List

Canceled Too Soon

By Lynnanne Pearson

Television is a numbers game. Some shows are allowed time to grow their audiences and become successful while some, like the awesome TV shows on this list, are canceled after the first season. Some of these shows were canceled during their first season and never even aired all their episodes.

  • Firefly

    2003 by Joss Whedon

    Every list of television shows that were Canceled Too Soon rightly begins with the very shiny Firefly. Sorely mistreated by the Fox network (they aired the episodes out of order and in the dead zone of Friday nights), this show gained a cult following after its cancellation. The cult (Browncoats Unite!) grew so large and so vocal that the full length-feature film Serenity was made to satisfy them. The movie proved once and for all that you can't take the sky from Captain Tightpants and his merry band of rogues. While fans of Firefly may curse the sudden but inevitable betrayal by Fox, and the fact that we will never get any new episodes, we swear by our pretty floral bonnet that we will never forget them.

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  • Almost Human, The complete series

    2014

    Karl Urban and Michael Ealy star in this engaging police drama set in the near future. Urban is a human police detective back from a medical leave of absence. He is paired with Ealy, an android officer. Urban is distrustful of Ealy and the other androids in the department. What raises this show above the standard police procedural (beside the robot cops) is the excellent chemistry between Urban and Ealy. It's a shame that Fox (again) did not give this show more of a chance. For another underappreciated gem starring Karl Urban that deals with some of these same issues, check out the awesome reboot of the awful Stallone movie, Dredd.

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  • Freaks and Geeks

    2004

    So how does a show starring Jason Segel, Seth Rogan, James Franco and created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow only last one season? NBC is the guilty party that did not recognize the potential for these titular freaks and geeks to become huge stars. Anyone who was not one of the beautiful people in high school will appreciate this funny, warm, and offbeat show.

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  • Roar, The complete series

    2006 by Heath Ledger

    It's the year 400 and a young chieftain (played by a very young Heath Ledger) travels through Hibernia (ancient Ireland) to unite various Celtic tribes against the Romans. If you are fan of the action, mythology, and humor of shows like Xena and Hercules you will love Roar. Fox (again—what do they have against amazing TV?) only aired eight episodes of this fun show before unjustly cancelling it. Luckily, there are 13 episodes in total and you can watch the early beginnings of future stars Heath Ledger, Vera Farmiga, and Sebastian Roché.

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  • Kitchen Confidential

    2007 by Owain Yeoman

    Bradley Cooper as bad-boy chef—I know that sounds awfully similar to his 2016 movie Burnt but this TV show is based on Anthony Bourdain's memoir. Cooper wonderfully captures the ambitious allure of Bourdain and is surrounded by a great supporting cast in the kitchen including Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy) and John Cho (we all know that everything is better #StarringJohnCho). Cooper shines in this starring role.

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  • The Dresden Files

    2007 by Paul Blackthorne

    As a big fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, I had high hopes for this show. Once I got over my disappointment at the many changes from the book series, I really enjoyed it. For those unfamiliar with the books, Harry Dresden is the only wizard listed in the Chicago phone book. He sometimes serves as a police consultant on supernatural cases but gets into trouble with the cops as much as he helps them. He also has his own detective agency. If you like your hardboiled detectives mixed with supernatural mysteries, check this series out.

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  • Wonderfalls, The complete viewer collection

    2005 by Todd Holland

    Full confession: I hated this show when when it originally aired. I am not sure what was wrong with the 2005 me because I recently caught it again and loved it. It's delightfully quirky and never predictable. When the souvenirs in the Wonderfalls souvenir shop start to talk to employee Jaye, they give her cryptic orders that she has to follow or bad things will happen. Each episode is a hoot but has a heart as well.

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