Alias Brothers And Sisters Dark Angel Desperate Housewives Dollhouse Friends Just Shoot Me Other Samantha Who Seinfeld Suburgatory

10 TV Shows That Ended Far Too Soon

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I have unhealthy attachments to my TV shows. I think about their latest episodes constantly, and I obsess over every single detail and plot twist. Unfortunately, a whole lot of shows get cancelled far too soon, often before they can tap into their full potential.

But let’s be clear, some shows (like Prison Break and Lost) aren’t worthy of being missed. Yes they each had their moments of greatness, but they fizzled out in the end and certainly deserved to go off the air when they did (I’m looking at you Sookie Stackhouse!). But the ten shows below – they definitely should have had longer runs but alas, the television Gods are not always fair.

Comedies
5th Place

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Suburgatory was a fascinating little comedy that managed to craft a hysterical cartoony world in the span of three short seasons. I don’t know why the show never hit it big, because it was bursting with clever writing and incredible performances. If you’re in the mood for something light, do give this quirky little satire a shot. It’s worth the watch.

4th Place

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Not many people have heard of Samantha Who, but it’s one of those hilarious comedies with a simple premise: an amnesiac tries reconnect with her loved ones after being a total bitch pre-accident. Christina Applegate is one of my favorite comedy actresses, and she’s phenomenal on the show. The added bonus? Every episode contains a badass flashback to Samantha’s evil days. Glorious.

3rd Place

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Before he hit gold with Modern Family, Steven Levitan was responsible for Just Shoot Me, one of my favorite comedies ever. Set in a fashion magazine, the office vibe was addictive and homey, while the cast bounced off one another beautifully. Also, the show features Nina Van Horn (played to perfection by Wendi Mallick), and she might be the single funniest character in sitcom history.

2nd Place

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Ah, the infamous show about nothing. Seinfeld is widely considered to be the greatest comedy of all time, and it was certainly a staple of my childhood-viewing experience. Kramer, Elaine, George and Jerry Seinfeld were such vile, despicable characters, but you loved them in all their intricacies and complexes. Truly, there’s never been anything quite like Seinfeld, and I miss the gang terribly.

1st Place

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Was there ever any doubt? I know How I Met Your Mother replaced Friends for a lot of people over the course of the past decade, but as far as I’m concerned, Friends is still the far superior show (and at least it didn’t screw up the ending). No other show in recent memory left such a powerful imprint on pop culture, and it’s easy to see why: this is an easy-to-watch show that’s ridiculously lovable on every level. And contrary to what many may claim, I never thought the show’s quality waned in later seasons (just look at all the terrible comedies on the air today). For ten seasons, Friends was always a pleasure to watch, and I think it could have gone on for a hell of a lot longer.

Dramas
5th Place

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Not a lot of people have heard about Dollhouse, but I was always captivated by its story of a secret facility that programs its “Dolls” (a fancy name for memory-wiped slaves) into whatever personality their clients desire. It was thought-provoking television with a disturbing premise at its core. The first season wasn’t very good as the show struggled with its standalone adventures and stories of the week. However, season two built a long-term story arc and astonishing momentum which lead to a VERY satisfying series finale (a rare thing when a show gets cancelled). And plus, it was created by one of the greatest minds in Hollywood (Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Buffy, Angel, and Firefly).

4th Place

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Brothers & Sisters is the only show that has ever truly managed to recreate the nuanced and touching dynamics that exist within a family. Spearheaded by Sally Field and Calista Flockart, this outstanding family drama tugs at the heartstrings and never lets go. The show is five seasons long, and although the ending isn’t the greatest (neither is the last season in general), the first four are television gold. Highly recommended if you’ve got a whacky family who balance their time between arguing and loving the heck out of another.

3rd Place

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Forget about the cheesy and embarrassing title, because Desperate Housewives is still one of the wittiest and smartest shows ever made. The scripts are razor-sharp, the performances are impeccable, and the mysteries consistently engaging. I genuinely miss spending time in the batshit crazy world of Wisteria Lane and that’s a magnificent accomplishment. Here’s hoping Marc Cherry can create something as memorable in the coming years (while it’s amusing in a cheap sort of way, Devious Maids does not count).

2nd Place

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Spearheaded by the immensely talented Jennifer Garner, Alias holds a very special place in my heart (and almost ties the top spot) as a bold and inventive series that took serialized storytelling to brave new heights. Yes a case could be made that the show went a bit too sci-fi in season three, but all in all, the show’s five seasons are a joy to behold. Sadly, the show never really had a stellar viewership and it was cancelled when it most certainly could have thrived for many years to come. A pity.

1st Place

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13 years later, and the internet is still packed with petitions begging FOX to bring Dark Angel back in the form of a third season or a James Cameron directed film. I certainly echo that sentiment, as the show is one of my all-time favourites. In the span of two short seasons, Cameron managed to build a vivid post-apocalyptic world inhabited by a host of intriguing characters. The show wasn’t perfect (see my detailed episode reviews), but it ended with a finale that certainly left the door open for a whole new world of storytelling that was sadly never explored. As far as I’m concerned, this was the most unjust cancellation in television history, and it’s one that still breaks my heart over a decade later.

7 comments

  1. Nice choice of shows, Nad. There are a couple I don't agree with: Desperate Housewives and Seinfield. I thought Desperate Housewives went on longer than it should. And I personally felt Seinfield ended at the right time. I actually like the finale that many considered to be one of the worst series endings ever.

    The shows I personally felt ended too soon are Odyssey 5, Jeremiah (though the finale wasn't a bad ending to the show), Dead Like Me (I hated the follow-up movie), Firefly, Jake 2.0, Sirens (one of the funniest sitcoms ever), and Hannibal (though I hope Fuller finds a way to finish the story of Will Graham and Hannibal Lector).

  2. Hey. I hate to see your tears for these tv show to start with. Second and to comfort your soul I have unhealthy attachment myself to cartoon I used to watch as a little girl. Finally and I always state this. I truly believe Seinfeld is far more important than Friends and used to make me laugh to fall off my chair as a teen. No show ever matched Seinfeld. Would you reconsider the order now? 🙂

  3. I agree with you about Samantha Who. Loved that show and wished it had lived longer. Dark Angel was also fun. I agree with Suncore about Dead Like Me (I also hated the follow-up movie), and Firefly.

    I would add Star Trek: Enterprise. It's first 2 seasons sucked, the third irritated me (even though many fans liked it). The show really hit its stride in the 4th season when it truly embraced what it could do with Trek history. Sadly, it was too little, too late.

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