All of us who are tv addicts have at least one favorite show that was unmercifully cancelled. Many were done away with without a proper series ending, leaving fans angry and disgruntled. As a person who is afraid to count the number of television I watch per week, I have had more than a few of my shows cancelled. To narrow down my list I decided to choose shows that I felt were not given the proper ending they deserved. So you won’t see favorites like Roswell, Prison Break, and Firefly since I feel they were resolved. Maybe not in the original series (Firefly), but with at least a follow-up movie. Here are a list of ten of my favorite shows that received the ax.
#1 – Reaper
Reaper told the story of Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) who discovered on his 21st birthday that his parents had sold his soul to the Devil (Ray Wise). Now, Sam is forced to be the Devil’s bounty hunter for the rest of his days. Joining Sam on his adventures are his best friends Bert (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez).
Reaper enjoyed two season on the CW Network before getting cancelled in 2009. It was a hilarious comedy with cool monsters, and crazy hijinks. Unfortunately, Reaper was not like anything else on television and while fans appreciated that fact, the PTB must not have. The bright side is that being removed from the CW’s line-up allowed new shows like The Vampire Diaries to take its place. From the devil to vampires. Go figure!
#2 – Moonlight
Moonlight was about Los Angeles private eye Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin). A vampire who falls in love with a human reporter named Beth Turner (Sophia Myles). The pair have a complicated history, and solve crimes while battling their attraction for one another.
Complicating matters more is Mick’s long-time best friend Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring). A vampire big-wig who is one of the most powerful people in California, and Mick’s ex-wife, Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon).
Moonlight was a great new show when it premiered in 2007, though not exactly original. Previous shows like Angel, and Forever Knight featured do-gooder vamps that tried to atone for past sins by saving the human they used to prey on. What made Moonlight must-see tv was the smart writing, complicated romance, and Jason Dohring. Not that Alex O is anything to sneeze at. Unfortunately, the show was pre-Twilight (by 6 months), and CBS cancelled the show despite the enormous fan support. With the huge vampire craze that hit Hollywood by the fall, I’ll bet someone at CBS lost their job over this bad decision.
#3 – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Everyone who knows me knows what a major fan I am of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The series picks up right after the events in Terminator 2 with the Connors trying to prevent the creation of Skynet, and running from the government. Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) and her son John (Thomas Dekker) are joined by an infiltrator cyborg, Cameron (Summer Glau), and a resistance fighter Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green).
Having grown up on the Terminator film franchise I was excited to see it come to television in a weekly action-packed drama. I was not disappointed. The show was well written, well acted, and sported some of the best special effects I had ever seen on television before. This also proved to be the show’s downfall as it was cancelled due to high production costs after only 2 seasons. This was unfortunate, since the season 2 finale was one of the best season finale’s I had ever seen, and ended on a cliffhanger that whetted my appetite for a third season. The ax was handed down by the PTB after the finale was shot, and the sets were dismantled, so fans couldn’t even hope for a tv-movie to wrap up the series.
#4 – Brotherhood
Showtime’s Brotherhood was a gritty family/crime drama that was set in Providence, R.I., and starred Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Jason Clarke (The Chicago Code), Fionnula Flanagan (LOST), and Ethan Embry (CSI: Miami). The show was about two brothers on opposite sides of the law. One was a politician (Clarke), while the other was a member of the Irish mob (Isaacs). Both boys battled for turf in “their” city, while navigating their complicate family bond.
This show was very underrated, and unfortunately was cancelled after only three seasons due to low ratings. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Isaacs play a villain that was vastly different from Lucius Malfoy. Michael Caffee was a pretty simply motivated man. He wanted money and power, and was willing to do whatever to protect those he cared about.
His brother, Tommy also wanted the same things, but quickly discovered it was a thin line between being a politician and a criminal. At the heart of the show was their mother (Flanagan) who was a hard-as-nails single mother torn between two strong-willed sons.
This show was like an Irish version of The Godfather if Michael had gotten out like Vito has wanted. Well performed series with surprises around many a corner. A must-have on anyone’s Netflix queue.
#5 – Deadwood
HBO’s Deadwood was a western set in the 1800′s based on historical characters, but with some fictional flourishes. The series starred Timothy Olyphant (Justified), and Ian McShane (Snow White and the Huntsman) as men on opposite sides of the law. One is a lawman, while the other is a saloon owner and all-around gangster.
This show is one of my all-time favorite series that I didn’t discover until after it was already cancelled. Deadwood is stocked full of recognizable actors that make watching fun for the Where’s Waldo games you and your friends can play while watching. Filed with colorful characters, Deadwood is an example of HBO at it’s finest.
#6 – Carnivale
Carnivale is yet another short-lived HBO series. Set during the Great Depression, at its heart Carnivale is a story of good vs. evil. On one side of the coin you have a Oklahoma farm boy (Nick Stahl), and the other is a minister (Clancy Brown). At first it isn’t clear which man is good, and which is evil, but that is what makes this series interesting. Just as soon as you believe you have things figured out, the show spins everything on its head.
To be honest, I wasn’t actually surprised that Carnivale was cancelled. Even though it’s set at a carnival, since it was a supernatural drama in the vein of Twin Peaks.
The show didn’t spoon-feed its audience. Much of the story may seem weird to viewers who refused to think out of the box, and the show was filled with weird imagery, morally ambiguous situations (not some so ambiguous), and religion. Everything about this show screamed, “doomed,” but nonetheless it offered one hell of a ride!
#7 – Dark Angel
Director James Cameron decided to try his hand at television back in 2000 with the futuristic Dark Angel. The series starred a young Jessica Alba, along with Michael Weatherly (NCIS), and Jensen Ackles.
Set in the post-apocalyptic future, the series is centered around genetically engineered kids who escaped the facility that created them. Max (Alba) was one of them, and kept under the radar working as a messenger by day, and cat burglar by night. After meeting Logan (Weatherly), Max is convinced to use her powers to help others.
Dark Angel was a gritty show about kids living in a depression trying to survive. While Max helped Logan with his altruistic endeavors, Logan tried to unravel the mysteries of Max’s past. What was great about this show was that it was original, action-packed, and featured a doomed romance. But like all big budget shows that wind up on FOX, Dark Angel was cancelled after only two seasons.
#8 – Wolf Lake
Another short-lived supernatural drama set in the Pacific Northwest was Wolf Lake. The show was about a Seattle police detective (Lou Diamond Phillips) that moves to Wolf Lake to investigate the disappearance of his fiance (Mia Kirshner). Once he settles in the Seattle suburb, the detective, John Kanin, quickly realizes that something strange is going on with the inhabitants of this quiet little town.
Besides featuring a young Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing), Wolf Lake was one of the first supernatural shows to hit network television since The X Files. Unfortunately, it was 6 years too early, and aired on CBS, the old fogy network. With everything going against it, the werewolf mystery thriller was cancelled after only 9 episodes, and isn’t even available on DVD :( Luckily, both SyFy and Chiller tend to run marathons of this intriguing show, so check your local listings.
What I loved about this show was how well done the werewolf transformations were done. In fact, the wolves in Wolf Lake look better than the ones in Twilight. Maybe because they used real wolves over CGI. Besides the budding romance between bad boy Luke Cates (Wesley) and good girl Sophia Donner (Winstead), the show also delved into the politics within the pack which I found interesting. If you can catch it on cable you won’t regret it.
#9 – Lincoln Heights
Lincoln Heights was a family drama that aired on ABC Family from 2006-2009. The show centered around the Sutton family who return to the Los Angeles suburb of Lincoln Heights where the father, Eddie (Russell Honsby) grew up. The show dealt with crime, racism, drugs, and young love in a non-overly preachy manner. For four seasons we watched as the Suttons and their children navigated the mean streets of Los Angeles, the social politics of their community, and the pains of growing up.
What I loved about this show was how diverse the cast was compared to similar shows on other networks. At the center was Cassie Sutton (Erica Hubbard) and her boyfriend Charles Antoni (Robert Adamson). Their romance was realistically portrayed, and though interracial, wasn’t used as an example. Who they were was part of the show, and their trials and tribulations were seamlessly interwoven with the surrounding storylines.
I also loved the familial relationships between the Suttons, because they reminded me of people I knew growing up. They loved one another, and suffered through bad situations that only strengthened their bond. None of the characters portrayed were over-the-top or stereotypes, but multi-dimensional characters. Though the show aired for four seasons it was cancelled to make way for ABC Family’s new line-up featuring Pretty Little Liars, and Melissa and Joey. Reruns can be seen nightly on TVOne.
#10 – Kyle XY
Last, but not least, is Kyle XY, another ABC Family show. The show was about the Trager family who take in an amnesic boy (Matt Dallas) who they discover has special abilities. This sci-fi show dealt with drinking, teenage sex, and all sorts of coming-of-age topics while Kyle unraveled the mysteries of his past.
Like Terminator: TSCC, Kyle XY ended without a series finale, and a big cliffhanger. ABC Family cancelled the show because they felt Kyle didn’t fit the new direction the network was heading in, and unfortunately no one else was willing to pick the series up for a 4th season.
What I loved about this show was how they slowly unraveled the mystery behind Kyle, and how he bonded with the Trager family. The show dealt with topics in a realistic way, often making the show seem out-of-place on ABC Family. Since its cancellation nothing like it has taken its place on the network, and the show is still sorely missed by fans.
There you have it folks, my Top 10 Cancelled TV Shows. Did any of yours make the list? If not, which ones didn’t? As always, feel free to sound off below in the comments!