R.I.P. TV Shows of 2010

With the 2010-2011 TV season now drawing to a close, the major networks have held their Upfront presentations in which they preview their fall schedules for advertisers. This is an important time for “bubble” shows (TV series with so-so ratings that may or may not be viable candidates for renewal), because this is where the networks formally announce which existing shows will make the cut for another season and which are dead in the water. Unfortunately, a number of shows of interest to this blog have had their plugs pulled.

The TV by the Numbers blog maintains a “Renew/Cancel Index” to each of the major networks. I’ve highlighted the most notable entries (read: those shows I actually care about).

  • ‘Better with You’ – Canceled
  • ‘Brothers & Sisters’ – Canceled
  • ‘Detroit 1-8-7’ – Canceled
  • ‘Mr. Sunshine’ – Canceled
  • ‘My Generation’ – Canceled
  • ‘No Ordinary Family’ – Canceled
  • ‘Off the Map’ – Canceled
  • ‘V’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Whole Truth’ – Canceled
  • ‘Body of Proof’ – Renewed
  • ‘Castle’ – Renewed
  • ‘Cougar Town ‘ – Renewed
  • ‘Desperate Housewives’ – Renewed
  • ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ – Renewed
  • ‘Happy Endings’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Middle’ – Renewed
  • ‘Modern Family’ – Renewed
  • ‘Private Practice’ – Renewed

I doubt it will surprise anyone that ‘Castle’ and ‘Modern Family’ were renewed. They’re both pretty big hits for ABC. Although I haven’t written about it here yet, I like ‘Happy Endings’ a lot. (It’s basically the show that ‘Perfect Couples’ tried to be – only much funnier.) I’m glad to see that one renewed, though a little confused as to what’s going to happen to one of the characters since Damon Wayans, Jr. is being promoted as starring in a new Fox sit-com in the fall.

You know, I kind of liked ‘Mr. Sunshine’. It wasn’t a great comedy, but its dry humor appealed to me. I won’t miss it terribly, but I’m a little disappointed that it couldn’t find more of an audience.

I fully expected ‘V’ to get canceled. Although it was a really dumb show at times (all right, most of the time), it was just campy enough to keep me entertained. I would have tuned in again had it been renewed.

  • ‘CHAOS’ – Canceled
  • ‘Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Defenders’ – Canceled
  • ‘Mad Love’ – Canceled
  • ‘Medium’ – Canceled
  • ‘$#*! My Dad Says’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Big Bang Theory’ – Renewed
  • ‘Blue Bloods’ – Renewed
  • ‘Criminal Minds’ – Renewed
  • ‘CSI’ – Renewed
  • ‘CSI: Miami’ – Renewed
  • ‘CSI: NY’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Good Wife’ – Renewed
  • ‘Hawaii Five-0’ – Renewed
  • ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Mentalist’ – Renewed
  • ‘Mike & Molly’ – Renewed
  • ‘NCIS’ – Renewed
  • ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ – Renewed
  • ‘Rules of Engagement’ – Renewed
  • ‘Two and a Half Men’ – Renewed

I don’t watch a lot of shows on CBS. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is still puttering along. This last season was a bit of a rebound from the year before, which was kind of a mess. I believe the next season will be its last, and I’d say that’s about as far as it can go.

I’m not a huge fan of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, but I’ll watch it on occasion. It took a while for this one to grow on me. (I hated it at first.)

Mrs. Z has been trying to get me hooked on ‘The Good Wife’ for some time now. What I’ve watched of it has been pretty good, but I feel like I need to start over from the beginning. In any case, I’m glad to see that it was renewed.

The CW
  • ‘Hellcats’ – Canceled
  • ‘Life Unexpected’ – Canceled
  • ‘Smallville’ – Canceled (Final Season)
  • ‘90210’ – Renewed
  • ‘Gossip Girl’ – Renewed
  • ‘One Tree Hill’ – Renewed
  • ‘Nikita’ – Renewed
  • ‘Supernatural’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – Renewed

I don’t give a damn about anything on The CW, honestly. We might have some ‘Supernatural’ fans here, but I never got into the show. I watched a couple of episodes of ‘Nikita’, and it seemed all right, but nothing I’d go out of the way to watch.

  • ‘The Cape’ – Canceled
  • ‘Chase’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Event’ – Canceled
  • ‘Friday Night Lights’ – Canceled (Final Season)
  • ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’ – Canceled
  • ‘Outlaw’ – Canceled
  • ‘Outsourced’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Paul Reiser Show’ – Canceled
  • ‘Perfect Couples’ – Canceled
  • ‘Undercovers’ – Canceled
  • ’30 Rock’ – Renewed
  • ‘Chuck’ – Renewed
  • ‘Community’ – Renewed
  • ‘Harry’s Law’ – Renewed
  • ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Office’ – Renewed
  • ‘Parenthood’ – Renewed
  • ‘Parks and Recreation’ – Renewed

I expected ‘The Event’ to get canceled. It was a terribly uneven show. If the producers could have cut out all the crappy parts (read: everything to do with Jason Ritter’s character) and kept the good parts, I’d have liked it a lot more.

I’m hoping that ‘Chuck’ rebounds next season, which will be its last. There was some good stuff in this year, but it was really clear that the producers were winging it in the second half of the season.

Hooray for the renewals of ‘Community’ and ‘Parks and Rec’. An even bigger hooray for the cancellation of the dreadfully unfunny and shockingly racist ‘Outsourced’. I think that ‘Perfect Couples’ could have developed into something really funny with time, but am not too sad to see it go. I think that both ’30 Rock’ and ‘The Office’ have run their courses and probably should have been let go after this year. We’ll see if either one can build up any steam next year.

  • ‘Breaking In’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Chicago Code’ – Canceled
  • ‘The Good Guys’ – Canceled
  • ‘Human Target’ – Canceled
  • ‘Lie to Me’ – Canceled
  • ‘Lone Star’ – Canceled
  • ‘Running Wilde’ – Canceled
  • ‘Traffic Light’ – Canceled
  • ‘American Dad’ – Renewed
  • ‘Bob’s Burgers’ – Renewed
  • ‘Bones’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Cleveland Show’ – Renewed
  • ‘Family Guy’ – Renewed
  • ‘Fringe’ – Renewed
  • ‘Glee’ – Renewed
  • ‘House’ – Renewed
  • ‘Raising Hope’ – Renewed
  • ‘The Simpsons’ – Renewed

‘The Chicago Code’ was starting to get really good. That one hurts. I knew ‘The Good Guys’ wouldn’t last, but I enjoyed it while it was on. I’m very pleased to see ‘Raising Hope’ get picked up. That show is hilarious.

Which series are you sad to see go, or glad to see get renewed?

[Source: TV by the Numbers]


  1. Love the news about ‘Raising Hope’. It was my favorite new show of the season. I didn’t have a lot of hope for it being renewed because it’s on Fox.

    For the life of me I will never get why people like ‘The Big Bang Theory’. I watched about five minutes of it the other day to see what all the fuss was about. It’s a sitcom, with a laugh-track. That’s enough for me to make me hate it. The terribly scripted jokes were just icing on the nasty cake.

    • Josh Zyber

      Whoops! That was my error. I put it in the bottom half of the list with the rest of the renewed shows, but for some reason typed out “canceled.”

      Fox will never cancel The Simpsons. That show’s going to run until Futurama looks like a historical period piece.

  2. Brian H

    I’m a big fan of the Shield, and I liked watching Brotherhood. I’ve been watching the Chicago Code on Hulu, but it seemed to have two pretty big flaws. Some of the characters’ story lines were odd, and yet ignored. ie Jarek’s financee wasn’t even in the show for most of the season. The other big flaw was that the show is probably too sanitized/pg rated. The good guys were incorruptible except in a way that was ignored or written out.
    Most episodes had a case about a shooting that was wrapped up two commercial breaks later. The Shield had the Strikeforce team and all of their questionable deads, plus the greater barn characters like Dutch and Wyms and Acevada, plus the backdrop of the barrio. The cases and interrogations of Dutch and Wyms carried episodes where Mackey was dealing with personal stuff.

    The Chicago Code presented imbalanced characters, stories lacking a tempo (the niece and her partner failed to be interesting), the show was not gritty, (could say it lacked true grit), and it was on Fox. Fix any one of those flaws and the show would have managed a second season where it might have really improved.

    The only other show on this list I care about is Bob’s Burgers. More people should watch it, cause it is hilarious.

    • Josh Zyber

      The Shield was certainly a better series with more complexity and depth. I wouldn’t argue that. However, for a major network cop show (and all the limitations inherent to that), I liked The Chicago Code a lot, and it was starting to build up some steam at the end.

      I’ll have a post about the finale tomorrow. Not to spoil anything important if you’re not caught up yet, but the fiancee storyline does come back around.

      • Brian H

        I think I’m two episodes behind, but I like the cast and the setting and would watch a second season. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a network that would even consider picking up a cancelled major network cop show. -If Netflix or Hulu really wants to produce original content, then they should give this show a second chance.

    • I liked The Chicago Code enough to watch it, but I’m not terribly heart-broken at its loss.

      Like you, I am pleased as punch at the renewal of Bob’s Burgers. If you couldn’t tell from my icon, H. Jon Benjamin is my favorite voice actor of all time.

  3. EM

    I guess I’m not very invested in current TV. The only series I’ve considered appointment television in the past year is Modern Family, though I also liked The Middle (airing the same evenings) enough to let it ride the appointment coattails. I’m glad Better With You is going away—I hated the show, which generally aired between The Middle and Modern Family. I usually turned off the TV while it was on, but still I would catch snippets of its beginning and end—and that was just too much for me!!

    I was surprised to see Medium getting canceled, mostly because I didn‘t realize it was still a current series. I used to watch it regularly but lost track of it some time back due to a dead VCR and other issues. The news of its cancellation is like running across the surprise obituary of an old friend one hasn’t seen in a while.

    I’m not sorry to see Law & Order: Los Angeles disappear. I instantly disliked it, despite trying not to resent it for replacing the original Law & Order.

    I wouldn’t even be all that upset if the shows I’ve been watching disappeared. I’ve seen too many quality series outlive their quality (like, ahem, The Simpsons). I’d rather see a program like Modern Family end while it’s still strong.

      • EM

        I was aware of the network switch, but that nonetheless may have been a contributing factor in my losing track of the show.

        Anyway, I prefer my own DVD/BD “network”, where I can watch shows such as Star Trek; The Twilight Zone; The Honeymooners; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Car 54, Where Are You?; Dark Shadows; and Challenge of the Superfriends anytime I want to, usually with a pretty good idea of whether they will be worth my time or not!

  4. Adam

    I’m incredibly happy to see both Community and Parks and Rec renewed. Community is, by far, my favorite show on television and replaces what The Office used to be for me back in Seasons 2 and 3. I’m also pretty happy to see Outsourced get canned. It was not funny in the least, and, as you noted, disturbingly racist. The racism was worse than blatant racism, because it was of the backdoor, attempted comedy way which just serves to reinforce lazy negative stereotypes.

    I had somewhat gotten into Perfect Couples, but I won’t really miss it at all. I did enjoy The Defenders on CBS somewhat, but it’s just like 95% of the rest of network televisions shows, so I’m not broken up about it. Here’s hoping NBC comes up with some good shows for Thursday night comedy night. It’s just about the only night of network TV I watch.

    • Josh Zyber

      With the cancellation of both Perfect Couples and Outsourced, I suspect that NBC is planning to go back to a standard 2-hour comedy block on Thursdays, and will put a new drama in the 10 PM slot. The 3-hour comedy block didn’t really work out for them this year.

  5. Going to miss Smallville for sure, great run that show had, really pumped for more Supernatural, amazing show and its my favorite on TV right now, Castle is great and what a cliffhanger that had this season, love Bones, Fringe for sure, so glad that didnt get canned

    Really going to miss Human Target, they should have kept the women out of the show though, it ruined the dynamic that everyone liked with the guys and it really screwed up the weekly mission deal, it wasnt a show that needed relationships and a continuing dramatic story line, I’m also pissed about Lie to Me, I thought this was doing pretty damn good, but I guess it really wasnt, wife and I liked that show a lot

    Otherwise hopefully something cool comes on in the fall to replace Smallville and the others I mentioned, losing 3-4 shows is quite a bit

    As far as the Big Bang Theory goes, you must not be a major nerd, I find the show hilarious (it was more funny in the first season before all the relationship stuff started going on), but I can understand why you would like it, hey Community is the same to me, cant figure out how this lasted and is getting renewed, watched the first couple episodes when it started and it was horribly unfunny even for my wife who actually works at a Community College, we didnt care for it at all

    • You know, I haven’t seen a single episode of Smallville, and I LIKE Superman! I think the issue was that, much like Buffy and other shows on the WB / CW, the small town I was living in when these shows started didn’t have a WB station (In fact, the local Fox affiliate doubled as UPN, and so we got the UPN shows at like 9 PM, as the town was too small to have a local Fox News show). By the time I moved back to DFW, these shows were in full swing, and I didn’t want to start a show like this mid-show.

      • Seasons are cheap now, can easily be found for $15 a piece or less on DVD, its a great series and the past couple of seasons have really built up nice to him becoming the Superman we all know and love 🙂

  6. that1guypictures

    Just so ya know, Mother was renewed for TWO more seasons, as was Big Bang. The eighth season of Mother is planned to be the last, so they can plan towards wrapping up the mysteries by the time the show ends.

    The only shows I’m disappointed in getting cancelled were Mad Love, Traffic Light and Perfect Couples. I thought both shows were great ideas, and felt like they could perform well given better time slots, and better ad exposure. Everything else that got cut deserved it in my opinion. I was actually glad to see Outsourced get canned, as I saw it as the show that hampered an otherwise stellar NBC Thursday night comedy line-up.

  7. I hate to admit it, as they started out terribly, but I’m really going to miss ‘The Event’ and ‘V’. They were never great, but there’s so little SF around at the moment, that after they both ramped things up, they became a couple of the more entertaining (If not exactly ‘good’) shows on at the moment. I actually found myself really looking forward to the evenings they were on.

    Not counting comedies, there’s just Fringe, Supernatural and Chuck left.

    I’ve been enjoying ‘The Good Wife’, but it’s still not that great… If my girlfriend wasn’t watching it, I don’t think I’d bother. And Josh, the ‘ongoing plot’ is so minimal, you really don’t need to worry about watching from the beginning. It’s essentially just a stand alone court room drama, with the odd ongoing thread. If you saw the last episode of this season, you’ll know all you need to know. The best bits in the whole show, are between Baranski and Gary Cole when he all-too-rarely pops up. 😉 And I think they’ve now finished with his character… 🙁 Watching Margulies in the rest of the show, is like watching a polished mannequin with the same expression do the same thing each week…

    • Scifi never lasts, us fans always get the shaft cause not enough other people like it, if they did every half decent show wouldnt get shit canned 2 seasons in, Firefly, Dollhouse and so many more just never make it, I’m amazed that FOX has actually kept Fringe this long….they are the worst when it comes to letting shows have a normal time and build a following

      But if you want Scifi you need to stick with Syfy and its shows, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and many others are great to watch, really looking forward to Warehouse 13 coming back, easily my favorite summer show 🙂

      • EM

        While sci-fi TV series do have trouble staying on the air, it’s not fair to say they never last. To wit:

        Although Star Trek managed to hang on for only three turbulent years, its three spinoffs of the ’80s and ’90s managed to last seven years apiece; together with Enterprise, they represent 18 years of continuous franchise (with some programs running concurrently).

        Stargate SG-1 managed to last ten years; with its spinoffs, the franchise ran continuously for a total of 14 years.

        The original Doctor Who managed to run for 26 years! The current revival hasn’t been doing too badly either, having run for six years.

        On the other hand, it would be fair to note that none of the aforementioned long-running programs came from American broadcast networks.

        • EM

          Oops, I was wrong: Star Trek: Voyager, as well as Enterprise, did air on UPN. (Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were syndicated, though.)

          • Yep and you’ve listed almost everything thats ever lasted, and thats my point, besides adding X-Files almost every other decent Scifi show hasnt made it very far, now a days unless its actually on Syfy most network run Scifi shows end up canned after 2 seasons or so, Fox just messes around with everything, throwing it on different nights and generally not giving a shit about the fanbase or even really creating one, everything else just ends up with crappy writing and bad support from the networks and people lose interest pretty fast, the time of X-Files and good Star Trek shows that last seem to be gone for the most part, those were on during a time when there was barely any reality TV to be heard of, now thats all people watch

          • EM

            Part of the problem posed by reality shows is that they supposedly tend to cost less to produce than scripted fare. Therefore, to succeed, they can actually be less popular than scripted programming, since lower revenue minus lower costs can still equal greater profit.

            Science fiction, on the other hand, often costs more to produce than other scripted fare, due to the special effects, unusual costuming and makeup, one-of-a-kind props, etc. that often pop up in SF TV. So, reality can be quite at odds with science fiction. 🙂

          • I agree with Chaz, I think in today’s environment if Fox put the X-Files on today it would have been cancelled during it’s first season. I too am amazed that they have held on to Fringe as long as they have because the show is just good and that is never what Fox has been about. They are the king of giving us crappy reality TV, hell they pretty much invented it other than “Survivor”.

            Firefly still stings, and I’ll never forgive fox for that. That show was a goldmine for them and they just could not see it in front of their faces. It could have easily lasted as long as Buffy did and knowing Joss Whedon it would have been glorious.

            The fact is that nobody cares about the story or fans, they care about 2 things, advertising and how many people they can get to watch that advertising, (clue to you network suits, nobody watches your advertising except by accident. It’s 2011, lookup DVR and INTERNET in what we evolved humans used to call a BOOK.)

          • Josh Zyber

            I largely agree with you about Fox, Tim. However, the network did try to do the right thing by Joss Whedon with Dollhouse. It renewed that show for a second season even though the ratings sucked, when no other network would have.

            The sad fact of the matter is that although these shows have loyal fanbases, the numbers are tiny. If Firefly had really been a potential goldmine, the Serenity movie wouldn’t have bombed nearly as hard as it did.

  8. Leave it to Fox to cancel shows I like.

    Sure, The Good Guys was dumb, but it was so much fun, and Bradley Cooper sold that character and raised the quality of the show and the actors around him.

    Screw you, Fox. Keep airing The Simpsons, which lost its charm more than a few decades ago, and put on more reality tv bullshit. Hmph.

  9. lordbowler

    The shows I watched and will miss are:

    ‘No Ordinary Family’ – Canceled – It was interesting and I liked the actors. It was getting better, JJ was annoying though.

    ‘V’ – Canceled – So many missed opportunities, but a great finale. Marc Singer made me wish for a third season.

    ‘The Cape’ – Canceled – Summer Glau, I really liked where it was going and Keith David did a great job on this show. I loved the villains.
    ‘Chase’ – Canceled – This was ok, decent cast, just another procedural.
    ‘The Event’ – Canceled – Interesting, was getting better if a bit discombobulated. Great twist at the end though.
    ‘Undercovers’ – Canceled – I enjoyed this show, was liking it more and more as it went on. Very interesting last episode, finally hinting at the overall arc. And Gerald McRaney!

    ‘The Chicago Code’ – Canceled – Best cop show on TV.
    ‘The Good Guys’ – Canceled – Best comedy cop show I’ve seen in awhile.
    ‘Human Target’ – Canceled – Loved this show, especially Haley.

    More than half of the shows I watched this year got canceled… 🙁

    Where’s Stargate: Universe? Most disappointing cancellation of all.

    • EM

      Where’s Stargate: Universe?

      Not on a major American broadcast network (it’s on cable’s Syfy), and therefore not on this list.

      Sorry for your loss.

  10. “The Event”
    I tried watching the pilot of this show. It was great on the edge of your seat programming, but the way the show kept bouncing back and forth in time and the non-stop commercial breaks, I could not bear to watch another episode.
    The show didn’t fail because it sucked, it was just the way it was put together.

    • Josh Zyber

      I agree with you about the pilot episode, and criticized that exact thing when I originally recapped it. For what it’s worth, though, the show gave up all that flashback-flashback-flashforward-flashback nonsense by about the third episode and just started telling the story in normal linear fashion.

  11. zoomba

    i guess outsourced didn’t stand a chance trying to be a little out of the ordinary compared to all this so called comedy on tv these days. perhaps if you all thought a little out of the box you would have found it funny. i am of indian origin and i didn’t feel a little bit offended. the show wasn’t racist because it wasn’t making indians look bad, it was very balanced in making fun of funny stuff in both indian and american culture. i guess the very ignorance of americans the show was attempting to make fun of, killed it! now get back to your all white, same old stupid jokes shows

    • Josh Zyber

      Admittedly, I gave up watching Outsourced pretty early into the season. However, every episode I saw presented the white guy as the perfectly normal, sane one making fun of how backwards and primitive Indian culture was. “They don’t even have cheeseburgers here. What’s up with that? These Indians are crazy! Am I right?”