It’s that time of year again, when some of the TV shows we’ve become attached to are unceremoniously ripped from the schedule, never to be seen again. Some are oldies, having been on the small screen for a while, and others are brand-new that never developed a loyal audience.
In the case of last year’s short-lived Nashville cancellation, sometimes fan power is enough to bring a show back from the dead, but as we’ve seen with the recent Pitch cancellation, usually it’s not sufficient to save it.
Many popular TV shows have faced the axe in the last month or so, as networks slowly revealed which ones wouldn’t be returning to their respective lineups.
Here’s a list of shows you’re going to have to bid farewell to — feel free to have a moment of silence with your remote. (This is by no means a full list — check TV channel or individual show sites for complete rosters of cancellations.)
2 Broke Girls (City): After six seasons of raunchy sexual jokes, Max and Caroline are hanging up their aprons. While the fandom and ratings of the show were fairly strong, the heyday of canned-laughter sitcoms is seeing its sunset. Why not bail out on a high note?
“2 Broke Girls was a really good show for us for a very long time,” said CBS head of scheduling Kelly Kahl. “Our comedy development this year was very good and whenever your comedy development is really good, it puts a lot of pressure on some of your older shows. We felt, creatively, it was time and we had to create some space on the schedule to get some new product on.”
Bates Motel (A&E): Shot in Vancouver, this show was critically lauded and had a fairly strong fan base. The horror drama aired its final episode on April 24 after five seasons, and it will not be returning. (Warning: spoilers!) The rumour is that once Vera Farmiga’s Norma character died at the end of Season 4, it was never the same. Unfortunately, with certain TV shows, that magic can’t be rediscovered once specific characters are gone.
Last Man Standing (CMT): Tim Allen’s conservative-leaning sitcom was abruptly canned this month, and it even led to a petition being drawn up by fans to help save it. While ratings dipped only slightly in its recent sixth season, many TV critics believe the financial aspect is what caused its cancellation. (In other words, TV starpower like Allen isn’t cheap.)
Dr. Ken (Family): Starring Ken Jeong, this sitcom drew on his real-life experiences (after all, he is an actual doctor) as he practiced medicine, focusing on his Korean-American family’s experience. The series itself was pretty funny, and made it through two hilarious seasons. It just couldn’t muster a strong enough fan base to keep it alive for a third.
Girl Meets World (Disney): This one’s surprising, considering the maniacal excitement that accompanied its June 2014 premiere announcement. People were ecstatic about the show, and without a doubt had memories of its predecessor, Boy Meets World, the uber-popular ’90s coming-of-age show. Girl Meets World lasted three seasons, with some critics saying that the cast quickly outgrew the network’s target audience, ultimately leading to its demise.
Pitch (Global): Audiences and TV critics alike loved this series from the get-go: focusing on the (fictional) first-ever female to play in Major League Baseball, it was charming, fun and a welcome addition to the male-dominated lineups. Unfortunately, the show didn’t “catch,” so to speak, and ratings week-over-week never improved. With a 3-million viewer average audience per episode, the powers-that-be had no choice but to pull the plug.
Son of Zorn (Fox): On paper, the concept seemed innovative and new: essentially, picture He-Man (in this case Zorn) living life in the real world with actual humans. Sources say that the show ended up being too difficult to produce, and Fox’s long-time search for a new showrunner proved unsuccessful. Its not-so-great ratings didn’t help matters, either.
Chicago Justice (Global): The fourth “arm” of the Chicago franchise (the others are Med, P.D. and Fire), this show wasn’t expected to have any problem at all, especially with the power of Dick Wolf (Law & Order) behind it. There are multiple theories about why it was pulled, but one of the most popular is that there’s franchise fatigue — four different series stemming from the same source does seem like a lot. Other reasons include the show’s bizarre scheduling for the first few episodes, which didn’t help it find a dedicated audience.
The Get Down (Netflix): This one came as a shock to many, considering the Baz Luhrmann show’s very high production values. But it turns out its greatest virtue is its downfall: with the high values comes high cost. Additionally, original showrunner Shawn Ryan also left, which contributed to excessive production delays. The Get Down is the first original Netflix show to be cancelled after only one season.
Luhrmann posted a lengthy letter to fans on his Facebook page, explaining why the show had to come to an end. Even if the series was picked up for Season 2, he insists that he most likely wouldn’t have returned to helm the show.
Bloodline (Netflix): A popular Netflix title, Bloodline lasted three seasons; its third and final group of episodes starts up on Friday, May 26, though they’ve been cut from 13 to 10. Starring fan favourite Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), many are sad to see the drama go. As with most cancellations, money is most likely the root cause here. Many outlets report that the state of Florida — where the entire series has been shot — is no longer carrying the entertainment tax incentive that kept costs down for Seasons 1 and 2.
Girls (HBO Canada): After six seasons, Lena Dunham’s groundbreaking Girls ended on April 16. While it was never a ratings juggernaut by any stretch, the show spoke to a certain demographic and had a rabidly loyal fanbase. Girls can also be credited with being the inspiration for many new and upcoming shows, featuring brassy young women unafraid to voice their opinions and drive change in the world. Dunham herself said that she didn’t want to “overstay” her welcome.
“We were always conscious, especially because the show has been at times such a lightning rod, of overstaying our welcome,” Dunham said. “We’ve been very blessed to have the experience of people continuing to engage in the show in a really kind of rabid way after [many] years. We wanted to make sure we kept the momentum alive and didn’t allow it to soften over time.”
The Vampire Diaries (CTV): After 8 seasons and a whopping 171 episodes, this teen-angst-and-vampires drama finally hung up its fangs in March, much to the chagrin of longtime fans. At one point during its run, TVD was The CW’s top-rated program, and Canadian actor Nina Dobrev achieved the heights of fame as Elena (and later on, as multiple other characters).
TVD star Paul Wesley had this to say about the show’s ending: “All good things must come to an end, and let’s end it on a good, positive note. We’re going out with some pride and dignity.”
Orphan Black (CTV): The pride and joy of Canada, starring Canadian star Tatiana Maslany in many different roles, is coming to an end after Season 5 (it premieres June 10). While there is no clear-cut reason why the multi-country production is coming to an end, many critics suspect it’s a creative choice. The highly original show, which follows a woman who discovers she’s actually a clone, has gotten very complicated as the seasons progress, so it might be an example of painting into a corner — there isn’t anywhere else to go without things getting ridiculous.
The Great Indoors (Global): A sitcom about millennials interacting with Gen X-ers, The Great Indoors never really established an audience. While relevant to the modern workplace, its ratings never gained traction after it was yanked from followed Big Bang Theory‘s timeslot in the U.S. Once on its own, the ratings plummeted, leaving the comedy to wither on the vine.
The Leftovers (HBO Canada): A critical and audience favourite, The Leftovers just couldn’t hold on with its numbers. The supernatural drama is set to air its finale on June 4, giving the showrunners a chance to finish telling the story of the people left after the “Sudden Departure,” the simultaneous, unexplained exodus of 140 million people from Earth.
The Blacklist: Redemption (Global): Another one-season show, Redemption was a counterpart to the already-existing The Blacklist. The latter’s popularity made this new iteration seem like a shoo-in, but somehow Redemption never developed a large enough audience. Here’s some salve for fans of the franchise: The Blacklist proper has been renewed for a full 22-episode season, and Ryan Eggold (Tom Keen) will be returning to that series as a regular. See? Not so bad.