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Too Good to Last

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An intelligent, well written show, usually a subtle blend of comedy and drama, beloved of a devoted group of fans and critics. So why did it never have a chance?

Either the mainstream isn't interested or the network never even gives it a chance to build an audience. Or the creator buckles under the growing pressure to keep making high-quality installments. Sometimes, someone high up at the network takes a dislike to the show and does everything in his power to kill it. Other times, the network doesn't think it fits in. If the show is lucky enough to be shown on a cable network in reruns, it may build up a bigger following there than it ever had in its first run.

The observant reader will note that the vast majority of Too Good To Last shows are from the last 15-20 years. This is likely because of the increased emphasis on ratings above all else. On the other hand, the list might be biased toward the past decade because shows like this have an unfortunate tendency to fall off the face of the earth upon cancellation, so our ability to recall and report them is inversely proportional to how long ago they aired. The advent of The Internet and the explosion of cable channels has made it harder for these too-soon canceled shows to be forgotten.

There's always been an emphasis on ratings in television, but it seems to have become much more pronounced since the early 1990s. It is widely commented upon that Cheers was dead last in the ratings among all regular series in its first season (1982-83), and that a show doing that badly today would almost certainly be canceled within its first month or two. This isn't necessarily a new phenomenon, but some shows only survive by having a network president who is a fan.

For those shows that manage to pull out a few seasons with plenty of network problems before going under, check out the Exception section at the bottom of this page. The main entries are about shows that barely managed to get out a single season, if that. Incidentally, some shows end up canceled only to be Un-Canceled by the network or do a Channel Hop.

Of the exceptions and shows that were Un-Canceled, only a handful were aired on non-cable networks. A series that is Too Good To Last may have better chances on cable than on broadcast networks, in part because cable doesn't demand ratings as high in the first place for the show to be considered a success.

Unfortunately, the fans are only rarely told what would have happened next, because the now unemployed/transferred writers will generally want to recycle their unused ideas into their next job.

Related Tropes

Shows that are Too Good To Last can be Short-Runners, but sometimes they are longer.


Live Action TV and Western Animation

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    ABC (American)/ABC Family 
  • Best Of The West: Parody of all things Western by the creators of "Taxi" and "Cheers".
  • Cashmere Mafia: Made all the more painful by the fact that the similar, yet inferior, Lipstick Jungle showed up later the same season...and returned for a second season — but then it too got canceled after that.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series, one of the worst examples of a show being Screwed by the Network (from the very beginning it had basically no real time slot). Six episodes were produced, but only two were aired.
  • Common Law, Greg Giraldo's Sit Comic based upon his time as a lawyer. Although it had a strong following among Latinos, it was canceled less than a month into its airing.
  • Covington Cross was a medieval adventure series starring Nigel Terry and Cherie Lunghi as nods to their roles in Excalibur, as well as an early role for the late Glenn Quinn. It had high production values and was filmed on location in the UK, and did very well in the ratings when it first aired. However, it coincided with Ross Peron campaigning for the presidency, and he bought the show's timeslot. The disruption to the schedule meant it suffered in the ratings department, and its high production costs led to it being cancelled after only seven episodes had aired (with thirteen produced).
  • The Critic: Lasted for two seasons, one on ABC, and one on Fox, before being canceled. Poor Jay Sherman.
  • Cupid: the ABC dramedy, not the CBS reality show. The remake was too good to last, as well.
  • The Dana Carvey Show: Apparently too edgy for ABC executives at the time, who canceled it after seven episodes (and an unaired eighth). A very, very good example of a show being ahead of its time... and why you shouldn't lead off your first episode with Bill Clinton breast-feeding puppies.
  • Defying Gravity (co-developed by ABC, The BBC, CTV and Pro Sieben) had been canceled and its sets destroyed before all the episodes had even been aired. That does not even consider that ABC had all summer to buy and advertise the show, but only purchased the show 3 weeks before the first episode aired.
  • Dirty Sexy Money, a sharp show that was caught in the crossfire of the 2007 writers' strike.
  • Duel, a great quiz show that fell victim to the Friday Night Death Slot.
  • 8 Simple Rules: In spite of John Ritter's untimely death, it still managed to pull in solid ratings (at least compared to the rest of the TGIF lineup), but ABC cancelled it anyways, citing its inability to sell it in syndication as a reason for its cancellation.
  • Eli Stone, also a late casualty of the 2007 strike.
  • Fridays, an early 1980s sketch show that, at the time, was prepped to be Saturday Night Live's replacement as the latter show's quality was in the toilet with its notoriously awful sixth season. Sadly, ABC fell out of love with the show as quickly as they fell in love with it. It was canceled after the network tried to air the show on primetime after moving it from 11:30 PM to midnight.
  • Flash Forward: despite its serious potential as a Lost replacement.
  • Fillmore!: Cancelled for the very same reason it was so awesome— it was a loving homage to 70s cop shows, which the kids they were targeting had never seen and thus were confused by.
  • Forever was warmly received by viewers, with a great cast, a fascinating premise and plenty of unexplored potential to fill up later seasons. Unfortunately we'll never know how it would've panned out as it was cancelled after just one season, with low live viewership ratings being cited as a reason, along with competition from other shows sharing the timeslot; fans campaigned hard to save the show (aiming for either a renewal or being picked by another network) but were unsuccessful.
  • Galavant was an Affectionate Parody of various fairy tales set in medieval times with memorable songs written by the legendary Alan Menken filled with tons of Lyrical Dissonance. Sadly, despite the show being a cult hit, it was quietly canceled with only 2 seasons. At least most of the plotlines were able to get resolved.
  • The Goode Family picked up by Comedy Central, and then canceled again.
  • The Greatest American Hero: A short intro season, a full second season, and a third cut in half, with four episodes never even aired until syndication. Was almost uncancelled as "The Greatest American Heroine", but that pilot was turned down.
  • Hot L Baltimore: The TV series was canceled after just one season because of Values Dissonance. Portraying a pair of prostitutes, a gay couple, and an illegal immigrant favorably and as main characters was something the Americans of The '70s couldn't tolerate. It has a lot of Values Resonance with more modern audiences, especially as the issues both the play and the show criticize are still very present in The New '20s.
  • Huge: Despite being acclaimed as novel and body-positive, it only lasted one short season.
  • Invasion: One season only, just when it was getting started. Such a shame...
  • The Jetsons: The show was perhaps a little too far ahead of its time, being the network's first color program at a time when most households still had black-and-white televisions. It was canceled after a single season, but quickly went on to be Vindicated by Reruns once it went into syndication mid-decade, which just so happened to coincide with a massive boom in color TV sales.
  • The Job: Which transmogrified into the more dramatic Rescue Me on the FX Network with much of the same cast.
  • Just the Ten of Us: Many fans lament how the show got cancelled in its prime and without warning despite having a good cast, fairly good humor, and the occasional future Values Resonance moment.
  • Land of the Lost (1991): Was very popular when it first aired on ABC, and ran for two seasons. A third season was planned; however, it never saw the light of day.
  • Life on Mars (2008) (US version): The US version of the BBC hit was just finding its own voice and establishing its own mythos when ABC announced that its first season would be its only season.
  • Max Headroom: Despite getting good ratings, thanks to its constant mocking of advertisers and corporations, ABC set it up to die against Dallas and Miami Vice.
  • The Middleman: a hilariously clever spoof on classic pulp superheroes. It was canceled after 12 episodes just as they were introducing the series arch-villain and his nefarious plan.
  • Mighty Orbots: A well animated and stylish Voltron-style cartoon that was canceled in its first season after an ironic lawsuit was filed by the makers of Gobots.
  • The Mole had two great seasons, then two full Celebrity Edition seasons which brought its first demise. Years later, it was revived and promptly Screwed by the Network, when ABC did such a poor job of promoting it that die-hard fans of the series didn't know it had returned until midway through the season.
  • My So-Called Life: Slice-of-life teen angst drama that's a quintessential example of this trope: beloved, critically-acclaimed, gone after one season.
  • The New Odd Couple: Based on Neil Simon's play, specifically a Continuity Reboot of the 1970-75 series, only this time with an African-American cast. While a worthy successor series, an abundance of Recycled Scripts and Ron Glass and Demond Wilson not being Tony Randall and Jack Klugman led the show to fail to find an audience, being canceled after 18 episodes.
  • The Nine Lives of Chloe King: Though somewhat justified because the company thought it was declining in ratings, but fans tried to petition to bring it back.
  • No Ordinary Family: Well-written series that Played With some of the Super Hero genre's most fundamental tropes, but was cancelled after one season and ended on a cliffhanger.
  • Police Squad!: The series was supposedly canceled because the viewer had to pay attention in order to appreciate it, though its Rapid-Fire Comedy style also meant that the writers were running out of gags after just six episodes. It became a Cult Classic (it helped that the brief run made it a natural for a VHS release) and six years later received a big screen Spin-Off with The Naked Gun, which did well enough to yield two sequels. CBS even reran the show in the summer of 1991 to promote the first sequel.
  • Prey: Another good show that was canceled after one season and on a cliffhanger.
  • Probe: The pilot episode aired the same day as the start of the 1988 writer's strike. It managed to limp on for a few more weeks, but Probe was killed off, despite having Isaac Asimov's notoriety and fanbase to support it.
  • Pushing Daisies: Its first season earned it 12 Emmy nominations for 9 episodes shown, but the 2007 writer's strike sapped its audience beyond recovery.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Already took a bit of a ratings hit due to Fox scheduling Power Rangers into the same time slot and ABC affiliates preempting the ABC lineup for news, but the death blow came when Disney took over ABC and swiftly and abruptly canceled half of its shows - including Sonic, which was about as popular as ever (though it continued in a sense via the Archie Comics continuity); ReBoot was lucky to escape to Canada.
  • Still Star-Crossed: It was cancelled by its third episode, but has picked up a small but loyal fandom who adore the series for its continuation of Romeo and Juliet, the political plot, and the Will They or Won't They? between Rosaline and Benvolio. There were efforts to petition for a second season or a revival, but sadly these were to no avail, leaving the story at a frustrating Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Tenspeed and Brown Shoe: A lighthearted Defective Detective series teaming up Ben Vereen as a savvy ex-con and Jeff Goldblum (in his first lead role in any medium) as an ex-stockbroker with a love of pulp detective novels, from the creative team behind The Rockford Files. A January debut, it handily won its Sunday night timeslot and ranked 29th in the Nielsens for the 1979-80 season but its early ratings momentum didn't last — ABC gave up on it come the end of March and burnt off the last five episodes in early summer, mostly in a Friday Night Death Slot to boot. Received a full DVD release in The New '10s thanks to both a loyal cult fanbase and Goldblum's subsequent stardom.
  • The Nine: Like the title invokes, it involves nine people who were stuck inside a bank during a 52-hour robbery. After one episode, it went from a tense Dog Day Afternoon-esque thriller into a slow burning psychological drama. It lost many viewers before the show REALLY started getting warmed up, mostly because of that abrupt Genre Shift.
  • Traveler: A show about two men on the run, with a smart conspiracy after them, that not only lacked padding, but did not treat the audience like idiots. Ended on a painful cliffhanger that was never resolved.
  • When Things Were Rotten: 1975 Robin Hood farce created by Mel Brooks (later inspiring his Robin Hood: Men in Tights).
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Two 26-episode seasons, wrapped up fairly well but they'd set up for a third season and the comics gave them enough material to do at least five more seasons if they'd been able to.

  • Arnie: This satirical early-'70s comedy starred Herschel Bernardi as a loading-dock foreman who suddenly and unexpectedly found himself promoted to corporate management. Poor ratings doomed it after two seasons despite critical acclaim.
  • B.o.B: Bob Newhart's third sitcom, starring Newhart as a greeting card artist/writer who jumps at the chance when Ace Comics offers to revive a comic book character he created a few decades earlier. The show withered in a bad Friday night timeslot.
  • Bridget Loves Bernie: This 1972 sitcom about the marriage of a Jewish cabdriver and an upper-class Irish Catholic actually got decent ratings, but CBS canceled it after one season anyway after both Jewish and Catholic groups objected to the premise. (The show did, however, lead to Romance on the Set and eventual marriage between stars David Birney and Meredith Baxter.)
  • Chaos (2011): A spy comedy-drama about a small group of loose-cannon CIA agents, which basically tried to be a lighter, more tongue-in-cheek version of gritty modern-day espionage series like Homeland note . Only 13 episodes were made, and they were shown out of order by the network.
  • Citizen Baines: moved slowly for many viewers but had a great cast headed by James Cromwell.
  • Close to Home (2005) was a crime drama based around Annabeth Chase, a criminal prosecutor and showed her trying to balance her work and family life (The first episode is basically Annabeth coming back from maternity leave). The show's two lead characters were both female, something not often seen on CBS crime dramas. The balancing act only got harder after Annabeth's husband was killed in the season 1 finale. The show was cancelled after 2 seasons.
  • East Side West Side was about a social worker who focused on the problems of the inner city and was probably the first American series to seriously address racism. It managed to win an Emmy, but is largely forgotten today.
  • EZ Streets: too raw for CBS, this mob drama from Paul Haggis might have succeeded on cable.
  • The Famous Teddy Z: Created by WKRP's Hugh Wilson, this series starring Jon Cryer and Alex Rocco (who won an Emmy for his character Agent Al Floss) was set in a Hollywood talent agency and was thought in some circles to be too 'inside' to appeal to middle America.
  • The Flash (1990): Based on the comic book character of the same name, this series got canceled after one season due to being constantly shuffled around in varying time slots and facing tough competition from NBC and FOX on Thursday nights. CBS even tried airing it at 8:30 Eastern Time (it's unusual in the U.S. for an hour-long show to begin on the half-hour) to avoid having it on directly against The Cosby Show and The Simpsons, which both aired at 8.
  • The pilot episode of The Remake of The Fugitive received a six minute standing ovation when shown to test audiences, as well as mostly good reviews from critics. Unfortunately, it was very expensive to produce—it was filmed on location wherever an episode was set, and was stuck in the Friday Night Death Slot, dooming it to poor ratings, ultimately resulting in its cancellation after only one season.
  • George & Leo: The pairing of old sitcom pros Bob Newhart and Judd Hirsch wasn't enough to save this Odd Couple-esque show from an early exit.
  • Good Morning World: Long before WKRP in Cincinnati or NewsRadio, there was this 1967 sitcom from the creators of The Dick Van Dyke Show set at a radio station. Even the presence of a pre-Laugh In Goldie Hawn couldn't prevent its cancellation after one season.
  • He And She: This 1967 sitcom starring Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin received critical acclaim and Emmy awards and is believed to be the precursor of the more "realistic" brand of '70s situation comedies (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, for example). Low ratings doomed it, though, and it only lasted one season.
  • The Honeymooners: incredibly, only ran one season as a stand-alone sitcom, although the characters admittedly were used for many years on Gleason's variety show.
    • This one is a bit murky simply because Gleason didn't like the grind of a sitcom, which is the reason why the show ended.
  • Jericho (2006): Was famously resurrected by a Sending Stuff to Save the Show fan campaign, but the respite would last only a season before the ax fell again.
  • Joan of Arcadia: Popular, but in the wrong demographic.
  • Love Monkey: Also an example of Screwed by the Network.
  • Mary: Mary Tyler Moore's 1985 return to situation comedy, and a worthy Spiritual Successor to her her classic '70s show. Poorer-than-expected ratings doomed it to cancellation after one season.
  • Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures: A massively influential Genre Turning Point for American television animation which directly influenced (and provided talent) to almost every cartoon show made in its wake. It got canceled due to a contrived moral panic involving some crushed flowers which apparently looked a bit too much like cocaine. Most fans of the show claimed that it would've gotten canceled for low ratings anyway.
  • Moonlight (2007): Several reasons for this, including Friday Night Death Slot. Many fans also feel it was Screwed by the Network, particularly because the final episode was promoted as the season finale (rather than the series finale) and fans were led to believe it would be renewed. Another victim of the 2007 writer's strike.
  • Now and Again: A well-cast, well-written, well-acted reimagining of the concept of The Six Million Dollar Man. First season featured one of the creepiest and most inexplicable villains ever. Got the Friday Night death slot, and its one and only season did not even air in its entirety until many years later on Sci-Fi.
  • Project Gee Ke R: Had incredibly good ratings during the time, but only lasted one 13-episode season due to not meeting the educational programming standards set forth by the channel.
  • Thats Life: a "chick show," but with an excellent cast (Heather Paige Kent, Ellen Burstyn, Paul Sorvino, Kevin Dillon, Debi Mazar).
  • The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat: A wonderfully surreal cartoon with a Max and Dave Fleischer feel. Only lasted 21 episodes due to low ratings (especially after the disastrous season 2 retool) and being a very expensive show to make.

  • The Bill Cosby Show: Not to be confused with his later series The Cosby Show, which if anything ran a bit longer than it should have.
  • The Black Donnellys was doomed from early in its only season after one episode was too violent to even be aired on TV (it was only released on NBC's website) and shortly afterward pulled from its primetime slot and aired as a web series for the rest of its all too brief run.
  • Boomtown (2002): showed a crime from multiple points of view (the beat cops, the detectives, the paramedic, the D.A., the reporter, and the criminal.) It aired for one season, winning multiple awards. After its first season it was retooled, the uniqueness drained; and it was canceled six episodes into its second season.
  • Bret Maverick: An '80s attempt to return James Garner to the role he left in a contract dispute in the '50s, this revival show may have been too good to last, but it wasn't too good to repeat - NBC reran episodes of the '81-82 series twice.
  • Buffalo Bill: This Work Com about an abrasive talk show host (Dabney Coleman) in Buffalo, New York got great reviews but its first 13-episode season ran in the summer of 1983, a poor time to launch any show back then; that it came at a time when Dom Coms were coming back into style and featured an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist didn't help. It did get a second season as a winter replacement in 1983-84, but that was all. Nonetheless, both seasons were nominated for the Outstanding Comedy Emmy Award in their respective years, then-network president Brandon Tartikoff would publicly regret cancelling it, and three of the supporting actors went on to bigger things — Max Wright to ALF (Tom Patchett co-created both shows), Meshach Taylor to Designing Women, and Geena Davis to first a short-lived sitcom of her own (Sara) then movies.
  • Captain N: The Game Master: NBC was too hesitant to continue budgeting for their cartoons and it was cancelled after three seasons. Of course, this can actually be a subversion though since the show wasn't that well-received by viewers to begin with.
  • The U.S. version of Coupling, though your mileage greatly varies on whether or not it was considered "Too Good To Last," as the reason it was canceled was because it was a watered-down Friends rip-off in comparison to the UK version.
  • The Downer Channel: Despite being produced by Steve Martin and having Mary Lynn Rajskub and Wanda Sykes in the cast, NBC canned it after four episodes.
  • Eerie, Indiana: Got good enough ratings during the reruns that a Canadian production company produced a sequel/spin-off several years later—which had to star new characters because the original actors for the original characters had aged out of being suitable for the parts.
  • Freaks and Geeks: Possibly the archetypal example; adored by critics and fans alike, but being shuffled around in the lineup didn't help its ratings, and it got canceled halfway through its first season.
  • God, the Devil and Bob: Only four out of thirteen episodes aired, despite NBC promising to air all of them. Was one of many primetime network cartoons that didn't get past a season.
  • Grand was a TV show about life in a corporate town in the early 90s; but the town business is grand piano manufacture.
  • Kings: An ambitious alternate-history retelling of the Biblical story of Jonathan? Say it with me: Dooooomed.
  • My Own Worst Enemy: They ended it on a cliffhanger! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHH!!!!
  • Outsourced: Mostly due to the controversial subject matter of the show, it developed a sort of divisive fanbase.
  • Raines: Despite starring Jeff Goldblum this unusual detective show lasted a mere seven episodes, partially due to being shunted to a Friday Night Death Slot starting with episode three. (The second detective show Goldblum toplined that suffered this fate after Tenspeed and Brown Shoe; see the ABC folder above for what happened there.)
  • Southland (before being Un-Canceled and brought to TNT)
  • The Others (2000) ended on a cliffhanger after only 13 episodes.
  • The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: While ratings weren't as good as his immediate predecessor Jay Leno's had been, Conan's run initially did well in the coveted 18-34 demo. After the tanking of The Jay Leno Show in prime time that fall, which negatively affected ratings for both NBC affiliates' local news broadcasts and The Tonight Show, an attempt to bring Leno back to late night and retain Conan's show in a later time slot resulted in a very public controversy that ended with Conan leaving NBC altogether and Leno returning to his old stomping grounds.
  • Tucker - a quirky family sitcom about a divorcee and her preteen son moving in with their relatives, intended as a vehicle for child actor Eli Marienthal. Featuring quality performances from Katey Sagal as the overbearing Aunt Claire, Alison Lohman as the Girl Next Door and Seth Green As Himself, the series enjoyed more popularity when aired in Ireland and the UK on Nickelodeon, but was cancelled after only eight episodes.
  • The Playboy Club - cancelled after 3 episodes, which was better than it sounds, although it was probably doomed from the start.

Widely considered the worst offender of them all.

  • Action: Jay Mohr at his best as an amoral studio executive and the first American TV show to try and make the TV-MA rating suitable for free-to-air TV. Like the movie Showgirls with the NC-17 rating, it was a failure in this endeavor, and the TV-MA rating is now relegated to most basic cable shows and pay-premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, and porno channels, like The Spice Channel, The Hustler Network, and The Playboy Channel.
  • The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Friday night block in which it led in The X-Files was one of the best one-two punches in TV history.
  • Alien Nation was an epic level example of this. Only one season, though it did manage to resurrect itself in the form of 5 made-for-TV movies... and, in The New Teens, talk of a remake.
  • All About The Andersons:
  • Almost Human was cancelled after one season despite strong reviews and good ratings. Yet another example of Fox cancelling a sci-fi show that didn't deserve it.
  • The Chicago Code: Yet ANOTHER victim of Tim Minear, who executive produced this one.
  • The Critic: Why get screwed by one network when you can get screwed twice?
  • Drive (2007): Three episodes over an eight-day period, then gone.
  • Fast Lane from Fox, of course. A show that was like Charlie's Angels meets Miami Vice.
  • Firefly; see The Firefly Effect.
  • Harsh Realm: got harsh treatment — canceled after four episodes.
  • In Living Color!: Although much more well-known and longer lasting than most shows on here (and even winning an Emmy in its first year), the show constantly suffered from both Executive Meddling and being Screwed by the Network. After show creator Keenan Ivory Wayans left (as well as his family), while still left with many talented actors, it became a shell of its former self and then canceled after a four-year run.
  • The Inside: Tim Minear strikes again.
  • John Doe: Guess we'll never be finding out John Doe's true identity.
  • The Lone Gunmen: Its series-ending Cliffhanger was resolved on The X-Files.
  • Lonestar: Most critically acclaimed pilot of the Fall 2010 series and the first to be canceled. After TWO episodes.
  • New York Undercover: In spite of solid writing and acting and being rather revolutionary at the time (as it starred two people of color as detectives instead of the standard pairing of a white cop plus a black cop), it received no visible support from the network and not a whole lot from its creator, had the network constantly screw with its formula and then unceremoniously canceled after barely lasting four seasons.
  • The Pirates of Dark Water: Guess we'll never locate those final MacGuffins.
  • Profit: Guess we'll never know what this sociopath is really up to.
  • Reunion: What makes this example especially glaring is that the premise made it easy to end after one season, yet Fox pulled it after ten episodes with the mystery unsolved.
  • Sit Down, Shut Up: Comedy Central ran it for a few episodes after Fox canned it. Unfortunately, it didn't last long.
  • Silver Surfer: The Animated Series: Cancelled within a month and a half and replaced with something completely forgettable.
  • Sons Of Tucson: Lampshaded on American Dad! when Roger discovers that the stress ball he was using as a fake vagina was for this show, and he doesn't remember seeing it.
  • Space: Above and Beyond: One article said it was unfortunately too sci-fi for the war show audience, and too much war show for the sci-fi audience.
  • The Good Guys: A Buddy Cop Show parody/tribute that only lasted for a single season. Notably came from the creators of Burn Notice.
  • Tru Calling: Outlasted Fox's other fall 2004 offering about a young woman hearing voices (Wonderfalls), but still got canceled after just over a season and a half.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: The dub anyway. This was FOX's failed attempt to pawn off a fairly mature anime as a kids' show (not the first time something like that has happened, but FOX's attempt was the kind of Epic Fail that's relatively well-known). It was pulled off the air after about 10 episodes. It made a full run on YTV in Canada in large part because they aired it in an age-appropriate timeslot.
  • Wonderfalls: Tim Minear and Bryan Fuller? Too much awesome for TV: four episodes, then kaput.
    • Although some overseas networks did air all 13 episodes, and unlike many of the shows on this list, it got a DVD release.
  • Xyber 9: New Dawn: Killed off ten episodes into its 22-episode season, and even then it ended on a cliffhanger.

    The WB / UPN / The CW 
  • Animaniacs: it had a long and popular run for 6 years, but some of those years featured very infrequent new releases. The show ended just shy of its 100th episode, unless you count its movie Wakko's Wish as its last episode.
  • Baby Blues: [adult swim] used to rerun it, but now the rights have expired.
  • The Batman: Got canceled after five seasons due to 4Kids Entertainment taking over Kids' WB! and replacing it with TheCW4Kids, much to the dismay of fans.
  • BattleTech: Making an animated show based on a heavy-handed war game for a Saturday/Sunday run back when they ran cartoons on TV was almost certain doom in and of itself.
  • Containment: It basically was Outbreak meets Under the Dome. Lasted only one suspenseful season on the CW. Then again a show like this had no business being on The CW.
  • Dilbert: Scott Adams (the creator of the famous comic strip the show was based on) often blamed the fact that the UPN screwed the show over by putting it in a timeslot after Shasta McNasty, a show that appealed to a completely different (and, as Adams argued, a less intelligent) audience than Dilberts audience.
  • The EarthwormJim cartoon Sadly only lasted 2 seasons, which was only 23 episodes. Possibly cancelled due to Creator Backlash.
  • Freakazoid!: Cancelled after 2 seasons.
  • Histeria!: Reports of Executive Meddling abound.
  • Home Movies, season one. Thank God for Adult Swim.
  • Jake 2.0: The first season was cut short, leaving both fans and international distributors irked.
  • Lazarus Man. Addictive, well-written, genre-busting Western (and mystery/fantasy/horror/romance, likely a few others). Took a hiatus in its first season and was never seen again. (In fairness to the network, the lead actor, Robert Urich, had contracted cancer and was no longer able to work... although he sued the producers for that decision, and in fact did continue to work, becoming a regular in two more series - Love Boat: The Next Wave and Emeril - before he passed away in 2002, six years after The Lazarus Man did.) Died with its boots on.
  • Loonatics Unleashed: It has a loyal fanbase in spite of the huge amount of backlash and got pretty solid ratings, so its cancellation is a bit of a mystery.
  • Mission Hill: Was placed on the Friday Night Death Slot. It did get a cult following thanks to reruns on [adult swim].
  • Nikki & Nora: A closeted lesbian couple who happen to be partnered-up homicide detectives, solving crimes in New Orleans with Derek Morgan as their boss. Made of Win. Made it to a pilot. Still completely frikkin' awesome.
  • Nowhere Man Not only was it critically praised, it was UPN's highest rated show. They replaced it with Homeboys in Outer Space and Moesha.
  • On The Spot was a partially improvised sitcom that had only half of a script and was cancelled after 5 episodes, but still has a relatively strong internet following, and the episodes can be found on YouTube. 230,000 people can't be wrong.
  • Phantom Investigators: Thirteen episodes were produced, and after the first season, Sony decided to stop funding animated shows. While this made the chance of a second season unlikely, the final nail in the coffin was Kids WB cancelling the show due to scoring higher with female viewers instead of male viewers, making the channel nervous about losing their status as the number-one rated block with young boys, despite the fact that the show was outperforming everything else in its timeslot.
  • Road Rovers: Was canceled due to low ratings, though popular opinion is that the censors discovered a dirty joke in the last episode during Exile's song about Russian names and shut down production. It could be both reasons, though the joke (which was edited in reruns) was possibly a parting "Up yours!" for how badly the network screwed it over.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Sadly only lasted 3 seasons. It was cancelled to make way for Animaniacs and because Charlie Adler quit after being rejected for Animaniacs.
  • Viewtiful Joe got caught up in the cluster of the WB's merger with UPN.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man (Kids WB/Disney XD). Thank red-tape confusion with the Disney/Marvel deal and Sony giving up Spider-Man's TV rights for this one.
    • Especially infuriating as its abrupt and unplanned ending left the show with a severe case of Downer Ending.
  • Teknoman, the dub version of Tekkaman Blade. They showed the first 26 episodes, reran them, then canceled it and replaced it with The Mouse and the Monster.

    Nickelodeon / The N / Nick Jr. 
  • Invader Zim: Executive Meddling was the culprit here—the network hired a comic artist best known for a series called Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, but were unprepared for the series' dark humor.
    • Contrary to popular belief, it was canceled due to low ratings, not that the Black Comedy helped any.
      • The low ratings were likely a result of Executive Meddling. The show didn't have a consistent time slot (much like another sci-fi cartoon which coincidentally featured Zim's original voice actor Billy West). New episode releases were also inconsistent.
    • In addition, Invader Zim was a very expensive show to make, meaning it would require either a major merchandise push (unlikely, considering the show was run by an underground comic book writer) or stellar ratings to remain profitable.
  • Victorious was a major subversion of this-at some point in season 2 (not long before Locked Up! aired), there were people on Twitter who believed the show was going to be completely pulled because of its hatedom, but it managed to escape that.
    • Alas, it was cancelled before it had a chance to do a proper series sendoff.
  • Danny Phantom had a very unfortunate case of Executive Meddling, with the third season being majorly Screwed by the Network. The show got good ratings despite its ridiculous mid-afternoon time-slot and little advertising for the last season.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) was canceled on the same day as The Spectacular Spider-Man.
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete Like the broadcast examples above, it only lasted as long (3 seasons) due to its critical acclaim, but poor ratings, executive shuffling, and a show that didn't quite mesh with the little-kid demo helped kill the show far too soon, according to various bits of the DVD commentaries.
  • Instant Star (both The N and CTV were responsible for this one)
  • The Mighty B!: The series gained high ratings and good reviews throughout 2008 and early 2009, but around the time season two began ratings began to drop until new episodes stopped airing on the main network. The final episodes began airing on sister network, Nicktoons, from 2010 to 2011.
  • Radio Free Roscoe: Originally aired on the Canadian network Family, then was picked up by Noggin for its teen block "The N" when Family cut the funding. Then The N cut funding as well.
  • The Upside Down Show: A humorous Noggin original that only lasted one season. Despite glowing critical reviews, Noggin declined to continue the series for whatever reason. Some fans have assumed it was because the show starred adult comedians instead of "relatable" kid characters.
  • El Tigre: A great premise and the show as gearing up for a second season. But for some reason Nick declined to continue it.
  • Kappa Mikey: More for comical randomness and being able to blend cartoons and anime together. Sadly, it only received 2 seasons.
  • KaBlam!: A unique Nicktoon, but there were a lot of concerns amongst the creators and budget issues.
  • Catscratch: Despite the unique storylines and cult following, it's safe to say Nick lost interest.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot was well-received by critics and viewers alike, but getting Screwed by the Network got it canned after 2 seasons (until a third season was aired on Nicktoons Network a bit later).
  • Harvey Beaks was much loved by both critics and viewers and proved to Win Back the Crowd. However, its ratings weren't high enough to the network's satisfaction and the show got royally Screwed by the Network as a result.
  • Allegra's Window: Despite doing well in the ratings, production company Jumbo Pictures was bought by The Walt Disney Company during production on the third season which led to the show having to end with that season. Two more direct-to-video releases (consisting of clips of songs from the show with new linking material) were released in 1997 and 1998, however.
  • Since the mid-2010s Nick in general seemed to have a habit of canceling various sitcoms and cartoons with good potential during the in favor of Cash Cow Franchises Spongebob Squarepants and The Loud House
    • The Other Kingdom only had a single season consisting of 20 episodes, although the show had still attracted a decent amount of fans who lamented the series' abrupt cancellation —in no small part due to the show's lack of a Laugh Track, endearing characters, complex lore it was setting up, and even a subplot surrounding humanity's relationship with technology and nature, which was a very important message at the time — and still is today. The series particularly garnered attention with the big reveals in its second half about Tristan being a prince and Devon a half-fairy and Astral's cousin leaving the show on a massive cliffhanger. The show was intended to have a 4-season run, according to interviews with the creator. Needless to say, the fanbase was not happy about the story not getting a proper resolution.
    • I Am Frankie was one of the most well-received live-action Nickelodeon shows of the 2010's. It was cancelled after two seasons, despite ending in a cliffhanger, presumably due to low ratings. The fact that Nickelodeon rarely aired reruns of the show didn't help.

  • Andi Mack, despite being successful and maintaining a Win Back the Crowd status for Disney Channel, was cancelled after just three seasons for unknown reasons.
  • Dave the Barbarian: Absolutely adored by critics and viewers for its comedy, but only lasted 1 season.
  • Gargoyles: Only lasted three seasons—and its last season was drawn by a different house, wasting the show's elaborate backstory.
  • Phil of the Future was ended after two seasons, but it had a proper season finale.
  • Teamo Supremo: Like with Darkwing (see below), Teamo had some planned storylines that never came to fruition.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! was canned after 52 episodes at the start of the final climax. The creator had an ending planned and everything. The ratings were fine too.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: After only 2 seasons, Disney decided to cancel it, despite the ratings being fine and there being plenty of story lines for at least one more season. They were planning one final season, but apparently, Disney Channel stopped focusing on animation and wanted more live action sitcoms.
  • PB&J Otter: Jumbo Pictures got into an argument with Disney shortly after the third season was produced. They then cut off all ties with Disney and production of this, along with various other Disney programming, stopped. Ironically, though, Jumbo Pictures (now Cartoon Pizza) would continue to produce shows for Disney like Stanley (the unaired pilot of which was completed in 1999) and JoJo's Circus.
  • My Little Pony Tales: Only one season, due to poor reception as the Slice of Life format was very new and visionary when the show premièred. It has since obtained a cult following.
  • As stated on ABC, W.I.T.C.H. suffered a similar fate to other Disney animated action/adventure shows, ending after two seasons and with a massive hint at a third season to boot. The reason, according to this FAQ from, is there was "little to no interest both from the investors’ and the producer’s side" to continue the series. Coincidentally, Greg Weisman was brought on board for the second season which was widely regarded as an improvement over the first. Check the man's page to see how the network has regularly treated him like a two dollar call girl.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: The original order consisted of two seasons, with a total of 52 episodes. As the show progressed, it became evident that the writers had already started planning a third season. However, Disney XD ended up ordering a whole new Avengers cartoon instead of more episodes. The fact that EMH received better ratings among adults than among children made Disney XD think that it didn't appeal to their target demographic.
  • TRON: Uprising: Although Disney never confirmed the cancelation, the last episode of the first season aired in 2013 without news since despite mostly positive reception.
  • Motorcity was continuously praised for its high quality animation, dynamic story, and interesting characters but a bad case of Screwed by the Network (including shifting the time slot, messing up the order of the episodes, and a lack of advertisements) led to the series being offed before its first season even wrapped up. However, the people behind the show prepared for this and were able to give the story a proper ending.
  • Wander over Yonder's cancellation was officially announced not because of low ratings, but because higher-ups decided that 80 episodes over 2 seasons is enough for one series.
  • Teacher's Pet: Gary Baseman's art coming to life with good animation, witty humor and great voice acting, but it got Screwed by the Network when they decided to change the block.
  • Fillmore!: An Affectionate Parody of buddy-cop shows with hall monitors, but only two seasons.
  • Lloyd in Space: Like most One Saturday Morning shows in its last couple of seasons, it got Screwed by the Network due to ABC Kids developing at the time.
  • Goldie & Bear, despite fairly positive reviews and decent ratings, was cancelled after just two seasons, possibly due to Disney getting into an argument with the show's production companies.
  • The Owl House is a rather notorious example of this. Despite being one of the most popular Disney shows in recent years and being hailed as one of the best cartoons of the early 2020s, Disney decided to abruptly cancel it during its second season due to it "not fitting the Disney brand" (either due to its dark nature or, as many people have theorized, the lead character being bisexual and entering a same-sex relationship). Although it technically got a third season, it was just divided up into three 45-minute specials.

    Cartoon Network / Adult Swim 
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart: Cancelled after a single season despite being well-received and getting ratings that were just as good, and sometimes better, than everything else airing at the time. Unfortunately came out at the same time as covid was getting started, causing troubled production, and also during a time where the network was winding down and cancelling nearly everything due the network-wide falling ratings of all of their shows.
  • Class of 3000: Was one of the most popular series airing on the network at the time; canceled due to the ratings not justifying the high cost of making the show.
  • Megas XLR: A well animated parody of mecha anime. Thanks to a tax loophole Cartoon Network made, it's now illegal to air the show.
  • Sheep in the Big City: Was screwed over with bad timeslot placement; almost got another season, but Curious Pictures chose to focus on Codename: Kids Next Door.
  • SWAT Kats: Painful because it was a ratings giant. It was the best-rated Saturday morning cartoon of its time, but by H-B execs wanting top focus on the What A Cartoon project (contrary to popular belief, Ted Turner did not cancel the show for being too violent).
  • Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?: Got screwed over when the reruns redubbed Robot Jones's voice with a real child's voice instead of using a computer program, while premieres were moved to 10:30 at night for its final season.
  • Evil Con Carne (originally combined with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy in the Three Shorts show Grim And Evil; got its own show that was the definition of this trope.) The show wasn’t supposed to end so early, but Maxwell Atoms felt it was too stressful to work on two shows at once.
  • Cave Kids: This proved to be the shortest Flintstones spin-off ever, only lasting eight episodes. Despite this, the show is looked back on fondly.
  • Frisky Dingo: Not only did the series end on a cliffhanger, but...
    • ...a spinoff series, The Xtacles, was cancelled only a few episodes in.
  • Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil: Seems to have underperformed SO badly that it's not even going to get a DVD release.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Heavily screwed by CN with a bouncing timeslot and neglect of advertising. Ironically as a rival of American Dragon, both shows wound up suffering the same problems from their respective networks.
  • Time Squad: Was cancelled after two seasons, writer Carlos Ramos and voice actor Rob Paulsen claim that it was unfortunately the victim of a corporate shuffle within the company and just didn't make the cut to continue on.
    • Ironically, Carlos Ramos' next show, The X's, was canned after only one season and, despite its cult following, was never rereleased.
  • Moral Orel: Sadly cancelled after only 3 seasons because it got too dark and depressing (which is what Adult Swim wanted). It did have a proper Grand Finale though.
  • The Funimation dubbed edit of One Piece, aired after the 4Kids dub ended its run. Though this was due to Toonami going under at the time thanks to new management. The series is now back on the air as of this writing thanks to the revived Toonami block.
    • As of 2017, it's off Toonami again, due to Toei Animation increasing the cost to air the show. Since the show was getting low ratings, the Toonami crew decided it wasn't worth paying the extra money to keep it on the air.
      • And as of 2022 it's returned to the block. For a whole HOUR, no less!
  • Unnatural History, the only Live Action show on Cartoon Network that was good. However it was because it was on a network centered around cartoons was the reason this happened. The fact it was coming on the heels of the CN Real era didn't help matters.
  • Tower Prep: Another live-action TV show that was too good to last. Same reason as Unnatural History. Good premise, just not the right network for it.
  • Robotomy: Was cancelled due to high production costs, lack of interest from foreign markets, and the simple fact that the show plays out more like an actual [adult swim] cartoon rather than a Cartoon Network show that airs before Adult Swim.
  • Stroker and Hoop: Another Cliffhanger ender.
  • Transformers: Animated may sound like it had a good run what with having three seasons of thirteen episodes and a three-episode pilot aired before the series proper began, but then you remember that it ran for less than a year-and-a-half, and Cartoon Network kept shuffling it around to crappy slots and barely advertising it in favor of shows like Johnny Test and CN Real, AND the fact that it had a planned fourth season that sounded AWESOME. This is at least in part due to the CN/Hasbro split that launched The Hub. Plus, the toyline was cut short by Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan ultimately was canceled due to the series being unable to acquire a toy line. Revenue from the toys would've offset the massive production costs Sym-Bionic Titan had.
  • Titan Maximum, despite being a ratings juggernaut when it first aired (often beating out new episodes of The Venture Brothers, [adult swim]'s most popular original show), was unceremoniously canned when creator Seth Green stated he'd rather focus his time and effort to his Cash-Cow Franchise, Robot Chicken. Some fans may tell you that the subpar-at-best fifth season of that show (with steadily-slipping ratings to match) may be Laser-Guided Karma at its finest.
  • Thunder Cats 2011 was canceled after having its time slot shifted mid-season and after two different hiatuses. It was never officially announced as canceled, and fans pushed hard for another season, but it never came. The series reaired on Toonami for a while, giving fans some hope, until the rights reverted back to Warner Bros. in the middle of its second run on Toonami.
  • Young Justice has been canceled after two successful seasons. Rumor has it that it's because it attracted the wrong kind of audience: while it was popular with adults and female viewers, it didn't attract the 6-11 year old male crowd the executives wanted to court (as they're usually the main buyers of toys). However, the series was revived on the DC Universe streaming service in 2018 after support from the fans and creators and the show's popularity on Netflix. It was later moved to HBO Max.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: See Young Justice, the answer's pretty much the same, especially since the toyline for the live action Green Lantern movie did poorly and resulted in companies not wanting to produce another line they thought was dead on arrival.
  • Korgoth of Barbaria never got beyond the pilot episode, despite being hyped by the network and receiving a positive fan response, as it was too expensive.
  • Incredible Crew: A last lingering attempt to air live action on CN. But you know what? This one was actually funny and had gained a small but dedicated fanbase (having the voice of Finn as one of the cast certainly helped). Alas only one season before getting the chop.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002): Cancelled after 1½ seasons. A shuffled time slot and lack of advertising leading to low ratings and poor toy sales are cited as the primary reasons.

    MTV / MTV 2 
  • Clone High: Lasted one season despite the promising potential and positive reception by viewers, ending the show on a cliffhanger. The show was cancelled on account of backlash from Indian viewers on its portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The Sifl and Olly Show: 3 seasons produced, two aired (the third had a DVD release)
  • Wonder Showzen: Despite two seasons and respectable ratings, MTV denied a third season. Some of the more experimental episodes during the second season might've also had something to do with it.
  • Downtown: It was just too intelligent for some exec.
  • Skins: The American Version, due to complaints that it was too sexually-charged for a show featuring minors.


  • Code Monkeys: Arguably the best show G4TV ever had, and they didn't sink for a third season.
  • Portal: Not canceled due to ratings, as the creator was not shy about letting fans know, but rather due to personal differences between himself and the network head.
  • Hurl: Yes the name is pretty much what you think it is, a game show about people trying their darndest to keep from puking while being spun around. It was made on the cheap and it showed, but it was still fun watching.
  • Arena, a show about competitive gaming before competitive gaming had much of a presence outside of the internet. The original hosts (one of which being Wil Wheaton) quit due to being unhappy with the way the producer ran things, and then the show was cancelled after its third season ended in January 2005.

  • The Tripods was epic science fiction with astonishing production values. They filmed the first 2 parts of John Christopher's trilogy, but the last book never made it to the screen. Its demise was blamed on it being very slowly paced, plus it was scheduled on Saturdays opposite The A-Team...
  • Star Cops: Intelligent, critically-lauded British sci-fi/cop show crossover about police on the moon, canned after one series (and a lot of in-fighting) despite the first series finale setting up a new season on Mars.
  • Outcasts ended on such a tantalizing cliffhanger - and was then cancelled by the BBC due to poor ratings. Unless some other sci-fi channel renews it, it's unlikely we'll see another season.
  • 15 Storeys High: The BBC really messed about with this series, putting it on a graveyard slot. Then allegedly told Sean Lock he couldn't do a third series.
  • Zen, a crime drama set in Italy that was cancelled after three episodes due to concerns over competition with other detective drama shows airing worldwide.
  • Doctor Who TVM (The TV Movie) was intended to launch a revived series of Doctor Who. It got really good audience ratings in the UK, but because it was an American co-production with Fox, and because it bombed in the US, plans to bring back Doctor Who were shelved for years.

  • Rome, they originally planned five seasons, chronicling the reigns of a few different Emperors, but had to cut it down to three, then two when funding was cut. A movie may be coming.

Pretty common as the shows are funded from donations.
  • Ghost Writer: Was popular and had a large fanbase but barely lasted past its third season.
  • Wishbone: Similar fate to Ghostwriter, it was popular but wasn't able to be Lyrick Studios' older kids equivalent to its then-darling Barney & Friends.
  • PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch. Good lord.
  • Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat ran for one season only to be cancelled after that for unknown reasons despite being popular with kids and teaching a lot of future millenials about Chinese culture.
  • Sheira and Loli’s Dittydoodle Works. It had wonderful music composed by Marvin Hamlisch (who guest-started in one episode) and several Sesame Street and Between the Lions alumni were involved with the series. Sadly, after the second season, Rogar Studios closed down due to the 2008 economy crisis, which spelled trouble for PBS and their shows.
  • Lomax, the Hound of Music ended abruptly after 13 episodes despite being well received by many and teaching children the different genres of music.

    Sci-Fi /Syfy 
  • The Odyssey, a Mind Screwy Ontological Mystery for kids. Not to be confused with Odyssey 5 (below) or Homer's original epic.
  • Mission Genesis (known as Deepwater Black in Canada where it originated): Teen drama plays out with SF themes in the foreground on their way back to earth. Very intelligent, containing a few actors who would go on to fame in other sci fi series. Canceled after 13 episodes.
  • The Invisible Man ran for two seasons, then was cancelled "due to cost issues and internal bickering."
  • Caprica: The network's official statement says it all: “Unfortunately, despite its obvious quality, ‘Caprica’ has not been able to build the audience necessary to justify a second season.” To add insult to injury, the cast and crew have been very clear that (a) the first season finale, which was filmed before the cancellation report, contains multiple cliff-hangers and would not make a satisfying end to the series, and (b) the second season has been planned out in more detail than any BSG season was, and it's a really good plan.
  • Stargate Universe was canceled mid-season, with cast and crew only hearing it from their fans on Twitter. Although the show had divided the Stargate fandom, there's no denying that the show had quality and brilliant acting behind it (ROBERT FREAKIN' CARLYLE!!) - even the haters had started to agree that season 2 was good. Plus, as the series had been planned out to last five seasons, it'll almost certainly end on a massive cliffhanger leaving almost all the main plot arcs unresolved.
  • Farscape: An extremely clever if dark Sci fi with The Muppets - literally, as it was produced by Brian Henson! Unfortunately, much like Firefly the Network had a hard time understanding its brilliance. It was moved around constantly and was eventually Screwed by the Network after its fourth season — despite having been promised a fifth — and ended on a cliffhanger.
    • Farscape only received a conclusion due to a massive outpouring of fan support after its cancellation.
  • The Dresden Files: based on the book series by the same name. Although the TV series was very different from its literary inspiration and not very well received by fans of the novels it was charming and clever and had lots of potential. But before it had much of a chance to prove itself it was canceled midway through it first season.
  • Tremors: Got decent ratings despite its lack of advertisement compared to other shows and having its episodes aired badly Out of Order, Sci-fi pulled the plug anyways.
  • Alphas: A neat X-Men type series, with some interesting superpowers and character dynamics. Cancelled after one season with what should have been a brilliant Cliffhanger, but instead was a Downer Ending.

  • Dead Like Me: Not even quirk-friendly cable was friendly enough, alas.
  • Jeremiah: Many people praise the strong acting, generally good writing, and cool setting and world building of the show (a former Teenage Wasteland trying to move onto something better) and lament how it only aired two seasons out of the five originally planned.
  • United States of Tara: Even though it lasted for three seasons, it was tragically cut too short.

    ITV / CITV 
  • afterlife, a paranormal thriller show starring Lesley Sharp as a mentally unstable, withdrawn medium. It was released to critical acclaim, but later got the axe because it wasn't drawing in as many viewers as its previous seasons had. It ended on a cliffhanger.
  • Beat The Cyborgs: There was nothing wrong with this kid's game show. In fact, it was really good and quite well received, and a second series was promised. It just... never came. There was no explanation as to why, and now, seven years down the line, the programme's fallen off the edge of the earth to the point where there are no online clips at all and it is never repeated.
    • CITV later stopped all commissions of original material (which killed off My Parents Are Aliens), and Mark Speight, who was the presenter known as the Borgmaster, has died. Definitely no chance of a revival now.
  • TUGS: Only lasted 13 episodes, with scripts for over 90 episodes planned. Unfortunately, this was due to Clearwater Studios going bankrupt. It has since gained a cult following from fans of Clearwater's sister show.
  • Weirdsister College, a Darker and Edgier spin-off of beloved children's series The Worst Witch. It continued Mildred Hubble's adventures, where she was now studying magic at a university in Cambridge, and many fans welcomed the idea of expanding the idea of magical education to third level. It had improved special effects, with the dark tone still making it accessible to fans of the parent series, as well as Felicity Jones returning to the role of Ethel. Despite its first season ending on a cliff hanger, the production costs associated with filming on location at Cambridge, low ratings compared to The Worst Witch and mixed critical reviews led to it being cancelled. Another sequel series The New Worst Witch would be commissioned instead, at least opening with a cameo from Mildred, confirming she had become an accomplished witch after all.

  • Blood Ties (2007): This show had either one season or two half-seasons, depending on who you ask. It might have done better on a different network.

  • Remember WENN: Ran 3 seasons on AMC before that network changed its format. To add insult to injury, it ended on a Cliffhanger.
  • Rubicon: One season, also ending on a cliffhanger. Notable because it's the first of AMC's Original Series to be canceled.

    Pro Sieben 
  • Stromberg, a German comedy show extremely similar to The Office, got recommissioned for several series, even though it was never a success. Still, they've got a large cult-fanbase.

  • Da Vinci's City Hall: A Sequel Series to Da Vinci's Inquest (one of the highest-rated and most critically-acclaimed series to ever air in the network's history), City Hall moved the title character (and former coroner) Dominic Da Vinci from the medical office to the political field. The show was critically acclaimed (and unusually continuity-heavy) - critics and some viewers loved it, but others tuned out, and the network dumped it after a single season (with many loose ends still remaining).
  • Intelligence (2006), made by the creator of Da Vinci's Inquest, won a Gemini Award for Best Dramatic Series during its debut season, then got unceremoniously canned at the end of its second season. Supposedly, CBC killed it for political reasons.
  • jPod (CBC): Critically acclaimed, but failed to find an audience, and ended on a cliffhanger after 13 episodes.
  • The Border: Lasted for three seasons. The production crew didn't say why and the last episode's plot was Left Hanging.
  • This is Wonderland lasted three seasons, but got no promotion and wildly varying timeslots by the network, and got canned with plot threads Left Hanging.

  • Cybersix was a brilliant series with lots of action, fun characters, and surprisingly mature content (among other things, episodes alluded to the death of a child and Nazism). It was very well received and even won an award, "Special Mention for the Best Science Fiction Program". Yet it only got one season of thirteen episodes (part of the blame likely lies in the American broadcaster, Creator.Fox Kids, screwing the show over).
  • Atomic Puppet: Quality animation, a fun blend of action and comedy that parodied the superhero genre, a cast of entertaining characters that showed surprising development, and seriously Growing the Beard. It was positively received by critics and nominated for awards, but ultimately lasted one season due to being Screwed by the Network in both Canada and USA.

    Comedy Central 
  • The Critic: Ran reruns, with the promise of new episodes. Never happened.
  • TV Funhouse - Only ran one season with eight episodes. The reason behind its cancellation was because Comedy Central was disappointed at how each episode went over budget.
  • Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire: Canceled after one season.
  • Drawn Together was cancelled because the cost to produce it was too high and Comedy Central wasn't making much profit. They took a break halfway through season 3, making fans believe that the second half was the fourth season. The show has a very loyal fanbase and a cult following. It did get a movie that at least wrapped up the show, albeit having to use Flash animation the creator paid for out of their own pocket (and showing they were very bitter about the whole situation.).
  • The Jeselnik Offensive earned some pretty positive reviews and was noted for Anthony Jeselnik's mostly enjoyable usage of dark humor. However, ratings were low, and despite Jeselnik's assurances that its production costs were low enough to keep it afloat, the show was axed after 2 seasons.
  • Chappelle's Show of course, which had 2 seasons and a few episodes after that. Creator Breakdown was the culprit here.

  • Not so much a show, but rather a channel itself devoted to cancelled shows. The Dutch channel Veronica pretty much runs on this stuff. The average plot: 1.) Show is announced with a lot of fanfare. The same teaser is shown over and over again. 2.) Show airs, some people get hooked. 3.) Show disappears without a warning. 4.) People check out the series online and learn that it only ran for a couple of episodes before getting cancelled. This goes for most sci-fi/action dramas listed above. There is a clue though, every time they first announced the show with the teasers, the show will be referred to as 'The hit series <insert showname>'. Latest victim: Flash Forward.

While most of GSN's original programming is highly lambasted by fans of the game show genre, it did turn in a couple gems:

  • Late Night Liars: A very unusual hybrid of puppet show and Panel Game. The few people that watched it thought it was one of the network's best shows ever.
  • Russian Roulette: Made it to two seasons with an interesting gimmick (dropping contestants through trapdoors) and a very enjoyable host (Mark L. Walberg), but a constant source of reruns.

    Discovery Kids/The Hub/Discovery Family 


  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020) was well-received by both critics and fans alike, but Netflix opted to cancel it after two seasons.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance got rave reviews, rave audience scores and fan love... then Netflix opted out of a second season. To add salt in the wound, the show's cancellation was announced shortly after it won an Emmy for most Outstanding Children's Program. In this case, it would seem that the show's high quality was something of a double-edged sword; it was very expensive to produce but didn't quite draw in enough viewers to justify the cost.
  • Tuca & Bertie was very well-received, garnering a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and mostly positive audience feedback. However, Netflix ultimately passed on a second season.
  • Twelve Forever was received well for its realistic handling of the ups and downs of growing up, the number of LGBTQ+ characters in the cast (including its lesbian main character), and the hints at a darker storyline down the road. However, the show suffered a string of bad luck (Invisible Advertising, its animation studio closing down, and the creator and former show runner being outed as a pedophile) that ultimately lead to it not getting a second season.
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj was a Spiritual Successor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart hosted by former correspondent Hasan Minhaj that offered a humorous look into political and social issues affecting America. But despite receiving rave reviews by critics and audiences, with its first season in 2018 receiving a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the show ended suddenly in 2020.

    Whole Television Channels 
  • Z Channel, a pioneering cable television channel showing classic movies, basically a precursor to both AMC and Turner Classic Movies. It championed many of the same things that cinephiles did (and later the aforementioned Turner Classic Movies): Letterboxing, showing films that otherwise wouldn't appear on other networks, director's cuts of films, and so on. It lasted a decent amount of time, 1974 to 1989, but its last few years are rife with Executive Meddling and Network Decay, thanks to the creator shooting himself, and it ended up becoming a sports network. Xan Cassavetes, daughter of film director John Cassavetes, made an acclaimed documentary about the channel's heydey, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession in 2004.
  • Tech TV, before it was acquired by G4TV.
  • Nickelodeon's Nick GaS channel, which broadcast Nick's 90's game shows. It was discontinued and replaced with The N in 2007.
  • New Zealand-based public service broadcaster TVNZ 7 will go off the air in mid-2012, after it was announced its funding would not be renewed.
  • Worldwide Animax channels, being Japan, Asia Pacific, Germanynote  and UKnote  signals the only ones that still exist until today. After the expansion outside Japan in 2004, Sony Pictures Television Networks started to add western content gradually, later replacing Animax channels with new ones. In later years, they finally ended almost all of their channels during The New '10s. The most dramatic cases were the African and Latin American signals, which apart from being filled with western content, were replaced by new channels with the same content (Sony MAX and Sony Spin, respectively) which were canceled a few years later by low ratings.

Other Media

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is the general belief of fans from both the OVA and Decode series of Birdy the Mighty. The OVA series only had four parts and the Decode series two seasons and both series still had many loose ends when they ended.
  • Gonzo's OVA series Blue Submarine No. 6 had an interesting story with much potential. Unfortunately, it was only four episodes long, ended on a somewhat melancholy note, and left a few plot threads unresolved.
  • The Bubblegum Crisis OVA series, stopped after episode 8 due to disputes between the companies producing the show.
  • Cyber City Oedo 808 was intended as a demo to impress potential investors; had the investors been impressed, they would have expanded out the three one-hour episodes into a full-length series... in 1993. Needless to say, the investors were not impressed.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam got poor ratings in its original run and it was canceled, cutting down the number of episodes from 52 to 39 and forcing Tomino had to quickly improvise an ending. However, due to good re-run ratings the show was re-cut (with some new animation) into 3 movies, and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam was made.
  • Sweet Blue Flowers was supposed to get a second season, but those plans were canceled when the DVD sales for the first season turned out to be disappointing.
  • Barrage was cancelled after only 16 chapters despite a promising start. It's often used by anime and manga fans as an example of the cutthroat environment of the manga business, particularly its requirement for a series to hit the ground running, that a well-liked series like Barrage could not find a general enough audience to last. All was not lost for author and illustrator Kouhei Horikoshi, though, as his next attempt, My Hero Academia, became the big hit of 2014 and got an anime adaptation beginning in 2016.
  • Double Arts was an engrossing and fun manga that thumbed its nose at loads of the problematic stereotypes of its genre in wonderful ways and was obviously gearing up for an Ancient Conspiracy plot...and was cut down in its infancy by low ratings, with barely enough time for the artist to sketch out an ending with a little closure. An example of Screwed by the DemographicDouble Arts was a more trope-defying Shonen series in a magazine that usually aims for the 12-18 demographic. Creator Naoshi Komi would have better luck with his later work, the romantic comedy Nisekoi.
  • Futaba-kun Change!: Cancelled just as it was setting up some major story arcs, leading to the creator scrambling to wrap everything up for the ending due to time constraints. We can't help wondering if the ending would have made more sense if it'd been given enough time to play out naturally.
  • Gun Blaze West: The series began by Nobuhiro Watsuki just after Rurouni Kenshin finished. It only lasted long enough for two or three volumes worth of material.
  • Hakaima Sadamitsu, a little-known but ridiculously awesome seinen. Started as a manga in 1999, got an anime adaptation in 2001 that was cancelled after ten episodes. The Other Wiki says the manga is still going.
  • Hikari no Densetsu is based on a best-selling manga, was produced by a highly talented staff and has had more than its share of positive reviews, yet it was a huge bomb on Japanese TV and was yanked off the air after only 19 episodes. The anime was a success in Europe, though.
  • Kanamemo, which ended having a Sequel Hook, never got its second season simply due to surprisingly poor DVD sales.
  • Meister was primed to be the hot new sports manga with dynamic characters and stimulating art. Cut from Weekly Shonen Jump two months after it debuted, forced to cobble together a sudden (and not particularly lucid) ending. Only ten chapters. They didn't even get through one goddamn soccer game.
  • Pokémon Chronicles: With how many supporting characters have been introduced then Put on a Bus throughout the anime, some fans wish the series, which centered around doing A Day in the Limelight stories for Ash's friends and Pokémon no longer traveling with him, had continued.
  • Romantic Killer: The manga, despite winning Shonen Jump's Vertical Scroll Manga Awards and ranking #12 in the 2020 Next Manga Awards, was Cut Short due to low sales in June 2020, ending at a mere 38 chapters. What makes this particularly odd is that the manga would go on to get a Netflix anime adaptation and an English release a few years later despite this.
  • Zombiepowder.: Word of God says that the creator was going through some severe anxiety and depression during its run which was one of the main reasons for its cancellation.
  • Raijin Comics in the U.S. A weekly anthology series made up of Baki the Grappler, Fist of the Blue Sky, and attempting to bring in political and horror mangas? Hell yes! Only for it to end monthly within not even two years and then canceled.
  • The uncut, uncensored English dub and Western DVD releases of Yu-Gi-Oh!. They were very well-received by older anime fans at the time, but were heavily overshadowed by the success of the standard, kid-oriented translation with preteen audiences, and the dub/release only lasted a few episodes.
  • Marry Grave was widely praised for its story and seemed on its way to becoming a big hit, regularly getting color pages in its magazine and being licensed in several countries, but it was ultimately cancelled after 52 chapters due to poor volume sales.

    Comic Books 
  • Adventure Time: Season 11 was intended to continue the story after the Grand Finale and was going to have 12 issues but due to low sales, it ended with only six.
  • Aztek had a fresh hero, good crossover potential and a promising overarching plot. Then it ran right into the 1996-97 comic book market crash and got cancelled after 10 issues. Luckily, Aztek had already been set up to join the Justice League of America, and his story line got resolved in that book.
  • The Batman Adventures (the second volume): a comic written by Ty Templeton and Dan Slott as a sequel to Batman: The Animated Series that did its best to tie in with the DC Animated Universe. It was very sadly killed after only 17 issues to be replaced with a The Batman tie-in comic, leaving all of the plotlines (sadly the creative team planned on to at least 40 issues, some details on the Toonzone boards) except for the ones that they scrambled to cover in the last four issues dangling.
  • Captain Britain and MI13 was canceled after issue 15, though it would be hard to see how they could top Dracula and his vampire army's invasion from his castle on the moon.
  • The Crew, a Marvel Comics series with a heavy African-American cast, was cancelled before its first issue was released. Only seven issues were ultimately released and its creator, Christopher Priest, is still somewhat bitter over it, believing that it was cancelled because Marvel thought it was a "ghetto book".
  • The new series of Exiles lasted about six issues.
  • The Flash (Infinite Frontier) by Jeremy Adams launched to little hype in 2021 as part of the DC Infinite Frontier initiative, with the only buzz coming from the series opening with an arc starring Wally West, the third Flash, who had been underutilised and mistreated in the years prior. It even downplayed its focus on Wally, advertising its first arc as Wally's final adventure before retiring, but ended up starring him for its entire duration. Readers very quickly warmed to the run, thanks to it providing a natural evolution for Wally (even using some of the recent maligned stories for Character Development), re-establishing the Flash Family, developing characters that were previously underutilised, and being a wholesome series about Wally being a suburban dad and superhero. When it was announced that Jeremy Adams' run would be ending to make way for The Flash (Dawn of DC) in 2023, the overwhelming reaction was sadness that the run was ending so soon.
  • Jack Kirby's 1970s DC work is notorious for this. Pretty much every single thing he wrote was massively innovative and critically acclaimed, from the Fourth World Saga to the proto-cyberpunk O.M.A.C., and almost none of it lasted. Mr. Miracle, the longest-lasting Fourth World book, made it eighteen issues, The Demon lasted sixteen, his run on Jimmy Olsen got fifteen, New Gods and Forever People eleven, and OMAC just eight. A mix of the DC Implosion and rather poor sales wreaked havoc on his comics, leaving only historians desperately wishing for a proper conclusion to the threads he set up. Ironically, Kamandi (among the least well-regarded of Kirby's 70s works) was the only one to make it to a respectable length (thirty-seven issues, with an additional twenty-two by other writers).
    • The New Gods infact did eventually receive a proper finale, in the form of the OGN "The Hunger Dogs", written and drawn by Jack Kirby himself! It's not very well known, however (even amongst many of DC's writers) due to being released shortly before and overshadowed by a certain other famous comic book...
  • Nova had Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez's run on the series. After years of Broken Base due to Sam Alexander helming the title instead of Richard Rider, this run finally had the two meet and acknowledged their similarities and differences, highlighting them through different styles of storytelling and humour — Richard dealt with his PTSD and feeling disconnected from the superhero community, while Sam dealt with his changing high school life and learned about the wider Cosmic side of Marvel. And the two's interaction was very well-received, with Richard taking on a mentor position and surrogate father for Sam. And Loveness being a comedian, there was some good humour thrown in as well, which not only added levity, but also highlighted the different characters that Richard and Sam were. It was a series that was loved by critics and readers... those who read it. It didn't sell well, and unfortunately was cancelled after only one arc.
  • DC Comics' Red Circle books, The Shield and The Web, had some great promise, but were both cancelled after just ten issues EACH!
  • Spider-Gwen was canceled after a mere five issues. However, this is a strange case. The book came about due to the unprecedented popularity of the character in the Spider-Verse event. But it was just too late to fully incorporate into the already planned Secret Wars (2015) event. Consequently, the book had to be cancelled, but the character was quickly brought over to the new ongoing Spider-Verse title that came about as a result of the Secret Wars event and will be relaunched as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel.
  • 2010's Thor: The Mighty Avenger sadly only goes half-in on this trope. Although there was a good deal of complaining about its cancellation, it didn't ever manage to break 10k in issue sales which would seem to make its cancellation by Marvel reasonable from a business standpoint.
  • Although Voices had a good run (with exciting action, well-made drama and a unique Interactive Comics gimmick that gave the series its name), it only lasted one and a half chapters due to pressure from Real Life on the author, which massively stifled the update rate.
  • Rion 2990 was an independent manga-esque comic released in the 1980's and published under the Mirage imprint. Unlike other manga-esque titles, Rion looked absolutely authentic in regards to its visuals that it could be mistaken as an actual Japanese manga. In addition to that, it had a high stakes, cold war era plot about a struggle between war and peace with likable characters. It was proposed to be a 4-issue miniseries, but it got cut short and only two of the four issues were released due to Mirage ballooning and crashing.
  • Archie Comics released Sonic Boom, a book based on the games and the cartoon. It was even made part of a massive video game crossover, only for the title to be cancelled just before the crossover began, getting in one last post-crossover issue before it disappeared.
  • 2016's X-Men '92 was an adoring love letter to both the '90s era X-Men and the wildly popular animated series from that time. It used (and used well) characters that were utterly wasted in their original incarnations, promised to elevate more, and was met with almost universally positive reviews. So of course it was only given a 10-issue run, forcing authors Chris Sims and Chad Bower to condense promising plots and kill off characters early for the sake of wrapping everything up by the tenth issue.
  • Youngblood (2017) was cancelled after just 12 issues, with a number of plotlines left unresolved. An attempt to restart it was derailed by Rob Liefeld losing the rights to Youngblood (Image Comics).

  • Although not a television show, Battlefleet Gothic had only a few months of publicity and attention before being handed over to Specialist Games (then Fanatic Press), a fate shared with many other spinoff games.
  • LEGO Universe, an MMO where you play as mini-figures and build your own contraptions? This took off pretty well and many enjoyed it, but it had to deal with some very uphill challenges based on its pitch as a kid-targeted MMO, from difficulties in keeping a child-friendly tone (the freedom to create so much made it easy for troublemakers to challenge the limits of creating obscene content, no doubt putting massive strain on moderators) to the concept itself being a fairly tough sell (their target audience had no disposable income and had to convince their parents to pay for a monthly subscription to play the game). Following disappointing revenue numbers and attempts to re-stimulate the playerbase with Freemium elements being met with lukewarm results, LEGO lost faith in the project and pulled the plug in less than two years. With the benefit of hindsight, many critics argue that LEGO might have actually given up too soon as during its production and twilight, Minecraft — another family-friendly quasi-MMO with heavy emphasis on creation — was rapidly becoming the biggest phenomenon in gaming and living proof that there was a lucrative market for what LEGO Universe stood for. Many are convinced that it would have seen a major renaissance had LEGO just hold out a little longer, especially since the developers were still working on new content and had plans for the long-term before they got the axe.
  • XIII was intended to have a sequel, so the game ended in a cliffhanger. Sadly, too few people bought this great game so the sequel was never made.
  • Similar to the above, Psychonauts had a great concept and story, and closed with the apparent start of another adventure. Despite garnering a vocal hardcore fanbase later on, it sold poorly.
  • Also similar to these, Beyond Good & Evil. Despite this beautiful masterpiece not selling that well, a sequel was announced, though it remains in Development Hell as of 2023.
  • Advent Rising, featuring a story written by science fiction god Orson Scott Card. The game was planned from the get-go to be a trilogy, but like Psychonauts, was pushed out the door too quickly by Majesco (who was facing bankruptcy at the time). The result was an unpolished and glitchy (albeit still playable) game. When given just a month to polish it for the rerelease of the game on PC, the average ratings jumped a considerable amount. The game ended on the definition of a cliffhanger, and the original team (who had long since left Majesco, and were bought by Epic) has expressed interest in finishing the trilogy, but Majesco won't release the rights to them. They're too busy with Cooking Mama I guess...
    • And who could forget the terrible marketing ploy they used to sell copies of their unfinished game? The main selling point of the game was an in-game contest where players had to find a symbol in one of the levels. Whoever found the symbol first and submitted undeniable proof to the developers would win a large sum of money. Cue a crafty player finding the symbol, sending the proof, then having the developers back out.
  • Working Designs. They were mostly known for their excellent localizations of the Lunar series.
  • Panzer Dragoon started life as a rail shooter on the Sega Saturn and was successful enough to get a direct sequel, and then a spin-off RPG that was acclaimed but sold poorly. After returning to its rail shooter roots with Panzer Dragoon Orta on the Xbox the series died due to poor sales, despite receiving lots of acclaim from critics and fans alike.
    • The prices of Saga alone should show you how much people love these games.
  • Evolution: The World of Sacred Device was a fantastic RPG on the shortlived Dreamcast. After a mediocre sequel and an amazing reboot on the Gamecube, the series was left out to die. It doesn't help that it was developed by Sting Entertainment.
  • Phantom Brave is a truly remarkable game developed by Nippon Ichi (the people behind the Disgaea series). Even though two remakes have been remade for the game on both Wii and PSP, the game has yet to make a sequel.
  • Legacy of Kain. Despite setting a new standard for thought-provoking plots and dialogue, these successes meant gameplay was traded off and resulted in the series' silent downfall, with the most recent game, 2003's Defiance, selling below expectations and without real resolution, and a potential sequel, The Dark Prophecy, quickly became Vaporware. Adding the fact that the head writer for the series is now working for Naughty Dog and the voice of the series' Big Bad is dead, and you can tell they're not going to put out another game any time soon.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: It was going to have a sequel, but after Rare being bought out by Microsoft and some Executive Meddling the game was instead just re-made with better graphics...and censored.
  • A console example, the infamous Sega Dreamcast. Same could be said for most of Sega's systems.
  • Dino Crisis promised an interesting premise, and while not as popular as its sister franchise Resident Evil or its inspiration Jurassic Park, it won over enough fans largely by emulating the Survival Horror aspects of the one and exploiting the dino appeal of the other. Dino Crisis 2 took the series in a new direction, which made it something of a Contested Sequel, but Dino Crisis 3 turned out to be a Franchise Killer, much to the dismay of fans of the previous titles. No sequels have ever been announced since then.
  • Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy: Ends on a "To be Continued." But with the Midway lawsuit, a sequel really looks unlikely.
  • ActRaiser: The sequel removed the simulation gameplay, and unlike the first game which had a well balanced difficulty level, the sequel was Nintendo Hard to almost unplayable levels. Needless to say, the game flopped, despite having some of the best graphics and sound the Super Nintendo was capable of at the time.
  • The Ogre Battle series was intended to be a seven-episode game series, but only episodes V, VII, and VI (released in that order) were made. Yasumi Matsuno, the series' creator, left Quest during the development of Ogre Battle 64 to work for Squaresoft, where he worked on Final Fantasy Tactics. Even after Square Enix purchased Quest, he refused to work on any Ogre Battle, choosing to concentrate on the so-called "Ivalice series". Now that Matsuno left Square Enix, it seems unlikely we'll ever see any of the first five Ogre Battle episodes. It might be on its way to revival, however, with the announcement of a remake of Tactics Ogre headed by Yasumi Matsuno himself. Keep your fingers crossed!
  • Eternal Darkness, while no official word has stated the sequels won't come, isn't actively in production, which probably means we'll never see it. The developers were much more interested in continuing the lackluster Too Human. Penny Arcade even wrote a comic about it.
  • Xenosaga, while it did get a trilogy completed, the creators were forced to wrap up halfway through their intended story, making the events in the third game, which should have taken place over several in order to properly develop the characters (especially noticeable with all 4 Testaments, all of whom are deeply linked to a different main character, having their respective stories wrapped up fairly quickly). Even then, the final game ends with a cliffhanger. In addition, this cancellation also meant that the extra games, including those that went into detail about the events between the second and third game, would not leave Japan.
  • The Last Express was adored by critics and many players, but a complete lack of advertising and a limited distribution by the dying Broderbund company made it a huge commercial flop. What made it worse is that the game's story sets things up for a sequel at the end, with Cath presumably on his way to Jerusalem to get a look at a mysterious manuscript. Though Interplay re-released it for a brief period before going bankrupt, and Gametap now has it available, it is highly unlikely anyone will ever make a sequel.
    • Not to mention the fact that it was one of the few good games, at the time, to feature multiple endings.
  • Humongous Entertainment constantly received critical acclaim in its day, but with 2D and the Adventure Game markets slowly dying out, the company was eventually forced to shut down. Atari now owns the rights, but have failed to make a decent game since.
  • The System Shock series. Both were commercial failures but were critically acclaimed and System Shock 2 in particular is widely regarded as one of the greatest FPSes in history.
    • System Shock 3 was announced at the end of 2015, but only time will tell if this new game can revive the series.
  • Anachronox ended with a huge cliffhanger that thanks to producer ION Storm imploding will never get resolved.
  • Fear Effect. Fear Effect Inferno was going to be the third game for the series, but Kronos folded. There are clips showing things that were supposed to happen in this game. This is the first clip. This is the second clip. This is the third clip. This is the fourth clip. This is the fifth clip. This is the sixth clip. This is the seventh clip. This is the eighth clip. This is the ninth and final clip.
  • Baten Kaitos was an unusual RPG series on the Gamecube, featuring a World in the Sky populated by Winged Humanoids. Neither of the games sold particularly well, but over the years, they've gained a small fanbase. A third game was planned, but cancelled due to poor sales and lack of interest.
    • There are rumors that a third game might be in the works, though...
  • The developers of Split/Second (2010) had clearly intended for there to be a sequel, given the way they decided to close out the single-player season mode. The game had already left its mark as a unique racing game experience but Disney Interactive Studios had other plans and kiboshed the sequel and then ended up closing the studio.
  • DJ Hero was a unique and fun Rhythm Game with an awesome original soundtrack (every song in both games is an original remix of licensed music, with the vast majority splicing two songs together) that ended up flopping due to coming out at a time when the music game fad was on the way out. Despite getting an Even Better Sequel, it still wasn't enough, and the series wasn't profitable enough to continue its development.
  • Disney Infinity was Disney's answer to Skylanders and featured various Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars themed characters to use in special games (called Play Sets) along with a surprisingly well-done Level Editor called the Toy Box. The series was a resounding success and proved popular with both kids and adults and teens. Sadly, consistently keeping the series and figures rolling wound up being too expensive of an endeavor for Disney Interactive to take. The series wound up coming to an (arguably premature) end in June 2016, to much disappointment.
  • Startropics: It was a popular, Zelda-esque platformer that gained a cult following, which was then followed by a Contested Sequel that more or less killed whatever it was supposed to become.
  • Rochard, an Acclaimed Flop, had a sequel planned, but the developers were unable to get funding for it, and eventually went under.
  • While well received and popular in its time, Gex had only three games.
  • Earthworm Jim had only a couple of games, sharing the same fate as its cartoon. One game set for release in 2007 was outright cancelled and an official fourth entry is in Development Hell.
  • Croc certainly had potential and there were plans to make a third game and even a cartoon, but it ended after only two games after Argonaut dissolved.
  • Sanzaru Games was given the rights to the Sly Cooper franchise, and developed Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, which was praised for remaining true to Sucker Punch's original trilogy. The game also had a cliffhanger ending, and fans became hyped for a sequel. Then in 2014, Sanzaru announced they would not continue the games, and the reputation for Thieves In Time was quickly sunk.
  • EA's MVP Baseball series that ran from 2003 to 2005 were the most popular and well-received Baseball games in their time, with MVP Baseball 2005 in particular often being considered not only the best Baseball game ever made, but one of the best Sports video games ever, with its PC version still having an active modding community to this day. The series was known for revolutionizing the hitting and pitching mechanics in an easy-to-pick-up, intuitive, and just fun-to-play way, while Baseball games before then were known for the core gameplay being wonky, unintuitive, and often feeling pure random with whether your hit or pitch succeeded or not. The series was additionally loaded with content and gameplay modes, full of customization, featured an impressive franchise mode, and in the 2005 edition featured an Owner mode for an even more indepth franchise experience. However after 2005 when EA bought an exclusivity-license from the NFL to make their Madden NFL series the only NFL games on the market, competitor Take-Two Interactive got an exclusivity deal to the MLB license in response, barring EA from being able to make Baseball games featuring the MLB and MLB players. EA did try to make two MVP Baseball games after this based on college Baseball instead, but without the MLB license the games sold poorly, and so the series was ended. While 2K's exclusivity license ran out in 2012, EA hasn't been interested in bringing the series back, with Sony's MLB: The Show having a stranglehold on the market for Baseball games (plus considering the EA of today, even if the series was brought back it would be unlikely that it would be as good as it was before).
  • Defiance and its reboot, Defiance 2050. While plagued with bugs, it was arguably the first MMO Third-Person Shooter to really catch on, and was much like a hybrid of Fallout, Borderlands and Mass Effect. Sadly, due to the loss of several court cases by its developer Trion coupled with more successful competition like Warframe and Destiny, and an uninterested parent company that didn't care much for the game, it was forced to shut down its servers in April 29th, 2021.

  • The fabulous teen series DRAMA! never had more than a minuscule yet devoted fanbase, so Simon & Schuster decided to stop publishing it after just four books. Fortunately, they gave Paul Ruditis the bad news before he started the fourth book, so he was able to speed up some story arcs to give his characters the ending they deserved.

  • Aaliyah's career was just starting to take off when her life was cut short by a plane crash on August 25, 2001, at the age of 22.
  • Andromeda (UK); power trio featuring future Atomic Rooster guitarist John Du Cann.
  • Black Star, a hip-hop duo consisting of Mos Def (later known as Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli. They only released one album in the late '90s and didn't work on much together after that.
  • Blind Faith. Meaningfully named by the band members in response to fan hype. They knew it wouldn't last, from the beginning.
  • Blodwyn Pig; British blues group featuring ex-Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams. Their first album did real well, but a supposedly lackluster second album, along with the pressures of the music industry, led main songwriter Abrahams to leave, effectively crippling the group.
  • David Bowie's album 1.Outside was supposed to be the first of a trilogy. Unfortunately, Bowie decided to cancel the other two parts.
    • If this is unfortunate depends on whether or not you believe that the other two parts could have lived up to the expectations...
  • Bronski Beat: Falsetto lead vocalist Jimmy Somerville left after their first album to start his own band (The Communards), and later a solo career; the remaining members producing one more album with replacement Jon Foster before folding a few years afterward.
  • Chickenfoot, even if they managed to do two albums, given everyone involved is busy.
  • Crucial Three. It tells something when a band that only existed for about six weeks and never recorded a song or at least performed in public in that time still gets a wikipedia and an allmusic entry.
    • They get their own pages mostly because of the important post-punk acts founded in its wake, bassist Julian Cope's Teardrop Explodes, guitarist Pete Wylie's Wah!, and vocalist Ian McCulloch's Echo and the Bunnymen.
  • The Exploding Hearts. If only their van hadn't flipped over on the highway...
  • The Fugees, as even after a short reunion tour, Pras stated "you will have a better chance of seeing Osama Bin Laden and Bush in Starbucks having a latte, discussing foreign policies, before there will be a Fugees reunion".
    • Lauryn Hill's solo career, given she felt very uncomfortable about success, and her only attempt at a second album was a disastrous MTV Unplugged performance.
  • Romanian-Israeli-Canadian EDM vocalist Gali only released three singles; "Dancing to Another Love Song", "I'm Alive", and Tomorrow Never Dies" (no relation to the Bond film), after which her social media accounts and official website went mysteriously silent, them disappeared altogether.
  • Jellyfish. Two commercially ignored fantastic albums, two different lineups, end of story. Other members formed groups and solo acts since, but it seems to be the last we'll ever hear of them.
  • Joy Division, though they lived on, in a way, as New Order.
  • Kyuss:
    • Luckily there's still Queens of the Stone Age.
  • Late Of The Pier. Their album Fantasy Black Channel was highly regarded in indie circles on its initial release in 2008 - and still is - but the band went on hiatus in 2010 for solo projects and have not been heard from since. After the tragic passing of drummer Ross Dawson in 2015, that hiatus became permanent.
  • Life Without Buildings (even though it seemed more like an art project than an actual band).
  • The Monks: A noisy, psychedelic garage rock band who played in Germany at the same time The Beatles did. They recorded one album in 1966 which foreshadowed the rise of noise-rock and punk, then broke up. (They reunited and recorded a live album in the 90s, after one of the original members had died.)
  • Nailbomb. One studio album, one live album then they deliberately made the decision to quit while they were ahead. The live album was even called Proud to Commit Commercial Suicide.
  • New Kingdom: A Psychedelic Rap Rock band. Dropped off the face of the Earth after their second and best album, Paradise Don't Come Cheap.
  • New York Dolls. Two albums with the classic line-up, then they fizzled out just as the punk movement was finding its legs.
  • The New Radicals. After "You Get What You Give" became the band's only hit, lead singer/writer/producer Gregg Alexander elected to disband the group to concentrate on writing and producing songs for other artists.
  • Nirvana, given Kurt Cobain grew uncomfortable with fame. The band would've probably disbanded in 1994 anyway, even if he hadn't killed himself.
  • The Normal are best known for the creepy, ahead-of-its-time, oft-covered and anthologized proto-synth pop song "Warm Leatherette". Unfortunately, if you really like that song, there's only one other Normal song, "TVOD", which was originally its A-side. There's also The Silicon Teens, who, like The Normal, are an alias for Daniel Miller, and put out one album consisting of intentionally synthesizer-heavy oldies covers with a few originals mixed in. Beyond that, Miller has primarily focused on running his label Mute, as well as producing, remixing, and occasionally being credited for synthesizer or programming on other musicians' albums, usually those signed to his label.
  • The Notorious B.I.G. only released two albums, both critically acclaimed, before being gunned down in a drive-by in March 1997.
  • Omaha Sheriff. In spite of copious amounts of talent, some really quite excellent songs, some airplay on American radio and a big boost from famous producer Tony Visconti, they managed to record only two albums in their lifetime, only one of which was ever released. The release of their album Come Hell or Waters High at the same time as the punk explosion was devastatingly ill-timed. None of their music has been released on CD.
  • Ou est le Swimming Pool, a UK synthpop revival band, only completed one album before lead singer Charles Haddon committed suicide after a performance.
  • Bill Nelson's Red Noise, a fun and inventive New Wave group that lasted for one album and a few singles before Nelson went on to lead a successful solo career.
  • Savage Garden; only 2 studio albums and a total of 14 singles released before they broke up in 2001, still considered one of the biggest Australian bands of the late 90s with the two albums going a combined 20x Platinum in Australia and 10x Platinum in the US.
  • The Sex Pistols, who popularized punk rock, only managed to record a single album (on which the band's best-known member didn't even play a single note) before collapsing under their own self-loathing. Sure, they've toured on and off since 1996, but they've never gotten around to recording any new material in all that time.
  • Dance-pop girl group She Moves, best known for the hit single "Breaking All the Rules", only released one album, also titled Breaking All The Rules, then split up after the follow-up singles failed to chart.
  • Sleep released 2 albums, the second considered a classic of the Stoner Rock genre. their third album was a single hour-long track that the label decided was unmarketable, they were dropped from the label and shortly after decided it was time to call it quits. The member's separate projects since then make you wonder What Could Have Been had they continued together. The album was finally given a proper release 7 years later.
  • The Traveling Wilburys. Roy Orbison's death probably didn't help... not to mention of course they were all superstars to begin with.
  • Uncle Tupelo, although their breakup spawned a couple of bands (Wilco, Son Volt) that were pretty damn great in their own right.
  • Urusei Yatsura (UK band), a little-known but critically-acclaimed indie band in the 90s (not to be confused with the anime however) that fizzled out after only three damn good albums.
  • Young Marble Giants
    • Though the Islands are good also.

  • In 1995, Capcom (yes, the same Capcom that makes Mega Man and Street Fighter games) decided to enter the pinball business. During that time, they produced what pinball fans consider to be some of the greatest pinball machines ever made and never produced anything short of a critical darling. In addition, their usage of non-proprietary parts made repair easier and less costly than the Williams, Bally, and Gottlieb machines of its time. The problems were that Capcom never figured out how to market its pinball quite as well as the other companies, nor could they produce large numbers of any of them. As a result of few people knowing these machines existed and very low production numbers (most were in the single digits) Capcom left the pinball business in 1997. Every machine Capcom made is now highly sought after, and chances to play them are incredibly rare.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • One of the first great successes of pro wrestling, the territorial system, ultimately proved to be such, because even with the vast benefits that came from working together and the governing bodies such as the National Wrestling Alliance put in place to facilitate cooperation, individual promoters never really did get along or trust one another for the most part.
  • Mid-South Wrestling didn't just have the highest rated wrestling show on USA cable television, they had the highest rated show on US cable period. Bill Watts wasn't the business man, or people person for that matter, of Vincent Kennedy McMahon or Jim Crockett, nor was he interested in shutting territories down for the sake of it, so Mid-South ended up falling like all the others, in spite of its superior in ring product, and we ended up getting Herb Abrams' UWF in its place.
  • A promotion with the financial backing of Ted Turner and many of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Unfortunately, half of WCW's wrestlers were a combination of foreigners and cruiserweights whom booking had little interest in. Turner hired many men who knew little about the business and thus squandered the drawing power of Ric Flair and fell from what should have been the oldest tricks in the book from the likes of Honky Tonk Man and especially Hulk Hogan. Then Turner's company was bought out by one full of people who didn't just lack understanding of pro wrestling but hated it.
  • A promotion built on strong continuity, drama, comedy and renowned participants of pro wrestling and mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, Fighting Opera HUSTLE ran on a budget that could hardly be described as "sustainable" and no one really seemed to have a mind for it besides Nobuhiko Takada. It's already impressive that the promotion managed to cram four years of success in the notoriously fad-centric Japanese society, but once Takada left, its closure was inevitable.
  • A television show built around promising prospects from the independent circuit and established stars from established promotions AAA and Dragon Gate. A show ran by executives more interested in stunts and explosions than pro wrestling, who proved too squeamish when those very stunts were taken to their logical conclusion. Such was the fate of Wrestling Society X, Screwed by the Network.
  • Lucha Underground was immensely successful in its prime and gained an incredibly passionate fanbase thanks to its slick, uniquely cinematic identity, incredibly off-the-walls storylines and characters, and some of the biggest special-effects spectacles the medium had to offer, but it only lasted four years between 2014 to 2018 before dying a quiet death with lingering storylines left unfinished. The promotion had been fraught with questionable management, constant issues with talent over contract negotiations, and budgets spiralling out of control, leaving it in a place where it really wasn't sustainable enough to last, where even executive producer Eric van Wagenen commented that had they gotten a fifth year, the promotion still would've required a major reboot just to stay fiscally coherent.

  • The Stan Freberg Show was canceled by the CBS radio network after running for only 15 episodes, due to failure to attract a sponsor. Stan Freberg took favorite sketch requests a week before the final episode to thank fans for their enthusiasm for the show. Thank goodness all the episodes survive.
  • Australian comedian Tony Martin's Get This was a massively clever and energetic show that mocked a lot of radio conventions. Because of this it was axed despite being not only network Triple M's top rating show, but also the ONLY show rating vaguely well. Note it continued to be the top-rating show in spite of undergoing three timeslot shifts.

  • The Formula One race track in Istanbul, introduced in 2005, was called "the best race track in the world" by Bernie Ecclestone (president and CEO of Formula One Management). It got pushed off the calendar for the 2012 season, meaning it only ever hosted six Grand Prix.
  • The Group B era of rallying, a brief period in The '80s when WRC was more popular than Formula One. It produced some of the fastest, most iconic rally cars of all time, but inadequate crowd management and pure power in these cars led to several fatalities, and FIA cancelled the class in favour of the more strictly regulated Group A.
  • The XFL reboot received generally positive reception and developed a passionate fanbase when the 2020 season started in February 8. The coronavirus pandemic ensured that it wouldn't last for more than a month, and the league suspended day-to-day operations, laid off its employees, filed for bankruptcy, and put itself up for sale in April 10th and 13th.
    • In August of that same year, the league was sold to Alpha Aquino LLC, a group of investors, the most notable being Dwayne Johnson, with plans to start back up in 2022. It ended up being delayed a year (mainly thanks to merger negotiations with the Canadian Football League that ended up going nowhere), but the league returned (again) in 2023, played its schedule in full, and is expected to return for the 2024 season and beyond.
  • A year before the XFL V.2 was the Alliance of American Football. Things looked promising at the beginning, with the league being founded by Charlie Ebersol (son of former NBC Sports executive and original XFL co-founder Dick Ebersol)note  and longtime NFL general manager and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, and a supposed $100 million in start-up capital. Note the word "supposed" there, as they made it all the way to week two of their first season before going brokenote  and having to sell the entire league to Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, who shut the league down after week 8. The AAF lost $88 million and as of 2023 litigation is still ongoing.
  • During the start of the 2022 season of the League Championship Series, a great deal of excitement and publicity was generated around the new incarnation of the popular NA team Cloud9, with an experimental roster coached by the polarizing North-American born/Korea-based caster/analyst Nick "LS" De Cesare. The team began the season on a very impressive foot, with some of the most unconventional and bizarrely effective strategies ever seen in professional League of Legends, but a mere two weeks into the season, LS was suddenly released from the team and replaced for undisclosed reasons (the public announcement came minutes before the team entered the stage for their next game, and LS himself had only been informed of his release a mere few hours prior), deemed by the international community as a contender for the most abrupt and anticlimactic end to one of its most exciting developments in not just professional League, but esports in general.

    Theme Parks 
  • Hard Rock Park, whose rock n' roll theme led to inspired attractions. Unfortunately, it opened in 2008, right as the country entered a recession, so couple the economy woes of both the potential audience and the park itself - the latter more important, as the lack of money led to the park being under-advertised and the shortcomings of its executives less forgiving - it closed after just five months in operation. Even its reworking as Freestyle Music Park in 2009 only lasted for that year's summer.
  • Wondrous Journeys, a Disneyland nighttime spectacular celebrating "over a hundred years" of inspirational Disney movies and shorts, originally only ran for eight months, ending well before the exact date of Disney's centennial. Disney has announced that they will occasionally revive the show, but some Disneyland fans wish that it and Fantasmic! would just become the park's default nighttime spectaculars, even if off-season performances of Wondrous Journeys would reduce it to projections and music.

  • XEVOZ and its tie-in comic. The toyline from Hasbro (with aid from Stikfas) was made up of figures with interchangeable parts and weapons, and a collectible card like game, using the figures themselves and "Battle Helix" dice. It only lasted for four series of figures, but that's two more than it seemed the line would support. After seemingly being cancelled after Series 2, and again after Series 3 (plus some deluxe sets), Xevoz finally disappeared for good (for now).
  • Hornby's Were Bears were discontinued after 1989 despite them being very well made and original toys. They have become very sought after and collectible toys since then. A few new websites hint that they may be being made once again and might even have a movie or cartoon series made after them.
  • Transformers: The Alternators were Hasbro's finally giving the adult Periphery Demographic what they had been begging for since the 80s: big, complex, show accurate "collector" toys. Adult fans loved it, but it turns out they didn't make up as much of the audience/buyers as they thought and the Alternators didn't sell well enough to continue. The Alternators continue to rack up impressive sums of money on eBay, though, and they are pretty sweet.
  • Stan Winston Creatures, makers of, amongst other things, the Furry-friendly Realm of the Claw action figures. Thanks to a dispute with Toys 'R Us, the exclusive distributor of the company's toys, they were forced to put a hold on further toy development. After languishing in Development Hell for years, once Stan Winston died...
  • My Scene dolls, had a small but devoted fandom. Now it's not even distributed out of South America.

    Web Animation 
  • Arenas achieved a Cult Classic status among the Quake fandom, however it lasted only one 10-episode season and a small part of the second before the whole thing got cancelled.

  • Eerie Cuties and its spin-off series, Magick Chicks, were part of a shared universe known collectively as the *C-verse. Both were cut short and hastily wrapped up despite having a dedicated readership, because neither comic sold well enough to maintain their production. Initially, the co-creators were only going to put them on indefinite hiatus, but in May of 2015, the comics' official site stated both the series were done.

  • The Film Crew, a Spiritual Successor to Mystery Science Theater 3000 helmed by Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy. The four episodes available on Amazon are the only four there were and are likely to ever be. Fortunately, their second attempt at a spiritual revival of MST3K, RiffTrax, seems to have been a hit.

    Shows that were rescued (Exceptions) 
  • Angel: While the show ran long enough and the finale was appropriate enough to make it feel like a show that naturally ended, a sixth season was planned but cancelled. Joss Whedon was broken up about it.
  • Arrested Development, although this show managed at least 3 seasons, about 2 1/2 more than most of the others on this list, it still stung because of the massive positive critical response and awards won.
    • Netflix gave it two more seasons, the second being split into two parts.
  • Babylon 5: Canceled after season four, forcing the producers to compress stories intended for two seasons into one. Then they were picked up for a fifth season on TNT.
  • Better Off Ted: ABC did its best to keep it on for a second season despite abysmal ratings but decided to let it go once the second season couldn't turn it around.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The series was cancelled by Fox despite a loyal fanbase and positive reviews in its 5 seasons due to declining viewership, but NBC picked it up for 3 more seasons and a proper Grand Finale in the works.
  • The Critic (ABC and Fox; both networks cancelled it.)
  • Danny Phantom (Nickelodeon): Creator Butch Hartman expressed interest in continuing the series but Nickelodeon wouldn't have it. At least he still managed to give it a Grand Finale, despite the third season only being about half as long as the other two.
  • Dark Angel. Fox show. Only an exception in the sense of having had two seasons, otherwise characterized by everything it says at the top. Third season greenlit and then abruptly cancelled.
  • Daria: After the end of the series' 5th season, MTV gave Glenn Eichler an option: a 6-episode 6th season or another Made-for-TV Movie. Eichler, running out of ideas, choose the movie, and the series ended with Is It College Yet?
  • Two DCU examples: Both Blue Beetle and Manhunter, which had been on the very brink of cancellation for their entire runs, were recently canceled at just under 50 issues, managing to wrap up their storylines in a satisfying way. In that time, Manhunter was canceled and revived twice. Both returned as back up features (in Booster Gold and Batman: Streets of Gotham respectively).
    • Also: The two 'Red Circle' books ("The Shield" and "The Web") had their plots wrapped up in the current "Mighty Crusaders" mini-series!
  • Dollhouse: Miraculously managed to get a second season in spite of low ratings because Fox was aware of the dedicated fanbase, but was cancelled after episode 2.04 aired. On the one hand, that seems premature; on the other hand, it gave the crew time to write and film a series finale instead of just a season finale.
  • Due South (CBS) had a wobbly history, including getting canceled twice, but it aired four seasons and ended on its own terms.
  • Exosquad (USA): Note that they DID finish off a couple story arcs before the cancellation hit, so it could also count as a counter example. Its later cousin, Wing Commander Academy, fared far worse (13 eps, cut off right in the middle when USA Network pulled all of their Saturday morning cartoon lineup.)
  • Final Space was never a ratings monster or a major awards contender, but it was well liked enough for it's cancellation on a cliffhanger to cause heads to turn. Even worse, it was eventually written off for tax purposes, which would make finishing the show impossible... until show creator Olan Rogers was given the chance to finish the story the way he wanted through a graphic novel. Olan Rogers set the initial cap at 10,000 copies, but insane demand led to this cap being broken within 28 hours, when he expected that it would take a few months to achieve.
  • For Your Love note  was first aired on NBC and cancelled after six episodes, it was then picked up by The WB and managed to last for another four seasons. It was renewed in spite of suffering a 70% drop in ratings during the third season, though its final years on the network were a bit spotty, as it frequently shifted schedules and came very close to being cancelled after the fourth season, and six episodes of the fifth season (including the series finale and one Christmas Episode that was held back from the fourth season) were unaired in the original run, though TV One later picked up For Your Love for reruns and the missing episodes were finally aired.
  • Freakazoid!: One of the best comedy cartoons of the '90s. Unfortunately, it was built on Parental Bonus, even though it was put on Kids' WB. Only got two seasons.
  • Friday Night Lights: A rather unusual example. After airing on NBC for two seasons, the acclaimed but low-rated show was saved from cancellation by moving to DirecTV's "101 Network" channel for three more seasons, with NBC itself re-airing the show each spring after the 101 Network run had ended.
  • Futurama: Vindication was had at last in 2007 when the show was Un-Canceled.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Well-established as an internet animated series, it was expanded into a half-hour affair on G4TV, which became a 13-episode wonder due to the very timeslot it was scheduled in. Despite that, G4 still requested a second season, but the creators refused, and the internet series continues running with extremely infrequent new releases, long hiatuses, and a fanbase that's only half the size of what it was at the time the TV series came out.
  • Home Movies: After UPN pulled the plug after just five episodes, Adult Swim picked it up for the rest of the first season because they saw potential in it, and then it got picked up for another season three years.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) (Cartoon Network); shared the same fate as the toyline revival.
  • JAG was first aired on NBC, and then canceled after the first season. CBS then picked it up partially because of its massive popularity in Australia, and ran it for another nine years, during which it became one of the most popular shows on television (and spawned the More Popular Spin-Off, NCIS).
  • Kyle XY: One of ABC Family's most successful shows, which was canceled after its third season. And right when a dramatic twist regarding Kyle's origin is revealed! The producers soon after revealed what had been planned for later seasons. By no means a brilliant series, it was still head-and-shoulders above its competition. It had a sci-fi premise, stellar acting, and a great deal of maturity. To put it into perspective, Kyle XY died because it wasn't pulling in as much ratings as The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
  • La Femme Nikita (USA): The cancellation announcement was made suddenly at the end of the fourth season, with lots of Canon Fodder just hanging there. This prompted a massive fan campaign and there was a fifth "half season" to answer some of the major questions and give a Bittersweet Ending for some closure.
  • Moral Orel: The show made a nice ending, but the writers were forced to cut plotlines that would have come up in later episodes. They eventually had to compromise with a special that was somewhat of a prequel to the main series.
  • My Name Is Earl (NBC): Lasted a reasonable 4 years, never a ratings giant but had a good number of fans. Unexpectedly canceled on a cliffhanger.
  • Noonbory and the Super 7: Easily the best Saturday-morning show that CBS aired after the 2006 break-up with Nickelodeon, Cookie Jar yanked it out of CBS' Saturday-morning line-up after one season because it wasn't based on a big enough license. However, Cookie Jar decided to place it on one of their Syndication packages in October 2010. However, it was short-lived, as it was off the air AGAIN after only one season due to Cookie Jar cancelling its Syndication deals!
  • Northern Exposure: a quirk-fest that began as a mid-season replacement, not usually a recipe for success on network TV, nevertheless managed to air six seasons and rack up plaudits and fans.
  • NewsRadio was fast paced and witty, but suffered a lot of time slot changes by NBC and it never quite made it to the top of the ratings not to mention the death of an important cast member well into the series, and yet it managed to go on for five seasons.
  • ReBoot: Did well pretty much everywhere it aired, but ABC yanked it after two. It did well in Canada and on Cartoon Network for a third season, abruptly canceled upon edging out a fourth season three years later. Always seems to get a good break with talk of being uncanceled with a series of movies.
  • Samurai Jack, after an abrupt cancellation with No Ending, the last season aired on Toonami over a decade later.
  • Sliders: was cancelled after its first season, brought back as a mid-season replacement the following year after fan protesting, and aired two more seasons on Fox. The SYFY channel produced a fourth and fifth season before finally cancelling it.
  • Space Cases: Guess what other space series this show shares an actress with. Go on, guess. She got written out of the show after season 1, though... Too bad for Nickelodeon.
    • She was "written out" because she had a prior commitment to another Too Good To Last show, Disney Channel's Flash Forward (which had nothing to do with ABC's Flash Forward.
  • The Goode Family: Friday Night Death Slot.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: canceled after its second season due to poor ratings, it was revived by one of the first fan campaigns.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: It was on the virge of being canceled after its first season due to the expense of producing the show combined with the 1987 Hollywood Writers' Strike. Fortunately for the show, the strike was resolved just before studio executives pulled the plug.
  • The Tick (2001): Not only did the cult-favorite animated series last only three seasons, but its live-action counterpart sadly ended with only one season (and two episodes never even aired).
  • Titus: The creator even said that he preferred it was canceled due to Executive Meddling and risky material than not being popular or funny.
  • Veronica Mars is right on the borderline, with three seasons on UPN and The CW network.
  • Tom and Jerry Tales. It did alright on Kids' WB! from 2006 to 2008, but was killed by 4Kids Entertainment when it took over Kids WB.
  • ECW: Partially due to TNN's refusal to advertise or even acknowledge the show, using it as a test drive to drop it for WWE Raw.
  • The Wire had five full seasons. However, considering the widespread acclaim (some even declared it the best series ever), its ratings were dismal.
  • The original Shaman King manga was canceled RIGHT BEFORE the showdown with the Big Bad. It would be Uncanceled and finished several years later.