Isn’t it frustrating when you’re just getting into a TV show, getting to know the characters and suddenly…bam! It’s cancelled! The fickle finger of the network can press the “stop” button at any time and production can shut down entirely. You may be halfway through a season, you may have just reached a cliffhanger at the end of series one but you as an audience member will never get any kind of closure on those particular characters. Sometimes, the cancellations are justified, and you wonder why they ever bothered making the show in the first place. But sometimes, a show will have real potential, that’s just starting to unfold when the axe drops….and so a thousand internet campaigns are born. Find out which great shows died a premature death in our Top 10 TV Shows That Got Cancelled After One Season.
10. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
There are two things that the cast of mega-comedy Friends are famous for. One is demanding ever-increasing amounts of money to sit around and drink coffee in front of a camera. The other is failing to ever really break free of the characters they played for 10 years. With the possible exception of Courtney Cox in Cougar Town, the actors have stumbled around in lame spin-offs and comedies where they played themselves (both you, Matt LeBlanc). And some of that curse may have hit Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, an Aaron Sorkin- created show that took a look at the goings on behind the scenes of a live comedy show. It debuted at the same time as 30 Rock, which had similar subject matter, and while that show flourished, Studio 60 did not, with ratings sliding from 13.4million viewers to 4million. It had a great deal of “buzz” before it aired, but ended up with the unfortunate distinction of being the only Aaron Sorkin show to ever have been cancelled in its first season.
9. Happy Town
However short Studio 60’s run may have been, it was a mega-series compared to 2010’s Happy Town. Featuring Amy Acker of Angel (ex Buffy and Angel actors seem to have a similar curse to Friends, Alyson Hannigan excepted) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), it was a murder mystery set in the small town of Haplin, Minnesota. It ran for 6 episodes, with ratings down to 2million by the last one, and the next 2 episodes were released on the internet but no more were made. A shame for anyone who was wanting to find out the answer to the mystery!
This is another show that should have flown, given the star power behind it. Legendary producer Joel Silver has a string of hugely successful movies to his name, from Lethal Weapon to The Matrix. Add to him producers Gabrielle Stanton (Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty) and David Greenwalt (Angel) and this “paranormal romance” should have been a hit. But the cast was relatively unknown, and the reviews of the first episode were harsh, with talk of “woeful” acting and “groan-inducing” dialogue.
It seemed that the tale of PI-and-moralistic-vampire Mick meeting a woman he’d rescued from a fire as a child didn’t hit the spot with the reviewers or the public at large and the show was first halted by the writers’ strike, then cancelled altogether. But as with many of these shows, there is still a loyal fanbase out there.
With this show, unlike some of the others, I can kind of see why it was cancelled. The premise is an agorophobic, former chess champion who likes solving mysteries from his armchair. Does it sound like a winner? He can’t leave the house, so gets his apprentice to help him solve the mysteries in exchange for chess tuition. Still not sounding too gripping…
It was a Canadian show, made in 2011, and broadcast in America on Hulu but it was cancelled after 11 episodes. Whether it was the stay-at-home chess genius protagonist, or the lack of star power that hastened its demise, no-one knows. But again, there were some devoted fans who tried – and failed – to save it.
Unlike the other series on the list, this was a reworking of an old story rather than a new concept. It followed the fortunes of Robinson Crusoe and his companion Friday as they live on an island. Commissioned by NBC, it was made by a British company, and much of the filming took place in Britain (which doesn’t look much like a desert island, but you can imagine…).
It was set in the 17th century, but shot in a pacey, modern way. It was a drama, but with comedic elements, aping the style of Pirates of the Caribbean. It involved MacGyver-like ingenuity, and it was just a bit of a mess. Viewers obviously thought so too, and the series that was at first promoted as a regular show was subtly changed to be a 13-episode miniseries. Strangely, it featured Sam Neill who is making his second appearance in this list. He might start to get paranoid…