Dark Matter (2015 - 2017)

Gone Too Soon: 11 TV Shows That Deserved a Second Chance!

By: Matt

There’s no greater medium for long-form storytelling than television! While the film industry cranks out great hits, most only last a measly 90 minutes. On the small screen, you can have great stories that last years! Some of the best TV shows throughout history gave us gripping tales, multidimensional story arcs and plenty of time to grow with our favorite characters.

Unfortunately, not all shows get the opportunity to reach the level of superstardom as “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead.” In an age of fierce competition from traditional studios and streaming giants, far too many great shows get the boot well before their time.

Here are 11 titles that deserved a second chance at becoming TV greats.

1. Santa Clarita Diet (2017 – 2019)

Santa Clarita Diet (2017 - 2019)

Kapital Entertainment

Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant and a comedy horror take on the zombie genre? Sign us up! Santa Clarita Diet debuted in 2017 to rave reviews. Unfortunately, the show’s comedy gold didn’t last more than three seasons.

This show is a classic example of Netflix’s penchant for canceling great shows before they get the opportunity to shine. This show had it all: Amazing humor and great acting from its stars. Sadly, that wasn’t enough for the streaming giant, and Santa Clarita Diet got axed. While it’s been quickly forgotten thanks to Netflix’s never-ending stream of original content, fans still hope for a continuation!

2. Firefly (2002 – 2003)

Firefly (2002 - 2003)

Mutant Enemy Productions

Firefly is one of the most famous examples of a TV show getting canceled before it can reach its full potential. The Joss Whedon creation debuted in 2002 and only aired for one 14-episode season. The show’s blend of science fiction and Western themes didn’t make a huge splash upon release.

However, Firefly gained cult status in the years after. A film, Serenity, hit theaters and served as a continuation in the same fictional universe. But Firefly’s legacy is that of lost potential.

3. Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)

Freaks and Geeks (1999 - 2000)

Apatow Productions

Freaks and Geeks is another famous example of a canceled show that went on to gain a huge fan base. This show was “teen dramedy” set in the 1980s. It had impeccable humor, blending the bleakness of teenage life with plenty of good laughs.

The show only lasted a season. Like other titles on this list, Freaks and Geeks didn’t get much attention upon its initial release. Many now regard it as one of the best shows ever made. Plus, we can’t overlook its star-studded cast. It featured James Franco, Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, Lisa Cardellina and other recognizable faces.

4. My So-Called Life (1994 – 1995)

My So-Called Life (1994 - 1995)

The Bedford Falls Company

Before One Tree Hill, Degrassi and other popular teen dramas, we had My So-Called Life. This Claire Danes-led show aired for a single season in the mid-1990s. Watching it today is like viewing a portal to that era, complete with the fashion, teen jargon and drama.

This show tackled many issues that others would take years to cover. It was way ahead of its time, and many show creators cite it as a huge inspiration. While you might not relate to the drama verbatim, there’s no denying that My So-Called Life made its mark!

5. Dark Matter (2015 – 2017)

Dark Matter (2015 - 2017)

Prodigy Pictures

Dark Matter was a sci-fi show with gripping storylines and a compelling over-arching narrative. It featured a group of people waking up from stasis pods aboard a starship. They have no memories of who they were, creating plenty of great storylines.

Dark Matter had three fantastic seasons. Unfortunately, it was unceremoniously canceled only a few months after its third-season debut. The abrupt cancellation left many plot points unresolved, much to the chagrin of dedicated fans.

6. 1899 (2022)

1899 (2022)

Dark Ways

Netflix once again ruins great potential for an amazing TV experience! 1899 premiered in 2022 to favorable reviews. There was a lot to love about the German period piece. The show effortlessly blended period drama with science fiction and mystery elements, telling a tale about emigrants traveling across the Atlantic.

Despite getting tons of attention, 1899 didn’t live up to some of Netflix’s biggest original smashes. Its cancellation began a conversation about the streaming platform’s approach to developing original programming, making many dedicated subscribers air their grievances about many shows meeting an abrupt end.

7. Roswell (1999 – 2002)

Roswell (1999 - 2022)

New Regency Productions

This show aired at the turn of the new Millennium, an interesting time for television. It’s based on a series of young adult books, and the show lived up well to its source material regarding mood. Roswell was a unique take on the science-fiction genre, throwing teenage angst in a world of disguised alien beings!

Roswell had a great cast and storylines that captivated people by its premise. But after three seasons, it got the chop! Viewers weren’t too happy with its cancellation, but the show lives on in a time capsule of long-gone but not forgotten shows from the era.

8. Glow (2017 – 2019)

Glow (2017 - 2019)

Tilted Productions

Glow was a comedy-drama all about the world of female wrestling! Its setting and focus were enough to pique the interest of millions. The show had great wit, flashy costumes and an overall iconic style. Unfortunately, it aired on Netflix, a platform known for canceling shows that don’t live up to massive hits like Stranger Things.

Sadly, Glow initially had a fourth and final season. The cast and crew had already shot the first episode. But then, the worldwide epidemic happened, and production came to a screeching halt. Netflix canceled the season and show, and they never aired that filmed episode.

9. Dollhouse (2009 – 2010)

Dollhouse (2009 - 2010)

Mutant Enemy Productions

Dollhouse was another underrated Joss Whedon creation. This one features Eliza Dushku in a bad-ass science fiction role. The premise was exciting, offering a bleak and dystopian take on a science fiction world run by shady organizations.

The show did get more episodes than some others on this list. It has two full seasons with a total of 26 episodes. The first season received low ratings, but the network renewed it anyway. The show didn’t get so lucky after the second season, resulting in a drama-filled cancellation.

10. United States of Tara (2009 – 2011)

United States of Tara (2009 - 2011)


Here’s a cancellation that fans are still spicy about! United States of Tara was a unique show starring the incomparable Toni Collette. Yes, multi-award-winning superstar Toni Collette!

Toni starred as Tara, a woman with dissociative identity disorder. While playing a single character, we saw Toni take on many personas throughout the show. United States of Tara had the potential to go for many more seasons, but it got cut from the Showtime lineup after only three seasons and 36 episodes.

11. Dead Like Me (2003 – 2004)

Dead Like Me (2003 - 2004)

MGM Television

Dead Like Me is another Showtime original that got the boot far sooner than it should! The premise alone is enough to get anyone interested. It revolved around two grim reapers living and working in Seattle. It was surprisingly heartfelt and humorous, putting a comedic spin on something few people are comfortable discussing.

The show lasted for only two seasons. It did get a direct-to-DVD film, but even that wasn’t enough to save the show from cancellation.

Missed TV Gold

These 11 shows are just a small example of missed opportunities on the small screen. Unfortunately, they aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last.

Many great stories fly on the radar, gaining popularity after their original air date. Some shows may get a second chance in the future as more networks aim to revive old properties. But for now, we can only appreciate the glimpse of TV greatness we got and wonder what could have been!