Hey brother, we're back! Is this a dream come true, a cruel joke, or a horrible decision? At the New Yorker Festival Sunday, Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz announced that he intends to make one last “limited” season of the show before filming the movie. The enormously popular show lasted for three seasons on Fox before being cancelled in 2006. Arrested Development, even with a soild fanbase, critical acclaim, and some Emmy wins, couldn't gain ratings traction. Maybe this time things will be different.
Rob Thomas’ hardboiled-detective-noir-meets-high-school show, Veronica Mars, endured a lot of network meddling, including mandated cameos by Paris Hilton and a few America’s Next Top Model contestants, before getting canceled at the end of season three in 2007. Cancelation wasn’t new to Thomas, however. His Cupid—which, like Veronica Mars, was critically adored yet underwatched—got canceled after one season in 1998. ABC resurrected Cupid this year but, like the original, it won’t see a second season.
My So-Called Life
Fourteen years later, this cancelation still stings. At a time when glossy soaps like Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Party of Five rules the airwaves, My So-Called Life was a relatable and realistic show that nailed the teenage experience and launched the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto. It was canceled after one brief season, while 90210 dragged on for an entire decade. But hey, just ask any teenager—sometimes life ain’t fair.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
It’s not entirely fair to blame Fox for dumping Terminator, the television sequel/prequel to the killer-robots movie franchise. As entertainment president Kevin Reilly pointed out to EW’s Michael Ausiello, they gave the show a steady timeslot, time to grow an audience, and plenty of promotional push, and it still failed to find an audience. Still, we have to question the decision to dump a show based on a franchise that’s about to heat up with a hotly anticipated new summer movie ( Terminator Salvation, which opens May 21).
Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies: Is Bryan Fuller Unluckiest Man in Television?
Bryan Fuller’s shows all have four things in common: quirky themes, critical raves, sarcastically misanthropic characters, and untimely deaths… both in the shows and for the shows. Dead Like Me, about a group of not-so-grim reapers, got two seasons on Showtime before it got reaped itself, though a straight-to-DVD movie meant to wrap up dead ends was recently released. Wonderfalls, featuring a girl who gets mysterious instructions from animal figurines, aired all of four episodes on Fox. Pushing Daises, the forensic fairytale starring Lee Pace as a pie maker who uses his ability to reanimate the dead to solve crimes, might have fared better, but the fledgling series never did recover its ratings after getting sidelined in its first season by the 2008 writer’s strike, and was canceled shortly into its second season.
Firefly and Angel: Slayed By Net Execs
Though Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a surprise hit that ran seven seasons, creator Joss Whedon’s other shows haven’t fared so well. Despite enjoying a creative renaissance in its fifth season, the Buffy spinoff Angel was unceremoniously dumped by the WB. And his critically lauded, criminally underwatched outer-space-meets-Wild-West Firefly underwent network meddling and getting stuck in the Friday night death slot before Fox yanked it off the air after only 12 episodes, though a groundswell of fan support led to a big screen outing, Serenity, three years later. His current show, Dollhouse, was recently picked up for a second season despite low ratings, though with an abbreviated episode order and slashed budget.
When Popular premiered in 1999 on the WB, it looked on the surface to be a typical teen trifle about high schoolers scrabbling for popularity. But creator Ryan Murphy (whose new show, Glee, debuts on Fox this fall) used the show to address social issues other teen shows wouldn’t touch, like a transgender teacher and childhood leukemia. All while maintaining a wacky, campy tone that even John Waters could admire. The ratings took a dive when the network moved the show to Fridays in its second season, and it was canceled shortly after.
Dark Angel, Tru Calling, and Birds of Prey: Fighting Crime Doesn’t Pay If You’re a Woman
For every Alias or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there’s a show featuring a butt-kicking woman that gets canceled too quickly. While some deserve a quick death (we’re looking at you, Bionic Woman), a few deserved better fates. James Cameron’s Dark Angel, a futuristic sci-fi thriller starring Jessica Alba as a genetically modified supersoldier, was cancelled by Fox after two seasons to make room for—irony alert— Firefly. Fox also canceled Tru Calling after two seasons. The show starred Eliza Dushku as a morgue attendant who gets sent back in time to prevent untimely deaths, but unfortunately, the show couldn’t prevent its own. And the WB’s Birds of Prey, based on the comic-book series of the same name, lasted only one season before getting yanked.
Greg the Bunny
Greg the Bunny was probably a hard sell from the start. Seth Green, Sarah Silverman, and Eugene Levy starring in a sitcom about a world where puppets—sorry, fabricated Americans—walk freely among humans? Not as easy to sell to audiences as, say, “funny, schlubby guy has hot, patient wife.” Greg the Bunny was Sesame Street meets South Park, it was hilarious, and it was canned after one season.