10 Fox Shows Canceled Too Soon (And 10 That Need To Go)

It's that time of the year when series get canceled. It's a sad period for many, as some of their favorite shows are canned in lieu of rubbish starring any member of the Kardashian clan. Simultaneously, it's a time of optimism as passionate fans rally behind their treasured programming and appeal to other networks to pick them up.

Just look at Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Expanse as two recent examples. Both shows appeared to be finished but were rescued by other networks, delighting their fans and proving, like Marian Carey and Whitney Houston said, there can be miracles when you believe.

In some cases, though, there's no coming back. Once the series has been axed, that's it-- it's done. Sure, there's always the possibility that there could be a revival years down the line, but for all intents and purposes it's finito.

It angers many viewers, who wonder why their favorite show got the boot but the other flailing series continue to slog away.

With that said, let's take a look at the shows that aired and still air on Fox (locally and internationally), and what should've and shouldn't have been terminated.

Here are the 10 Fox Shows Canceled Too Soon (And 10 That Need To Go).

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Cast of Alcatraz
Start Now


Cast of Alcatraz

Debuting in 2012, Alcatraz was a sci-fi drama with a lot of potential. Produced by J.J. Abrams and starring Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, and Sam Neill, it had all the ingredients to be a smash-hit for years to come.

However, the show was canceled after only 13 episodes.

Fox said Alcatraz started off strong but dropped to half of its audience by the end of the season, hence the network pulling the plug.

If you wonder what could've been, showrunner Daniel Pyne told SciFiNow what the plans for season two were.

"The structure [was] similar because we love telling the short stories and the flashbacks, and we love the active nature of tracking these guys down. But as we come forward and we start answering the initial questions, we discover that these guys can live in the world, they can be back for longer and there can be more than one of them in the world."

He continued: "And as that has started to happen, that opens up the storytelling possibilities so that there are just more places to go in the present rather than everything being backstory and unexplained things that are buried.

"[We were] really concentrating going forward on characters and relationships, not just between our characters but also as the inmates come back, as the '63s appear, we like to think how they have conflicts that for them happened yesterday, and those are now playing out in the present day," he said.


The Walking Dead Season 8 Midseason Finale Review Carl Rick

The Walking Dead, which airs on Fox internationally, has been airing for eight seasons, but it feels a whole lot longer.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the episodes involve the characters doing nothing and walking around aimlessly. While the first few seasons provided us with a powerful horror-drama series, the last two have been some of the dullest around and even the zombies looked bored.

The audience agreed, as the eighth season closed out with its second-least watched finale in the show's history. According to Nielsen, roughly 7.9 million viewers turned up for the episode titled "Wrath". That's one million fewer than the end of season two and 3.3 million less than season seven's finale.

With the news that lead star, Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), will be departing in season nine, the signs are already ominous that the end is nigh.

This show is on its last legs and needs to come to a close before it gets even worse.

Look, we loved The Walking Dead as much as the next person, but it's a shadow of its former self. Everyone should know when it's time to leave the party. No one wants to be the drunk guy swaying around and looking for attention when everybody else has left.


Bones had a good run as Fox's longest-running live-action series. Seriously, how many shows last 12 seasons nowadays? Even so, it remained quality TV all the way to the finale. It brought something new to the crime-procedural genre and certainly deserved a longer run than the likes of CSI and its infinite amount of spinoffs.

Even so, Emily Deschanel, who portrayed Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, spoke to TV Insider about her time on the show and appears to be quite content by what the team achieved.

"We were the little engine that could. I feel proud that we did so many episodes, that we were on for so long; it's quite an accomplishment. I feel like our fans were always so loyal and they always found us wherever we were, no matter how many times they bounced us around."

"Sometimes it was really frustrating because we weren't appreciated by the network. But I also now realize they probably knew how strong we were and knew they could bounce us around to different times and we'd survive. And we did. So there you go," she stated.

"But we never expected to go this long, but it happened. Sometimes it goes so long you think it will never end, and then it does end at a certain point," she said.


Showtime at the Apollo

On the surface, Showtime at the Apollo looks harmless enough. How bad can a music show really be? That said, the current host, Steve Harvey, is proving that the showrunners are disrespecting everyone by allowing his behavior to continue.

Harvey has done a few questionable things in recent times, including making some off-color and controversial remarks about important issues. It's getting to the point where people need to take a stand and hold him accountable for the silly things he says and does.

Who could ever forget the purported staff memo that was distributed to the employees of Harvey's talk show? In it, he reportedly told staff to not come to his dressing room or speak to him unless spoken to. Who does he think he is? Marlon Brando?

With more and more celebs being taken to task for their actions, it's important to keep the momentum going. Just because you're a relatively famous person doesn't mean you get a free pass to do and say dumb things or treat other people like dirt.

Maybe all it'll take to rejuvenate Showtime at the Apollo is a new host. Even so, none of us are rushing to the couch to catch it on a regular basis right now.


Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels in The Exorcist Season 2 FOX

It must be said that no one was convinced The Exorcist would be a good idea for a TV series. For most, it seemed like an obvious cash-in on the franchise's name.

Yet, the series creator, Jeremy Slater, defied the odds by delivering an engaging and exciting continuation of the lore first started by William Peter Blatty.

Despite a fantastic two seasons of immense quality and riveting TV, the ratings dwindled and it was unfortunately canceled. Slater, though, did reveal to TV Line what we could've expected in season three of the show.

"Part of the story in season three would be Marcus having to use his connections to this religious underworld to track down his missing partner. If he can't necessarily trust the Church anymore, because it's been compromised, I think it'd be fun to see Marcus having to go outside the bounds of the Church and talk to some of the people he would have met over his last 30 years of exorcising people. [Sources] who deal in conspiracy theories, religious reliquaries and things like that," he said.

There's been no mention of another network picking up The Exorcist, so it does look like the show has been exorcised from our lives for good.


The Resident

Oh, look. A medical drama. That's exactly what the world needs more of, right? Sigh. Honestly, this is one genre of TV that's overpopulated and a complete snore. Have we not had enough of E.R. and Grey's Anatomy yet?!

Obviously someone's watching this stuff since The Resident has been renewed for a second season.

Nonetheless, the show is walking a very thin line at the moment as it debuted with 8.65 million viewers and dipped to 4.29 million by its finale.

If it goes anywhere below the 3 million mark in the next season, you can say sayonara, as that seems to be the threshold at Fox.

The Resident has also received mixed to positive reviews. USA Today was not kind about it in its review, stating: "The Resident is an exercise in frustration. Self-important, predictable and inconsistent, the series delivers bland stories about terrible people playing God just because they can."

It might sound harsh, but it isn't far from the truth. There is an element of you've seen this all before elsewhere.

There's nothing original here, and no reason it deserves to overstay its welcome. Quite frankly, there's an abundance of other shows that deserve the slot that The Resident currently occupies.


Have we all forgiven Joss Whedon for his part in Justice League? Well, we should. Lest we forget, Whedon created a host of iconic TV shows over the years. One of the best was the space-western epic known as Firefly.

Whedon had planned the show to air for seven seasons; however, Fox had other plans and canned it after only 11 of the 14 completed episodes had aired in the United States.

Interestingly, the DVD sales spiked when the show was released on home video and it even went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award in 2003.

The positive fan reaction and furore over its cancelation resulted in Universal stepping in to produce Serenity, a film that was the continuation of the show. Additionally, Firefly found a new lease on life in other mediums, such as comic books, and has gone on to become a cult-classic TV series.

While Firefly's story didn't turn out too bad in the end, we do wonder what could've been had Fox allowed Whedon's original vision to materialize.

Who knows how far the series could've gone and what it could've become? Perhaps we'd be talking about it in the same breath as Star Wars and Star Trek now.


Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford in Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon had the unenviable task of needing to live up to the hype of the film series. Yet, somehow, this quirky action-comedy found its bearings rather fast and whipped up an entertaining series for new and old audiences of the franchise. It also happens to be one of the highest-rated shows on Fox.

However, all of its good work was undone by the reported on-set behavior of co-lead Clayne Crawford. Before the season three renewal, rumors swirled around that Crawford had been disciplined after multiple complaints about his actions.

It also came to light that the producers were looking at recasting his character since the cast and crew weren't too happy to continue working with him.

Crawford apologized and said he'd been reprimanded twice. It didn't help matters too much, though, as he was swiftly booted from the show, with Seann William Scott being announced as his replacement, albeit in a new role.

The situation didn't end there, as fellow cast member Damon Wayans criticized Crawford for his actions and leaked audio of his behavior surfaced online, showing how toxic the relationship between Crawford and his co-star had become.

Right now, things don't look too good for Lethal Weapon. Even with Scott in the mix now, is it even worth pursuing anymore?


Son of Zorn TV show images

How can you not love a show that mixes up live-action with an animated barbarian?! Son of Zorn should've been this generation's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but it'll only be remembered as the weird program that lasted one lonely season on Fox.

While it felt like a throwback to the era of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Thundercats, it took a major knock in the ratings.

The show debuted with over 6 million viewers but dropped to 1.5 million for its season finale. That's a pretty massive decline and there's no way that Fox would've gambled with a second season with those sorts of numbers.

Some fans tried to put together a petition to get a second season, but even that seems to have flopped with only 1,940 supporters out of the 25,000,000 goal. Unfortunately, it seems like Zorn is doomed to remain in the X Shows You Forgot about in the '00s list, which we'll probably write in a decade's time.

It's a shame, really, because there was nothing else quite like it and we deserve to have some original shows that aren't derivatives of others.

Plus, Jason Sudeikis did a tremendous job in bringing the barbarian to life.


15 Facts You Didn't Know About Family Guy

When Fox canceled Family Guy in 2002, eyebrows were raised. This was a series with immense potential and had built up a good following due to its clever satire and boundary-pushing jokes. Fans protested the cancelation, while rerun viewership and DVD sales prompted the network to renew the show in 2004.

Much like The Simpsons, the show it's often compared to, Family Guy seems to trudge along and appeal to longtime fans, more than break any new boundaries nowadays. It's sad how this animated series is a shadow of its former self and feels tired and drawn out.

Sure, there are talked-about episodes created once and a while, but it appears to be more for shock value and headlines than for awards. Additionally, some episodes have been in poor taste, with the humor criticized for being too on the nose and trying too hard.

Maybe Fox knew something we didn't back in the day, because apart from the odd episode here and there, there's nothing really appealing about another season of Family Guy.

Make no mistake, it had its moments, but unfortunately they're too sporadic to make us care anymore.

Like The Simpsons, Family Guy should've ended its run several seasons ago.


Jason Momoa on North Shore

Airing between 2004 and 2005, North Shore looked like it had all the ingredients needed to succeed on paper. Its setting was a resort in Hawaii, it was a merger of Baywatch and a soap opera, and it featured our man Jason Momoa. For these reasons alone, the drama deserved more than its 21-episode run.

The truth is, North Shore was released at the wrong time. Had it been around when Baywatch was in its heyday or even now as a binge-worthy show on Netflix, it might've had more success than what it did.

Fox did give it a chance, though. Initially, the show was canned before its release, then given an opportunity, only to be shut down again.

In some territories (including America), the final episode wasn't even aired. Mind you, considering the cliffhanger it ended on, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea.

At the end of the day, North Shore gave us an impeccable performance from James Remar and more of a pre-Aquaman Momoa.

Who knows, maybe Zack Snyder was a huge fan of North Shore and Baywatch and that's how he first identified Momoa to portray Arthur Curry/Aquaman in the DCEU. Well, at least we know that he can swim.



A show starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson shouldn't be scraping the bottom of the barrel, but that feels exactly like what Ghosted is doing.

The supernatural comedy should be at the top of the pack, yet it struggled to break 2 million viewers on one episode.

It doesn't seem to be performing well internationally, either, as the show was pulled from the schedule in New Zealand after 10 episodes. The first season isn't even finished yet, but the signs aren't looking good. Ghosted is likely to get canceled later this year if the ratings don't improve.

With Paul Lieverstein replacing Kevin Etten as showrunner, a lot could hinge on this change. There's also an unshakable feeling that Fox just isn't the right network for Ghosted.

It isn't a bad comedy, if we're being honest here, but the numbers that Fox tends to look for aren't what this show will deliver.

As it stands, Ghosted needs to leave Fox for the sake of either party. It could find a better home on another network and survive there. Right now, we don't think it deserves a spot on the Fox schedule, because it just isn't doing the numbers or pulling in the fans.


Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint in Alien Nation

Adapted from the movie of the same name, Alien Nation was a quirky sci-fi procedural drama released in the late '80s. There simply wasn't anything like it on TV at the time and it captured the spirit of the film while also placing its own twist on the story.

It showed in the numbers, too, as it was one of the biggest successes on Fox at the time. However, the network was experiencing some financial problems due to advertising income and had to cancel all of its drama series – including Alien Nation.

There were obviously plans for a second season of Alien Nation since season one ended on a cliffhanger.

Fans rallied together and showed their support, which resulted in it living on in through other mediums like comic books and novels.

However, a change of management at Fox years later spurned five TV movies (including the entire original cast) and a conclusion to what the TV series first started.

Nowadays, there are rumors that a movie remake could be happening, but we'd much prefer it if the TV series had lived on for a few more seasons. We did get five TV movies, though, so maybe beggars can't be choosers here.



After the success of Nashville and Empire, it should surprise no one that Star was created. There seems to be a demand for musical dramas at the moment and the networks will crank them out until the audience begs them to stop (and then crank out some more).

Unlike the aforementioned shows, Star isn't that impressive, bar a few glimmers of hope here and there.

Most of its beats and storylines are recycled from other programs and it seems to be lingering around the network more than electrifying the timeslot, which it has the potential to do but never quite lives up to it.

To its credit, the season two finale held strong and matched the first season's last episode, and this will certainly inspire Fox to press ahead with more episodes if season three matches this success.

Another positive is Star's list of guest stars, which have been impressive to date, but even that can't keep our eyes open on a weekly basis.

It's time for networks to stop with musical dramas and give us the live-action Spinal Tap TV series we all deserve. It'll at least be something more interesting than the current crop of music-related shows on TV – and don't you dare refer to MTV as music because that would be blasphemous.


Tim Roth Lie to Me Promo Photo

In a world of never-ending procedural dramas, we had Lie to Me, an original concept that utilized applied psychology and microexpressions to solve its mysteries.

Not only did this give us an interesting twist to go along with the whodunit, but it also forced the actors to deliver deeper performances where hints were hidden in their body language and expressions.

Despite the talents of Tim Roth as Dr. Cal Lightman, the show came to an end after only three seasons – even if it still averaged 6.71 million viewers by its last season.

Sadly, we never got to see Bones or Castle crossover with Lie to Me – something that many fans believed could've happened.

In an interview with TV in 2010, Roth said it was mooted. "It came up a lot. People were very intrigued with the notion of playing around with it. But I don't think we're ready yet. Maybe next season. If we get to a fourth season, it might be a fun time to do that, just to see who's around and who we can play with."

Alas we can only dream of what could've been. Nonetheless, still to this day, Lie to Me remains a watchable and enjoyable show, which deserved a longer run than what it got.


After 29 seasons it's safe to say that The Simpsons has written itself into the history books. Regardless of what happens from here on out, it's stood the test of time and is one of the longest series of all time.

The consensus is, though, that the show lost its magic after season nine and drastically diminished in quality. In fact, every single year there are numerous critics who blast the show's writing and tired gags.

Even so, the network doesn't care about critical reviews as long as the viewership stays stable. Maybe they should because it's apparent that the numbers aren't as strong as they used to be and are constantly heading downwards.

Additionally, The Simpsons is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, as the recent controversy about Apu and his racial stereotyping brought negative attention to Springfield's favorite residents.

Times have changed and what was acceptable in the late '80s and early '90s might not be the same today. Unfortunately, it seems like the show is still catering for that era of TV.

Look, in all fairness, we'd probably all shed a tear when this series is finally canceled, but it's time now. Let's remember it for what it was and not what it's becoming.


The Mick

There aren't that many sitcoms on TV nowadays that are legitimately funny. This is why it saddens us that The Mick, starring It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Kaitlin Olson, was canceled after two seasons.

The fact that Two and a Half Men lasted as long as it did and this side-splitting comedy is done and dusted after 37 episodes proves there's no justice in the entertainment world.

Reportedly, this was a painful decision taken by Fox as the network had shown its support for the series from the get-go. Three episodes into the first season, another four episodes were ordered and it received an early season two renewal as well.

The network also had a very good working relationship with the creators, Dave and John Chernin, and Olson, which must've made this a difficult choice to make.

Like most shows, though, The Mick fizzled in the second season, averaging around 1.2 million viewers per episode. This number put it on par with the likes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Last Man on Earth – two other series that received the boot from Fox as well.

It just goes to show that if you want a show to succeed, you actually need to watch it when it airs and not off your friend's hard drive.


Prison Break Season Five Middle East

When season five of Prison Break was announced, as a limited series revival of the popular prison drama, it delighted a lot of fans and tugged on the nostalgic heartstrings.

You see, the show was a lot of fun initially, but it got pretty boring towards the end of season four. A limited order of it, though? Sure, count us in.

Now, it's been announced that season six of the show is in development. Why? Does no one at Fox understand what the word "limited" means?

Much like The X-Files, it's often the misguided memory of the past that carries and builds the hype.

It's like the way many people remember their exes. They remember all the good times, but forget about what led to the break-up. If you end up going back to the person, you'll quickly realize what made you fall out of love in the first place.

Unfortunately, Prison Break isn't breaking new ground here. If you keep feeding people the same-old stuff, it'll get stale after a while.

The likes of Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy knew exactly when it was time to step away and preserve their legacies. Maybe Prison Break should do the same, too.



Lucifer is in a strange place right now. After surviving so much controversy when it was initially released, the series played it safe in the beginning and only started to find its feet in season three.

When the viewership dipped below the three million mark, though, Fox sent Lucifer back to where he came from.

Speaking about the decision on BBC Newsnight, the show's star Tom Ellis said, "It just obviously didn't make sense for [Fox] to continue doing it for whatever reason. But unfortunately the people who get left out in that equation is the fans."

With Lucifer being owned by DC Comics, there were rumors that it might move to The CW, like most of the other DC shows. However, the president of the network, Mark Pedowitz, dismissed the notion.

Ellis admitted to RadioTimes he wasn't surprised by that. "I was expecting that, I wasn't disappointed by the news. I knew it was coming because, from what I've learned about the show and what I've learned about the business behind the show, it just was not the right fit."

There are whispers that Netflix might pick up the show, so it's a game of wait and see for now. It would be a shame if this is the last we see of Lucifer.


Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville

Is it just us or has Seth MacFarlane lost the Midas touch? His latest venture, The Orville, dips into the sci-fi field and serves as a simultaneous tribute and parody of Star Trek.

What it also managed to do was split the critics and fans as there's a huge gulf between the two on Rotten Tomatoes. It should be expected, though, since MacFarlane has his own legion of followers and he's not exactly a critical darling.

That said, the first season of The Orville was fun for what it was – but does it need a second season? With so many quality series being canceled left, right, and center, do you not get the feeling that this is getting renewed because it's a MacFarlane show rather than the quality of it?

Let's look at the facts. The first episode had over 8.5 million viewers, while the season finale had just over 3.5 million. That's a huge drop over 12 episodes and you can bet that the second season will experience a significant drop, too.

We'd bank good money on The Orville not lasting past the next season. Yes, it was a good time and throwback to a different era of TV, but it doesn't have much lasting power.


Which other canceled Fox shows do you think should've stayed, and which current ones should go? Let us know in the comments!

More in Lists