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From surprises to scandals: 13 recently canceled TV shows

Christine Persaud
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Eventually, every television series meets its end — even The Simpsons has to stop at some point, right? Right?! Sometimes, though, a TV show will get cut well before its loyal fan-base is prepared to say goodbye, and, in some cases, even before the public has had time to digest the inaugural season.

Whether it’s because of ratings, fear of the story line getting stale, or even scandal, there are plenty of shows getting the ax this year. Read on for all of the standout recently canceled series.

Difficult People (Hulu)

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This razor-sharp comedy starring Billy Eichner and Julia Klausner as struggling comedians in New York City had a good run with three seasons, but was canceled in November. Like Party Down, and even Freaks and Geeks, this one is likely to be remembered as one of the funniest series never to catch a major audience. Even the sterling list of comedic guest stars, including Martin Short and Kate McKinnon, along with recurring cast members like Fred Armisen, John Cho, and Lucy Liu couldn’t save the Amy Poehler-produced series.

House of Cards (Netflix)

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Netflix had been planning to finish after the upcoming sixth season, following sexual assault allegations against its star Kevin Spacey. Then production for season six was halted, and Spacey was reportedly fired from the show. But can it go on without him? There’s no official word at the time of writing, but the series will either be coming to an end after next season, or the book has closed on the Underwoods. That said, the latest chatter suggests that several spinoff ideas have been tossed around. Stay tuned.

Me, Myself & I (CBS)

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Bobby Moynihan made a big leap from Saturday Night Live to head up this comedy, alongside a familiar cast pulled right from the ‘80s and ’90s, including John Larroquette (Night Court) and Jaleel White (aka, Steve Urkle from Family Matters). But the series, which chronicled the life of inventor Alex Riley at three key stages in his life (including Moynihan at 40 and Larroquette as the 65-year-old version) didn’t quite bring the expected laughs or viewers. It was canceled after airing just six low-rated episodes.

Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon)

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This period drama only lasted a single, 10-episode season before Amazon Studios pulled the plug in September, rescinding an earlier renewal announcement. It provided a fictionalized look into the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (Christina Ricci), socialite, writer, and wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, from the beginning of their marriage (before he was famous) to the tumultuous times that followed. With respectable feedback on the inaugural season, including a 70 percent Tomatometer and 85 percent audience score on RottenTomatoes along with generally favorable reviews on review aggregator site Metacritic, the cancellation may come as a surprise to fans.

The Last Tycoon (Amazon)

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Another project centred around F. Scott Fitzgerald, this series was also canceled following just one season. Loosely based on the author’s unfinished, post-humously-published book of the same name, it starred Matt Bomer and Kelsey Grammer, and took place in Hollywood in 1936. The story centered around Monroe Starr (Bomer), a character based on producer Irving Thalberg. Reportedly, the decision was made in at least some part as Amazon looks to focus its budget on more large-scale hits such as its new Lord of the Rings TV series.

Blood Drive (Syfy)

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Lasting just a single, 13-episode season, this grindhouse science fiction action series was publicly confirmed to be ending on the same day the finale aired in September. Set in the dystopian “future” of 1999, following the splitting apart of the United States, it featured a good cop Arthur Bailey (Alan Ritchson), femme fatale Grace (Christina Ochoa), and storylines that covered everything from cannibals to cults and nymphomaniacs. Too risqué? The Atlantic called it “a mashup of everything that’s ever offended the Parents Television Council.”

Gypsy (Netflix)

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Dubbed a 10-part psychological thriller, this June-released series won’t be returning next year after being widely panned by critics. It starred Naomi Watts as psychotherapist Jean Holloway, who has a penchant for digging into the private lives of her patients. Perhaps the most compelling part was the re-recorded acoustic version of the song Gypsy by Stevie Nicks that served as its theme.

Girlboss (Netflix)

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Timing for this show’s release couldn’t have been worse. The series is loosely based on the life of Sophia Amoruso, founder of the vintage clothing website Nasty Gal. But the company filed for bankruptcy prior to the show’s debut. It starred Britt Robertson as a self-absorbed, aimless version of Amoruso in her 20s. Even still, many felt the series missed its mark in trying to convey a message of feminism and female empowerment, so it wasn’t surprising that Netflix pulled the plug.

@midnight (Comedy Central)

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This late night panel gameshow hosted by Chris Hardwick has aired four nights per week for four seasons, and reached its end following the 600th episode. In each episode, three celebrity competitors would face off in a series of internet-themed improv games, doing things like creating funny responses to internet memes, or buzzing in with a phrase based on a particular hashtag theme. It was nominated for four Creative Arts Emmys, and won two, most recently in 2016.

Chelsea (Netflix)

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As Netflix’s first talk show, Chelsea had promise. In its first season, new episodes debuted three nights per week, but that switched to one episode weekly for season two. In October, Netflix said the series would not be returning. Some suggest there were issues with execution, and deciding if the show should be timely or evergreen. Host Chelsea Handler’s obvious political slant, and her focus on pushing that in every episode, may also have played a role. That said, Handler says she made the decision to leave to “pursue political activism.”

Nashville (CMT)

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Having run for five seasons, first on ABC then CMT since 2016, this musical drama that follows the lives of country music musicians starred Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. The show will be ending after its sixth season, which is set to premiere in January 2018, following Connie Britton’s exit. With Britton gone, the story will shift focus to rising star Maddie Conrad, played by Lennon Stella, and now fading star Juliette Barnes (Panettiere).

Going out on top

Orphan Black (BBC America)

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In June, this sci-fi series that centered around the different lives of several clones, all played by Tatiana Maslany, wrapped up its fifth and final season. The clones got some closure, and viewers got a satisfying ending (which we won’t spoil here). While cult fans obviously wished the show could have gone on, it was a nice way to wrap up the series while it was still at the top of its game.

VEEP (HBO)

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While this Emmy Award-winning series has been confirmed for a seventh season in 2018, it will be the last. The incredibly witty political satire centers on Vice President/President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and the members of her political team. Production on the final season, however, has been delayed as Louis-Dreyfus, who has won the Emmy for her role every year since the series has been on the air, undergoes cancer treatment.

Looking to fill your TV schedule once these shows come to an end? Check out some of the best new  TV shows and movies worth watching.