Bring Them Back: Five Shows That Were Wrongfully Cancelled

It happens all too often. TV shows seems to be very well received by critics but go on to end up getting cancelled after only a season or two. Some of the best shows on television never really had a chance to gain an audience because they were cancelled after such a short run.  Here is a list of five shows that should have never been cancelled.

1. Arrested Development Easily the biggest mistake FOX ever made was cancelling probably the single funniest show to ever air on television. Arrested Development was brilliant. From the quirky characters, to the absurd script, everything about this show was genius. The show was critically acclaimed by almost everyone. Take a look at some of the comments below.

“As Hollywood agents worry about the demise of the town’s lowing cash cow, the multi-camera, staged sitcom, here to save the day is Arrested Development, a farce of such blazing wit and originality, that it must surely usher in a new era in comedy.” – Alison Powell, The Guardian (UK)

“If you’re not watching this series on Fox, the least you can do is buy it on DVD. You’ll love it, and it’s such a dense show (in the best sense of the word) that it rewards repeated viewing. Like Scrubs and the British version of The Office, it’s the sort of show that truly deserves to be seen uninterrupted, several episodes at a time, for maximum enjoyment. The laughs-per-minute quotient here is insanely high, making it great value as a home library purchase.” – David Bianculli, New York Daily News

Arrested Development won five Emmy awards in its first season. In its second season it earned eleven Emmy nominations and one win. In its third and final season it earned four nominations. If that wasn’t enough, TIME also named it as one of the top 100 TV shows of all time. People have said that the reason behind the cancellation, aside from low ratings, was that the show was too hard to follow or find enjoyable unless you watched from the start. There were too many jokes or gags that you would only find funny if you followed from the start. While this is true, the same can be said for many other shows. A feature film is being planned for Arrested Development and while I’m sure it will turn out great, nothing can beat the original three seasons of Arrested Development. It was undeniably hilarious, genuinely genius, wildly entertaining and still the funniest show to ever land on television.

2. Twin Peaks Another show that made it onto TIME’s Top 100 TV Shows of All Time only to end up being cancelled. When Twin Peaks started, not only was it one of the top rated shows on TV but it was incredibly successful with critics and audiences. It spawned a huge cult following and integrated itself into popular culture almost instantly. It became something of a phenomenon. The show was referenced in video games, songs, books, films etc. Despite all this, the show only lasted for two seasons.

Being the brainchild of famed director David Lynch, the show was a complete mindbender. Intriuging, odd, engaging and original, Twin Peaks was a great show. It earned thirteen Emmy nominations in its first season  and four in its second season,  it was also named in the Top 25 Cult Shows and Top 50 TV Shows Of All Time by TV Guide. The problem with Twin Peaks came when Laura Palmer’s murder, which was the big mystery of the show, was resolved midway through season two. After seeing resolution to the main storyline, people started to lose interest and didn’t care about the other storylines.

The show took a huge hit in ratings and ABC put the show on indefinite hiatus. This was a year after Twin Peak’s first season became one of the most watched shows in America. Fans petitioned and got ABC to bring the show back from hiatus and a handful of episodes were done to complete the second season. None of this helped though as the show got the axe at the end of the second season. Creator David Lynch blames ABC. The studio made Lynch reveal the mystery behind the murder way too early and Lynch wanted to wait a few more seasons. There was a film adaptation, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, although it was poorly received by critics and fans. Twin Peaks is still quite well known in pop culture and has a very loyal following. It was and still reamains to this day, one of the best mystery shows on TV.

3. Deadwood

The HBO show Deadwood was a great show and lived far too short a life. After only three, 12 episode seasons the show was cancelled.  Taking home 8 Emmys from 28 Emmy nominations in just three years, I still can’t see why this one was cancelled. The critical acclaim and praise for the show was near universal and the show took home numerous awards from various award cermonies.

When HBO announced in May 2006 that they would not pick up the options of the actors, most saw the axe coming. Talk of a 2 hour television film in place of a fourth season was thrown around but nothing came of it. Although the show wasn’t OFFCIALLY cancelled, the fact that HBO didn’t pick up the options of the actors means that even if new episodes of the show were to be made, most of the actors wouldn’t be able to return. With creator David Milch working on John From Cincinatti for HBO, the studio wasn’t sure when he could return to Deadwood. Delaying the fourth season of Deadwood would be costly for HBO and many assume this is why they decided not to pick up the options of the actors.

Deadwood was a great show, boasting acting and writing equal to that of The Sopranos in my opinion. It helped launch Timothy Olyphant’s career and was easily the best Western TV show to ever air.

Fun fact, the show dropped the F-bomb almost 3,000 times in just three, 12 episode seasons.  That’s about 1.56 F-bombs per minute of footage.

4. Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is one of Judd Apatow’s productions. Apatow is responsible for some of the funniest films in recent years (Funny People, Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin). The show was incredibly funny and starred alot of actors and actresses who went on to become pretty well known. When the show was created back in 1999, most of the stars weren’t well known. James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel are among many other actors who were featured in Freaks and Geeks. Named as one of the top 100 television shows of all time by TIME and earning 3 Emmy nominations and one win, the show only survived one season.

Many people just didn’t get the humor. EW named it the 13th best series of the past 25 years and the show did develop a large cult following but it just never caught on with the mainstream audience. The constant changing of the timeslot didn’t help and in reality, not many people watched it. Advertisers started to bail and show became financially unviable. This eventually led to the cancellation.

5. Jericho

This is a show that not many people saw as it never recieved the high ratings it deserved. The show, revolving around the fictional town of Jericho in the aftermath of 23 nuclear attacks across the US, was actually cancelled twice. It initially got cancelled after the first season due to the fact that it just didn’t catch on with audiences. Despite this, fans were able to convince the studio to bring it back for a second season.  After only seven episodes it received the axe again and this time for good.  A six part comic series was implemented in place of a third season and a motion picture is in the works but Jericho won’t be gracing our television sets ever again.

It’s a shame because although the show started off slow, when it did pick up it got really good. The premise was intriguing and the characters were great. I’m not sure why it didn’t catch on with viewers. Many people suspect that the real reason the show was cancelled was due to the subject matter. Perhaps a show dealing with false flag attacks hit a bit too close to home for the US government? We’ll never know the truth but either way, Jericho did not deserved to be cancelled.

So there you have it, five shows that were wrongfully cancelled. What do you think? Did you enjoy any of these shows? Did they deserve to be cancelled?

About the author


Matt Joseph

Matt Joseph is the co-founder, owner and Editor in Chief of We Got This Covered. He currently attends the University of Western Ontario and is studying at the Richard Ivey School of Business. He works on We Got This Covered in his spare time and enjoys writing for the site.