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Loneliness, despair, confusion—breakups can be brutal. No, no, not that dramatic, romantic crap. We’re talking TV show cancellation.
The end of a TV series is the end of an era for its fans. We’ve all experienced that “well, what now?” feeling after our favorite show’s series finale. The anticipation of next week’s episode is gone. We’re left wandering the earth aimlessly, looking for something, anything to fill the void. We’ll stuff our faces with Chunky Monkey or take up shuffleboarding to occupy our free time. We all deal with the Series Finale Blues in our own way, but whether it was “Friends,” “That 70s Show,” “Seinfeld” or “Cheers,” we’ve all experienced heartbreak.
If you’re not already crying, we’ve compiled a list of the five most brilliant television series to have been cancelled too soon. Grab a box of tissues and enjoy.
“My Name is Earl” ran four seasons before it abruptly came to an end in May 2009. The final season ended with the caption, “To Be Continued,” but Fox, TBS and TNT refused to pick it back up. It focused on a man, Earl Hickey, who, while celebrating his winning lottery ticket, was struck by a car and hospitalized. The rest of the series revolved around Hickey paying his debt to society in hopes of karmic retribution.
Although a little rough around the edges, Earl Hickey was a likeable character, pulling viewers in and charming his audience. “My Name is Earl’s” plot was unlike any other. As for its future, a movie was in talks for a bit, but for now, we’re left to wonder whatever became of Earl Hickey.
We can thank “Dancing with the Stars” for the cancellation of ABC’s “Hope and Faith.” ABC cancelled the sitcom to make room for the extended edition of the dance competition show. Hope and Faith starred Kelley Ripa, who could very well be one of the most charming actresses in the business, and Faith Ford, one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. The sitcom was a definite guilty pleasure and had that “feel good” effect on its viewers. A bubbly blonde, an acting career down the toilet, and a sibling rivalry—what’s not to love? “Hope and Faith” was the kind of show we could watch with our mothers on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or our girlfriends on a Friday night, stuffing our faces with takeout and belting out to Katy Perry. Although its audience had faith, “Hope and Faith’s” future is totally hopeless (see what I did there?).
“Freaks and Geeks” is undoubtedly one of the best television series to have ever been aired. Its all-star cast (James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel to name a few), ultra-relatable humor, and its perfect portrayal of teenage drama scored the series one of Time’s slots on its “100 Greatest Shows of All Time” list. Entertainment Weekly ranked it 13th on their list of the greatest television shows of the past 25 years. Despite these accomplishments, as well as many others, Freaks and Geeks was cancelled after only one season due to low ratings. The entire first (and only) season is currently available for your next Netflix binge (highly recommended). Considering the series’ major success, we bet the folks over at NBC are kicking themselves for dropping the series so early.
Believe it or not, “Lizzie McGuire” only aired two seasons before it was cancelled. Although teens reminisce now, Lizzie McGuire received low ratings and poor reviews when it first aired on The Disney Channel. The series revolved around a tween girl, Lizzie, and her middle school adventures. Girls got a kick out of the comedy because they were able to relate to Lizzie, although the situations Lizzie got herself into were usually quite dramatized. Lizzie McGuire had funny friends, cool clothes and wacky hairdos that put Limited Too fanatics to shame. After the series ended, “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” premiered and was extremely successful, ranking #2 at the box office its opening week and raking in over $55 billion worldwide. It’s safe to say that “Lizzie McGuire” left us with not only hundreds of tips to surviving middle school, but a rad sense of style too.
“Ugly Betty” starring America Ferrera, was cancelled after three successful seasons (plus a not-so-successful one). After the third season, the series was moved from Thursday to Friday nights, and was unable to pull in an audience. The melo-dramedy focused on a fashion illiterate New Yorker, Betty Suarez, working at a high-end fashion magazine. It was a witty, funny series and Ferrera’s character was a larger-than-life heroine, heartfelt and adorable. The LA Times called Ugly Betty “one of the season’s best new shows” when it first aired in 2006. It’s a shame Ugly Betty was cancelled. Girls in this day and age could really use someone like Betty to look up to.
It was tough to see these series, as well as many others, come to an end. Whether you’re inhaling an entire carton of Moose Tracks or some other ridiculous coping mechanism, moving on is possible. Time heals all wounds. Breakups are tough, but on the bright side, Netflix isn’t going anywhere.
What TV cancellations broke your heart? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @Speakeasymag!