All good things must come to an end, which is especially true in the case of television shows. Not every show can be as long-running as “The Simpsons,” which airs from what seems like the dawn of time until, well, after we’ve all died. With the exception of Springfield’s never-aging family, most TV shows are canceled at some point. Even the best series eventually gets the axe, whether it’s because to dwindling ratings, a story that becomes too difficult to continue, or off-screen unscripted drama.

Hardcore fans are frequently enraged by such judgments. Stacker set out to determine the 50 finest TVCancelRenew, as well as the emotions of the dedicated mourners, using IMDb user ratings as of April 2021—with ties broken by total votes. Reboots, such as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which was off the air for 31 hours before being resurrected, and cult favorites, such as “Futurama,” which ended when Fox stopped buying episodes, are also eligible. The fourth condition was that the show had to be terminated by the network rather than by the creators themselves. Read on to find out where your favorite canceled series ranks in the ratings, from “Orange Is the New Black” to “Firefly.”

Orange Is the New Black

“Orange Is the New Black,” Netflix’s flagship series, was terminated after seven seasons and 91 episodes. The adult drama, which follows a group of women in a federal minimum-security prison, is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir. The series garnered multiple Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, and even a Peabody Award before being cancelled at the request of creator Jenji Kohan, who thought the series had told its narrative.

American Vandal

“American Vandal” was a mockumentary comedy show that parodied true crime stories. Each season focused on a different high school prank, with the stars of the show investigating the perpetrators. Before being terminated by Netflix, the spoof received a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination.

Rectify

“Rectify,” Sundance TV’s first original series, was a critically acclaimed show that was nominated for three Critics’ Choice Awards and won a Peabody Award. Daniel Holden is a man who is released from jail after serving 19 years on death row. The fourth season of “Rectify” was terminated, but creator Ray McKinnon felt it finished on the appropriate note.

Blue Mountain State

“Blue Mountain State,” a Spike TV comedy, following three freshman as they adjusted to college life. Before being canceled, the show ran for three seasons. According to star Alan Ritchson, this football-themed series didn’t become a popular favorite until it was released on Netflix. Ritchson launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 to fund a film adaptation of “Blue Mountain State.”

Star Trek

The Starship Enterprise boldly traveled where no man had gone before for three years before being canceled. “Star Trek” was in trouble as early as 1967, but a fan letter campaign swayed NBC’s decision to keep the show on the air. Despite the fact that the series was discontinued in 1969, “Star Trek” grew in popularity in syndication. Perhaps it was because “Star Trek” was full of futuristic thinking, with a diverse cast and one of the first interracial kisses ever seen on television.

Sense8

“Sense8,” a Netflix original series, was about eight strangers who become mentally linked and must navigate the responsibilities of their newfound power. Perhaps even more complicated than the plot of “Sense8” is the fact that after the program was canceled after two seasons, fans revived it by submitting emotional letters and petitions, compelling Netflix to give in and film one final two-hour finale.

Homeland

“Homeland,” an espionage drama starring Claire Danes as a bipolar CIA officer and Damian Lewis as a Marine Corps sniper who she believes turned while being detained as a prisoner of war, aired on Showtime for eight seasons. The show, which was once the most-watched on its network, was cancelled by creator Alex Gansa, who just decided it was time to say goodbye. The sitcom earned a slew of prizes during its run, including Emmys and Golden Globes, and received almost universal acclaim from reviewers.

Police Squad!

The mere fact that a television show has been canceled does not imply that it has died. Enter Leslie Nielsen in a 1982 comedy that mocked police dramas. Is this beginning to sound familiar? “Police Squad!” was nominated for two Emmys but was terminated after six episodes. Thankfully, the show’s premise was resurrected in the “Naked Gun” film franchise.

Southland

“Southland,” a cop drama set in Los Angeles, was canceled twice. The show was first shown on NBC, however it was canceled after the first season. TNT picked up “Southland” right away and aired it for four more seasons. The second cancellation came as a shock to fans, who regarded the show as the best cop show ever.

X-Men: The Animated Series

An animated “X-Men” television show aired on Fox Kids from 1992 to 1997, before the “X-Men” film franchise swept the globe by storm. Before being canceled, the mutant superheroes faced power-hungry enemies for five seasons. Given that “X-Men” had been on the verge of being canceled due to a marketing dispute years before, that was a fantastic run for the show.

Utopia

“Utopia” was a dark, edgy show with a cult following that aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for only two seasons. The thrill-seekers are chased by a gang known as “The Network,” based on a group of strangers who meet online and discover a graphic novel with world secrets. The series was given new life when Gillian Flynn stepped in to relaunch it on Amazon, albeit her version was also canceled after one season in 2020.

Carnivàle

When it comes to television programming, HBO is generally a hit factory, but “Carnivàle” eluded success and was terminated after only two seasons. During the Great Depression, the show takes place. It follows a former farmer and chain gang fugitive who is picked up by a traveling circus, only to find out that he and a minister are fighting as avatars for heaven and hell on Earth. The show gained a loyal following, but it never achieved widespread appeal, resulting in the cancellation of the six seasons that the show’s creator had planned.

Ash vs. Evil Dead

A typical path would see a popular television show, such as “Sex and the City” or “The Simpsons,” adapted into a film. Following three “Evil Dead” flicks, “Ash vs. Evil Dead” inverted the script. This Starz comedy-horror picked up Ash Williams’ journey 30 years after the film franchise’s last battle with the Deadite. The show aired on Starz for three seasons, however the ratings decreased, and the show was eventually terminated.

Stargate SG-1

“Stargate SG-1” broadcast for five seasons on Showtime, then for another five on the Sci Fi Channel, now Syfy. There were a total of 213 episodes produced, as well as two spinoffs: “Stargate: Atlantis” and “SGU: Stargate Universe.” The space travel show was rumored to have been terminated because of declining ratings by the tenth season. It’s possible that the high cost of producing science fiction television shows played a factor, but a decade on the air is nothing to scoff at these days.

Banshee

This Cinemax thriller was set in Banshee, Pennsylvania, a fictional Amish community. A four-season plot follows an ex-con who returns home and assumes the guise of a deceased sheriff. The executive producer was the one who decided the fourth season would be the show’s final season, as he disliked it when shows began to generate “additional plot.”

Entourage

HBO has a long history of successful comedy series, and “Entourage” is right up there. The eight seasons of “Entourage,” loosely based on creator Mark Wahlberg’s early life in Hollywood, followed movie star Vincent Chase, his three childhood pals, and his agency as they navigated success in Los Angeles. Following the show’s cancellation, which actor Kevin Connolly stated was not ideal, a film was created that continued the story where the show left off. Unfortunately, critics did not like the big-screen adaptation.

Person of Interest

“Person of Interest,” a Jonathan Nolan sci-fi thriller that aired on CBS for five seasons before being canceled. A programmer creates software, dubbed “the Machine,” that can identify crimes before they occur. It’s possible that the show’s discontinuation was due to its failure to fit in with CBS’s other procedurals. Maybe something could have been done if the Machine had existed in real life to detect the show’s end.

Futurama

“Futurama” has had the distinction of being canceled and resurrected multiple times. The four-season series about a pizza delivery boy who was accidentally cryogenically frozen in 1999 and awoke 1,000 years later first aired on Fox. “Futurama” was canceled by Fox in 2003, which some blame on the network changing its time slot. Comedy Central bought four post-cancellation direct-to-DVD movies and split them up to produce a fifth season. On Comedy Central, the show would run for two more seasons until being canceled for the final time.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The Andy Sandberg-led comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which aired for five seasons on Fox, has an astonishing cancellation tale. The show was canceled by Fox on May 10, 2018, causing outrage among fans. The show, which is set to end after its eighth season in 2022, was picked up by NBC in just 31 hours.

The New Batman Adventures

“The New Batman Adventures,” which aired on the Kids’ WB network for two seasons and received several Daytime Emmy nominations and awards, was a critical darling. The animated series reinterpreted Batman’s relationships, including those with Batgirl, a new Robin, and the original Robin as Nightwing. Television series about Batman may come and go, but no one can deny Batman’s legendary appeal.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

When “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” first on television in 1955, Alfred Hitchcock was already a well-known director. The anthology aired on NBC and CBS for seven seasons and 268 episodes, offering short horror stories. Despite being canceled in 1962, the show was revived in 1985 with colorized intros by Alfred Hitchcock from the original broadcast. The 1985 remake aired on NBC and USA Network for four seasons.

Kingdom

“Kingdom” was a drama that aired on the Audience Network for three seasons and followed a retired mixed martial artist, his family, and his MMA club. The show was a safe choice given the popularity of the sport. However, a combination of a small audience (Audience Network is only available to DirecTV members), marketing challenges, and a lack of big award nominations led to the series’ cancellation.

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

“Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” is a TV show about a poorly produced television show that was never broadcast. This British comedy from 2004 is based on the haughty character Garth Marenghi, who first appeared on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2001. The show aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for only one season before being picked up by the Sci Fi Channel in the United States in 2006.

Feud

Ryan Murphy, the king of anthologies, created the television show “Feud.” In 2017, the creator of “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story” launched “Quarrel: Bette and Joan,” with each season focusing on a legendary feud. The first season focused on Joan Crawford’s infamous relationship with Bette Davis. The show’s second season, which focused on Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was canceled by producers because “they didn’t get the material right.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000

From 1988 through 1999, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” was on the air. The popular show was resurrected in 2017 thanks to a successful crowdsourcing campaign. “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return,” which continues the original premise of a guy and his wise-cracking robot buddies being forced to watch B-grade movies, has shown two seasons on Netflix.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The US has a habit of stealing British television shows—”The Office” and “House of Cards” are two examples—and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was no exception. The American version of the improvisational sketch comedy show “where the points don’t matter” was hosted by Drew Carey. The sitcom aired on ABC from 1998 through 2007, and afterwards on ABC Family in reruns. Another show that was subsequently resurrected on a new network was this one. From 2013 until 2018, The CW aired a new version with Aisha Tyler as the host.

The Knick

Some have dubbed the contemporary age the “Golden Age of Television,” and the fact that cinema filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh and mega-stars like Clive Owen have landed television roles only adds to the claim. Owen stars as a heroin-addicted doctor in Cinemax’s “The Knick,” set in early twentieth-century New York City. The program was nasty and grim, and the cost of synthetic blood had to be exorbitant. The sitcom received positive reviews but failed to attract a huge audience, and it was discontinued after its second season.

Dragon Ball

“Dragon Ball” is a manga-turned-anime that tells the story of Son Goku, a youthful warrior with a monkey tail. Though the original “Dragon Ball” was discontinued, Son Goku’s tale was continued in the spin-offs “Dragon Ball Z” and “Dragon Ball Super.” In 2009, a live-action film titled “Dragon Ball: Evolution” was released on the big screen.

Louie

“Louie,” a comedy series starring stand-up comedian Louis C.K., premiered on FX in 2010. “Louie,” a program about a divorced New York City comic with stand-up routines interwoven throughout, was praised for being both intimate and complex. The program has been on pause since the fifth season in 2015, but after sexual misconduct claims against C.K. were substantiated in 2017, FX canceled him and all of his projects.

Spartacus

“Spartacus,” a Starz series, recreated the famous warrior. After three seasons of strong ratings, the show was abruptly canceled due to a change of creative management. To avoid a “limp to the finish line,” showrunner Steven DeKnight stated they intended to conclude the show.

Hannibal Lecter

This gloomy drama aired on NBC for three seasons before being discontinued. The connection between a bright, sympathetic FBI agent and his psychiatrist, the infamous Hannibal Lecter, is explored in “Hannibal.” The show gained a cult following, but these self-proclaimed “Fannibals” couldn’t compete with NBC’s unpopular time slots, and “Hannibal” was canceled due to low total viewership.

Homicide: Life on the Street

There was another David Simon show about police in Baltimore before “The Wire” set the standard for comprehensive crime dramas. Before being discontinued, “Homicide: Life on the Street” aired on NBC for seven seasons. Simon’s first show, “Homicide,” was a critical darling with six Emmy nominations and two wins, but it was canceled after losing 2% of its viewership in its final season, and it placed 60th among all prime time network shows in 1999.

The Bugs Bunny Show

Bugs Bunny is still a popular cartoon character in the United States, despite the fact that his show was canceled. “The Bugs Bunny Show” debuted in prime time on ABC in 1960, but jumped between morning and prime time slots on CBS and ABC until 1975, when it was cancelled. Bugs has now gone on to star in numerous formats across multiple platforms, so don’t feel sorry for him.

Adventure Time

Finn and his talking dog Jake travel a post-apocalyptic environment in the mystical Land of Ooo. “Adventure Time,” a long-running and immensely popular animation on Cartoon Network, was discontinued in 2016, two years before the final episode was scheduled to air. Dedicated fans of all ages continue to watch this bizarre, tragic drama ten years and 264 episodes later.

Deadwood

HBO’s gritty, violent dramas became its trademark after “Oz” broke the television norm. During the late 1800s, David Milch’s “Deadwood” spent three seasons among the saloons, streets, and brothels of Deadwood, South Dakota. The show was critically appreciated and received 28 Emmy nominations. Fans and creators alike were surprised when the plug was abruptly pulled in 2006.

The X-Files

“The X-Files” is another excellent show that has been canceled twice. From 1993 through 2002, Fox aired the revolutionary program about FBI agents Mulder and Scully researching conspiracy theories and the otherworldly. The sitcom originally stopped in its ninth season because the team had lost steam, according to creator Chris Carter. The show, which has a rabid fan base known as “X-philes,” returned to Fox in 2016 for a limited 10th season. The show was renewed for an 11th season in 2018 due to its popularity. Unfortunately, the truth is out, and the show has been canceled once more.

Daredevil

“Daredevil” is a Netflix original series created in collaboration with Marvel. The show, which starred Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer-turned-vigilante, aired for three seasons until being canceled in late 2018. Despite the fact that the show was a critical darling, received five Emmy nominations, and appeared to be well-liked by fans, it was canceled due to expectations that it would have a future on Disney’s new streaming network. Fans were outraged and took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

Mind Your Language

The British sitcom “Mind Your Language” was racially inappropriate and xenophobic by today’s standards. However, when this comedy about a night school teacher and his rowdy students premiered on ITV in 1977, it proved to be a hit, lasting four seasons. “What a Country,” its American counterpart, lasted only two seasons.

BoJack Horseman

This adult animated series starring Will Arnet, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul has voices by Will Arnet, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul. The titular BoJack Horseman is a washed-up TV star who is now struggling with addiction and depression, but is still plotting a comeback obsessively. The decision to discontinue the show, according to creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, was made by Netflix. Thankfully, the streaming provider provided ample notice for the crew to produce a meaningful and fulfilling series finale.

Arrested Development

When Fox premiered “Arrested Development” in 2003, it discovered an Emmy-winning cult hit that would never attract a wide enough audience. The show followed the dysfunctional Bluth family, who lose everything when their patriarch is imprisoned for white-collar crimes. Chicken dances, banana stands, and a never-ending supply of other running jokes were all part of the performance for die-hard fans. When the show was on the verge of being canceled in its third season, an internet campaign to save it was launched. The sitcom was revived by Netflix in 2013 for a fourth, and later fifth, season.

The West Wing

Aside from its high IMDb rating, “The West Wing’s” mythology may also be judged by the slew of awards for which Aaron Sorkin’s original series was nominated and won over its seven-year run on NBC. The show’s termination was not unexpected, as several elements appeared to be working against it. The show’s decline was aided by the departure of Sorkin after season four, a drop in ratings when the show was relocated to Sunday night, and the untimely death of one of the major performers, John Spencer.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

“Monty Python” has become a byword for ground-breaking British humour. The sketch series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” aired for four seasons before the comedic trio released the popular films “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Life of Brian.” After the third season, John Cleese left, and after the fourth, everyone else went as well. Even while four seasons may seem insufficient for such a great show, it was a remarkable achievement given the BBC’s desire to discontinue it almost immediately.

Freaks and Geeks

Though it’s difficult to believe, there was a time when Judd Apatow wasn’t one of Hollywood’s most well-known comedic minds, James Franco wasn’t an Oscar nominee, Seth Rogen wasn’t the poster boy for stoner comedy, and Jason Segel didn’t know how his character’s father met his mother. These actors, along with others from “Freaks and Geeks,” starred in the NBC sitcom about high school awkwardness, which was never renewed for a second season. Despite the fact that individuals involved’s careers only seemed to blossom after the show’s demise, Seth Rogen has publicly chastised the man who cancelled it.

Twin Peaks

“Diane, the pie is excellent,” said one enthusiast, and many others agreed. David Lynch’s surreal criminal thriller “Twin Peaks” premiered on ABC in 1990. The show follows FBI Agent Dale Cooper as he investigates the death of popular high school student Laura Palmer. With weird aspects like a woman who talks to a log, a real-life giant, and a peculiar hallucinogenic crimson room, the show would have been a risky bet for any network. Lynch has stated on the record that he had little involvement in the second season and that he did not appreciate it. The show was resurrected by Showtime in 2017 for a second season.

The Twilight Zone

“The Twilight Zone” is a titan of the fantasy and science fiction genres. The anthology, which aired on CBS for five seasons, dealt with strange stories from another world. “The Twilight Zone” earned honors and captured the hearts of fans, as did the other series on this list, but its audience ratings were never great. It was canceled twice before being resurrected over the course of five seasons. The show was cancelled for the final time in 1964, and not even paranormal forces could save it.

Batman: The Animated Series

“Batman: The Animated Series,” not to be confused with “The New Batman Adventures,” which is also on this list, aired on Fox Kids for four seasons. The series was discontinued because the filmmakers “run out of ideas for stories,” according to Kevin Conroy, who portrayed Batman in an interview in 2018.


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