For network heads, Upfronts Week is an exciting time where they get to present their great new shows to eager audiences. For viewers and show-runners alike, it’s a hectic period where something you’ve invested in could easily be gone in the blink of an eye. Take ABC, which essentially recreated Game of Thrones’ “Red Wedding” scene when it mercilessly chopped up its lineup with cancellation orders for shows like Castle, Blood & Oil and Wicked City.
While most of these were warranted (we’re looking at you, Heroes Reborn), a few others should have at least been given a second chance. These are the 12 Shows That Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled Over the Last Year.
12 Containment – CW Network
From the mind of Vampire Diaries co-creator Julie Plec, this sci-fi thriller served up plenty of suspense and more coughs than an urgent care waiting room. When a mysterious outbreak suddenly plagues Atlanta, the entire city is quarantined—separating loved ones on both sides of the fence. Featuring the sort of “attractive yet non-threatening racially diverse cast” we’ve come to expect from the CW, the show delved into the moral ambiguity of standing by as people die off in an effort to save the majority while some unlikely heroes rise up to try and save the day. Oh, and maybe a flash of skin here and there.
After renewing nearly its entire lineup including Reign (seriously, how?!), there was a possibility that Containment might live to see another day. However, that “limited series” description really stuck and the network stood by its original 13-episode order. Despite its uninventive concept, the series still found a way to be dramatic and exciting, while sending germaphobe hearts aflutter.
11 Galavant – ABC
If Monty Python were made today, it would probably be called Galavant. Contrary to growing suspicions, the likes of John Cleese and Eric Idle were not involved in the making of this medieval musical comedy created by Dan Fogelman—the same person who wrote Tangled and Cars. The show following a dashing hero knight name Galavant who also happens to be down on his luck. He decides to finally claim “happily ever after” by going after the evil King Richard who has kidnapped Madalena, the love of his life. He forms a merry band of misfits made up of Princess Isabella, whose kingdom was conquered by Richard, and his squire Sid.
The series didn’t exactly capture massive audiences like the first few seasons of Glee, but it did develop its own loyal following which launched a #MoreGalavant Twitter campaign after the cancellation notice went out. There’s still hope for fans of the show: Fogelman has reportedly reached out to Hulu and Netflix to produce more episodes.
10 Grandfathered - FOX
In real life, John Stamos never had any kids. In this sweet little comedy, he’s a unwed bachelor who suddenly finds out he’s not only a father, but a grandfather as well. Josh Peck, who plays his son, co-stars in his first major TV show since Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh. In fact, the comedy would play up both of its stars real life quirks including quips about Stamos’ hair and Drake Bell appearing for a mini reunion.
Created by Daniel Chun, who wrote episodes for Trophy Wife, Happy Endings, The Office and the Simpsons, this heartwarming comedy had a pretty good first run but low ratings made producers nervous. After hearing pitches for season two, they decided not to proceed and we’re left with just 22 episodes of great potential.
9 Nashville – ABC
Over four seasons, Nashville combined country music with sex, drugs and a whole lot of drama. The show follows a legendary country musician named Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) whose star is fading while a newcomer named Juliette Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) is experiencing a fast rise to fame.
When the last season ended on a cliffhanger, upset fans made their sentiments known all over social media and it was quickly announced that an alternate ending was on the way. Additional relief may soon be on the horizon for those petitioning via #BringBackNashville on Twitter as it’s been reported that the show is being shopped to other networks.
8 Chasing Life – Freeform
A show about a 20-something journalist might seem frivolous, but this one had heart. Set in Boston, an up-and-coming reporter at a Boston newspaper lands an opportunity to impress her editor while subsequently starting up a romance with her attractive co-worker. Her life comes to a halt when she finds out from her oncologist uncle that she has cancer. Now, she must concentrate on beating the disease while continuing to follow her dreams.
The show was canceled after two season and show-runner Patrick Sean Smith, who also created Greek has joined the fight to save it. Using #RenewChasingLife, he’s also been retweeting fan petitions and urges everyone to make their voices heard through social media. It worked for The Mindy Project - maybe it'll work for Chasing Life.
7 Togetherness - HBO
Created by Jay and Mark Duplass along with Steve Zissis, the show starred Mark Duplass, Zissis, Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet. It centered on the lives of two couples living under the same roof who are dealing with keeping the fire in their relationships while also trying to pursue their own dreams.
Plagued by low ratings, the comedy was canceled after two seasons. There was hope for a while as it was revamped to be less expensive—essentially the opposite of Hannibal. The Duplass brothers were actually working on a third season when they got the notice that it wouldn’t be continuing. Harsh.
6 The Muppets – ABC
The Muppets have been around since 1955, entertaining audiences with their very specific brand of absurdist sketch comedy. They were revamped in 2015 in a mockumentary show stylized after The Office. This updated series featured the colorful puppets working on a late-night show hosted by Miss Piggy and exec produced by Kermit, while also dipping into their personal lives. As ABC president Paul Lee teased ahead of its premiere, this is “not your grandmother’s Muppets.”
Perhaps audiences were just too disturbed by odd revelations like Fozzie dating a woman whose parents disapprove because he’s, well, a bear. The show was cancelled after just one season thus ending a fun exploration of characters we’ve grown to love over several generations.
5 The Comedians – FX
Starring comedy legend Billy Crystal and Frozen’s Josh Gad, this series featuring actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves had plenty of potential. The 13-episode first season followed a veteran comic who has to team up with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night sketch series and he’s not exactly thrilled about it.
The show was cut after just one season, marking the first live-action comedy since 2011’s Lights Out not to be picked up for a second. Mixed reviews and low ratings aside, the show offered up a quirky kind of comedy that seemed to fit right alongside FX’s stacked lineup.
4 Extant – CBS
With the incomparable Steven Spielberg as one of the executive producers and Academy Award winner Halle Berry as a lead, Extant was never meant to be a small undertaking. The series followed an astronaut who returns home inexplicably pregnant after a 13-month solo mission in space. After previously facing fertility issues, she searches for answers as to how this could have happened.
The sci-fi show received a straight-to-series order for its first season and got the axe after season two. “CBS, Halle Berry and the producers have decided to conclude the Extant story after last season’s exciting and fitting conclusion,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said. “Extant played an important role in expanding CBS’ lineup of original scripted programming in the summer. We are proud of the show’s success on the network, as well as its popularity on Amazon Prime Video.”
The network is teaming up with Berry again for a legal drama set in New Orleans.
3 Hindsight – VH1
A product of VH1’s recent push for more original programming, this nostalgic dramedy boasted an awesome throwback soundtrack and constant reminders that the ‘90s were pretty great. The series followed a young woman named Becca Brady who experiences doubt just before her second wedding and is somehow transported back to 1995. She ends up reunited with her best friend Lolly, who is estranged in present day. Presented with a second chance, she works to correct past mistakes for a better future.
This sweet series from Emily Fox originally got renewed but when new management stepped in, it got the boot. The cancellation stunned Fox, who says her team was in the process of writing episode five (out of eight) when they heard the news. Ending on a cliffhanger, it seems unlikely that fans will see a resolution as a different network has yet to pick it up.
2 Agent Carter – ABC
It was a terrible week for Peggy Carter, whose show was canceled the same week her character’s fate was revealed in Captain America: Civil War. While the latter wasn’t a surprise (she was 99, people), many were stunned when ABC pulled the plug on this fun action series. In 1946, after Steve Rogers is well into his ice coma, the formidable agent finds herself performing secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Howard Stark pulls her into a covert mission to clear his name, with the help of butler Edwin Jarvis.
Fans were not happy when the show received the cancellation order after season two. There are multiple petitions floating around to save the show on Netflix. Hayley Atwell, who is about to star in a new series called Conviction, even says she’ll do whatever it takes to save this beloved show.
1 The Grinder – FOX
Rob Lowe stars as Dean Sanderson, a former TV star who moves back to his hometown after his show gets cancelled. With years as a fictional lawyer under belt, he thinks that qualifies him to work real life legal cases at his father (William Devane) and brother’s (Fred Savage) law firm. Spoiler alert: it does not.
This subversive comedy, which won over audiences and critics alike for its Arrested Development feel, never took itself too seriously. The series was co-created by comedy actor Jarrad Paul, who also starred in the cult favorite Monk. It’s surprising that such a unique show got the axe, but low it couldn't help. Unfortunately, Grinder rests for good.
Are we missing a show? Is there one you wished the networks would have saved? Let us know in the comments!
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