10 TV Series That Were Set Up For Failure


There have been many shows over the years that have been canceled well before they got a chance to get a second season.



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While some, rightfully, deserved to be shown the door (here’s looking at you, Selfie), other shows didn’t get the chance to become great. These television shows had the potential to sustain life on the small screen, but thanks to a multitude of issues, these 10 TV shows were set up for failure and gone in a New York minute.

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Firefly (2002)

There are certain shows that we don’t appreciate until they’re gone from view. fireflystarring future Castle honcho Nathan Fillionis one of those shows.

Set 500 years unto the future, centered around a ragtag space crew exploring the unknown regions of the galaxy, the series wasn’t as promoted as it should have been, and the show, sadly, was canceled after just 11 episodes. Fox didn’t let the show grow and killed what could have been a classic sci-fi series.


Jericho (2006-2008)

In a lot of ways, this was a CW series that had the unfortunate luck of being broadcast on CBS, meaning that Jericho didn’t have a prayer to survive past its second season from the start.

Jericho follows a small town that’s trying to rebuild after a nuclear attack on the United States. If it was broadcast on The CW (as it should have been), Jericho would have had a better life span. Alas, the series was not a priority for CBS, and Jericho was nuked into the cancelation sphere after its second season.

Terra Nova (2011)

much like fireflywe’re now second-guessing as to why we allowed this show to be canceled.

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Terra Nova had all the makings to become a classic series. Had a family that set up a colony 85 million years into the past? check. Have the colony dodge dinosaurs while trying to establish a modern society? Double check. have Steven Spielbergas an executive producer? Triple check. Even though all of those boxes were checked, Terra Nova still got canned after its first season, not getting the chance to thrive.


The Society (2019)

As great as Netflix is, it has always had a nagging problem of canceling shows far too early, not giving that program a chance to grow an audience. The Society was a promising show that fell into Netflix’s cancellation meat grinder.

Following a group of kids left to fend for themselves after all the adults of their town disappeared, it would have been interesting to see how these kids adapted; and, more importantly, what happened to the parents of the town. Thanks to Netflix’s itchy cancellation finger, we won’t get those answers, sadly.

Heroes (2006-2010)

It would be odd to count heroes as a series that was set up for failure, as it did run for four seasons and 77 episodes.

heroes could have been a series that ran for four more seasons if NBC had the foresight to see just how huge the show was. Sometimes, it’s hard for a network to see the benefits of the long game, but that viewpoint could have turned Heroes from a cult classic into simply a classic.


My So Called Life (1994-1995)

Claire Danes were one of the up-and-coming teen actresses of the mid-90s; so it was apt that ABC would create a starring vehicle to launch her career into the stratosphere.

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My So Called Life was supposed to be that series, with Danes playing a teen growing up in suburban Pittsburgh and growing through all the trials and tribulations of growing up. My So Called Life could have been a teen TV great, but ABC yanked it after one season, robbing it of any potential to grow.

High Fidelity (2020)

High Fidelitythe movie, was a surprise hit when it hit theaters at the turn of the 21st Century. High Fidelitythe Hulu streaming show, was a dud when it hit the streaming service before the C-word began wreaking havoc on society.

The work stoppage certainly did hurt High Fidelity‘s chances of having a second season; but in the first season, despite bringing in good reviews, the series never really felt like a priority for Hulu, robbing the series of building an audience, especially those who long for nostalgic early aughts gems.

Frequency (2016-2017)

Another TV show that was inspired by an early aughts film, Frequency had all the makings to be a classic.

Yes, the show had its flaws, but being on the CW – a network that gives shows plenty of chances to succeed –, one would have thought that it would last beyond one season. Frequency wasn’t on The CW’s radar; and despite a stellar cast, Frequency didn’t last as long as it deserved.

Zoo (2015-2017)

The writers for zoo had gold on their hands. They just didn’t have a network that had their 100 percent support.

Zoo had a fantastic premise, in which the animals were returning to their rightful place as the dominant species on Earth and launching a coordinated attack on humans. Although it ran for three seasons, Zoo deserved to see its story fleshed out and come to a satisfying ending, instead of meeting its fate in the cancellation meat grinder.

Freaks And Geeks (1999-2000)

When you talk about shows that didn’t deserve to be one-and-done, Freaks And Geeks is often at the top of the list, and rightfully so.

The NBC series told the story of life as a teenager at the dawn of the 80s, but the series suffered from a lack of attention from NBC, and it wasn’t able to grow a sizable audience. If Freaks and Geeks had, at the very minimum, gotten a second season, NBC would have realized that it had a hit on its hands. Studio shortsightedness, however, doomed it to the cult classic status that it is today.

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