread was buttered on.”
Southland’s Cliffhanger Ending Still Has Fans Wondering
The crime drama Southland premiered in 2009 on NBC and was originally picked up for a second season. The premier date of the second season was then pushed, citing improper promotion, but then it was cancelled altogether. The critically-praised show was taken over by TNT, where it continued to air for another four seasons. Despite being considered one of the best cop shows ever on television, and TNT claiming to be “extremely proud” of it, it spent its entire lifespan struggling with ratings. The final episode in season five left the series off with a huge cliffhanger, and fans have been hoping for a conclusion ever since.
Even The Government Wants A Reboot Of The Wire
Yet another show with critical acclaim but a lack of ratings was HBO’s inner-city drama The Wire. Its creator, David Simon, believed the reason for this was a combination of its setting, extensive use of slang and the timeslot, which was shared with another law-centered drama, The Shield. Justabout every article written on the series has labeled it one of the greatest shows ever. Since its cancellation, fans have been expecting a revival. Even former Attorney General Eric Holder jokingly demanded that Simon make another season. Simon’s response? He agreed to make a sixth season if the U.S. agrees to end the War on Drugs.
Strangers With Candy Pushed Boundaries
A parody of the afterschool specials of the ’70s and ’80s, Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy transformed main character Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) into a cult icon. The show was not intended for the mainstream, with provocative topics, Jerri made up to look as ugly as possible without being too distracting, an array of self-centered characters, and a terrible lesson taught at the end of each episode. But all of these reasons made it appealing to rest of society. The creators and cast were actually surprised it lasted as long as it did; not because of a lack of talent or poor writing and directing, but because it was so risqué.
Fox Couldn’t Afford Fastlane’s Insane Budget
FOX had extremely high expectations for the action/crime drama Fastlane. It had a full season order (22 episodes) when it premiered, and a great timeslot (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.). It was doing well in the ratings department when they suddenly switched it to a much worse slot: Friday nights. The ratings went down, but not too far. It seemed a shoe-in for a second season, yet it was never picked up for one. It was just too darn expensive to produce: $2.6 million-per-episode to be exact. This was due to all of the high-end cars, locations, stunts, explosions, and music (by many major artists). The network just couldn’t afford it.
Undeclared Ended Too Soon
In 2001 Judd Apatow once again created a show that everyone loved, yet only made it one season. Voted “25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years,” the university-themed comedy Undeclared, starring Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel,received instant praise. According to its star Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) the network never gave it a chance. With 17 episodes airing over the course of 25 weeks in various times lots, he was probably right. Apparently Apatow butted heads with the network, refusing many of their demands, such as adding a laugh track. He fought fiercely against the cancelation, but in the end, the money-men won.