TV shows are always a crapshoot with ratings and politics playing so crucial a role in their survival. Even if a show is great, it may not last long enough to build a substantial audience. A show can have quality and numbers but still be cut down due to behind the scenes business, much like the Marvel Netflix original shows. Here is a list of some older shows that were cancelled before their time:
Probably the most lauded show in the “cancelled too soon” narrative, Firefly is a show that ticks so many boxes. It is a sci-fi space adventure that is also a western and a crime drama. It takes place in the future and focuses on the crazy life of a group of unlikely shipmates on the hunt for money and freedom. The show was created by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and director of The Avengers. Cast members include Nathan Fillion, in the lead role, as well as Alan Tudyk and Morena Boccarin. The crew collected bounties, did odd jobs and ducked the government while uncovering some pretty big mysteries that are way above their pay grade. The show lasted one season, but was brought back as a feature film titled Serenity to wrap up the story.
Matt Ryan was cast as John Constantine back when the DC shows were first booming. Flash and Gotham were on the come up as well, but the one show that had a very different tone was Constantine. The show followed a weathered Master of the Dark Arts whose best years were behind him. Anyone he hadn’t lost to the spirit world he pushed away with his reckless and dangerous way of living. All that needed to be pushed to the side, though, as a new rising darkness was on its way. Maybe this could be a way to atone for his sins. Despite the numbers being similar to that of the Fox and CW shows, the ratings were not strong enough to survive a primetime spot on NBC. The show was soon cancelled. Matt Ryan would reprise his role as the smoking, smart mouthed sorcerer in the DC shows Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. He even played the character in DC animated projects like Justice League Dark and Constantine: City of Demons.
There are so many private investigative shows on television, but none of them with the angle of Terriers. The show centered around an alcoholic ex-cop and a criminal becoming P.I.’s. Donal Logue (Blade and Gotham) and Michael Raymond-James (True Blood and Once Upon A Time) play the leads. The boys go from small jobs to some pretty intense work that may have them in over their heads. The show was created by Ted Griffin, writer and producer of Ocean’s 11, but was ultimately cancelled after only one season of thirteen episodes.
Another superhero show left on the chopping block was 2011’s The Cape. A year before Arrow and all of these other modern hero narratives, the show covered a cop who was publicly framed for acts of villainy and presumed dead. To his friends and family he was a disgrace, but in order to clear his name he roamed the streets in vigilante garb and a magic cape he acquired from his new underground carnie buddies. Slowly getting rid of the corruption that lead to his framing and clearing his good name, he steps out into the darkness every night. The show may have had a low budget and special effects issues, but the story and characters were excellent. It followed the model that many post-Smallville superhero shows abide by, just without a huge comic conglomerate backing it in budget. The Cape lasted one season.
My Name Is Earl
Jason Lee plays Earl Hickey, a man who stumbles upon winning 100,000 dollars in the lottery. Rather than going crazy with his prize, Earl is convinced that karma is at play. With his new money he attempts to right all of the wrongs he has committed in his past. Episode by episode the show follows Earl as he crosses names off of the list. With the strong supporting cast of his brother, his ex-wife and her new husband, Earl gets into all sorts of misadventures on the road to good karma. The show was cancelled after its 4th season and ended on a cliffhanger with no true conclusion.
A few honorable mentions can include Twin Peaks, Arrested Development and Veronica Mars. These three shows were all eventually brought back for another season or more. Anything that was able to come back to TV to complete the story was excluded from the list.
What other shows were ended before their time?