5 Shows Canceled Before Their Time

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Television can be a fickle mistress, and over the years we’ve seen plenty of sub-average shows continue on our screens, whilst we’ve lost some absolute gems after only a few seasons, or in some cases, just the one. Here we have the 5 shows canceled before their time. Other than not being able to enjoy more episodes of a cast we’ve grown to love, each of these entries seemed to end on a cliffhanger we’ll never have resolved.


5. Deadwood

Ian McShane as Al Swearengen

Canceled by HBO supposedly due to a dispute with Paramount Pictures as much as it was to do with declining ratings, Deadwood was canceled abruptly weeks before production was due to begin on its fourth season. It took its creator David Milch and the show’s fans a long thirteen years, but there was at least some closure to be had back in 2019 when Deadwood: The Movie hit screens, and many were happy with the story’s final ending.

Related: 24 TV Shows That Surprisingly Never Got Popular


4. My Name is Earl

shows cancelled before their time
My Name is Earl’s Cast

The first comedy in this list of shows canceled before their time, we have another show abruptly canceled without the creator’s knowledge, and therefore another show ending on a cliffhanger. The show was canceled after its fourth season, the final episode ending with the gang finding out Joy had yet another affair, and that Darnell was not the father of Earl Jr. We’ll never find out who the father really was, and much more annoying, we’ll never see Earl finish his list and find peace from his prior bad decisions.

3. Freaks and Geeks

shows canceled
The Cast of Freaks and Geeks

We got one solitary season showcasing the trials and tribulations of being one of the outcasts during high school, and how they deal with their lives both in and out of school. Showing new relationships and old, starting and falling apart, decisions made which could affect their lives, and words and actions said and done that couldn’t be undone, it’s easy to see why the youth of twenty years ago related to the show so much.

2. Hannibal

shows canceled
Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham

After three seasons of perhaps the most graphic and gory cooking show on television to date, fans were furious when the show was canceled. Starring a fantastic portrayal of the infamous Hannibal Lecter by Mads Mikkelsen, the show managed the fine line of being faithful to the source material, yet managing to carve its own path. It’s little wonder fans, the cast and the creator of the show alike have been petitioning for a follow-up of some sort for the last few years.


1. Firefly

shows canceled
The Cast of Firefly

The biggest and most disappointing show was canceled before its time on this list and after only a single season. Whilst in hot water nowadays, Joss Whedon was very much a television darling, with his successes on both Buffy and Angel, but even that clout wasn’t enough to save the show. Thankfully (or not with some of the character’s fates), the show was given a final send-off in the way of the film Serenity, so whilst we’ll never get to see more of Nathan Fillion’s Mal, we at least get a resolute ending for the crew.

Related: Nathan Fillion Willing To Work With Disgraced Director Joss Whedon For Firefly Revival Despite Abuse Allegations

Honorable Mentions

This list could have had fifty entries and there’d still be room for more, but I’d be remiss to not at least briefly mention HBO’s Rome, a fantastic insight into early Roman history in the titular city, Marvel’s Agent Carter, an entire spy show centered around Agent Carter of Captain America: The First Avenger’s fame, and lastly Limitless, based on and connected to the movie of the same name starring Bradley Cooper.


That’s my list of shows canceled before their time, but what would make yours?

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Written by Luke Addison

Articles Published: 425

Luke Addison is the Lead Video Game Critic and Gaming Editor. As likely to be caught listening to noughties rock as he is watching the latest blockbuster cinema release, Luke is the quintessential millennial wistfully wishing after a forgotten era of entertainment. Also a diehard Chelsea fan, for his sins.

Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd