The general public or television viewer might not understand the full magnitude that it takes to create an entire episode of television, let alone a full season or complete series. That’s what makes it all the more impressive that great shows continue to debut year after year with countless members of Hollywood doing everything they can to give their audiences great content. But even with so many people trying to contribute and create something astounding, there are always speed-bumps and dead-ends that the creators might run into, causing the show to end sooner than expected and well before fans are ready to say goodbye.
Succession, HBO’s hit series about a family of billionaires and the ever-looming question of who will take over the family business/fortune, is one such show and recently announced that they’d be calling it quits after the upcoming fourth season. Reports indicate that the creator of the series feels the fourth season was the natural end-point for the show, and didn’t want to risk dragging the series on and potentially have it become a boring former shell of what it used to be. While some, including the show’s creator, insist that the fourth season is the justifiable ending-point, it’s always a debate among fans since they undeniably want more content when it comes to their favorite series. So, with Succession deciding to hang it up after the fourth season, it raises the question – what other television series ended sooner than fans were hoping for?
Daredevil, The Punisher, Other Marvel Shows
While critics can claim that the MCU has lost it’s touch over the past few years with the insistence on churning out new movies and shows at a rapid pace, it doesn’t come anywhere close to their greatest sin – cancelling several beloved shows they already had out in order to make way for the new ones on Disney+. To be fair, the legal issues when it comes to copyrighting material for television is an absolute nightmare and the creatives/higher-ups didn’t have much say when it came to this decision. Nevertheless, the choice to cancel shows like Netflix’s Daredevil and The Punisher was one that fans just couldn’t take on the chin, especially considereing the poor reception that recent MCU shows have gotten on Disney+.
Luckily, these particular shows were so popular (and the latest ones have been such a disappointment) that Marvel got the message from it’s fans and ordered a revival of the Daredevil show with an 18-episode season set to hit Disney+ next year. As of right now, there hasn’t been any word on whether or not shows such as The Punisher or Agent Carter will get reworked into the greater MCU. But at least fans can just rejoice knowing that at least one unjust cancellation has been reversed.
Freaks and Geeks
Never has there been a more popular cult-classic television show than Freaks and Geeks, especially considering it only lasted for one season. The sitcom set around a group of misfit kids in high-school was created by Judd Apatow and had a cast of actors that, at the time, were a bunch of nobodys. However, nearly ever single actor in the show went on to some sort of Hollywood stardom, becoming A and B list talent for years to come. The cast included the likes of Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Rashida Jones, and many more.
Not only was the cast an underrated unit that shot them all to fame, but the concept of the show was so perfectly relatable that literally anyone who had endured an American high-school could relate to it. Not only that, but it aired during a time when sappy, soap-opera-esque teen shows were all the rage and the satirical comedy used in the single season made fun of those shows hysterically. While the show has a ridiculously loyal fanbase to this day, it’s a shame that audiences never got to enjoy more of it.
Speaking of cult-classic, one-season comedies with a cast that wasn’t appreciated until after its time, The Class is another comedy that was ridiculously underrated. Airing in the early 2000s, the premise of the show wasn’t quite as relatable or believable as Freaks and Geeks as it centered around a group of former classmates reuniting after nearly twenty years and then (somehow) having their lives entangled from there on out. That said, the comedic gold of the characters interacting with one another was something that hadn’t been seen for such a large core cast in a live-audience sitcom before.
However, it wasn’t all that surprising how the cast had such chemistry with one another because, just like Freaks and Geeks, the show had several cast members that were relatively unknown at the time and went on to be household names. Actors such as Jon Bernthal, Jesse-Tyler Ferguson, Lizzy Caplan (yeah, she was in this too) and Jason Ritter all had major parts on the show, and none of them got to show their true potential since the series was cancelled after just one season.
How exactly do you cancel a dark, sci-fi show created by one of the world’s greatest dark, sci-fi directors in James Cameron? While most people know the director for his films such as Aliens, The Terminator, and Avatar, James Cameron took a shot at television in the early 2000s and the end result was Dark Angel, a series set in the future about a genetically enhanced super soldier played by Jessica Alba.
Despite an incredibly intriguing premise, an Oscar-winning creator in Cameron, and a breakout breakneck start like Jessica Alba, the show was cancelled after just two seasons. What’s even worse, is that Cameron was told the show was going to be renewed on a Saturday, prompting him and the entire crew to celebrate over the weekend – only for Cameron to then get another call on Monday being told there was a mistake and that the show was actually done. Even for an Oscar-winner, Cameron admitted that he was livid with the decision.
You know what’s worse than being cancelled? Being replaced by a show that would turn into a cult-classic… that would also be cancelled. Yes, it’s true that Dark Angel actually got the boot in order to make room for Firefly, a series set five-hundred years in the future following a small crew aboard a spacecraft as they tried to traverse the galaxy, that became one of the biggest cult-classic tv shows of all time. The sci-fi premise combined with a cast that included actors like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torress, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau, and many more created a show that fans were so thrilled with that they completely forgot about how much they missed Dark Angel.
Unfortunately, the premise, A-list cast, and writing was simply before it’s time (just like Dark Angel) and the amount of money necessary to create the show didn’t justify the studio keeping it around. Despite loyal fans clinging to the series for dear life, as well as being created by Joss Whedon, the show also got the ax after just one season and remains one of the biggest Hollywood travesties to this very day.
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Talk about a show before it’s time. Yes, it might just be an animated kids show, but never has there been a more creative show than Jimmy Neutron. The series set around a young boy who happens to be the world’s smartest person was so creative and had such ingenuity that no show before, or since, has even come close to touching it. The inventions that Jimmy would come up with and the hijinks that he and his lovable band of friends would get into created a one-two imaginative combo that had children and adults laughing with merriment.
Unfortunately, the show aired on Nickelodeon amongst other hit animated kids shows like Spongebob Squarepants and The Fairly Oddparents, and despite the show having its own feature film, the premise was just too advanced and ahead of its time to get the massive amount of seasons that Spongebob or The Fairly Oddparents attained.
To be honest, we tried to keep as many shows that were cancelled by complications from the Covid-pandemic off this list as possible because such a list would be a mile long, but this one stung a little bit more than the rest. Glow was an insanely popular television show from Netflix that followed the lives of professional female wrestlers in the 1980s. The series starred Alison Brie and had already produced three seasons of some of the best original programming Netflix had made to date.
Despite having an extremely large following of fans, a premise that could have kept going for several more years, three solid seasons under its belt, and a list of accolades that included multiple Emmy wins and nominations, Glow was ultimately cancelled due to complications from the pandemic and decided to call it quits. While the rest of these shows weren’t appreciated until after their time, Glow is the only one that was truly appreciated while it aired and had fans absolutely appalled when it was given the boot.