Into the Bin You Go!
Canceled Television of 2022
Another year has come and gone and that means we had a lot of TV that debuted on our flat-screens before quickly fading away. We live in an era of "Peak TV" (as far as every Online commentator keeps reminding me) and that means there's going to be a lot of shows shoved out at us, most of which we won't bother watching because there's just too much. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, but a lot of it just can't fit into our busy lives... and then it gets canceled. We mourn for (some of) these, and then move on to other shows that are still running.
To be clear, this is not a list of shows that are reaching their natural planned conclusion. Atlanta just ended the way its creators wanted, and the same will soon happen for Stranger Things and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. If a show gets the ending its creators wanted, in the time they wanted, then that's not a cancellation. This list is for everything else, the true refuse of the television schedule, whether deserved or not (although generally it was).
Oh, and this is not a complete list. These are just the ones I found relevant for one reason or another. Your list of shows to mourn (or ridicule) is likely different.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (2021)
Honestly, and legitimately, I want to know: was anyone clamoring for a revival of I Know What You Did Last Summer? I might joke about doing a comedic horror revival of the same characters from the first two films but I want to know how many people out there, especially younger people that are primed to watch the Slasher genre, were really going, "man, I want to see a new show with new characters loosely based on a series of films that peaked in 1997 and then slowly faded to direct-to-video." If the fact that I Know What You Did Last Summer on Amazon PrimeWhile Netflix might be the largest streaming seervice right now, other major contenders have come into the game. One of the biggest, and best funded, is Amazon Prime, the streaming-service add-on packing with free delivery and all kinds of other perks Amazon gives its members. And, with the backing of its corporate parent, this streaming service very well could become the market leader. was canceled after one season, the answer is: "not many."
Or maybe it's just a testament to the fact that this show was really shitty. I have a website where I can watch and review these things all I want, and that motivates me to do so, and I could even be bothered to get into this series. The first episode was one of the most lifeless and tedious pilots I've ever seen, with a late act twist that I saw coming from a mile away. If I was bored and couldn't get into this show I have my doubts anyone bothered. One season was, clearly, one too many for this tired franchise.
The Baby-Sitters Club (2020)
Now, I'm not going to pretend that I watched this show. Hell, I didn't even realize it managed to get a couple of seasons because, if I hadn't already noted this before, I am not the target audience for a Baby-Sitters Club series. I am not a preteen girl, and even when I was a preteen I didn't read any of the books from this franchise. I was more of an Encyclopedia Brown kid (which is a franchise I doubt will ever get a revival, largely because who even owns an encyclopedia anymore?) and left these other books to the kids that wanted to read them.
With that said, there is a relative dearth of good shows from this age and gender demographic. Those that have watched the show called it fun and insightful, tapping into the young girl experience in a way many shows fail to manage. For those that liked this show, and appreciated its content, it's loss is felt and I can understand that. It is, sadly, just one of them many good shows that NetflixOriginally started as a disc-by-mail service, Netflix has grown to be one of the largest media companies in the world (and one of the most valued internet companies as well). With a constant slate of new internet streaming-based programming that updates all the time, Netflix has redefined what it means to watch TV and films (as well as how to do it). has nuked because it "underperformed" (a metric that means the show didn't debut in the Top 10 for some esoteric length of time). Considering I still haven't gotten over the cancellation. of GLOW, I understand this pain.
If we were going to address canceled shows there was no way we could escape without discussing the bloodbath that is the CW's TV schedule. The CW went from a network that never killed anything, letting so many of its shows drag on long past the point of relevance, and yet this year saw the new owners of the CW (Nexstar) take an axe to everything they were airing. In fairness to the new corporate overlords, the CW has never made money and all these shows were expensive to produce and owned by either CBS and/or the WB. In the eyes of Nexstar, clearing the schedule and doing something that could turn a profit is understandable. Sad, but understandable.
One of the many victims of this carnage (and we'll cover a few of them here) was Batwoman. I was a defender of this show in its first two seasons, enjoying how the show managed to build it's "Not Batman" to fit both within Gotham City of the series as well as the larger ArrowverseWhen it was announced that the CW was creating a show based on the Green Arrow, people laughed. The CW? Really? Was it going to be teen-oriented like everything else on the network and be called "Arrow High"? And yet that one show, Arrow has spawned three spin-offs, various related shows and given DC a successful shared universe, the Arrowverse on TV and streaming. franchise. It wasn't perfect but it was often fun, and very frequently it had great character interaction that helped to carry the show. "Uneven" is how I'd describe the series, but not necessarily in a deal breaking kind of way.
With that said, the third season was trash. It introduced a Joker stand-in for our second Batwoman and then squandered every possible creative choice (and ounce of goodwill) in the process. by the end of the third season I was questioning the intelligence of keeping this show around with how far off the cliff it had fallen, and had this been the only cancellation on the CW this year I would have called it justified. Other shows were sad losses but, in the case of Batwoman, it was time for this character to ride her Bat-cycle off into the sunset.
Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
On the flip side, the loss of Legends of Tomorrow still hurts. This was a show that hit its stride in its second season and had only gotten better and better as the show wore on. It was the absolutely highlight not just of the Arrowverse but of the whole CW schedule. This was a series that, in normal times, probably would have gone on running for many more years to come, maybe even matching the longevity of Supernatural. Sadly, that was not meant to be.
Sure, this show was a silly romp that didn't take itself seriously, but that was the fun of it. Each season managed to reinvent the show and give us new adventures in new ways while still maintaining the feel of Legends of Tomorrow. Hell, this season saw the show ditch the ship that had served as the home for the series, stranding our heroes in a single year in the 1920s, and still they managed to find a way to travel through time and have more silly adventures. The series always knew what it wanted to be and that level of assured storytelling is hard to find on TV, not just this year by any year.
It is unlikely that we will see the likes of this show again (and not just because the licensing rights for Legends of Tomorrow are a mess right now). That, more than anything, is why we should mourn its passing.
I liked The Vampire Diaries and watched it for a good four seasons before its storytelling got strained and I had to quit. I did go back through and watch the rest of the show once it was all on DVD and it was... fine? Adequate? It didn't really live up to its potential and probably should have ended a couple of seasons earlier than it did, but it was a hit and the CW didn't cancel hits. Not then, anyway. This led to the creation of spin-off The Originals, and then that led to a second spin-off, Legacies. Now, with the cancellation. of Legacies, the Vampire Diaries franchise is off the air for the first time in fifteen years.
I'm not going to argue this show was a masterpiece. Hell, I didn't watch it and I have to wonder how many of the early Vampire Diaries faithful stuck around this long. It may be justified that Legacies was canceled just from its ratings alone. But there's no denying that, for a time, this show had its own following and created its own little era of television. Love it or hate it, we at least have to acknowledge its moment and note its passing.
And finally, of the shows we'll note from the great CW culling, we have Naomi. Superheroes were big business on the CW (and soon won't be), with the Arrowverse paving the way for a giant crossover universe. The promise of crossover events kept the audience tuning in to the shows. Naomi was positioned as a "next generation" show, not directly tied to the main 'verse but still using its formula for super-heroic adventures. At least, that was the theory.
In practice this show was boring and slow and didn't really serve as a solid vehicle for its lead character. I tried to get through the show; I think I even managed to get eight episodes in. Between the bad dialogue, wishy-washy characters, and leaden pacing, Naomi never could take flight. It really wanted to position its character as the successor to the likes of Superman, but with a really good Superman show on the air at the same time, Naomi didn't really have a place to fit (nor did it do it well). Getting canceled felt inevitable even before the CW wiped away its schedule like a snap from, well, I guess Darkseid (not Thanos).
Here's one that actually is a bit sad. MODOK came to us from the creators of Robot Chicken and streamed on HuluOriginally created as a joint streaming service between the major U.S. broadcast networks, Hulu has grown to be a solid alternative to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, even as it learns harder on its collection of shows from Fox and FX since Disney purchased a majority stake in the service., part of a deal that also got us Hit-Monkey (which I expect will be canceled soon as well) and a bunch of other Marvel shows that never made it out of production. While it wasn't the best show, a bit uneven in places and not always as funny as it thought it was, MODOK had moments that were absolutely hilarious and those moments shows the promise of the series.
Take, for example, the episode where MODOK has to go to Asgard to find his missing son. That one, from the screaming goats to the Ice Giants and every other dumb part of the episode, led to laughs from start to finish. Several other episodes in the run had that same kind of bizarre storytelling and fantastic pacing and it worked so well. Plus the show had a really dark final episode from its first season (which is not its only season) with the promise of a big arc to come. That will never be and it makes me a little sad. The show had potential, and a creative animation style to boot, but people just didn't stick around. I can't say I blame them, I just wish they had given the show a second chance.
Saved by the Bell (2020)
When it comes to continuing shows, I was least surprised to hear that Save by the Bell was getting the legacy treatment. As anyone that watched the original show knows, this was a series that constantly reinvented itself. Starting as a Disney series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the series evolved into Saved by the Bell, then graduated its original class and sent them to The College Years while letting a new cast take over the original show... and then again and again. So to find out that a new cast was getting to be "Saved by the Bell" again, along with some returning legacy characters, well that just seems par for the course with this series.
I don't have a subscription to Peacock so I didn't watch this show but, from everything I've heard, it was a fun and silly series. That's exactly what I expect from the series. It wasn't good but it was fun at times, and if it managed to find things for both the now grown original characters, and the new cast of younger students, to do then it managed its job well. Ratings, as I hear it, were decent and the cancellation. was something of a surprise to the people behind the scenes. It all comes down to buzz and, as good as this show was (at least for its fans), it wasn't a very "buzzy" show. Peacock clearly listens to the same metrics that fuel the decisions over at Netflix (read: social media and a lot of cocaine) and Saved by the Bell hit the dumpster once more.
I expect, though, that of anything on this list we'll likely see another revival in ten years or so. Someone will always get saved by that bell eventually.
Raised by Wolves (2020)
And now we turn our attention to ongoing carnage over at WB Discovery. Ever since CEO Zaslav came in shows, movies, and more have been culled left, right, and center. Nothing is safe and everything is potentially on the chopping block. With that said, Raised by Wolves was killed before Zaslav moved in, and that's because it sucked. Man, did this show absolutely blow, squandering all the potential of its story in very quick order.
Conceptually the show was neat. A ship with two robot caretakers and a set of embryos was sent out into space to eventually find a planet to form a colony. This came about because of a religious war that nearly destroyed the Earth. Factions were kept ambiguous, there was much in the way of blurred storytelling and hidden secrets, and while the ideas at play on the show were neat (and it certainly looked very handsome) the convoluted storytelling led to a tedious and unenjoyable slog.
Look, I get it. This show had its fans. It was produced by Ridley Scott and got a lot of buzz early on. Plenty of critics liked it, both in its first and second season, and most thought it was get renewed again. It has fans that will mourn its passing and I'm not saying they're wrong to do so. I just won't be one of them.
Continuing on with shows that failed their potential: Westworld. This one stings not because the cancellation was unfair -- I'd say it was absolutely justified and I was one of the few to make it through the whole show as it aired -- but because the series could have been so great. It had an intriguing premise built on the original film that expanded out into this puzzle box story that could grow and expand and take the series anywhere.
Instead it took it into a boring third season, which was followed by a fourth season no one watched and fewer cared about. And I get it, the show was expensive and with no one watching (and at 200,000 viewers per episode for its final season that is pretty much "no one") canceling the show made perfect sense. Kill it, send it to a new home on a farm upstate, and tell everyone, "it's really for the best. The Hosts will be so much happier on an ad-supported service."
Now, this is one of the few shows on this list that could have found new life. The creators were offered a chance to do their last season on a smaller budget on some other streamer. They declined, and I respect that decision; they had a vision and if they couldn't tell it their way they weren't going to tell it. Each side is justified on their feelings over this series and that means Westworld ends before it was meant to. It's sad, but I get it.
So we just need another version twenty years or so from now.
The Time Traveler's Wife (2022)
So far we have had two adaptations of The Time Traveler's Wife and both of them failed to take off. The movie was boring while the TV series (once again over on HBO) took too long to find its footing. It was pretty good by the time it wrapped up its first season (which adapted half of the book it was based on) but not perfect and even I can understand why people weren't tuning in. This show just didn't really get going until right about the time it ended. Hard to keep an audience engaged with that kind of storytelling.
Creator Steven Moffat has said the original novel is one of his favorite books, even using it as inspiration for the stories he wrote when he was in charge of Doctor Who. It is actually a pretty good book with an interesting time travel hook. I think maybe, at some point, someone could make a good version of this story (somewhere between a short movie that fails to do it justice and a long TV series that stretches things out too much). This was just not that adaptation and, despite any hope I might have had for where this series could go in its season season (that won't happen now) I totally understand why it got the axe. It just wasn't good enough.
Resident Evil (2022)
I can't even say this show had potential. There was so much wrong with Netflix's Resident Evil, start to finish, that it boggles my mind this series ever made it to air. Someone should have seen its T-Virus infected corpse shuffling around the upcoming schedule and double-tapped it right in the head to stop anyone from having to suffer through this mess. Instead, the series made it to air to the indifference of everyone and lackluster buzz.
I didn't review the show at the time because I struggled to get through it. The pace was beyond leaden, splitting the story between past and future segments for the main characters. In theory there was some kind of puzzle box mystery about how the world fell apart due to Umbrella Corp and zombies, but nothing about the story ever came into focus, not on its early episodes, and by the time the show could have maybe explained everything the audiences was going to tune out. I know I did and I had motivation to review this show for this site. I doubt that will ever happen.
Also, and this isn't just a small issue, they cast Lance Reddick as Wesker. Anyone that knows anything about the Resident EvilFirst released a Biohazard, the Resident Evil games, and eventually movies (awkwardly and clumsily) tell the stories of a world ravaged by zombies and the greedy corporate, Umbrella, seeking to profit from the mess. franchise knows this casting makes no sense. I'm all for recasting characters, where you can, for actors of color and I absolutely love Lance Reddick as an actor. The issue is that the Weskers are a family of Nazis who absolutely, under no circumstance, would have anyone of color in their family. To have Lance Reddick as any Wesker, let along the Wesker, makes no sense. They wanted the character's name without the actual character, and that shows, among all the flaws in this series, how little the creators respected the source material.
Also it was a boring piece of shit. All that and more. No one cared when this show hit the air, no one was sad when it faded away, and I doubt anyone cares even now that it's canceled. We'll just have to wait for the next terrible adaptation to get our fix. Oh, right, this year also saw Welcome to Raccoon City. Ugh.
Crossing Swords (2020)
How did this show make it to two seasons?! Just... How? This is a show that basically had, as it's whole joke, "wouldn't it be funny if the Fisher Price People toys were raunchy and sexually overstimulated?" That was it. That was the whole joke. While it tried to do jokes beyond that, none of them landed. It was all variants of, "haha, look what we did to these People." And yet, somehow, this series received two seasons. GLOW, an actually good show, can't get its final season to tie up its story, but fucking Crossing Swords went two.
Seriously, my mind boggles at what people will watch and what channels will actually renew. Somethings make you lose faith in humanity. Crossing Swords is one of those things.
And now, the most recent cancellation. I can think of, we go to the story of the last Blockbuster. Well, okay, a fictionalized version, and not a very funny one at that. This is another series that I didn't watch, but that was because the trailer for it made the show look like an absolutely unfunny mess. Tedious story, tired plotting, trope-y characters, and barely any laughs. That was what the reviews said about the show, but you could also see it in the trailer. And hear it from word of mouth from those people that did actually watch it. It was just not a good series, from all accounts.
Frankly, the idea of Netflix -- the disc-by mail giant that effectively killed Blockbuster Video even before streaming itself was really "the thing" -- producing a show about Blockbuster Video was too ironic for its own good. Everyone had to point it out. I had to point it out. That was such a good joke. And, from the sound of it, that was the only good joke the series had, and that was about the creation of the series and not within the series itself. Thats just sad.
And now we get to wait for 2023 to see what the next crop of dead and dying will be. I'm sure there will be a few hits, but I also bet I'll be able to write another one of these with ease next December.