Trash TV treasures: The coolest shows canned after one season
After just one season, The CW opted not to renew military drama Valor for S2. Starring Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow) & Christina Ochoa (Blood Drive), the show was underperforming in ratings and had received less than favorable reviews, making the cancellation feel somewhat inevitable, if frustrating for fans.
Though Valor isn’t one of the best shows to have ever been cancelled after just one season, it does share some very good company with an array of shows from the past decade that deserved a little longer on the air. Here’s our ranking of the nine coolest shows canned after just one season.
9. The Grinder (2015 – 16)
With a cast including Rob Lowe (The Outsiders) & Fred Savage (The Wonder Years), The Grinder is consistently clever, smartly written, and very funny. Leaning on meta-humor and satire as the focal point around which the comedy revolved, the show is subtle and inventive, following a TV star (Lowe) who played a lawyer returning home to his brother (Savage) – an actual lawyer.
8. Trophy Wife (2013 – 14)
Cut short in its prime due to low ratings, the ABC comedy is far smarter and sweeter than its dreadful title choice (and marketing decisions) suggested. The show received critical acclaim as it continued with a terrific ensemble cast at its heart including Malin Akerman (Watchmen), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), and Bradley Whitford (Get Out), but sadly audiences weren’t tuning in and so it was dropped after just one season.
7. Downward Dog (2017)
Another of ABC’s short-lived comedies, this one follows a lonely talking dog named Martin (Samm Hodges) as he navigates and muses upon the complexity of 21st century relationships. What is there to possibly dislike about that incredible premise?! Apparently ABC found quite a bit as they cancelled it after just eight episodes (which is approximately 24 in dog years).
6. Selfie (2014)
Emily Kapnek’s half-hour ABC comedy was a wonderful surprise of a show full of frenetic wit and some unreal chemistry between its two leads – John Cho (who was also the first Asian-American to lead on a TV romantic comedy) and Karen Gillan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). It deserved more than one season and fans deserved to see that too.
5. Terriers (2010)
Apparently “the lowest-rated show ever” to screen on FX at the time, the PI comedy starring Donal Logue (Gotham) as a recovering alcoholic ex-cop and Michael Raymond-James (The Finest Hours) as his best friend with whom he starts an unlicensed private investigator business was beloved by fans who at least deserved one more season.
4. Blood Drive (2017)
Syfy’s insane tribute to grindhouse is a boundary pushing thrill ride that shrewdly threw genre tropes through the grinder and played by its own rules. The show is clearly a labor of love by everyone involved, including stars like Alan Ritchson (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) & Thomas Dominique (Black Mirror) who look like they’re having a blast in every single scene. It was imperfect, but that was also part of its appeal.
3. The Get Down (2016 – 17)
Baz Luhrmann’s ambitious musical exploration of 70s New York is full of spectacle, style, and energy. It was also apparently plagued by behind-the-scenes troubles that nipped this bud before it could fully bloom. Which is a shame because it had a far bigger story to fold out into.
2. Son of Zorn (2016 – 17)
Starring Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Johnny Pemberton (21 Jump Street), Tim Meadows (The Ladies Man), and Jason Sudeikis (Colossal), Son of Zorn was possibly a little ambitious for Fox to begin with.
Centered around an animated barbarian warrior (Sudeikis) as he tries to reconnect with his human ex-wife (Hines) and their non-animated teenage son Alan (Pemberton), the show was a clever 80s throwback to Saturday morning cartoons and a smart twist on sitcom tropes.
1. Limitless (2015 – 16)
Few anticipated that CBS’s TV reboot of that Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) movie you once took a nap to would be anywhere near as good as it turned out to be. However, Craig Sweeney’s series gave a fresh, fun twist on police procedural shows and was one of the most playful and entertaining hits of recent years.
Bolstered by strong performances from Jake McDorman (Live Free or Die Hard) & Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) and full of surreal cut scenes (including one memorable episode offering a sharp subversion of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Limitless didn’t deserve to be given the one season limit it received.