There's nothing quite like scouring the array of new shows on offer at the beginning of each TV season and making the decision to commit to a brand new series. Week after week new episodes air, and when you find that perfect match it seems like nothing — not even irregular network programming — could sway you from your obsessive love for a new show.
However, there is just one thing that could break up your happy new addiction: the ever-lurking fear that a network might savagely cancel your new favorite TV show long before it ever deserved it. Take a look below to see some of the best TV series that were brutally axed after just a single season:
Joss Whedon's space western, Firefly, might have had a bizarre concept, but it remains an enormous fan favorite to this day. Firefly told the story of the nine-person crew of the space ship Serenity, some of whom had fought on the losing side of the civil war and were now doomed to live on the fringes of society in a sort of pioneer culture. It had a diverse and interesting cast, and treated the viewers intelligently. However, that wasn't enough to save it.
Firefly premiered on Fox in 2002 but was treated poorly by the network who constantly changed the show's time slot, and even aired episodes out of order. Sadly, the show was canceled after just 11 of the 14 episodes had been aired, and although fans launched campaigns to have the decision reversed, in the end they had to be satisfied with a feature length film to wrap up the Season 1 storyline.
2. 'Freaks and Geeks'
Judd Apatow, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Busy Philipps, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel are all big names now, but back in 1999 they were part of the cast and crew of the network series Freaks and Geeks. The show followed the Weir siblings, Lindsay and Sam, as they embarked on the perilous journey of high school in the early 1980s.
Judd Apatow may have nailed the confusing period known as high school in Freaks and Geeks, but unfortunately it wasn't quite as appreciated by network NBC, who canceled the show after just 12 of the 18 episodes had aired. Fan campaigns eventually lead to the remaining six episodes being aired months later (and out of order), but sadly the show never received a second season.
3. 'Pan Am'
Featuring Christina Ricci and a pre-Wolf of Wall Street Margot Robbie, ABC series Pan Am was a glamorous show about the pilots and flight attendants of the early 1960s. The show was set at the beginning of the commercial Jet Age, when air travel was still something worthy of dressing up for, and smoking on planes was practically encouraged.
Although rich in talent, Pan Am was canceled due to low ratings and although attempts were made to find the series a new home, this never came to fruition and the show was officially canceled a few months after the Season 1 finale aired.
Despite being a show about immortality, ABC series Forever is another sci-fi show that sadly met an early demise. Forever centered in on immortal New York City medical examiner Dr. Henry Morgan, who used his knowledge to help the NYC Police Department in solving crimes, with the hope of one day discovering the key to ending his own immortality.
Although storylines for a second season of Forever were put forward to ABC and Warner Bros., who reportedly liked the direction for the show, it was ultimately canceled. Low ratings was the reason given for the show's cancelation, though critics believed that lack of promotion and the time slot — which saw the series air opposite popular shows such as Chicago Fire and Person Of Interest — also contributed. The fact that the show was produced by Warner Bros. and not ABC Studios was also thought to have been a factor.
5. 'My So-Called Life'
A real and powerful coming-of-age story, My So-Called Life followed Angela Chase (a young Claire Danes) as she struggled to discover her own identity whilst also trying to survive high school. My So-Called Life continues to be praised for the range of subjects and issues it covered in its short 19 episode span, including homophobia, alcoholism, abuse and violence. But although the subject matter of My So-Called Life was intense, the show was also a joy to watch, with a young and talented cast bringing the storylines to life.
Ultimately, My So-Called Life came to an end due to a mixture of factors. The show was a critical success but never received high ratings, a big contributing element to its cancelation. However, another factor was Claire Danes choosing to end her involvement with the show after season 1. At just 15 years old, the demands of producing episodic television impacted Danes' life more dramatically than she had anticipated, and she chose not to get involved with a second season of the show. This, combined with the fact that low ratings already meant the show was on the bubble, seemingly tipped ABC, and My So-Called Life was canned after just 19 episodes.
A series with a strange concept and a lot of heart, Fox series Wonderfalls easily earns a spot on any list of TV series gone too soon. Telling the story of aimless university graduate Jaye Tyler, Wonderfalls followed Jaye as she begun to receive messages and instructions from a variety of talking animal figurines, which cryptically directed her to help people in need.
Unfortunately, neither positive reviews nor the talking animal figurines could help Wonderfalls, and after airing just four episodes aired at various time slots, Fox canceled the show. Fan campaigns — which were supported by the cast and crew — sadly failed to change the network's decision, and the show was axed, with all 13 episodes eventually being released on DVD.
Based on the 1999 novel of the same name, ABC series FlashFoward was the intriguing story of a mysterious event which caused the entire planet to lose consciousness for 137 seconds, during which time they saw a vision of their lives six months in the future. A team of FBI agents were then assembled in order to try to work out what happened, and whether or not it could happen again, all the while dealing with their own issues arising from what their personal flash-forwards revealed.
ABC's FlashFoward may have been about visions of the future, but unfortunately the network deemed the show unworthy of a future of its own, canceling it after the first 22 episode season. Author of the original novel Robert J. Sawyer believed contributing factors to the show's cancelation included its time slot, as well as budgetary reasons, noting that ABC only wanted to keep one sci-fi series. This meant that FlashFoward was canceled in favor of keeping V, which was cheaper to produce.
8. 'Trophy Wife'
Starring an array of comedic talents, ABC's Trophy Wife followed the ups and downs of Kate, who gained an instant family after marrying the already twice-divorced Pete. Struggling to reconcile her former party girl lifestyle with her new life as the young wife of a lawyer, Kate also had to deal with becoming a stepmom to Pete's three children: twins Hillary and Warren from Pete's first marriage to doctor Diane, and Bert from Pete's second marriage to the new-age Jackie.
Although Trophy Wife was well received by critics, it was let down by its poor time slot and slightly confusing title, which was meant to be ironic. In the end ABC canned the series, leaving audiences with just 22 episodes of a show which was both funny and surprisingly clever for a sitcom. We continue to pray for a spin-off dedicated purely to Bert and Jackie.
After the success of Amy Sherman-Palladino's series Gilmore Girls came her charming dramedy series Bunheads, starring Broadway actor Sutton Foster. Bunheads followed Las Vegas showgirl Michelle Simms Flowers (Foster) who married a long-time admirer on a whim and moved to a quirky town in Southern California. However, after her husband was killed in a accident soon after the pair married, Michelle found herself having to adapt to life in a small town, teaching ballet alongside her mother-in-law.
Although Bunheads was undoubtedly a critically success, network ABC Family ultimately canceled the show due to low ratings, crushing its passionate fan base. While Bunheads never received its second season, many of its stars made appearances in the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls in November 2016.
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[Poll image source: Sony Pictures Television]