Even in the age of peak TV, there’s not enough room for everyone. This year proved that, as fans lost some truly terrific series. Some series chose to close up shop, but many more were cancelled before their time.
From early losses like “Togetherness” and “The Grinder” to more recent removals like “Good Girls Revolt” (which is still being shopped elsewhere), 2016 saw quite a few quality shows wrap up far too fast. All three of those shows clearly had more in the tank, making their losses all the more painful.
Other canceled programs may be missed, but also weren’t exactly brimming with untapped potential. “Roadies,” “Aquarius,” and “Any Given Wednesday” were either given enough time to find that spark (and didn’t) or filled a genre need that could be replaced by something better. (Yup, we’re talking about “Roadies.”)
Defining whether or not we needed more of a departed series is important when the word “cancellation” carries more weight than ever (and continuations are more prevalent). More networks are choosing not to comment on commitments either way — letting shows sit in purgatory rather than renew or give them the axe.
Our instinctual reaction is to be upset when a show goes away, but sometimes it’s for the best — freeing up acting talent for shows with a higher potential, or the simply coming to the (contentious) conclusion that a story has played itself out.
We’ll see how we feel when “Rectify” wraps up in a few weeks, but it’s easy to trust Ray McKinnon to know when it’s time to say goodbye. The “Downton Abbey” conclusion was well-timed to the point of being a little late (arguably). Even former tentpoles like “American Idol” ended their runs in 2016. It’s been a bloody year, and the best way to honor everything that’s ended is to remember it one more time — at least. After all, you can always re-watch.
Listen to IndieWire TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers discuss the year that was on this week’s Very Good TV Podcast (above). Don’t forget to subscribe via Soundcloud or iTunes, and follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news. Check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to IndieWire’s other podcasts: Screen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, as well as Michael Schneider’s new podcast, Turn It On, which spotlights the most important TV of each week.