A TV show is a fragile thing. The networks that air them must see a return on their investment. Otherwise, they’ll cancel the shows that aren't making them money. That’s just the way the business works. It doesn’t matter if the show has a small, yet dedicated fan base. It doesn't matter if the writers have established storylines that have yet to be paid off.
With more platforms for TV shows, and more shows coming and going, it is easy to miss a great show. It's especially easy to miss a great show if it hits cancellation early in its run. Here are 10 Great Recent Canceled TV Comedies You Might Have Missed.
This mockumentary series on Netflix parodies the kind of true crime documentary that streaming services like Netflix itself have helped to popularize – except instead of a mysterious murder case, like Making a Murderer, it’s about the search for the culprit on a college campus where 27 phallic images got graffiti-ed on staff members’ cars. When Netflix canceled the series last October after two critically acclaimed seasons, each with a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the producers announced that they would be trying to sell the show to another broadcaster. However, we haven’t heard anything about that since, so it might not have landed anywhere.
This supernatural comedy starred Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. They played two guys who have nothing in common. However, through wacky circumstances, they partner up to check out paranormal activity in Los Angeles. Scott and Robinson are hilarious in their own right. They had brilliant chemistry in the show, so it was a shame that the series was canceled, even if the show itself wasn’t perfect. When the first season aired, Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus described it as “a promising work in progress.” Unfortunately, Fox wouldn’t let the show fulfill that promise and canceled it shortly after the season 1 finale aired.
The reason that the thirteenth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia took so long is that two of the show’s stars – Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson – were starring in their own new shows. Howerton began starring in A.P. Bio, which is still airing on NBC, while Olson took the leading role in The Mick. It’s a sitcom about a party animal who takes responsibility for her rich sister’s kids. Her sister took off to avoid white-collar prosecution. The early signs of cancellation appeared when Fox’s season 2 order had a reduced episode count, and the final nail of the coffin came last May when the network officially ended the series.
Showtime canned this comedy-drama series, which was executive-produced by none other than Jim Carrey, after two seasons. I’m Dying Up Here is set during the 1970s on the L.A. stand-up comedy scene during its most booming and exciting period.
Some sharp young performers, such as Ari Graynor and Clark Duke, played the group of comedians in the show. The great Melissa Leo played comedy club owner Goldie Herschlag, who mentored the characters’ comedy careers. Mitzi Shore was the basis for this character. She was the co-founder of the Comedy Store who shepherded Carrey’s own stand-up career when he started out.
The reason for this series’ low viewership might have been the fact that despite being animated, it had the look and feel of a small arthouse film, with dialogue improvised from a plot outline. But that was what made it so great and unique. Although its characters were animals, the show told more human stories than most of the other shows on the air right now. The show made it to three seasons before HBO canceled it. Over the course of those three seasons, it had such high-profile guest stars as A$AP Rocky, Aziz Ansari, Awkwafina, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jonah Hill.
ABC’s Speechless gave disabled people some much-needed representation in the media. The producers actually cast an actor with cerebral palsy named Micah Fowler to play the disabled lead character. This sounds like a given, but countless able-bodied actors have hopped into wheelchairs to play disabled characters. The show also had some Hollywood star power with Minnie Driver playing Maya, the mother character, who takes pride in making people feel uncomfortable about her son’s disability. Unfortunately, ABC canceled this progressive sitcom this year after airing its third season.
It’s a well-known fact that Tina Fey originally wrote the pilot for 30 Rock about the team behind a cable news show, but NBC executives could see that she was drawing on her SNL experiences and encouraged her to follow that angle instead. Years later, with her newfound clout, Fey would executive-produce and recur in a sitcom about a TV news show. It’s called Great News and it’s about a segment producer whose new intern is her mother. Sadly, NBC canceled Great News after just two seasons, but you can still watch the 23 episodes that did get produced.
Horror buffs around the world rejoiced when Bruce Campbell returned to the role of Ash Williams from The Evil Dead franchise for a TV adaptation developed by the franchise’s godfather, Sam Raimi. The show, titled Ash vs Evil Dead, had the same mix of zany comedy and gory horror as the movies, making it the series continuation that the fans had been clamoring for since Army of Darkness came out in 1992. The show also built on the fictional mythology that the films laid out in intriguing ways. Unfortunately, the show was canceled last year after airing its third season.
Tig Notaro is one of the greatest comic minds on the stand-up scene today, and this is reflected in the Amazon Prime original series that she created with Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno. Notaro’s standup comedy is famous for her hilarious deadpan delivery. This carries through into this sitcom and her character in it in a wonderful way.
Notaro herself is the basis for the lead character. The series’ premise and supporting cast are also very autobiographical. Unfortunately, despite the show receiving stellar reviews, Amazon canceled the series after two seasons of six episodes each.
Netflix’s bloody horror comedy Santa Clarita Diet might not have been its most-viewed show, but it did have a dedicated fan following. And it was a good show, starring the terrific pairing of Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as a married couple whose idyllic suburban life is marred by a cannibalistic parasite. That’s why it was such a shame earlier this year when the streaming service decided to cancel it after three seasons. It ended on a huge cliffhanger, so the third season finale is a little disappointing following the cancellation. It’s still a great show that’s absolutely worth watching.