2016 is nearly over, which means that it’s time to look back over all the successes and failures of the past twelve months. On the small screen, we’ve seen our favorite shows change in dramatic ways, whether by a move, an improvement, or a sad decline toward the eventual shark-jump. We’ve been thrilled at some of the best new shows of the year, whether we expected them to be incredible or were surprised by their success. And of course, we’ve also seen the final episodes of a few shows this year, as failing series are axed (or successful series draw to a well-timed close).
In amongst all this, it can be hard to keep up! What to watch, what to skip, and what to pick up (or give up on). Cancellations often fly under the radar, leaving fans wondering where a show went when the next season doesn’t appear. We’ve got you covered, though – with a wrap up of fifteen shows that you might not realize were canceled in 2016.
16 Person of Interest
This popular sci-fi crime drama came to a close in June of 2016, as the fifth and final season ended with "Return 0". The series, about an ex-CIA agent and a billionaire computer genius who mete out justice to those who will commit crimes (according to their tech), is an award-winning show that was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 2012. By 2015, however, the popularity of the series was waning, and in May, Person of Interest’s fifth season was cut to only thirteen episodes. The season was also moved from a fall slot to one in the spring, so when the ax fell in March, few were surprised.
Executive producers Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman expressed their sadness that the show would be ending, and thanked fans for five years of an incredible show. “Most of all, we want to thank the show’s fans — the best fans in the world. This subversive little paranoia-inducing cyberpunk-thriller is for you and would not have been possible without your support.”
15 CSI Cyber
It’s the end of an era. CSI Cyber was the last spin-off from the hugely successful CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise that began in 2000 and expanded to include series set in New York, Miami and Washington. CSI: Miami died first, in 2012, followed by CSI: New York in 2013 and the original CSI in 2015. Now, the cyber-crime-based series CSI: Cyber has ended after only two seasons, bringing the franchise to a close.
The show never found the success of the earlier series, despite bringing a new twist to the tried and true concept of criminal investigations, and the ratings simply weren’t high enough to keep CSI: Cyber on the air. The show also struggled with timing; initially given a Wednesday evening slot, the second season was moved to Sunday, where it failed to compete with other major shows as well as Sunday Night Football. Not even Ted Danson’s appearance in season two could keep this one going.
14 Agent Carter
Agent Carter started life as a one-shot before being developed into a limited series of eight episodes that aired during the mid-season break of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Originally, the show was not necessarily intended to continue as an ongoing series, but critical response was so positive that a second (ten episode) season was created for the spring of 2016.
Sadly, while the critics still adored Agent Carter, the ratings didn’t reflect this, and the show was canceled after season two. Star Hayley Atwell has already moved on to a new TV project, and is currently starring in the procedural Conviction (though ABC recently announced that they aren't moving forward with that one, either). Marvel fans got another disappointment this year when the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off Marvel’s Most Wanted was also canned, though that ax fell before the series had even begun. The show would have starred Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood as Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, but the pilot wasn’t picked up.
Nathan Fillion’s long-running crime-drama was kicked to the curb this year after eight seasons, despite Fillion being signed on to continue with the series. Part of the reason for the show’s end was, as usual, ratings. Season eight saw some of the lowest ratings for Castle, and despite its many fans, there simply weren’t enough people watching.
Not all of those fans were happy with the show, either. When news broke that both Stana Katic (who plays Kate Beckett) and Tamala Jones (who plays Lanie Parish) were being let go after season eight, fans were furious. They started the hashtag #NoStanaNoCastle and threatened to stop watching after she was forced out, especially when Jones was also confirmed as fired. The network pre-empted those threats by simply ending the series.
On top of the backlash and the declining ratings, issues with the show's direction and development also factored in to ABC's decision to send it packing.
12 Mike & Molly
This sweet sitcom about a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting lasted six seasons before being officially canceled at the beginning of this year, with the final season also being cut from a full 22 episodes to only 13. The show’s cancellation came with a storm of rumors, including one started by a weight-loss pill company who claimed that Mike & Molly was axed due to star Melissa McCarthy’s weight loss. It's hard to imagine that McCarthy’s weight loss had anything to do with the fate of the show. Her busy schedule and increasing success on the big screen, however, might have been one of the main reasons that Mike & Molly ended this year, but it certainly wasn't the only one.
The contracts for most of the cast and crew expired in February, and it’s very likely that the network decided to cancel the show rather than attempt to work new contracts around McCarthy’s rising star and busy schedule. There have also been issues with the network schedule, and the show's time slot has been bumped around recently, which never helps with keeping ratings high.
11 The Good Wife
We found out that The Good Wife would be ending with its seventh season during the Super Bowl back in February, despite the legal drama's solid ratings. The Emmy-winning series made the decision to wrap up after seven seasons for a few reasons – because it was the original vision for the story arc set out, and because showrunners Robert and Michelle King had already confirmed that they would be leaving at the end of the season.
While fans are understandably sad to see the end of such a phenomenal series, this is arguably the best way for a show to go out. The Good Wife ended on a high note, with the original creative vision (largely) fulfilled, and without any shark-jumping nonsense. While many were not happy to see the series wrap up, seeing the story come full circle means that we did get a satisfying conclusion at the very least.
The small screen sequel series to the 2011 movie of the same name, Limitless only managed to limp through a single season before being canceled, to the disappointment of its small (but vocal) fanbase. After the show failed to get the ratings needed to continue on CBS, the network reportedly shopped it around streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix, but couldn’t find a new home for the series. This was despite generally positive reviews, fantastically creative visuals, and even the occasional guest appearance by A-list Hollywood star Bradley Cooper (reprising his starring role as Eddie Morra from the original film).
Frustratingly for fans, the show’s cancellation leaves several questions unanswered. Limitless was carefully setting up long-term mysteries throughout season one, and any that were left unresolved will now be forever left to the viewer’s imagination. This is, of course, one of the most frustrating things that can happen with a series cancellation, and there seems to be little hope of the story being concluded in any other medium.
9 Rush Hour
Another movie turned TV spin-off that's been canned after a single season, Rush Hour lacked the positive fan response that Limitless enjoyed during its short run. The show’s cancellation was announced with little fanfare after only seven episodes, with CBS reportedly having shopped around for another home for the show and come up empty. If the network had already looked for another place for Rush Hour, it would mean that the show was effectively finished after only a few episodes made it on the air.
The biggest problem was the central issue of diversity and race, with a second issue being the very apparent lack of chemistry between the two headlining stars. The original movies relied heavily on the charisma of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and got away with a lot of race-based jokes that simply don’t work today. Although Rush Hour worked to make the show a little more inclusive, many of the jokes fell flat, and it mostly just felt a little tasteless and outdated. This was definitely a concept that should have been left in the classic-comedy bin.
8 Beauty And The Beast
Both the fairy tale genre and The CW are extremely popular right now – the live-action remake of the Disney classic is looking like a sure-fire hit, and the network is enjoying record viewership with its incredible Arrowverse shows. However, the series that seemingly combines these two elements has ground to a halt with the cancellation of Beauty And The Beast.
This updated version of the fairy story saw a beautiful detective paired with an enhanced ex-soldier in a new twist on the classic love story. Despite a vocal fandom, the series has never really picked up impressive ratings, and was nearly canceled after season three. CW president Mark Pedowitz is a big fan, and wanted to keep the show around as part of the network’s push for ‘all-season’ television, so the show was picked up for a fourth season. Now that it has been canceled, some fans have hoped for a potential spin-off, but it’s likely that this is the end for Vincent (Jay Ryan) and Catherine (Kristin Kreuk).
Although Episodes was officially canceled in 2016, it won’t be wrapping up until 2017, as the announcement was made that the comedy series would get one final season before it ends. Starring Matt LeBlanc as an exaggerated version of himself, the show is a mix of British and American comedy, centering on a pair of writers who head from London to LA.
As with The Good Wife, this cancellation comes amid critical acclaim and solid ratings, and was decided because the creators simply felt that the show was coming to a natural close. At the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, co-creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik said “we’ve told the story we set out to tell and we’d never want to outstay our welcome”. Star Matt LeBlanc was signed to move to a new sitcom for CBS, Man With A Plan, which launched its freshman season in the fall.
6 Penny Dreadful
This popular horror drama shocked viewers in June when season three concluded with the words "The End". The bad news was quickly confirmed by Showtime, and just like that it was officially over. The series was a big hit for Showtime, and many wondered why it was canceled after only three seasons, but creator John Logan said that he had envisioned it as a short story from the start. Season three brought the Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) story arc to a close, and it was felt that the show would be lacking without her character.
In addition, although the show did reasonably well in the ratings, the numbers were falling, and complex Victorian sets, costuming, and monster effects do not come cheap. The decision to end the series before announcing it was an interesting one, for sure. Although some may feel that this wasn’t the long wrap-up that they might have preferred, Showtime definitely kept the element of surprise intact for Penny Dreadful’s final big twist.
5 Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf will finish its final season in the early months of 2017, but its cancellation was announced this summer at San Diego Comic Con. Showrunner Jeff Davis described the news as ‘bittersweet’. After six seasons, the show will end on its 100th episode, an interesting way for the series to mark such a big milestone.
With the characters on the verge of graduation, Teen Wolf had the choice either to end the show or to move on to a new adventure with the same characters. Other teen and high school shows have often opted to continue, following the key characters as they head off to college. Another option would have been to stay in Beacon Hills after the current leads leave, and follow younger newcomers. This would run the risk of becoming repetitive, with too many similar storylines and a young cast that would have a difficult time living up to the original cast.
The decision to end on a high note and with a final, scarier season is definitely a good one for this series in particular, as it's hard to imagine a brand new cast that could capably live up to the previous headlining trio of stars (Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, and Tyler Hoechlin). Who could have possibly followed that?
4 Bates Motel
Another show that announced their final season at Comic Con this year was Bates Motel. The Psycho prequel story will presumably wrap up with a look at Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) final descent into madness following the death of his mother before he becomes the Norman Bates that we all know from the original films.
While this is sad news for fans of the show, it’s no major surprise. Set up as a prequel to a story we all know, it was clear from the start that Norma (Vera Farmiga) would end up dead and that Norman would be driven mad. All fans couls have ever hoped to see was just how long they would take to tell that story. Five seasons, although nothing compared to some popular shows that run for ten or more, is still a respectable show length, and Bates Motel is certainly not getting the ax due to a lack of popularity or critical acclaim.
Canceled after only a single season, A&E’s horror drama about the Antichrist won’t be returning to the small screen in 2017. Inspired by the character from The Omen, Damien stars Bradley James as Damien Thorne, a photographer whose demonic history is about to catch up to him. The series managed a ten-episode run before being brought to an end, and its cancellation is purely a matter of ratings.
The show simply never got off the ground with enough enthusiasm to warrant a continuation. Creator Glen Mazzara shared the news with fans in a series of tweets in May, thanking the fandom, cast, networks, and writers. Mazzara, who came to the show from The Walking Dead, commented, “I really loved making #Damien. We all did. We just never got the numbers there. Gave it our best shot”. Although star James won’t be returning as the Antichrist, fans can look forward to his appearance on the big screen in 2017, in Underworld: Blood Wars.
ABC took a big gamble in 2015 with a medieval musical comedy show, and sadly, Galavant didn’t make it past season 2. Despite general hilarity, self-referential jokes, an incredibly talented cast, and some phenomenal guest stars, the series just couldn’t get the ratings that it needed to continue, with many fans expecting the show to be canceled after season one. Galavant was critically acclaimed, despite low viewership, and nominated for a Primetime Emmy – suggesting that even if viewers weren’t quite ready to get on board with something this different, the critics are certainly happy to see something new on the small screen.
Star Joshua Sasse has already moved on, and can be seen in The CW’s new sitcom No Tomorrow, which premiered this fall. While we are sad to see that audiences just weren’t ready for the witty madness that was Galavant, we’re thrilled that the show did make it to Neflix, so we can re-watch it again and again.
Fairy tale TV fans can be divided into two camps: the ones who watch Once Upon A Time, and the ones who watch Grimm. The latter is definitely the darker of the two, starring David Guintoli as Nick Burkhardt, a detective who hunts down supernatural and fairy tale monsters. After five seasons, it has been confirmed that the upcoming sixth (beginning in January of 2017) will be the show’s last. Season six of the fantasy drama will also be a short season, with thirteen episodes rather than the usual twenty-two, and will wrap up Nick’s adventures, as he must save his city from mayor-elect Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz).
While it’s sad news for fans of the show, it’s reassuring to know that there will be one final season to wrap things up. Rival show Once Upon A Time has not yet been canned, but ratings continue to plummet for the series, leading to speculation that this second fairy tale adaptation will not be on the air for much longer, either.
What other prominent shows found themselves on the chopping block in 2016? Which of these series do you think overstayed their welcome, and which do you think are worthy of a revival? Let us know in the comments.