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Best TV shows that were canceled

  • Best TV shows that were canceled

    All good things must come to an end, an expression particularly apt when it comes to television shows. Not every series can be “The Simpsons,” and run from what seems like the beginning of time until well after we’re all in the ground. The never-aging family from Springfield aside, most TV shows find themselves canceled at one point or another. Whether it be declining ratings, a story getting too hard to maintain, or off-screen unscripted drama, even good televisions shows meet the axe.

    Those decisions often boil the blood of hardcore fans. Using IMDb user ratings as of January 2019—with ties being broken by total votes—Stacker set out to find the 50 best televisions shows ever canceled, and the reactions of the faithful mourners. Reboots are eligible (like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” which was gone for 31 hours before being revived), as are cult favorites like “Futurama,” which ended when Fox stopped buying episodes. The final stipulation was that the show had to be canceled by the network, as opposed to the creators choosing to end the run. Read on to see if your favorite sentimental show is the one most universally beloved—and missed.

  • #50. American Vandal (2017-2018)

    IMDb user rating: 8.2

    “American Vandal” was a mockumentary comedy series that poked fun at true crime sagas. Each season centered around a different high school prank, with the show's stars investigating the masterminds behind the crimes. The parody earned a Peabody Award and Emmy nomination before being canceled by Netflix.

  • #49. Star Trek (1966–1969)

    IMDb user rating: 8.3

    For three years, the Starship Enterprise boldly went where no man had gone before—and then was canceled. “Star Trek” was struggling as early as 1967, until a fan letter campaign changed NBC's mind and influenced the network to keep it on the air. The series was ultimately canceled in 1969, but amazingly, “Star Trek” gained more popularity in syndication. Perhaps this was due to the fact that “Star Trek” was full of futuristic thinking, featuring a diverse cast as well as one of the first interracial kisses in television history.   

  • #48. Kingdom (2014–2017)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    “Kingdom” was a drama that ran for three seasons on the Audience Network, and centered around a retired mixed martial arts fighter, his family, and his MMA gym. Considering the popularity of the sport, the show was a solid bet. However, the combination of a limited reach (Audience Network is only available to DirecTV subscribers), marketing issues, and a failure to secure any major award nominations all led to a this series tapping out.

  • #47. Rectify (2013–2016)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    The first original series for SundanceTV, “Rectify” was a critically acclaimed show, nominated for three Critics' Choice Awards and winning a Peabody Award. The show follows the story of Daniel Holden, who is released from prison after 19 years on death row. “Rectify”  was canceled in its fourth season, but the creator Ray McKinnon felt that it ended at the right time.  

  • #46. Southland (2009–2013)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    Los Angeles cop drama “Southland” was actually canceled twice. NBC first aired the show, then nixed it after the initial season. TNT immediately picked up “Southland” and kept it going for four more seasons. The second cancellation was a shock to fans, some of whom considered it the greatest cop show ever.  

  • #45. Blue Mountain State (2010–2011)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    The Spike TV comedy “Blue Mountain State” followed three freshmen as they adjusted to college. The show enjoyed three seasons before being canceled. But this football-infused series didn't become a fan favorite until it landed on Netflix, according to star Alan Ritchson. In 2016, Ritchson launched a Kickstarter campaign to make a “Blue Mountain State” movie.

  • #44. Banshee (2013–2016)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    This Cinemax thriller took place in the fictional Amish town of Banshee, Pennsylvania. An ex-con returns home, takes the identity of a murdered sheriff, and a four-season storyline follows. It was actually the executive producer who decided the fourth season would be the show's final, as he never liked when shows started generating “extra plot.”

  • #43. Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    “Stargate SG-1” aired on Showtime for five seasons, then on the Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy) for another five. That resulted in a whopping 213 episodes and two spinoffs; “Stargate: Atlantis,” and “SGU: Stargate Universe.” There has been speculation that the space travel show was canceled because ratings were dropping by the 10th season. The expense of shooting science fiction televisions shows also may have played a role, but a decade on the tube is nothing to scoff at.

  • #42. Sense8 (2015–2018)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    The first Netflix original series to appear on the list, “Sense8” was a show about eight strangers suddenly becoming mentally linked and navigating the responsibility of that new power. Perhaps more intricate than the plot of “Sense8” is that when the show was canceled after two seasons, the fans brought it back to life by writing passionate letters and petitions, forcing Netflix to concede and make one last two-hour finale.  

  • #41. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–present)

    IMDb user rating: 8.4

    “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the Andy Sandberg-led comedy that enjoyed five seasons at Fox, has an incredible cancellation story. On May 10, 2018. Fox canceled the show, which made fans lose their minds. Within 31 hours, NBC had picked the show up.

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