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The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated July 17, 2020 128.1k votes 12.4k voters 324.6k views 294 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite shows you can't believe studios didn't renew for Season 2.

What are the best single season canceled shows in television history? These shows were actually really great, but for whatever reason (usually ratings), they got the ax after just a handful of episodes. Without a doubt, many on this list of series canceled after one season deserved much longer runs and all these TV shows were cancelled before their time. Vote for the shows you think didn't deserve just one season on the air and feel free to rerank this list your way, too.

It might surprise you to learn that despite their great successes, entertainment heavyweights like Judd Apatow and Joss Whedon didn't always come out on top. Whedon's Firefly remains one of the most unjust cancellations in TV history, as does Apatow's Freaks and Geeks (both are now among the all-time top cult TV shows). But this list also includes some more obscure shows.

Add any one season TV shows that might be missing because if *you* miss it, it qualifies. What single-season TV shows do you believe are the greatest ever? It's a safe bet that several of the 1 season TV shows listed here are also among the best TV shows in recent memory.

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1
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres & Alan Tudyk (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2002

Genres (Tv): Space Western, Space opera, Drama, Comedy-drama, Science Fiction

Firefly is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label. Whedon served as an executive ...more

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2
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley & James Franco (NBC)

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Comedy-drama

Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999) is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Paul Feig. A gifted high schooler (Linda Cardellini) starts hanging out with a group of burnouts, while ...more

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The Cast of Freaks and Geeks: Then and Now #69 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #99 of 442 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

3
Forever is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
fastnotbulbous added

Premiered: 2014

Genres (Tv): Drama, Crime Fiction, Fantasy

Forever is an American drama television series about Dr. Henry Morgan, an immortal medical examiner in New York City. The series aired on ABC as part of the 2014–15 fall television season. The ...more

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#602 of 642 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #245 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #288 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

4
Almost Human is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
AvilisSiliva added

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Science Fiction

Almost Human is an American science fiction drama that aired from November 17, 2013, through March 3, 2014, on Fox. The series was created by J. H. Wyman for Frequency Films, Bad Robot ...more

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#56 of 60 The Best Teen Sci-Fi And Fantasy TV Series #53 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #51 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

5
Terra Nova is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn & Christine Adams (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Action, Science Fiction

Terra Nova (Fox, 2011) is an American science fiction drama television series created by Kelly Marcel and Craig Silverstein. The Shannon family living in the year 2149 are transported back to ...more

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#59 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #283 of 333 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #21 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

6
The Finder is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
ShaunaTurner added Starring Geoff Stults, Maddie Hasson & Mercedes Mason (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2012

Genres (Tv): Comedy-drama, Police procedural

The Finder (Fox, 2012) is an American procedural drama television series created by Hart Hanson. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, a war veteran (Geoff Stults) discovers his newfound ...more

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#61 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #1,294 of 1,319 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows #42 of 80 The Worst TV Spin-Offs

7
My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz & Claire Danes (American Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 1994

Genres (Tv): Teen drama

My So-Called Life (ABC, 1994) is an American teen drama television series created by Winnie Holzman. A 15-year-old girl (Claire Danes) and her trials and tribulations of being a teenager and ...more

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8
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
DonLathrop added Starring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell & Jamie Bamber (American Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 1978

Genres (Tv): Science Fiction

Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson, that began the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk ...more

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#14 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #275 of 506 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #44 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

9
The Adventures of Brisco... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
10
The Secret Circle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
MelissaKilderry added Starring Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker & Phoebe Tonkin (The CW Television Network)

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Teen drama, Drama, Fantasy

The Secret Circle (The CW, 2011) is an American supernatural teen drama developed by Andrew Miller, and based on the book series of the same name by L.J. Smith. 16-year-old Casse Blake (Britt ...more

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11
Limitless is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
LanaYoshii added

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Limitless (CBS, 2015) is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Craig Sweeny, based on the 2011 film. Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), a 28-year-old burnout and struggling musician, ...more

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12
Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia & Jonny Coyne (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2012

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Adventure film, Action, + more

Alcatraz is an American television series created by Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, and produced by J. J. Abrams and Bad Robot Productions. The series premiered on Fox on ...more

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#257 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #85 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #92 of 123 Canceled Shows We'd Most Like to See as Movies

13
The Tomorrow People is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
MarkandLetyKing added

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy

The Tomorrow People is an American science fiction television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer, and Julie Plec that aired on The CW during the 2013–14 American television season. ...more

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14
FlashForward is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
ChangesDownClub added Starring John Cho, Joseph Fiennes & Jack Davenport (American Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction

FlashForward is a U.S. television series, adapted for television by Brannon Braga and David S. Goyer, which aired for one season on ABC between September 24, 2009, and May 27, 2010. It is based ...more

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15
Tru Calling is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
AnneMorais added Starring Eliza Dushku, Shawn Reaves & Zach Galifianakis (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Drama, Mystery, Fantasy

Tru Calling is an American television supernatural drama series that aired on Fox. Original episodes aired between October 30, 2003, and March 11, 2005, however the final episode was shown in ...more

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#203 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #119 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #59 of 118 The Best TV Shows That Never Got a Real Finale

16
Constantine is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
JuanGabrielGomezAlvarado added Starring Matt Ryan, Harold Perrineau & Charles Halford (NBC)

Premiered: 2014

Constantine (NBC, 2014) is an American television series developed by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer. John Constantine (Matt Ryan), a British exorcist and occult detective, actively hunts ...more

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#71 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #92 of 124 TV Shows with the Hottest Casts #4 of 18 The Best Shows In The Arrowverse

17
The Dresden Files is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Starring Paul Blackthorne, Valerie Cruz & Terrence Mann (Syfy)

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Adventure film, + more

The Dresden Files (Sci Fi Channel, 2007) is a Canadian and American television series created by Hans Beimler and Robert Hewitt Wolfe, based on the book series of the same name by Jim Butcher. A ...more

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#166 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #104 of 123 Canceled Shows We'd Most Like to See as Movies #77 of 273 The Greatest Supernatural Shows of All Time

18
Kolchak: The Night Stalk... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
bojanthebest added Starring Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland & Jack Grinnage (American Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 1974

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Drama, Horror Film, Thriller, Science Fiction, + more

Kolchak: The Night Stalker is an American television series that aired on ABC during the 1974–1975 season. It featured a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter—Carl Kolchak, played by Darren ...more

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#219 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #151 of 265 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #23 of 59 The Creepiest Shows In TV History

19
The Tick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
DonLathrop added Starring Patrick Warburton, David Burke & Liz Vassey (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Satire, Comedy

The Tick is an American sitcom based on the character Tick from the comic book of the same name. It aired on Fox in late 2001 and was produced by Columbia TriStar Television. With a pilot airing ...more

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20
The Muppets is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Umberhaven added Starring Bill Barretta, Dave Goelz & Eric Jacobson (ABC)

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Comedy

The Muppets (ABC, 2015), stylized as the muppets., is an American television comedy series co-created by Bill Prady and Bob Kushell. The series is set in Los Angeles and depicts the everyday ...more

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21
Moonlight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
MelissaKilderry added Starring Alex O'Loughlin, Sophia Myles & Jason Dohring (CBS)

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Paranormal romance, Supernatural, Crime Fiction, Drama, Horror Film, + more

Moonlight is an American paranormal romance television drama created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson, who was also executive producer for all episodes with Joel Silver, Gerard Bocaccio, ...more

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22
The Flash is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Switchdoctor added Starring John Wesley Shipp, Amanda Pays & Alex Desert (CBS)

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Action, Science Fiction

The Flash is a 1990 American television series that starred John Wesley Shipp as the superhero, the Flash, and co-starred Amanda Pays. The series was developed from the DC Comics characters by ...more

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23
Alien Nation is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Umberhaven added Starring Gary Graham, Eric Pierpoint & Michele Scarabelli (Fox Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Drama, Science Fiction

Alien Nation is a science fiction television series in the Alien Nation franchise. Adapted from the 1988 movie of the same name, it stars Gary Graham as Detective Matthew Sikes, a Los Angeles ...more

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#82 of 300 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #27 of 97 The Best TV Shows Based on Movies #293 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

24
Police Squad! is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
Countermoon added Starring Leslie Nielsen, Alan North & Rex Hamilton (American Broadcasting Company)

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Television comedy, Parody, Comedy

Police Squad! is a television comedy series first broadcast in 1982, created by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker, and starring Leslie Nielsen. A spoof of police procedurals, the ...more

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25
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Shows Canceled After a Single Season
MarkandLetyKing added

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Drama

Dracula is a British-American horror drama television series that premiered on NBC on October 25, 2013. It was produced by London-based Carnival Films. The series was created by Cole Haddon, and ...more