37.2k voters

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

Updated January 11, 2021 519.4k votes 37.2k voters 649.5k views538 items

List RulesVote up the TV shows that were still in their prime or had not yet reached their peak at the time they were canceled.

This list of canceled TV shows that didn't deserve to die is ranked by TV fans around the world. From shows that ended too soon to shows that shouldn't have been taken off the air at all, these are the TV shows canceled well before their time was up. Popular shows on this list include more recent hits like Arrested Development and Party Down, but this list of the best canceled TV shows isn't only about comedies. Sadly (for fans), this list includes shows that have been pulled off the air in the past few years, 1990s TV shows, shows from the 80s and more. 

Canceled shows like The Grinder starring Rob Lowe can also be found on this list of good television programs that never made it. Fans will never understand why these shows got discontinued, but thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, we can watch them again and again. 

What are the best TV shows canceled before their time? What TV shows were canceled back when you were just coming into this world? What TV shows were canceled but came back? Vote on your favorite comedy shows, dramas, sci-fi series, and crossover TV programs, or add your own list of TV shows that should have been given a second chance.

  • 1


    Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres

    PremieredSeptember 20, 2002

    Genres (Tv)Science fiction, Action, Adventure

    Firefly (Fox, 2002) is an American space western science fiction drama television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon. Set in the year 2517, after the arrival of humans in a new star...  more
  • 2


    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    PremieredMarch 28, 1999

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Science fiction, Animated

    The show was originally canceled before its time after 4 seasons in 2003. It was brought back in 2006. 
    Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures...  more
  • 3


    Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell

    PremieredSeptember 13, 1993

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Animated, Children

    Animaniacs is an American animated television series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. Animaniacs is the second animated series...  more
  • 4

    Freaks and Geeks

    John Francis Daley, Linda Cardellini

    PremieredSeptember 25, 1999

    Genres (Tv)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 her...  more
  • 5

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    PremieredMarch 26, 1989

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Science fiction, Fantasy

    Quantum Leap is an American television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam...  more
  • 6

    My Name Is Earl

    Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee

    PremieredSeptember 20, 2005

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    My Name Is Earl is an American television comedy series created by Greg Garcia that aired on the NBC television network from September 20, 2005, to May 14, 2009, in the United States. It was produced...  more
  • 7

    Pinky and the Brain

    Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen

    PremieredSeptember 9, 1995

    Genres (Tv)Adventure, Comedy, Animated, Children

    Pinky and the Brain is an American animated television series. It was the first animated television series to be presented in Dolby Surround and the fourth collaboration of Steven Spielberg with his...  more
  • 8

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

    PremieredSeptember 8, 1966

    Genres (Tv)Science fiction, Fantasy, Adventure

    Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of Star...  more
  • 9

    Arrested Development

    Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi

    PremieredNovember 2, 2003

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Arrested Development (Fox, 2003) is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz. Level-headed son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) takes over family affairs after his father is imprisoned,...  more
  • 10

    The Muppet Show

    Jim Henson, Frank Oz

    PremieredJanuary 30, 1974

    Genres (Tv)Sketch comedy, Variety show, Children's television series, Live action, Comedy

    The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 failed to...  more
  • 11


    David Boreanaz, J. August Richards

    PremieredOctober 5, 1999

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Horror, Fantasy

    Angel (The WB, 1999) is an American supernatural television series created by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, and a spin-off from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel (David...  more
  • 12

    Warehouse 13

    Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly

    PremieredJuly 7, 2009

    Genres (Tv)Comedy drama, Paranormal, Fantasy, Science fiction

    Warehouse 13 is a U.S. television science fiction series that premiered on July 7, 2009, on the Syfy network. Executive-produced by Jack Kenny and David Simkins, the dramatic comedy from Universal...  more
  • 13

    Dead Like Me

    Ellen Muth, Mandy Patinkin

    PremieredJune 29, 2003

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Fantasy

    Dead Like Me (Showtime, 2003) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Bryan Fuller. After being hit on the head by a toilet seat, Georgia "George" Lass (Ellen Muth), a young temp...  more
  • 14


    Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes

    PremieredMarch 3, 1997

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Animated

    Daria is an American animated television series created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn for MTV. The series focuses on Daria Morgendorffer, a smart, acerbic, and somewhat misanthropic teenage...  more
  • 15


    Stuart Pankin, Jessica Walter

    PremieredApril 26, 1991

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Fantasy

    Dinosaurs is an American family sitcom that was originally broadcast on ABC from April 26, 1991 to July 20, 1994. The show, about a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs, was produced by Michael Jacobs...  more
  • 16

    Agent Carter

    Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy

    PremieredJanuary 6, 2015

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Action, Science fiction, Adventure

    Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for ABC. The series features the Marvel Comics character Peggy Carter, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role...  more
  • 17


    Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson

    PremieredSeptember 9, 2008

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Science fiction

    Fringe (Fox, 2008) is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. An F.B.I. agent (Anna Torv) is forced to work with an institutionalized...  more
  • 18

    Whose Line Is It Anyway?

    Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie

    PremieredSeptember 23, 1988

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Game show

    Whose Line Is It Anyway? (ABC, 1998-2007, The CW, 2013) is an American improvisational comedy show adapted from the British show. Hosted by Aisha Tyler, the show features Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles,...  more
  • 19


    Zachary Levi, Adam Baldwin

    PremieredSeptember 24, 2007

    Genres (Tv)Comedy drama, Action

    Chuck (NBC, 2007) is an American action-comedy/spy-drama television series created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. When a twenty-something computer geek (Zachary Levi) inadvertently downloads...  more
  • 20


    Alan Young, Russi Taylor

    PremieredSeptember 18, 1987

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Fantasy, Animated, Children

    DuckTales is an American animated television series produced by Disney Television Animation. It premiered on September 18, 1987 and ended on November 28, 1990 with a total of four seasons and 100...  more
  • 21


    Skeet Ulrich, Ashley Scott

    PremieredOctober 16, 2005

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Miniseries

    Jericho is an American post-apocalyptic action-drama series that centers on the residents of the fictionalized post-apocalyptic town of Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of a limited nuclear attack...  more
  • 22


    Jack Coleman, Greg Grunberg

    PremieredSeptember 25, 2006

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Fantasy, Science fiction

    Heroes is an American science fiction television drama series created by Tim Kring that appeared on NBC for four seasons from September 25, 2006 through February 8, 2010. The series tells the stories...  more
  • 23


    James Roday Rodriguez, Dulé Hill

    PremieredJuly 7, 2006

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Crime, Mystery

    Psych (USA Network, 2007) is an American detective comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks. Shawn Spencer (James Roday) is a young consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department...  more
  • 24

    Burn Notice

    Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar

    PremieredJune 28, 2007

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    Burn Notice (USA, 2007) is an American action crime drama television series created by Matt Nix. After being disavowed by the U.S. government, a covert ops agent (Jeffrey Donovan) uses his highly...  more
  • 25

    Terra Nova

    Jason O'Mara, Stephen Lang

    PremieredSeptember 26, 2011

    Genres (Tv)Science fiction, Adventure

    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