When it comes to bonding with fictional characters, nothing hits us quite as hard as a long-running TV show. Movies are great and all, but seeing a character for 90 minutes just can’t compare to watching someone grow for years in a row. Because of this, it can be really tough to say goodbye to our favorite TV shows—but all good things must come to an end. Here are the best TV shows that sadly won’t be returning to our screens.
The 100 (The CW)
At first, The 100 seemed like a Hunger Games rip off. The post-apocalyptic drama had a simple, competitive premise: 100 juvenile offenders are abandoned on Earth nearly a century after the plant was ravaged by a nuclear blast. As they struggle to survive, they forge and break alliances, and of course, try to uncover just why they were sent to Earth in the first place. But as the show continued, it received critical praise for its suspenseful storylines and character-driven drama. After a few seasons, it was that rare combination of teen drama and critical darling.
While most shows get axed by their networks, The 100 is the rare drama to bow out on its own terms. The show's creator Jason Rothenberg planned to go out with a bang. After seven beloved seasons, The 100 will say goodbye to Clarke, Bellamy, and their fellow tough-as-nails survivors in the show’s final—and of course, 100th—episode. A fitting end for a landmark TV show.
13 Reasons Why (Netflix)
The first season of 13 Reasons Why was must-see TV. Figuring out why Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) took her own life was tragic while also being bingeable, compelling TV. But by season four? Not so much. As viewers dwindled and critical reviews soured, this once-popular high school drama lost its way. After its fourth season, Netflix announced that 13 Reasons Why would not be returning to its streaming platform.
Almost Family (Fox)
With a powerhouse cast including Brittany Snow, Emily Osment, and Academy-award winner Timothy Hutton, it seemed like this drama would definitely stick around. But after one season of seeing Dr. Leon Bechley’s 100+ secret children learn about their dicey father, it seemed like viewers had enough. It didn’t help that as the final episodes aired, Hutton was accused of sexual harassment in the 1980s. Fox cancelled the controversial show, which got panned by reviewers, after 13 episodes.
Anne with an E (Netflix)
When you think of Breaking Bad, your mind probably doesn’t jump to the plucky redhead orphan Anne of Green Gables—but showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett set out to prove viewers wrong. For three seasons, she drew on her experiences with Breaking Bad to invigorate the old Anne story with grit and drama.
Beloved by viewers, her experiment paid off—but sadly, Netflix cancelled the show in 2020. That said, a vigorous campaign to get it renewed was supported by celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, so who knows what the future holds? For her part, Moira Walley-Beckett has said that she’s holding out for a full-length movie to be the show’s true finale.
After eight strong seasons led by Stephen Amell, this DC superhero drama is hanging up its cape. Unlike most of the other shows on this list, Arrow’s producers actually chose to call time on the well-reviewed drama, saying it was simply the right moment to end the story. The two-hour series finale aired in January of 2020.
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Say it ain’t so! Sadly, Better Call Saul only has one more season left. After breaking out as a hit minor character on Breaking Bad, the amoral lawyer Saul Goodman got his own prequel TV show starring beloved Breaking Bad veterans like Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut and Giancarlo Esposito as the sinister Gus Fring.
While most spin-offs aren’t nearly as successful as their original shows (Joey, anyone?) but every now and again, one catches on. Better Call Saul broke the spin-off curse thanks to Bob Odenkirk’s commanding performance and Vince Gilligan’s story-telling. Some critics even argue that Saul is superior to Breaking Bad—high praise consider Breaking Bad’s near-universal acclaim. If you haven’t called Saul yet, it’s time to get on the phone. The show will air its sixth and final season in 2021.
BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
As an animated dramedy about an anthropomorphic horse, BoJack Horseman definitely didn’t seem like your usual TV show, but clearly, its quirky premise worked. After six critically acclaimed seasons (Rolling Stone called it “phenomenal”), the Emmy-winning show ended in January 2020. Over the years, Bojack sensitively explored issues like mental illness, trauma, discrimination, and the Bill Cosby allegations (of course, through a comic celebrity in the world of Bojack: Hippo Hippopopalous)—but the show wasn’t immune from criticism either. Alison Brie recently apologized for voicing the Vietnamese-American ghostwriter Diane Nguyen and white-washing the role.
This old-school sitcom had a stacked cast (Jamie Camil from Jane the Virgin, Pauley Perette from NCIS, and Natasha Legerro from Another Period) but after low ratings and unfavorable reviews, CBS axed the show after a single season. That’s a shame because a) audiences were really rooting for Perette after her contentious exit from NCIS and b) if it got more time, its sweet premise and likable characters could have solidified into a hit show. We guess we’ll never know now.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
Everyone’s favorite teenage witch will cast her final spell in late 2020. After three seasons on Netflix, the Kiernan Shipka vehicle is sadly coming to an end after it airs “Part 4” and more specifically, its final episode titled “At the Mountains of Madness.” Will the coven defeat The Void? Will Nick and Sabrina get back together? Most importantly, will we see the cast doing more charming dance routines on Kiernan Shipka’s Instagram? Well, no matter how it ends, it sounds like Spellman’s last adventure will be exciting.
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
Even an amazing cast including Niecy Nash, Karrueche Tran, and the always-fantastic Carrie Preston couldn’t save TNT’s Florida nail salon drama. With 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a cult following, it’s a shame to see the incredibly entertaining show leave our TV screens—but hey, at least we get a final fourth season, coming sometime in 2020!
Corporate (Comedy Central)
If you watch Corporate, chances are you love Corporate—so we’re sad to say that the pitch-black comedy series is ending after its third season on Comedy Central. At least we’ll get a few more episodes of this critically acclaimed satire to see Christian, John, and Kate torment Jake, Matt, and Grace (played by a fantastic Aparna Nancherla). And you're one of the many viewers who haven't discovered the perfection that is Corporate, now is the time to catch up.
Criminal Minds (CBS)
For its first few seasons, Criminal Minds had to contend with a lot of on-set drama. Cast members came and went, with an especially disruptive exit occurring between seasons two and three. That was when lead actor Mandy Patinkin simply walked off set and didn’t come back because he felt so distressed by the show’s violent storylines. You wouldn’t expect a show to succeed with such a shaky foundation, but Criminal Minds managed to prove its naysayers wrong.
For 15 seasons, fans have dutifully tuned into the crime procedural (headed by its new lead actor Joe Mantegna). Thanks to their devotion, Criminal Minds has been extremely successful, spawning two American spin-offs, one Korean riff, and a video game. But alas, nothing good lasts forever. The beloved crime procedural wrapped up its last season in February 2020.
This German sci-fi drama about missing children is one of the most acclaimed series in recent times. Simultaneously disturbing, thrilling, gut-wrenching, and philosophical, Dark didn’t bend genres so much as it broke them. While this was the show’s great strength, Dark’s dense subject matter also posed a huge problem. Concluding the twisty, time-bending plotlines was going to be a gargantuan task—but boy oh boy did the show-runners pull it off. Clocking in at three seasons and 26 episodes total, Dark is a phenomenal binge-watch and essential viewing for anyone who likes science fiction, crime thrillers, or mysteries.
Dear White People (Netflix)
Justin Simien’s acclaimed dramedy follows Samantha White’s experiences as a Black student at a predominantly white university. Fans and critics loved the show, so plenty of people are upset to hear that its fourth season—coming some time in 2020—will be its last. But hey, every cloud has a silver lining. The end of Dear White People frees Simien up for his next project: a horror-comedy vehicle for Lena Waithe titled Bad Hair.
Friends From College (Netflix)
Despite a phenomenal cast (Cobie Smulders! Keegan Michael Key! Billy Eichner!), this Netflix comedy tanked on arrival. It got a measly 24% on Rotten Tomatoes and failed to win over enough viewers even when it got a surprise second season. After giving it two college tries, Netflix didn’t renew this comedy for a third season.
Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)
For fans of Fresh Off the Boat, news of the show’s cancellation hit hard. This critically acclaimed comedy was a rarity in the world of primetime TV: It put the Huangs, a Taiwanese-American family, front and center and featured an almost entirely Asian American cast. But as the lead actors and writers saw their stars ascend, it looks like things got a little tougher to manage.
Ali Wong worked as a writer for three seasons before striking out on her own incredibly successful stand-up and acting career. Meanwhile, another star didn’t exit quite so gracefully. In 2019, the lead actress Constance Wu publicly complained about the show getting renewed, even commenting "Dislike" on a tweet about the show's next season. She faced major public backlash for her comments, which were deemed ungrateful by the media, but in the end Wu got her wish. After six years of positive reviews, Fresh Off the Boat aired its last episode in February 2020.
The Good Place (NBC)
After Mike Schur gave TV audiences The Office and Parks & Recreation, it was hard to think he’d be able to top himself. And then along came The Good Place, a funny, sweet, kind-hearted show about a group of people who meet up in heaven—and our main character Eleanor (Kristen Bell) who gets there by accident because she’s an awful human. It’s a great premise, and over the show’s four excellent seasons, The Good Place just got better and better.
Unlike Schur’s other comedies, The Good Place has a tighter narrative and is much more of an adventure/thriller/romance than a regular workplace comedy. If you somehow haven’t watched it yet, rectify that wrong immediately. The Good Place has 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, a loyal fandom, and even won a freaking Peabody award, which is incredibly rare for a TV series, never mind a comedy.
We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but yes, sadly Netflix’s beloved dramedy about the world of women’s wrestling is coming to an end. The critically lauded show starring Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin will end after its fourth season. Originally, it was slated to come out sometimes this year, but given, you know, the mess that is 2020, no one’s sure exactly when we’ll get to see GLOW’s last hurrah. However, we do know the last season will feature more excellent 1980s unitards and see the gang in Los Angeles, instead of their usual Las Vegas.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
For seven charming, funny seasons, viewers have loved watching Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) become best friends after learning that their husbands are secretly gay...and in love with each other. Firmly committing to this wacky premise, Grace and Frankie move in together, start a business selling sex toys, and navigate their new status as single senior citizens.
Over the show’s six seasons, it’s received critical acclaim, Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and increasingly positive notices. Most shows trend down—but Grace and Frankie gets better and better. There’s only one season left and it should air sometime in 2020-2021. If you're looking for a new comfort watch, put this on your list.
Happy Together (CBS)
Happy Together was a cute comedy about a young couple whose new roomie turns out to be a pop star. Based on the time Harry Styles unexpectedly spent at the executive producer’s house, the sitcom should have been a hit—it starred the charming Damon Wayans Jr. and its premise was classic yet contemporary—but reviews were lukewarm and audiences didn’t exactly embrace the show. It got axed after just 13 episodes.
This tense spy thriller was the show to watch when it first aired in 2011. Starring Claire Danes as a bipolar CIA agent, Mandy Patinkin as her gruff boss, and Damian Lewis as a sniper who may have become a double agent for Al Qaeda, Homeland's twists and turns made for edge-of-your-seat TV. Over the years, viewership has naturally decreased—but plenty of watchers and critics still support the show, even though it’s seen its fair share of controversies.
In one of many incidents, after hiring street artists to bring gritty realism to some sets, viewers pointed out that the Arabic graffiti actually said “Homeland is racist.” To this day, critics and viewers debate the show’s bigger meaning—but no matter what side you land on, it’s hard to deny that Homeland makes for truly bingeable TV. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can now watch the complete series. The finale aired in April of 2020.
From the get-go, Insatiable was either going to be a controversial hit or a flop for the ages. Its premise alone made jaws drop, as the show follows Patty, a vindictive ex-fat girl who gets revenge on her old bullies. Created by Dexter’s Lauren Gussis and starring ex-Disney star Debby Ryan, the show tried to critique fat-shamers...but according to viewers, it failed. Roxane Gay called it “lazy” and “insulting” and after two seasons, Netflix seemed to agree. It pulled the plug in late 2019.
The Kids Are Alright (ABC)
Low ratings doomed this promising ABC sitcom about an Irish Catholic family in the 1970s. Even though it got favorable reviews and some award nominations, it just didn’t grab a big enough audience. At least it got a longer-than-usual first season? Fans of the show can take solace in the surviving 23 episodes.
Lethal Weapon (Fox)
This one isn’t very surprising. Over its three seasons, Lethal Weapon has been plagued by rumors of on-set drama with things devolving so spectacularly that at the end of season two, the producers actually killed off the series’ lead actor Clayne Crawford. Though they replaced him with Seann William Scott in season three, it didn’t take long for that formulation to fall apart too. The other lead star Damon Wayans announced he didn’t plan on returning for a fourth season. In the end, he didn’t have to: Fox cancelled the show after three very dramatic seasons—both on screen and off.
Lucifer was always going to be a controversial show. It cross-breeds a gritty LA police procedural with an outlandish fantasy that sees the devil come to earth. When the wacky premise was announced, a petition from a religious group got over 130,000 signatures urging the network to keep it off the air. Nevertheless, Lucifer chugged along. This unique show stars Tom Ellis as Satan, who gets bored of the underworld and decides to run a nightclub in California instead. When he's not busy with that, he helps out the LAPD with various cases.
As might be expected from the odd premise, critics didn’t exactly love the first season—but as Lucifer continued, it got better. When Fox cancelled it after three seasons, Netflix thrilled Lucifer's fans by picking up the quirky show. Recently, however, Lucifer’s good fortune has come to an end. The show will get one more season—its sixth—and then leave the airwaves.
The Magicians (SYFY)
Based on Lev Grossman’s blockbuster fantasy series, Syfy’s The Magicians followed a group of, well, magicians navigating family drama, relationships, and of course, fantastical peril in the modern world. By blending Harry Potter with Skins, the book series and its TV adaptation quickly got younger viewers on board—but alas, after five seasons (and a controversial fourth season finale), The Magicians have performed their final trick.
Man With a Plan (CBS)
This fish-out-of-water sitcom sees Adam Burns (Matt LeBlanc) take on child-care duties when his wife Andi (Liza Snyder) goes back to work. Despite being a standard comedy, Man With A Plan had a rocky start. After a bit of a casting kerfuffle (Jenna Fischer [aka Pam from The Office] was originally supposed to play Andi before suddenly dropping out), the show recast the role and managed to find an audience, only to be panned by critics.
Reviewers called Man With A Plan bland and uninspiring, though even they agreed that Matt LeBlanc played the main role with charm. While viewers held on, after the fourth season, people stopped tuning in as much as they once did. CBS ultimately decided to pull the plug on May 6, 2020.
Modern Family (ABC)
After over a decade of watching the Dunphy clan navigate relationships, pregnancies, and career shifts, viewers finally said goodbye to their favorite "modern family." The show aired its final episode in April of 2020 and throughout its 11-year-long tenure, received warm reviews from viewers and critics alike. Even though there won’t be any new episodes, we’re sure that Modern Family will have healthy afterlife in the world of TV reruns.
Just one tip: Maybe they can edit in a better storyline for Haley in season 11? The eldest Dunphy daughter barely appeared in the final season. When viewers asked actress Sarah Hyland what was up, she suggestively tweeted “Apparently I’ve been busy for the twins.” After being asked to elaborate, Hyland admitted that she didn’t love her character’s ultimate fate as a harried mom and wished that Haley had more of a career. Welp, sounds like something went down on that set.
Next in Fashion (Netflix)
It seems like this fashion competition show didn’t make the cut. Though it was hosted by the charming and charismatic duo of Tan France and Alexa Chung, Netflix’s Next in Fashion will not be returning for a second season. While the judges’ choices occasionally made viewers angry, their ultimate pick deserved all the success in the world. It’s a shame that the show won’t be able to champion more budding designers—but at least we’ll get to see Tan on Queer Eye.
One Day At A Time (Netflix)
A Hispanic retelling of the original 1970s sitcom, this modern version of One Day at a Time immediately became a cult favorite. In this adaptation, Justina Machado plays a struggling veteran and single mom who lives with her two children and her Cuban mother, played by the fantastic Rita Moreno. And yet, despite being a huge hit with critics and audiences alike, Netflix pulled the plug on One Day at a Time after three seasons.
Fans were so upset that they launched a campaign to continue the show on another network. To their surprise, it worked. Pop took over and began airing a fourth season—only to have to interrupt production because of the pandemic. We don’t know when it’ll come back or for how long, so we guess we’ll have to go by the title and things One Day at a Time.
Despite being a Suits spinoff, fans of the legal drama just didn’t take to Pearson. Even though the show had an incredible cast (Gina Torres reprising her role from Suits, now supported by One Tree Hill’s Bethany Joy Lenz and Life in Pieces’ Betsy Brandt), Pearson got mixed reviews and only captured half the audience of Suits’ final season. It got cancelled after just ten episodes.
Sorry ladies, Aidan Turner’s much-beloved Captain Ross Poldark has officially ended his journey. The BBC drama featured everything you’d want in a costume drama—heaving bosoms, perilous seafaring, great historical outfits—but after five seasons, Debbie Horsfield’s show officially ended in 2019. For fans, this wasn't a surprise (the TV show was based on novels and over Poldark's five seasons, they covered pretty much all the original material). And hey, when it comes to British TV, getting five seasons of something is much longer than usual. Because of this, Poldark's final episodes were a fitting farewell.
50 Cent helped create this tense crime drama which proved to be a major hit for Starz over the course of its six successful seasons. Power centers on James St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), a clever drug dealer who wants to leave his life of crime and run a nightclub instead. Unlike most shows, Power actually got better the longer it went on. By the end of its run, the sixth season had achieved 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
With this kind of upward trend, both old and new fans should be excited to hear that 50 Cent isn’t done with the Powerverse just yet. A spinoff/sequel starring Mary J. Blige and Method Man is coming out in 2020.
Ray Donovan (Showtime)
This show’s controversial end was nearly as dramatic as its bombastic premise. In Ray Donovan, Liev Schreiber plays the titular character who works as a “fixer” and makes rich people’s problems magically disappear. After seven successful seasons starring a strong supporting cast (Jon Voigt, Susan Sarandon, Eddie Marsan, and Katherine Moennig) the show-runners planned to say goodbye to Ray and his associates.
But as they sketched out their final season, Showtime suddenly cancelled the show outright. Instead of a planned finale, viewers were stuck with the cliffhanger ending of season seven. The cast and crew took to social media to vent their anger and frustration about not being able to end Ray’s saga the way they intended.
Schitt’s Creek (Pop)
Over six seasons, it seems like the whole world fell in love with the Rose family as they went from riches to rags. While we’ll be sad to bid farewell to Johnny, Moira, David, and Alexis, fans of Schitt’s Creek can respect Daniel Levy’s choice to end the beloved comedy on a high note. We have lots of memories (Herb Ertlinger’s Fruit Wine, Moira’s bébés and wigs, and of course, “A Little Bit Alexis”) to help us cope with the loss—and we’re sure he and Annie Murphy (who broke out with her performance as Alexis) will be back on our screens soon! Murphy has actually already signed up to star in a satire of an old-school sitcom.
Between its tiny audience and rumors of some pretty dark on-set drama, it’s not surprising to see SMILF on the chopping block. The comedy, which starred Samara Weaving as an attractive single mom, was plagued by controversy, with actresses saying that they were pressured to take off their clothing for intimate scenes. Yikes. Plus, with Weaving’s star on the rise after her roles in Ready or Not and Hollywood, it’s no surprise that she’s moving on to bigger and brighter things.
If Gossip Girl and Step Up had a child, it would be Soundtrack, Joshua Safran’s musical drama starring Jenna Dewan, Madeleine Stowe, and Callie Hernandez. However, with just 38% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, the show just didn’t land. Its first season turned out to be its last.
Not too many shows can say that they made it to season 15, but Supernatural beat the odds. This compulsively watchable fantasy-drama saw the Winchester brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) drive pristine vintage cars, square off against classic monsters, and, as the show chugged along, battle against Lucifer himself with their close friend, the angel Castiel, at their side.
Even though the show’s loyal fan base happily would have watched 15 more seasons, the actors and the writers decided that the time had come to say goodbye. I mean, when both of your main characters have died and been resurrected multiple times, that might be a sign that it’s time to pack it in.
For Supernatural fans who want more, though, you can catch Jared Padalecki in the reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger. It should hit your TV screens sometime in 2020 or 2021.
Back when Game of Thrones first made such a splash, rival networks leapt at the chance to create their own fantasy dramas. For the most part, they fizzled—but History’s Vikings proved to be the exception. Like its hardy characters, this show was a survivor. Vikings won over fans with its high production values, character-driven storylines, and lead star Travis Fimmel’s performance as the real-life Viking Rathnar Lothbrok.
While the show is currently wrapping up its sixth and final season, fans don’t have to be too sad. A sequel series called Valhalla will be coming to Netflix.
Will & Grace (NBC)
Fans of this classic NBC comedy were thrilled to see it get rebooted in 2017. After its initial eight-season run, audiences missed Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack so much that they managed to give the show a second wind. Sadly, after three more rebooted seasons and 52 new episodes, Will & Grace officially ended (for the second time) on April 23, 2020.
Even though its viewers dwindled over the three recent seasons, Will & Grace still went out like a champ. It was NBC’s most-watched comedy and by the end of its run, it had been nominated for 83 Emmys. As though Karen would settle for anything less.