Watchworthy

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 22, 2020 698.3k votes 36.1k voters 621.4k views 571 items

List Rules Vote 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.

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list ordered by
1
Firefly is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk

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
2
Futurama is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
SHEBANDIT added Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

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 ...more
3
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

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
4
Animaniacs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Animation, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Comedy

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 ...more
5
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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 ...more
6
My Name Is Earl is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

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 ...more
7
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
dkonigsbach added Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Procedural drama, Drama, Science Fiction

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
8
Star Trek: The Original ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Premiered: 1966

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

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 ...more
9
Pinky and the Brain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille

Premiered: 1995

Genres (Tv): Animation, Satire, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Comedy, + more

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 ...more
10
Dead Like Me is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy, 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 ...more
11
Angel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, Horror Film, + more

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
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Premiered: 1976

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

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 ...more
13
Warehouse 13 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Comedy-drama, Comedy, + more

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 ...more
14
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Carol Archer added Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Supernatural drama

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 ...more
15
Heroes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Hayden Panettiere, Jack Coleman, Milo Ventimiglia

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Drama, Television drama series, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy

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 ...more
16
Jericho is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
LanaYoshii added Skeet Ulrich, Ashley Scott, Gerald McRaney

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Drama, Adventure film, Action, + more

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 ...more
17
Daria is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
LorieGrefski added Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes, Julian Rebolledo

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Animated series

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 ...more
18
Eureka is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
nr1bacc added Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Erica Cerra

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Comedy-drama, Police procedural

Eureka (Syfy, 2006) is an American science fiction television series created by Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia. A U.S. Marshall (Colin Ferguson) becomes the sheriff of a remote cozy little Oregon ...more
19
Pushing Daisies is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Fantasy, Mystery, Comedy-drama

Pushing Daisies (ABC, 2007) is an American fantasy comedy-drama television series created by Bryan Fuller. A pie-maker (Lee Pace) with the ability to reanimate the dead teams up with his ...more
20
Terra Nova is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
MarceeStewart added Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Christine Adams

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
21
Chuck is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
gtf93 added Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Comedy-drama, + more

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
22
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Western, Period drama

Deadwood (HBO, 2004) is an American Western television series created by David Milch. In 1870s South Dakota, residents of Deadwood are involved in all sorts of corruption, crime, and secrets.
23
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery, Neo-noir

Veronica Mars (UPN, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by Rob Thomas. After her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father (Enrico Colantoni) ...more
24
My So-Called Life is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
SHEBANDIT added Claire Danes, Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz

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
25
Burn Notice is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time
MattFlynn added Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Espionage, Drama, Action

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 ...more