All TV fans alike, myself obviously included, have TV shows that we’ve loved, whether we watched it on the air or years later, that got canceled way too early. The worst is when there are only ten episodes or less, and it ends just when it’s getting good.
Now there are plenty of shows that don’t make it very far. Even more don’t even make it to television, most of which we don’t even hear about. This list consists of ones I’ve found over the years that I still love to this day. Moreover, they should’ve gone another season. Or at least a few more episodes to finish whatever cliffhanger they left off on. So, here are some of my favorites:
1. Harper’s Island (2009)
I initially found this show years ago on Netflix while obsessively going through Katie Cassidy’s IMDB page. Then, I came across and fell in love with Harper’s Island. Basically, this couple has their friends and family come back to their hometown for their wedding. Unbeknownst to them, until the fifth episode, someone is slowly, but brutally killing the wedding party one by one. That is until a head spade (a tool used in whaling) drops on Thomas, Trish’s father.
Throughout the show, the wedding guests (and the viewers) are trying to figure out who the killer is and the reveal is ingenious. Which is all I’ll say so I won’t spoil you, because it’s what makes all the violence worth it. An interesting tidbit is that the actors didn’t know who the killer was the entire time; in other words, they were all guessing until right before they filmed the penultimate episode. Which is unlike anything I’ve ever heard of happening on a TV set.
What’s really great about this show is that it’s extremely violent. It’s probably as explicit as a show could possibly be on the air. It’s rare that a TV show would ever be that bold as to show that much violence. Like I said before, the reveal of who the killer is is by far the best part of the series. You’re constantly guessing along the way and when you get to the end, it’s shocking.
2. Ascension (2014)
Next on my list is Ascension. I know this was already supposed to be a limited series, but it would’ve been interesting to continue the story. That aside, the story’s about a space mission designed to populate a new world, Proxima. In case something were to happen to Earth. It takes place 50 years into their 100-year journey when the first murder shakes their entire society.
This show is interesting because this ship has a society of its own. The older volunteers came on during the early ’60s, where a woman’s role was vastly different than it is today. The way women operate on this ship, especially Viondra, the captain’s wife, seems misogynistic, but it oddly isn’t. Additionally, we quickly discover that this so-called mission isn’t really a mission: it’s a science experiment. Moreover, it’s an experiment looking to find someone that develops supernatural powers. So if there’s one word that perfectly describes this show, it’s science fiction.
3. Notorious (2016)
This next show, Notorious is a little newer compared to the ones before it, but still great nonetheless. It’s about how a TV producer for a news show and a defense attorney work together to control the media. It looks at what producers do or can do to manipulate/spin the news. All to get their audience to react the way they want them to.
There’s a lot of moving parts when producing a news show, especially with the internet. So, it’s understandably difficult trying to be the first to report a news story. That constant rush and struggle intensify in this show. And it’s fascinating. Unfortunately, however, they do end on a cliffhanger. So you’ve been warned.
4. Stalker (2014-2015)
Next is Stalker. This show is about the LAPD’s designated stalking unit, which actually does exist. It starts with a lot of the more procedural stuff with a different stalker for each episode. But even so, it touches on different aspects of mental health. It happens much more frequently than we think and to everyday people, as opposed to celebrities. As the show progresses, the danger escalates, especially in the second half of the series.
My favorite part of the show was definitely Perry’s character, played by actor, Erik Stocklin. He plays a college student with an obsessive disorder who starts stalking Beth Davis, the show’s main character. It doesn’t portray him as someone inherently evil because he isn’t; his fixation on Beth is natural for Perry, even though he knows it’s wrong. I’ve become tired of seeing mental illness reduced to being equivalent to crazy. Even though stalkers usually have a mental illness and are later arrested for what they’ve done. But in Stalker, they know how to properly handle the situation and not escalate their behavior.
5. Cristela (2014)
Before there was One Day at a Time, there was Cristela. I, in no way, am saying that both shows are equivalent. But I will say that they’re both about a Latin American family. Cristela is a sitcom juggling law school and interning at a law firm. All while living with her mother and sister’s family. Cristela isn’t as heavy content-wise compared to One Day at a Time, but rather an easygoing look at Latin-American culture.
6. Melrose Place (2009)
Although Melrose Place is a remake, I’d say it’s a pretty great reboot. I’ll admit that I never saw the original. But I think it still shares elements of what must’ve made it successful in the 90s. It has the essence of a soap opera without being over-the-top and everything that makes a good drama. Plus, the touch of a murder mystery. However, much like Notorious, it ends on a cliffhanger. But it’s definitely still worth watching in my opinion.
7. Ravenswood (2013-2014)
Although it started as a short-lived spinoff from Pretty Little Liars, Ravenswood is vastly different. It has more of a supernatural and horror movie vibe going for it, which I really enjoyed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but what I vividly remember is being scared afterward. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that they introduced a potential new love interest for Caleb (from Pretty Little Liars). Because every PLL fan knows that Haleb was always endgame. But even if you didn’t like PLL, it’s still worth watching because it’s pretty different from its origin.
8. Dark Blue (2009-2010)
Dark Blue is about the undercover unit of the LAPD, which I don’t see as a show premise very often. I specifically liked the second season of the show more for two main reasons. They team up in a joint task force with the FBI and the show becomes more episodic. Opposed to procedural. If you’re a fan of cop shows, Dark Blue is one you should consider watching. Even though it only lasts two seasons.
9. A to Z (2014)
As an interesting narrative of a love story, A to Z chronicles the entirety of Andrew and Zelda’s relationship. They’re people you root for as it’s very reminiscent of a classic romantic comedy put into a longer format. There are only thirteen episodes so, it’s easy to finish them all. The only downside is knowing that much like the show, their relationship is short-lived. Their relationship apparently only last eight months, three weeks, five days, and one hour before breaking up. With the show ending at the letter “M”, we, unfortunately, don’t discover why it doesn’t work out in the end.
10. Killer Women (2014)
Developed by executive producer, Sofia Vergara (yes, that Sofia Vergara), Killer Women is a cross between a modern western and cop show. In addition to that, the show focuses on women that kill (hence the title). Unfortunately, however, it makes it fairly easy to figure out who the killer is. I was much more invested in Molly and Dan’s love story, Mostly because I love the chemistry between Tricia Helfer and Marc Blucas. As unique as the show’s premise is, it still needed something else to make it successful.
Hopefully, you’ve noticed that my list includes a wide range of genres. Let me know if there’s a short-lived show out there that deserves more attention. I’d love to discover some new (even if they’re not really new) shows.