Words by Corinne O'Sullivan

We all know the pain of a TV series coming to an end, the loss of an onscreen family and friendship circle that existed only in the realms of the small screen.

This loss is made slightly more bearable by a timely demise – examples being the natural conclusion of Friends, or the ‘we can’t really keep it going after they have finished college’ final season of the Inbetweeners.

But many TV shows are cut short in their prime while we’re still crying out for more – as is clear from the howls of anguish in the ‘Favourite show that got cancelled’ discussion on the TV forum. These are some of our most-missed TV shows, and why we loved them.


Getting home from college seemed a lot easier when we had JD, Turk, Elliot, Carla and Dr. Cox conveniently double-billing on E4 every weekday before dinner. Aside from being hilarious, Scrubs packed a life lesson into each half-hour episode – always sweetly summed up by JD’s interior monologue in the concluding minutes (cue the ‘something sad is happening’ music). It was cancelled after a ratings dip, when Scrubs: Med School diverted a bit too much from the original formula. The demise of Scrubs was inevitable, however the lessons about friendships, love, responsibility and death (*sob* Jordan’s brother *sob*) still live on – at least through the popular ballad ‘Guy Love’.

'I can't do this all on my own. No, I know... I'm no Superman'


Footballers Wives

Footballers Wives epitomised the stage in our lives that involved sneaking downstairs into the living room to watch TV shows we were definitely too young to watch. The show, aired on ITV1 in 2002, was one of the first shows to fully address the context of our celebrity obsessed, media frenzied society in the early noughties. Memorable incidents such as fake-tanning a baby and exploding breast implants, made the show the fictional pioneer of ‘trash TV’ – however it was axed in 2006 after five seasons due to a ratings slump. Here's to the WAGS of Earls Park F.C., you sure did teach us a lot.

'Footballers Wives! That show was so beautifully tacky!'

Malcom in the Middle

Before Bryan Cranston started cooking up crystal meth in New Mexico as Breaking Bad’s Walter White, he was loveable family man Hal in Malcom in the Middle. The series shows the comedy in everyday domesticity, and is told through the perspective of genius middle-child Malcom (Frankie Muniz). The show struck a chord with siblings everywhere, its charm lying in the relatable character portrayal of the brothers – the genius, the rebel, the musician etc. – and their ever more inventive ways to wind up their charmingly dysfunctional parents. Malcom in the Middle was cancelled in 2006 after moving to a new slot and losing many of its viewers – life is unfair.

'I still watch old episodes on repeat'



Charmed came roaring onto our screens in 1998, in a flurry of dodgy late-nineties crochet tops and badass girl-power witchery. Following on from the success of 1996’s The Craft, the show – which ran for eight seasons – played a vital role in reinstating witchcraft into popular culture, helping to construct the spicier, grittier depiction of Wicca that we still see today. The seventh series was supposed to be the last, however the show was revived for an eighth. This ill-fated manoeuvre caused a 50% ratings drop hence, with the actresses’ contracts having expired after series eight, the show was pulled.

'I grew up watching that show so when it ended it was like the end of an era'

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Freaks and Geeks

Often mentioned in ‘stupidly cancelled TV show’ discussions is Freaks and Geeks, a cult hit that launched many an actor’s career and was controversially cancelled after one season and 18 episodes. The show was set in a 1980s Michigan high school, and was dedicated to realistically and comically portraying the bloodthirsty nature of its social food chain. The series was cut after Judd Apatow refused to incorporate notes given to him by an NBC exec requesting that they ‘give them [the freaks and geeks] a victory’ – unrealistic for a show depicting the social groups that fester at the bottom of the high school hierarchy. The show now regularly features on ‘greatest shows of all time’ lists. All that unfulfilled potential, *sigh*.

'Whoever did the casting was genius. All the male freaks are superstars now. And they were great back then too'


The shocking dismissal of Firefly after a measly 14 episodes was met with indignation from its vast and clamorous fan base. This ‘space-opera western’, set in 2517 and revolving around the spaceship ‘Serenity’ and its crew, quickly attracted a following when premiered in 2002. Unfortunately, Fox made the bizarre decision to air the episodes out of their chronological order, causing low ratings and an untimely death after just 11 episodes were aired. Ever since, fans have been campaigning for more – even creating an unofficial film sequel named ‘Browncoats: Redemption’ in 2011.

'It's the archetypal awesome show that got cancelled'

Robot Wars

Currently popular for his funk and soul DJ sets, Craig Charles used to be a fixture of after-school viewing in that powerful line-up featuring The Simpsons, Fresh Prince and Robot Wars. The show ran for six years, pitting homemade robots against each other – and the brutal ‘house robots’ – in the deadly fiesta that was the Robot Wars arena. This was pure destructive voyeurism at its best, watching metal clash with metal as children look on, crying, while their life’s work disappears through a hole in the ground. No-one really knows why Robot Wars was cancelled – rumour has it Matilda the house robot had an affair with Sir Killalot – however in 2004 Robot Wars breathed its last, and retired to the fiery pits of telly hell.

'Robot Wars - such great childhood memories'


24 really kick-started the ‘TV binge watch’ with its twisty-turny plotlines all occurring in real time. The sheer amount of episodes (194) really shows how 24 - tje people tuned in to watch Jack Bauer shoot people – having racked up an impressive onscreen kill count of 309 during the nine years of the show. With the never-more-relevant theme of international terrorism at its heart, 24 has been responsible for many an unproductive night spent on the sofa – a legacy that ended in 2010 after eight series-worth of plot thwarting, dangerous driving and never seeming to use the toilet.

'24 - the greatest show of all time - shame Fox didn't renew it but at least the ending was good'
That Bearded Man

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Join the discussion and have your say on your favourite TV that was brutally culled from our screens!