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Top 10 TV Shows Cancelled in the 2010s That Should Come Back

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Mark Sammut We need answers! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Shows Canceled In The 2010s That Should Come Back. For this list, we’re looking at 2010s TV shows that deserve a second chance. As there already is a separate list dedicated to animated shows, we’ll be excluding series like Sym Bionic Titan and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
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We need answers! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 TV Shows Canceled In The 2010s That Should Come Back.

For this list, we’re looking at 2010s TV shows that deserve a second chance. As there already is a separate list dedicated to animated shows, we’ll be excluding series like Sym Bionic Titan and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

#10: “The Grinder” (2015-16)


From the writer of “Yes Man” and “The D Train”, this oddball comedy deserved better than a single season. “The Grinder” starred Rob Lowe as actor famous for portraying an attorney on a long-running TV series. After the fictional show ends, Lowe decides to try his hand at real lawyering, a decision that aggravates his lawyer brother, played by Fred Savage. Besides boasting two fantastic lead actors, The Grinder's recurring cast includes the irreplaceable Jason Alexander and Timothy Olyphant. Although the show never caught much of an audience, critics compared it favorably to the equally mishandled cult hits “Arrested Development” and “Community”.

#9: “Almost Human” (2013-14)


Picture “I, Robot” but with less Will Smith and more Judge Dredd. Executive produced by J.J. Abrams, “Almost Human” mixed buddy cop tropes with a high concept sci-fi storyline. Taking place in the year 2048, the series shows us a world where crime rates are out of control, prompting the police to attach a combat android to every officer. This decision only serves to annoy Karl Urban's disgruntled detective, as he is forced to work with the sarcastic Dorian. While the series suffered due to an exposition-heavy pilot episode, “Almost Human” improved with each passing week and even earned an Emmy nomination for its visual effects, but Fox plugged the plug nonetheless.

#8: “Stargate Universe” (2009-11)


Stargate Universe pushed the franchise into darker territory, as executive producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper tried to tackle complex themes while offering the typical sense of adventure associated with Stargate. Led by BAFTA-winning actor Robert Carlyle, “Stargate Universe”'s journey was cut short due to poor ratings. While Syfy's series had its detractors, the dwindling audience could partially be attributed to its time slot being changed from Friday to Tuesday to Monday. Fans reacted negatively to the cancellation, prompting Syfy to release a letter defending their decision, leaving the series dead and its final cliffhanger unresolved.

#7: “Party Down” (2009-10)


Executive producer/creator Rob Thomas knows a thing or two about cancellations. For two glorious seasons, “Party Down” followed the misadventures of a catering team consisting of wanna-be actors and writers. From everyone's favorite straight-man – Adam Scott – to Jane Lynch, the raunchy comedy brought together some of TV's funniest faces. In 2009, the American Film Institute picked “Party Down” as one of the best shows, and the sitcom garnered a cult following. Unfortunately, a glowing critical reception is not worth much when the ratings suck, leading the Starz network to ditch it after just 20 episodes.

#6: “Constantine” (2014-15)


NBC brought DC's enigmatic demon hunter to the small screen, with Matt Ryan proving to be the perfect choice to don the comic-book character's legendary trench coat. Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer's supernatural drama captured the neo-noir vibe of the source material and earned a dedicated audience, but the public did not seem particularly interested in Constantine's adventures. NBC dropped the series after a single season due to terrible ratings, relegating John to guest appearances in “Arrow” or “Legends of Tomorrow” as well as animated sequel web series, and leaving so much more that could be done with the property.

#5: “Terra Nova” (2011)


Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Terra Nova was the must-watch series of 2011. The science fiction drama series promised thrills, action, and mesmerizing visuals, but “Terra Nova” struggled to maintain its momentum. To be fair, the first season brought in decent numbers, but the high production cost meant “Terra Nova” needed to blow everyone out of the water to keep Fox happy. It didn't, they weren't and, after 13 episodes, Fox canceled the dinosaur-themed series. “Terra Nova” might not have lived up to the hype, but the final few episodes promised bigger and better things for future seasons.

#4: “Happy Endings” (2011-13)


How are fans supposed to follow along when the episodes are aired randomly? Focusing on the relationships between six friends living in Chicago, “Happy Endings” successfully emulated popular ensemble comedies like “How I Met Your Mother”. Simultaneously hilarious and touching, “Happy Endings” was nonetheless met with a grim fate due to ABC constantly meddling with its schedule to make room for other shows. The single-camera comedy's third season had such an unpredictable schedule that it led to a substantial decline in viewership, resulting in a premature cancellation by ABC.

#3: “Agent Carter” (2015-16)


With multiple award nominations under its belt, this Marvel tie-in seemed destined to go on for years. Sadly, that was not the case. Set in the aftermath of World War II, the show followed Hayley Atwell as the charismatic Agent Carter, an SSR agent tasked with clearing Howard Stark's name after he is framed for arms smuggling. A stylish period piece, “Agent Carter” was a welcome departure from Marvel's typical formula, with character development and drama winning out over super-powered action. But ultimately, it failed to attract an audience for ABC, although it may have fared better on a platform like Netflix.

#2: “V” (2009-11)


Bad ratings or political sabotage? A remake of the 1980s series of the same name, “V” imagines an alternate universe where Earth has been infiltrated by a reptilian alien species. Humanity's future lies in the hands of a small rebellion spearheaded by Erica Evans, an ass-kicking FBI agent. After landing the highest rated pilot episode of the season, viewership dropped considerably. However, they steadily improved during its second season, which ended with a thrilling cliffhanger. At the time, critics noticed parallels between “V” and America's political regime, but whether that had anything to do with ABC's abrupt cancellation is merely conjecture.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Enlightened” (2011-13)

“Better Off Ted” (2009-10)

#1: “Hannibal” (2013-15)


Consistently appearing on critic's top ten lists during its entire run, Bryan Fuller's psychological thriller perfectly adapted Thomas Harris' Red Dragon. Led by the fantastic Hugh Dancy and the terrifying Mads Mikkelsen, “Hannibal” offered three seasons of tight writing, unconventional storytelling, and powerful visuals. NBC's series was a critical darling and won multiple awards, but its lackluster ratings eventually forced the studio's hand. The cast remains hopeful of a revival, especially as Fuller planned to tackle “The Silence of the Lambs” in a future season.
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