Some shows just never got their due, like "The Last Man on Earth," which was cancelled way too soon.

News broke earlier this week that Tacoma FD, a fan-favorite comedy series on TruTV, was being cancelled. This news came as a shock to fans who fell in love with the sitcom over its four-season run. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the plug was prematurely pulled on a popular and critically-beloved TV show. Let’s reopen some old wounds and look at the best (in my opinion) shows that were cancelled far too soon.

There’s few feelings in life more disappointing than finding a new show, getting invested in its storylines and rallying behind your favorite characters, only to find out that the show was cancelled before the narrative could naturally come to a climactic and satisfying conclusion. It’s a common frustration shared amongst avid television junkies like myself.

But of course the inverse of that problem is quite prevalent as well, where some TV shows going on much, much longer than they rightfully should. Shows like The Office and The Walking Dead fell victim to this issue, with both series running out of creative steam in the later seasons. You’d be hard-pressed to find an Office fan whose favorite episode was post-Michael Scott. And even Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s magnetic performance as Negan couldn’t keep TWD from stagnating as hard as it did in later seasons.

But as tough as it is to fall out of love with a show whose bloom has fallen off the rose, it’s a far more crushing blow for genuinely great TV programs to get clipped before they even have a chance to blossom. My heart goes out to Tacoma FD fans, as I know that empty feeling all too well. Here are five high quality shows that I think got cancelled too soon. And if any TV executives are reading this right now, know that I mean all disrespect.

  • 1. Mindhunter (2017-2019)

    The decision to discontinue this stellar show still baffles me to this day. The Netflix original series Mindhunter was a chilling, highly addictive psychological thriller that put you up close and personal with some of the most prolific serial killers of the 20th century. Its cerebral psychoanalysis provided an uneasy atmosphere from which you just couldn’t look away.

    Mindhunter was reportedly going to be a five-season series, but was sadly cancelled after just two seasons due to continual scheduling conflicts with one of the show’s executive producers. The first two seasons are still on Netflix, however, which I will still encourage people to watch as it’s seriously gripping television.

  • 2. GLOW (2017-2019)

    Man, Netflix is really taking a beating on this list. It was sad enough when Mindhunter was scrapped, but once the streaming service put a harsh and abrupt end to GLOW I seriously considered throwing my subscription over the top rope.

    GLOW was a fun, highly stylized dramedy loosely based on the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling, a very real pro wrestling promotion founded in the 80s. The show managed to perfectly capture the pageantry and bombast of the 1980s wrestling scene, while also showcasing a ton of heart and emotion. And as a notorious wrestling nerd, I was onboard from day one.

    Unfortunately, GLOW was unable to film its final season due to the initial COVID-19 outbreak of early 2020. Now we’ll never know if Liberty Belle and Zoya The Destroya could’ve overcome their differences and won tag team gold!

  • 3. The Last Man On Earth (2015-2018)

    Offering a comedic spin on the typical end-of-the-world tropes, The Last Man On Earth was an absolute sleeper hit that gained a cult following throughout its time on Fox. Anyone familiar with Will Forte’s brand of comedy knew that a show with him as the lead would be pure, unhinged chaos in all the best ways.

    Say what you will about this show, but one thing you can’t accuse The Last Man On Earth of is being unambitious. The world-building was surprisingly dense for a show with such a limited runtime per episode, with the story direction taking many unexpected twists and turns. I also maintain that Phil Miller is one of the most delightfully awkward TV characters I’ve ever seen, rivaling even Michael Scott in sheer cringe-inducing moments.

    Admittedly, the show had a pretty lengthy run – certainly one of the longest of those on this list. Last Man ran for four seasons until its cancellation in 2018, ending the series with a gigantic cliffhanger that will leave fans yelling expletives at their TV for long after.

  • 4. Luke Cage (2016-2018)

    Oh yeah, Netflix isn’t off the hook just yet. Completing the hat trick for hastily-cancelled Netflix series is Marvel’s Luke Cage, based on the Harlem hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

    As the MCU was picking up steam in the mid-2010s, this show was a perfect introduction to a Marvel Comics character that new fans may not have been familiar with. Mike Colter played the titular titan with restrained humility, a stunning feat considering his Mack Truck physique.

    Luke Cage’s ensemble was also deceptively dense, with Rosario Dawson, Erik LaRay Harvey and Mahershala Ali bringing unmatched gravitas to the superhero series.

    The show enjoyed critical acclaim through its two-season run, which is why it came as a disappointing shock when Netflix cancelled Luke Cage amid creative differences while planning season three. But with all the Marvel IP under the Disney umbrella, maybe a continuation isn’t completely out of the question for the future.

  • 5. Wilfred (2011-2014)

    Where to begin with Wilfred? This show is always so hard for me to explain to people in a way that makes it sound as good as it is. Imagine all the psychological intrigue of a Fight Club or Donnie Darko, but in the form of a sitcom where a grown man wears a dog costume. That’s Wilfred.

    It’s certainly one of the more off-beat shows I’ve seen, and if I’m honest, this is the one series on this list whose cancellation I actually kind of understand. Wilfred was definitely a niche project that was never going to appeal to most mainstream audiences.

    But those that it did appeal to will forever hold it in high regard. Wilfred ranges from darkly comical, to just plain dark, often in a matter of seconds. The show had me even questioning my own reality at times, only to have me cackling moments later with the visual of a six-foot-tall man in a fur suit chasing his own tail.

    After diminishing returns with ratings, Wilfred was granted a final, shortened fourth season on FX’s secondary channel FXX. By that point you could tell the show was in a mad dash to the finish line, with a few plot threads left loose due to time constraints. While the final season of Wilfred certainly isn’t bad, it’s still not what it could’ve been had the showrunners been given more trust and time to cook.

Sign me up for the Sunny 94.3 email newsletter!

Your community connection station is bringing you the latest local news, notes, events and more. All right in your email inbox!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.