Let’s be honest, there are a lot of TV shows that have been cancelled and it was probably for the best, because they were a bit rubbish. At the same time though, we can all name a few that we absolutely loved which were tragically cancelled way too soon, whether because of poor ratings or viewing figures at the time. While there have been a few fairytale stories where huge cult fan followings have resurrected beloved shows from the brink, a number of them have been truly lost to the television annals of history. Here are 14 that we’re still hurting over!
Veronica Mars (2004)
The teen crime drama was a favourite amongst both fans and critics and, after being harshly cancelled, got its own feature length length movie years later with the same cast returning, Veronica Mars (2014), thanks to crowdfunding by fans!
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, Chuck enjoyed a good run of five seasons and 91 episodes. That being said though, fans will agree that it had more to give and this quirky action/comedy spy show was ultimately cut short.
Despite coming in for widespread critical acclaim, HBO’s western was bewilderingly cancelled after just three seasons.
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
This Judd Apatow comedy classic launched the careers of now A-listers including James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, and yet lasted for only one season.
Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013, 2018)
Yes, Netflix did renew this fan favourite series (to mixed critical reviews), but there’s no doubt that it should have just been allowed to continue in its heyday on primetime TV.
Although the premise for Wonderfalls was pretty bizarre (a Niagara Falls gift shop clerk talks to figurines around her), it was surprisingly well done and unlike anything else on TV. Still, they only ever made 13 episodes, 9 of which never even aired.
This well-acted and well-written show about finding yourself, earned lead actress Laura Dern a Golden Globe award, but due to low ratings it also got the chop early.
This ambitious show centered around the survivors of a small town after nuclear war devastates most of the US. Low viewership got it cancelled after the first season, and although dedicated fans subsequently got one more season out of the network, it now only lives on in comic book form.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)
James Cameron’s original Terminator films are iconic, and despite us enduring a succession of disappointing sequels on the big screen, the TV series didn’t get to make it past Season 2. Worst of all, it was easily the best successor to 80’s Cameron classics.
On the face of it, it’s absolutely baffling that the acclaimed one-season run of Terriers was met with such poor audience figures. Slightly ahead of its time though, Terriers and its neo-noir style, private investigator plot and buddy cop vibes, just suffered from being difficult to define.
This cowboys in space adventure was rolicking fun but suffered from budgetry issues and low ratings at the time. However, the show did go on to become a real cult-favourite later.
Sense 8 (2015-2017)
The most recent of shows to this list, the big budget, globe-trotting sci-fi drama about a bunch of interconnected people proved that even Netflix doesn’t always get it right. That being said it went out with high critical ratings so there is future potential there.
A creepy and beautifully-shot psychological thriller based on Thomas Harris’ original novels saw Hugh Dancy’s criminal profiler Will Graham caught in the crosshairs of Mads Mikkelsen’s chilling villain, Hannibal Lecter. NBC cancelled the show after its third season wrapped up, but there’s every chance this might get resurrected.
Poor Judd Apatow’s follow up to Freaks and Geeks also lasted just one season. He just couldn’t catch a break with those networks; first it was NBC, then it was FOX. The show was about a group of college freshman (Jay Baruchel, Charlie Hunnam and Seth Rogen) and everything else that comes with it.