10 TV Shows That Should Have Run Forever

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Everyone has a secret bugbear that they carry with them through life. No, I’m not talking about some tragic heartbreak or the knowledge that you once killed a man- I’m talking about a TV show that was cancelled too quickly. There’s almost nothing more devastating than discovering that your favourite TV show has been lost before it’s time, and I’m here to salve your wounds (well, agree with you), and give you some more doomed programmes to obsess over. Any controversy over item five is your own fault. Enjoy!

 1. Firefly

I mean, because obviously. Joss Whedon’s space western was very probably his finest venture into the land of television-a little more grown-up than Buffy and Angel, a little more focused than Dollhouse, and featuring some barnstorming performances by Nathan Fillion et al as the ragtag crew of hunk o’ junk spaceship Serenity. Very nearly impossible to dislike, Firefly left thousands of fans embittered after it was cancelled after just one season- leaving countless loose ends and a whole universe left to explore. Luckily for them, we did at least get the follow-up movie Serenity, which helped to lay some of the plot points to bed. However, this is definitely the one TV show that you can’t mention to fans without expecting copious tears.

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  • WebAddict1

    Heroes was ruined the second the first episode of season 2 aired and it was discovered that thousands of people had powers.

    Train wreck.

    • AdamWL

      Well thousands of people would have powers, Duh, The whole scientific explanation of powers in Heroes would be evolution. The world has 6.5 billion people so its not surprising that around a 1000 people have evolved.

      • WebAddict1

        Yeah, but as was painfully evident, it’s a little hard to find these people special when thousands are equally special.

        The word special sort of loses its significance.

        • Devin_MacGregor

          6.5 billion and that is with a b is a hell of a lot more than 1000. Special in no way loses its significance.

          • WebAddict1

            Dude, shut up. It’s a television show. They can’t feature 1,000 characters. People are crying that there are too many characters on Game of Thrones. Yeah, let’s have a tv show with 80 meta humans.


          • Devin_MacGregor

            WOW, I always love jackasses online. What is stupid is to hide behind a computer and be rude to people. Now since the gloves are off suck a bag of dicks. We can also meet and discuss this in person.

            Of course it is a television show, AND? With a 1000 potential villains and heroes over a TEN YEAR period of TWENTY PLUS episodes PER season that is a lot of story line with major and minor villains/heroes of which some will die. This is WHY Lost had such an appeal was a wider range of characters but by season 4 and on they fucked it all up with going with a half season.

            What people are crying about Games of Thrones? It’s issue is more like Lost from seasons 4-6. GoT needs to do more episodes than its current 10. If they upped it to 13 like the author wanted there could be more meat to each story arc.

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      That show had much bigger problems than that. More people with powers meant more story-lines instead of the same characters and the same story-lines repeated.

    • https://www.facebook.com/Selene1212 Stacey L Toth

      No, it was ruined the moment they took Peter’s powers away.

      • WebAddict1

        Why? Because Milo is hot?

  • Data1001

    Wish we’d seen a lot more seasons of Better Off Ted, for one.

    • rogerbinion

      I agree so much. ABC screwed up killing this super witty and great show.

  • rara

    The word is ‘season’… not ‘series’…

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      Not in England.

      • Devin_MacGregor

        So these were all British shows? And none of them premiered on US television? Why are we talking about them then? Who was the intended target audience?

        British “series” are also really short compared to US “season”. A typical US “season” is roughly three times that of a British “series”.

        • IntelligenceisAVirtue

          I can’t find a name, but I’m pretty sure the author of the article is British.

  • Sandra


    • Doug Underwood

      Farscape should’ve gone for at least ten seasons. Stupidity killed it. The Sci Fi network never could get things right.

      • Teleri

        Unfortunately, it was funding (lack of it) that killed FarScape. The German firm that underwrote the show went bankrupt suddenly & although the producers put forth a mighty effort to get replacement funding it all fell thru last moment (hence the HORRIBLE cliffhanger & huge fan movement to get Peacekeeper Wars made)

        • imsmi

          I absolutely love the cliffhanger and resolution in Peacekeeper Wars. While I would have loved to see the series continue, I really feel that the show was perfect beginning to end. I’ll always want more but at the same time I think it’s already perfect. Now, Jericho and Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, those I need resolutions for (and not in comic form).

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      Easily one of the best Space Operas ever made, the aliens were done by the Jim Henson company for crying out loud.

    • http://astronerdboy.blogspot.com/ AstroNerdBoy

      Farscape was best when it went into story arcs, but I didn’t enjoy it as much when it did stand alone “monster of the week” stories.

  • William Mayfield

    Human Target and The Firm

    • rogerbinion

      Human Target was killed by overly feminizing the show. And I love female centric shows so it’s not sexism on my part.

      The introduction of the girl computer nerd and the rich woman running the show ruined it. It was a dark manly show before and then it wasn’t. Had Fox kept the original dark edgy stuff, I would agree. But honestly, I was not surprised it got the ax after the bad second season.

  • jrumor

    too many heartbreaks… other than a few sitcams, i now mostly watch shows on netflix, after they are already over. no commercials, no cliff-hangers, no surprise cancellations.

    • Teleri

      I have moved on to KDramas – no cancellations of shows mid season cause you always know they only run 16-25 episodes (& finish the story) – a lot like the old BBC shows used to be.

  • jrumor

    Strange Luck

  • Maria Ross

    I wish there was a second season of Moonlight. Just one more; for some closure. XD
    Also, I heard Fox was going to cancel Almost Human, which would be a horrible, horrible mistake; it’s one of the best most entertaining shows I’ve ever seen (plus Karl Urban guys!!!).

    • rogerbinion

      Almost Human has been cancelled. Bums me out as I really liked that show.

    • Kirk Tuttle

      Yes I heard this as well. I was really enjoying the show.

  • Brandon Roberts

    warehouse 13. it was way too soon to cancel it still had tons of potential.

    • Twiztid617

      When did they cancel Warehouse 13?

      • Brandon Roberts

        it was earlier this year. but the finale was a perfect finale

        • Twiztid617

          how many seasons did it run? cause i know netflix has 3 of them

          • Brandon Roberts

            for 5 seasons though the last season had only 6 episodes

  • Kirk Tuttle

    There have been many Sci-fi shows run longer than Firefly that were not half as good. Sometimes I think Fox just randomly cancels shows for no reason.

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      It’s not random, if it’s good and sci-fi Fox will give it one season and then cancel it if it doesn’t make them an unreasonable amount of money.

      • https://www.facebook.com/Selene1212 Stacey L Toth

        *cough* Almost Human *cough*

        • IntelligenceisAVirtue

          That was the BBC, and then the SyFy channel, not Fox.

    • Teleri

      OK you get the Firefly rant. FOX had a contract w/Whedon which by the time Firefly came up the network did NOT want to honor (FOX being the thing it is – rabid pseudo news & anti all sorts of stuff except money) – think Buffy & some of those episodes w/Willow & Tara for the reason the top brass at FOX hated Whedon despite the $$$. So, Firefly. 1st, FOX refused to air it in the proper order, so instead of the pilot (which set up the story) viewers got the Train Job episode. Leaving much unexplained. THEN, they kept moving it all over the schedule. I was actively LOOKING for Firefly & never managed to find it during the actual airing, and I’m not alone. Then, as the audience started to gather despite the network’s best efforts, & the ratings started going up, they quickly had a meeting to cancel it after only half a season, while there was still a tiny bit of an excuse for those shareholders who might question this insanity. Whedon sued, BTW. That’s why Dollhouse happened. Plus, he gave all the rabid furious fans Serenity. My hatred of FOX is not just their political propaganda disguised as news. It’s what they did to one of the best & brightest SF shows out there ever.

      • Justin Meier

        I get depressed every time Fox renews “Raising Hope”…

        • Mike Phillips

          So do the stars of that monstrosity

          • Dorothwa

            Raising Hope was fun, and all the actors said they loved working on it…..
            However, it never would have happened if they hadn’t cancelled My Name is Earl for no good reason and with no story resolution. That show had excellent off beat humor and the very premise was one of the most heart-warming things ever created. It should be on this list, too.

  • Doug Underwood

    Firefly sucked from top to bottom and that’s why it was cancelled. I stuck with it and watched every episode and was sorry I did afterwards. The Serenity movie was not quite as bad, but had the stupidest villain of all time….a 98 pound weakling douchebag with an accent that thinks he’s a Ninja. Good Riddance!

    • IntelligenceisAVirtue

      Why, exactly did it suck? Or are you just deliberatly trying to make the entire internet hate you?

    • Fo Real

      You so full of crap I can smell it from here .

    • Fo Real

      And by the way , that “98 pound weakling” would have whipped your punk ass in real life . So just stfu.

  • rayzee

    Amazing! I’ve never watched a single episode of ANY of these shows. I guess I won’t miss them. And, by the way, who writes this stuf?

    • Fo Real

      Been living under a rock all your life , I see .

      • rayzee

        Yeah, I’ve been to 34 countries, earned 4 degrees, wrote nine books, earned 3 patents, became a millionaire, while you were watching second rate TV. I sure envy you.

        • Fo Real

          Nice story, bro.

  • Teleri

    Firefly – an INCREDIBLY good show that FOX deliberately sabotaged & scuttled. Doug, you give NO reasons for disliking this wonderful show & in fact I can’t actually picture the so-called villain you refer to (even tho I’ve seen all episodes of the show about 5 times & Serenity more than that – & own the DVDs of course). So that marks YOUR post as not relevant. Firefly had witty, clever, intelligent dialogue – engaging characters – fun universe. Serenity had River Tan on top of all that :D (not that she wasn’t in the show as well – but, you know if you’ve seen it)

    • Justin Meier

      Call yourself a fan and don’t know that Simon and River’s last name is TAM?

      • Teleri

        Idiot. Just a typo. Certainly doesn’t change the irrelevancy of dear Doug’s comments.

  • rogerbinion

    Eureka on SciFi could have run a few more seasons. But, at least it did get a good send off.

    Someone else mentioned Warehouse 13 and I’ll agree with that as well.

    And to this very day I still miss Gilmore Girls. It could have run until they were both old and gray and sitting in a nursing home being snarky and I’d be happy.

    • cattyface

      That show was an escape for me.Who didn’t want to live in Star’s Hollow?

    • Sascha Meyer

      Oh Gilmore Girls! I just started watching from the beginning yesterday. That show was everything I wanted, I completely agree with you!

  • freddawes

    Being human Firefly farscape

  • freddawes


  • IndyGirl

    I will miss Breaking Bad soooo much!

  • tonton

    Absolutely Trophy Wife. The most intelligent, feminist leaning and hilarious family comedy I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, it was saddled with the most counterproductive name imaginable (someone thought it would be ironic), so people who would have loved it refused to watch it on principle. Doh!

  • Twiztid617

    I really wish they would have finished TerraNova. Great show. Great story. ended on a cliff hanger

    • Sam Mills

      Great show! I’m glad you mentioned it. It wasn’t a lack of ratings that killed it, but a ridiculously high budget. They could have kept going with a more plot-based series. The special effects were good, but it’s the story and characters that made this show good.

  • Semprasectum

    You listed 10 shows, 9 were cancelled because they SUCKED. . .Mars was cancelled because it was on one of the networks. ….

    • Old_angel

      Let’s see your list. I’ll bet its full of incredibly sterling shows.

  • Lacey W

    Some of these are spot on, others know you have to mention to keep getting those “arty invitations” you desire. For example, Studio 60 was great acting and great writing that never went anywhere. You had five seasons worth of plot development in the first 10 episodes. Charterers walked in and out of the show like a badly edited mini-series. You never had time to care about anyone or anything. It was vintage Sorkin alright. And that is no complement. You also forgot “Wonderfalls.” One of the original ideas we so desperately want form television that was pulled after three or four episodes. It deserved a five year run.

    • James Rawlins

      I agree with you partly on Studio 60. I actually liked the storylines and the acting and writing was terrific. The biggest problem was the show within a show – most of the sketches were worst than what we saw on SNL.

  • lakawak

    Wow…a whole bunch of crappy, overrated shows that got cancelled early for good reason.

    • Old_angel

      The best way to judge your perspective would be to show up with your list so we can see the level of intelligence behind your assessment of this list. You’re on!

      • Fo Real

        The fool is just trolling . He ain’t got enough brain matter to come up with his own list .

  • mystik1

    Out of all those, Carnivale was my favorite. Really great show. I wish it had lasted much longer.

  • biohelixx

    THE UNUSUALS – sooo under-appreciated!

  • amorelle

    Coimpletely agreel, This show barely had a chance to get out of the starting gate.

  • John Taylor

    Yeah, a couple I might have agreed with, but not after the first season. The few I did watch just lost my attention after the first season. That’s if I watched them at all.

  • mampdx

    This was undoubtedly long before your time, but another show that should have run forever is “Frank’s Place,” with Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid as, respectively, a professor who reluctantly inherits his father’s NOLA restaurant and the hot local mortician. It also featured a great supporting cast, plus an unforgettable guest shot (in the episode, “The Bridge”) by the brilliant, and criminally under-utilized, Conchata Ferrell as an attorney who alternated between sweet Southern magnolia and cold-eyed shark — one of the best roles of her career (the other being opposite Rip Torn in the 1979 indie film, “Heartland”). Unfortunately, “Frank’s Place” aired before most audiences, and especially CBS execs, quite grasped the concept of dramedy (this was 10 years before “Ally McBeal”) or of an African American cast who weren’t caricatures and non-stop joke machines. I understand that production of a DVD has been stymied by issues of music rights, but the show is still fondly remembered, and its demise sadly lamented, by we happy few who had the chance to see its one season, especially folks in NOLA: http://www.nola.com/tv/index.ssf/2011/10/we_still_know_what_it_means_to.html

    P.S. If you are going to write as a profession, please pound it into your brain that the possessive “its,” as in “its future potential,” does *not* have an apostrophe; it’s not a contraction.

  • MarMac2768

    I feel this way about Star Trek, TOS. It NEVER should have ended. It would have been interesting to see Kirk (Shatner) still hopping around the universe in his 80′s!

  • ChesterDouglas

    The correct answer here is clearly Deadwood.

    • bannie2

      Clearly! I can’t understand how it is not on this list.

    • YerDum

      I was expecting it to be on the last page. Kind of ruins the whole list for me. >:O

  • Jolie Mann

    Pushing Daisies and Heroes aren’t the only Bryan Fuller shows that got the axe way too early. Wonderfalls (cancelled by Fox after 4 episodes), Dead Like Me (2 seasons and a god-awful straight to video movie), and dare I say Mokingbird Lane (pilot aired as a Halloween special) all should have lasted longer than they got. At least I have Hannibal (for now) with Ellen Muth, Caroline Dhavernas, and Eddie Izzard all making appearances.

  • Laura


  • Kelvin Reid

    So where is “Fringe”

    • Dorothwa

      YES that show was wonderful! But at least they got a little half season to wrap things up.

  • Scott Walsh

    Why do you keep saying series? Are you a demented retard? It’s seasons, not series. A show has seasons.

  • Scott Walsh

    Actually by the third season of Veronica mars it had been on for 2 seasons too many.

  • Scott Walsh

    Heroes had one good season and last three more longer than it should have.

    • Dan Luedke

      Completely agreed. I was surprised to see Heroes on this list at all. The first season was awesome. Everything after that was beyond lame.

  • Scott Walsh

    They missed the obvious Star Trek The Next Generation. That show could have gone on forever.

    • http://astronerdboy.blogspot.com/ AstroNerdBoy

      That wasn’t canceled though, and I don’t know that it could go on forever. As much as I like TNG, to me it was seeming a bit tired by S7, but then again, by that time, I was enjoying DS9 a lot more.

  • Lisa Bedford Carter

    The only show I recognized was Heroes and oh how I miss it. I’m looking forward to Reborn.

  • StormeeATL

    Chicago Code, why that got pulled after 1 season I do not know

  • Justin Meier

    Freaks and Geeks before Undeclared…

  • http://www.dilbert.com scook84

    My choices:

    1. No Ordinary Family

    2. Almost Human

    3. Fringe

    4. The Finder

    5. Life on Mars

    <3 Muah!

    • Heather Atkinson

      The Finder kinda had to end because one of leading actors died.

      • http://www.dilbert.com scook84

        True, but he died after the series had ended.

        <3 Muah!

  • Shawn Whalen


  • blanc

    no tv show should run forever

  • Dave Chubb

    Dead Like Me was another that should have made this list. And don’t bring up the travesty that was the movie-thing.

  • Kyle Stein

    Sports Night, ended after only 3 seasons but was on the verge of great things. Murderers row of a cast as well, great scripts.

  • Daniel E. Vaughn

    I definitely miss : Pushing Daisies, Human Target, Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Chicago Code, Detroit 187, Journeyman

  • ACMECorporations

    Rome and Deadwood.
    Both cancelled because they were too expensive to make, not because they weren’t good or didn’t have ratings.

  • Emily Ruch




    are my main three.

    • http://astronerdboy.blogspot.com/ AstroNerdBoy

      Seaquest was a series I liked in its first season, but then it fell apart for me after that.

  • Sam Mills

    Legend of the Seeker should be on this list as well! There are many books in the series this show is based on, and much more story to tell. The show deserved better and has a strong cult following.

    • Dan Luedke

      Yeah, but the show was written to be family friendly and the books are anything but.

  • Paulette Andria Hamilton

    i agree with list and Carnivale and twin peaks were spot on , hence stations like HBO/showtime/FX/AMC and etc were born and everyone now watches those channels instead of the Big 4 ..

  • Dorothwa

    The Secret Circle should be on this list. It was canceled for no reason, I’m assuming, since the network refused to give an actual reason. The drop in ratings in the middle of the season was considered normal for a new show and was not sighted as the reason for cancellation. There must have been some network politics BS they didn’t want to tell us about.

    Also, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apart 23 should have had WAY more than two seasons. They didn’t even air the second season in the correct order. The critics loved it, but the network aired it on friday nights, killing it before it could get enough fans. Now that it is on netflix everyone loves it, but it’s too late.

  • SnugglyJeff

    1. Dresden Files
    2. Firefly
    3. Dead Like Me (I don’t count the movie as part of that show)
    4. Alcatraz
    5. The Finder
    6. Better off Ted
    7. Deadwood
    That is all I have

  • 1nameme

    Dead Like Me

  • bob mcbob

    Blue Mountain State
    Dresden Files
    The Unusuals

    • Heather Atkinson

      Dresden Files, for sure.

      I was put off, initially, by how the worked Bob into the show, I came to love the actor who portrayed him and, let’s be honest, a pervy talking skull with glowing orange eyes really wouldn’t have worked on TV.

  • James Rollings

    Buffy, Caprica, and Life were some series that should have never died! As for Seth Rogen, fuck him!!! He is a great director who constantly fucks up his own movies by acting in them. Director Rogen , yes please. Actor Rogen, please die! Finally, i was a teenager who watched the Original run of My So-Called Life and i will always miss that show!. It will always have a special place in my heart and should have never died.

    P.s. Fans need to collaborate and develop and company that is solely dedicated to promoting shows that should be kept and dissolving shows that are wastes of film , strictly by popular votes that everyone can track in real time. But , heaven forbid anyone take any real action, that would cut down on arbitrary bitching!

  • Jackie Nichols

    Heroes? Really? Heroes was great for the first season, but after that it was pure crap. Four seasons was generous. It should have been canceled halfway through season 2.

  • http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/ Ian Brett Cooper

    I’d have added “Profit” to the list, but probably no one even knows it existed.

  • bannie2

    D E A D W O O D !

  • bannie2

    If British shows count, “Beautiful People.”

  • Guy

    Enlightened and The L.A. Complex!

  • Jon

    I still miss Carnivale. I’d still have HBO if they didn’t cancel that. Carnivale, Rome, Deadwood??? What the heck were they thinking when they cancelled any of them?

  • Heather Atkinson

    I’ve been watching Space: Above and Beyond on youtube and THAT show is even better now than it was in 1994. How many shows can say they age so well?

  • Sean R.

    Young Justice deserved at least one more season, it could have devoted itself to fighting Darkseid – just like JLU.

  • http://astronerdboy.blogspot.com/ AstroNerdBoy

    Heroes lost me after S2, which was a victim of a writers strike or actors strike or some other strike. After that, it just was “meh” to me.

    Firefly, on the other hand, was killed by Fox from its first airing. After all, why air the pilot episode when you can just skip it and air the episodes in any bloody order you please?

  • Bad Horse Chorus

    American Gothic

  • Bob D.

    Heroes?! What were you smoking?

  • jaun

    what about invasion

  • Mikasta Clemons

    Leverage. Loved the way it ended but it needed at least one more season. Clean, fun, and witty.

  • http://chuckbrown.com Chuck Brown

    Dumb title for an article. Should have been 10 TV Shows That Deserved A Better Run Than They Got. Who wants ANY series to run forever? I agree that Deadwood should have been on this list. And The Unit. And there were quite a few more. But a lot of series die because the people running them lose their way…not for any other reason.

  • Matthew Andras

    Pushing Dasies………………… and Dead Like Me, two shows that have been given a second chance.

  • SmilingAtheist

    I loved “Pushing Daisies” I bought the ‘collection’ when it came out in Blue-ray….

  • Rogue Cheddar

    Yep ‘Firefly’, nuff said.

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