It’s not easy to launch a new series, and for those lucky enough to make it past season 1, it’s hard to maintain that popularity. Eventually, even for those lucky few that survive and thrive, the time comes for them to take their final bows as well.
This year, we said goodbye to a number of TV series that have become part of our weekly routines. While some probably overstayed their welcome, others are going out on top.
Here’s our list of 12 TV Series We Will Miss In 2016.
12 Falling Skies
TNT’s Falling Skies seems like it could have ended multiple times over its five year run. Yet this became a summer staple and a notable starring vehicle for Noah Wylie.
Skies also had the pedigree of Steven Spielberg as a producer and that likely helped draw in audiences, and the show succeeded by having some emotional heft to it, as viewers really did care about the characters.
The series also had a nice mix of action and plot, which was lacking in other similar knock-offs. At times the show did veer off course (especially towards the end of its run) but it always was able to draw back in its loyal fans. That loyalty was repaid by a finale that tied up all the loose ends and was a proper send-off to the well-liked series.
In the beginning, Revenge was actually really awesome. It was a great concept and the Grayson family were great villains, but as the seasons wore on so did viewers' patience.
We can’t blame the producers, because it is hard to keep a show like that running for 22 episodes a year. The fact that the show lasted for 89 episodes over four years is a testament to the creativity of its production team (and a long leash from ABC executives). Revenge really would have worked better as a shorter summer show. Doing 10 to 13 episodes a season would have helped the show last longer and likely have kept its momentum intact.
Regardless, hats off to Emily VanCamp and Madeline Stowe as, despite the ridiculous plot twists towards the end, never did these ensemble leads waver in their performances. It doesn’t matter what these two actresses have next on their plates as they are sure to make anything they are in ten times better!
10 The Kroll Show
Nick Kroll is a truly a master of disguise and for three seasons it served both him and Comedy Central very well. The Kroll Show brilliantly lampooned every aspect of both pop culture and everyday life.
Yet it wasn’t just Kroll that brought these creative characters to life. Part of the show’s ensemble included a number of up and coming comic stars. These include John Mulaney, Jenny Slate and Chelsea Peretti, who all made their unique mark on the series.
Kroll himself decided to pull the plug on the series and say goodbye to his trademark characters and segments. From Dr. Armond to PubLIZity to C-Zar, each had their own following of fans and they were clever spoofs that will certainly live on virally.
9 Two & A Half Men
At some point during its 12 year run, you probably forgot that Two and a Half Men was actually still on the air. It’s okay, most people did, but like clockwork, every week produced a new episode.
What’s more remarkable is that over that decade plus run, the show’s producers actually replaced 2/3 of the equation and people STILL kept watching. After both Charlie Sheen and Angus T. Jones shot themselves in the foot with very public meltdowns, Jon Cryer was the last man standing. He not only ended up carrying the show into its reboot, but he won an Emmy for it as well.
People also forget that Ashton Kutcher’s time on the show resulted in over 80 episodes alone. Eventually, the ratings couldn’t justify the massive salary Kutcher and Cryer were netting and the series wrapped up its run.
Of course, those series finale numbers were boosted by the “will he/won’t he” appeal of whether or not Charlie Sheen would make a cameo appearance for old time's sake. Ultimately, he did not but that didn’t stop writers from having a ton of fun teasing viewers with a plot that was outlandish even by the show’s standards.
8 8.Under The Dome
At some point in this series' second season, Under The Dome became more of an accidental comedy than a sci-fi drama. The adaptation of the famed Stephen King novel started with a massive bang but by the time it reached its conclusion last summer, the buzz had decreased to a whimper.
It’s really kind of sad because the series had a lot of promise and a great cast headlined by an underrated ensemble. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Mike Vogel (Childhood’s End) helped give the series some momentum, but they're characters eventually became caricatures of their earlier selves.
By the time CBS officially canceled Dome, the series had actually gotten to a point when the dome came down. A possible season 4 would have taken place outside the dome instead of under it, which, again, basically drove the point home it was time to end the show.
Still, it was a fun ride and we aren’t sorry that we first got hooked.
You may not have to have liked Glee but you have to give it credit for what it accomplished. This was a dramedy about high school kids who spontaneously broke into song. It was a musical TV show the likes of which we hadn’t seen in a long time.
It also worked!
Yes, it jumped the shark multiple times and, yes, it got way too preachy at different points, but give credit where credit is due. Ryan Murphy took a unique concept, sold it into a major network and turned it into a goldmine.
Billboard spots and iTunes records aside, the series also launched the careers of a number of insanely talented rising stars. Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Melissa Benoist and Darren Criss are just some of the names that came to prominence through Glee.
The series also did wonders for the under-valued twosome of Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch. Lynch especially was a character actress who just needed the right vehicle to succeed. In addition, we’d be remiss not to mention the late Corey Monteith, who was every bit as humble in real life as his character was on the show.
6 The Following
The Following started out as one type of show but then quickly morphed into another over its three year run. The series really seemed like it would have been better suited as an event series, but the lure of having Kevin Bacon in your network talent roster was too great for Fox. Then again, it's hard to blame the network, as Bacon has a unique mix of charisma and likability that any network would want to use as much as possible.
Somewhere, though, the series lost its way, and it may have been because co-star James Purefoy was so good at being bad, audiences ended up rooting for him. Still, that first season really set the bar as to how dark a primetime drama could really get while still airing on network TV.
The Following was what it was and Fox tried everything it could to course-correct the drama along the way, but its cancelation earlier this year wasn’t a shock.
5 CSI: Crime scene investigation
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is one of those rare shows that was truly ahead of its time.
Not just in its visuals, but in its style. It paved the way for CBS to launch dramas like NCIS, Criminal Minds, Without A Trace, Cold Case and a array of similar series. It was the definition of a “procedural” drama.
Critics hate those types of shows, but audiences love them for the same reason: they feel familiar. You know what you are going to get and that’s comforting. For 15 seasons and over 300+ episodes, CSI became a fixture, not just its network, but on cable, through the magic of syndication.
The series even proved it could survive multiple cast turnovers. First, fan favorite William Peterson bowed out, then Laurence Fishburne subbed in for a few years before Ted Danson closed the proverbial lab tech doors. Yet throughout, CSI remained something special and groundbreaking.
TV owes a debt to the series and it was a classy move on CBS’ part to let it go out with a fitting conclusion.
4 Parks and Recreation
While Parks and Recreation eventually became one of the smartest series of the last decade, it certainly didn’t start that way. The show’s first season wasn’t well received and NBC seemed close to canceling it multiple times.
Yet the Amy Poehler-led ensemble survived and thrived, helping to eventually make stars out of its entire cast. From Aziz Ansari to Nick Offerman to Aubrey Plaza, the amount of stars in this series is staggering. Keep in mind, we haven’t even mentioned current Guardians of The Galaxy/Jurassic World “it” star Chris Pratt.
Parks always seemed to be on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream but never quite fully caught on. Then again, part of the show’s appeal has always been its quirky, off-beat nature. A comedy born out of The Office-esque mockumentary style, the Greg Daniels created series will continue to entertain viewers, even though it has produced its last new episode.
No, it’s not Game of Thrones and, no, there are no superheroes to speak of, but it is hard to deny the impact of Parenthood.
It was 100+ episodes of raw emotion. It wasn’t sugarcoated, it wasn’t a fairy tale, it was just life. Ignored by the Emmys and overlooked by the general viewing public, the series survived and thrived because of critical appeal and a small cult following.
The Bravermans were our family and we legitimately cared what happened to them every season. A large part of the appeal came from both the writers and cast. Led by TV veteran Craig T. Nelson and including fan favorites Lauren Graham and Peter Krause, this was a meticulously assembled ensemble that shined on screen.
Never afraid to tackle a topic, Parenthood, over six years, was able to do what other shows would only attempt. For as much flack as NBC gets for some of its programming decisions, the network did right by the show’s fans and let Parenthood have the proper ending it so richly deserved.
2 Mad Men
At times Mad Men definitely became too smart for its own good. It often got so caught up in symbolism and metaphors it distracted the audience from its plot. Then again, it was also one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed series ever on TV.
That’s a hard balance, as usually when a show reaches that level of detail, viewers just give up. Mad Men always found a way to pull its audience back in at just the right time. The series didn’t need a season premiere or finale to make a big move. The twists were as emotional as they were storyline-centric.
With all of that said, many were worried that Mad Men would go off course with its finale, but in the end it may have been the show’s finest hour. Enough can’t be said about the vision of creator Matthew Weiner or the gravitas of its lead, Jon Hamm.
This was a network-making series that paved the way for smart TV like Breaking Bad and appointment TV like The Walking Dead. So light a cigar and pour some whiskey to toast this Emmy winner goliath one last time.
Some shows go by so fast simply because you enjoy every minute of them. Justified is a prime example of a series of that caliber.
Adapted masterfully by Graham Yost and his team from the work of literary legend Elmore Leonard, the series crackled for six years and 78 episodes. Led by Timothy Olyphant, Justified eventually expanded out to be a full ensemble that also included the ever-underrated Walton Goggins (currently shining on the silver screen in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight).
Olyphant and Goggins characters are on polar opposites of the law, but there was always a semblance of respect between the two. In the end, the series turned into a series-long game of cat and mouse that never got old.
This was one of those shows that blended action, drama and dark humor into one well-crafted formula. With Emmy wins by Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies, two of the show’s best villains, the drama was able to give exposure to actors deserving of another go in the spotlight.
Justified decided to go out on top and for that you can’t fault it… but we will miss it.
Did we miss any of your favorite shows? Which one will you miss the most? Let us know in the comments below.
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