10 Shows You’ll Never Believe Were Cancelled

I’m sure that, like me, you can think of at least one television show that was cancelled way too soon. Maybe it left you with an unsatisfied feeling, maybe it made you really angry, or maybe it even led to you asking yourself the meaning of life. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure you can appreciate the following list of popular television shows that we never got to see meet their fate. From comedy classics like The Drew Carey Show and Malcolm in the Middle to dramas such as Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, these are 10 shows you’ll never believe were cancelled!


Often hailed as one of television’s greatest shows, Firefly went unaired in its first season. The sci-fi drama followed a renegade crew in a distant part of space called Serenity, where it deftly blended wry humor with unabashed melodrama. Its cast included genre heavyweights Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk, who have gone on to star in cult classics like ABC’s Castle and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Arrested Development

Before there was 30 Rock, The Office or Parks and Recreation, there was Arrested Development. With a quick-witted cast (including Jason Bateman and Will Arnett) led by charismatic star Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), Arrested Development is about a wealthy family who loses everything—all except their eccentricities.

Freaks and Geeks

The only show whose cancellation so incensed its fans that it spawned a massive campaign to resurrect it, Freaks and Geeks was an instant cult classic when NBC announced it would not be picked up for a second season in 2000. Created by Judd Apatow, Paul Feig and Seth Rogen, among others, Freaks and Geeks followed a group of misfit teenagers at McKinley High School during 1980s Michigan.


This Judd Apatow-produced university comedy was cancelled by Fox after one season. It went on to live a second life with cult classic status when it was revived as an online series. The cancellation of Undeclared—which also featured appearances from Seth Rogen and Jason Segel—is proof that you shouldn’t always trust network execs.

The Newsroom

It was just three years ago that The Newsroom premiered on HBO, but it already feels like a relic of a different era. The show’s dialogue and cinematic approach were seen as overly pretentious at first, but in retrospect creator Aaron Sorkin’s style is nothing short of dazzlingly prescient. In The Newsroom (2009-14), Sorkin predicted President Trump’s rise to power with an almost eerie precision.


The drama, starring Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz as Los Angeles cops working in one of LA’s toughest areas, was axed after a three-season run. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC cancelled Southland in 2009 due to low ratings. However, that didn’t stop TNT from swooping in just weeks later and picking up 10 episodes of Southland for a fourth season. Unfortunately for fans of Southland, though, TNT would cancel it after Season 4 wrapped in December 2012.

My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life is an example of a show that was critically acclaimed but never found an audience, despite only running for one season. If you’ve heard of it and wonder what happened to My So-Called Life, here’s everything you need to know about why it was cancelled and why there won’t be a season 2.

Viva La Bam

Running from 2003-2005, Bam Margera’s Viva La Bam followed his zany hijinks with equally as zany friends and family. Always looking for an excuse to perform a stunt, Margera brought on celebrities like Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville who would often challenge each other to do increasingly dangerous feats. Eventually forced off of MTV by an alcohol-related arrest (on camera), Viva La Bam was cancelled after three seasons—but it lives on thanks to DVDs and YouTube.


The Deadwood series finale left fans hanging, with three major storylines still unresolved. There were questions about whether Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and Alma Garrett (Molly Parker) would get married; what happened to Boss’s underage daughter; and where Sheriff Seth would end up after receiving a bounty of $5,000 dollars for bringing down former A.U.S.

American Idol

Just three seasons after its premiere, American Idol was cancelled by Fox. The network made a controversial decision to replace judge Simon Cowell with Ellen DeGeneres in Season 8. Ratings dropped sharply from there. Auditions for season 9 were canceled and ABC picked up Idol for a final season of only 15 episodes—the shortest in franchise history—before cancelling it for good at the end of that year.

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