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The Best TV Shows That Ended in 2017: A Tribute to ‘The Leftovers,’ ‘Orphan Black,’ ‘The Get Down,’ and More

These ongoing series were cancelled or came to a close in 2017, and the world is lesser place having lost them.

NBC / BBC America / A&E Networks


Sometimes you know what you’ve got before it’s gone, and that’s certainly the case for these dearly departed shows. IndieWire watched every one, some for years at a time, others for the few short weeks they were with us. Ranging from award-winning series to one-and-dones, 2017 saw a slew of great programs come to a close.

Below, we’ve taken note of their legacies one last time. If you were a fan, here’s one more chance to gush over your favorite show. If you’ve never heard of a few of these, we’ve listed where you can watch them right now. They may be over, but that’s no reason to stay away. If anything, now you can go at your own pace from beginning to end.

Enjoy. Remember. Watch. Now then, onto the list.

“Bates Motel”

Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 1 Freddie Highmore Season 5

  • 2013 – 2017
  • Five Seasons
  • Lives on via Netflix

One of those shows that sounded like a bad idea until the execution proved it to be great, “Bates Motel” ended on its own terms, got freaking Rihanna to play Marion Crane (a massive coup for the show, given the importance of the character and the fact that it was freaking Rihanna), and delivered a solid finale. It’s hard to say goodbye to great TV, but “Bates Motel” went gracefully into that good night.

“Blood Drive”

BLOOD DRIVE -- "Booby Traps" Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Alan Ritchson as Arthur, Christina Ochoa as Grace -- (Photo by: David Bloomer/Syfy)

  • 2017 – 2017
  • One Season
  • Lives on via Syfy

There’s something incredibly endearing about how this raw and insane homage to grindhouse was such a labor of love for everyone involved. The fact this show existed remains a miracle, especially given how it was on ad-supported cable. The ways in which it pushed the boundaries of what might be possible on TV while gleefully exploding genre tropes should be studied by scholars for years to come. We may never get a Season 2, but we’re lucky to have gotten Season 1.

“The Carmichael Show”

THE CARMICHAEL SHOW -- "Yes Means Yes" Episode 302 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jerrod Carmichael as Jerrod Carmichael, Amber Stevens West as Maxine -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

  • 2015 – 2017
  • Three Seasons
  • Lives on via Hulu and Netflix

The family sitcom usually breaks down on one of two lines: It’s either them against the world or them against other. Over three seasons, “The Carmichael Show” forged a distinct third path, representing a wider variety of opinions and perspectives on some of the days’ most inescapable topics. Sure, some of the characters fit into recognizable categories like David Alan Grier’s curmudgeonly patriarch, Lil Rel Howery’s occasionally goofy son, or Jerrod Carmichael himself, as the semi-neutral center of family chaos.

But what really separated out “Carmichael” was the intense love it had for its characters as more than those recognizable types. These arguments never reset family back to zero at the end of each episode and never resorted to letting the same character win every single time. It was a foundation that could have continued on for years — we’re hoping its spirit will live on in whatever comes next for those who helped bring it to life.

“Difficult People”

Difficult People -- "Passover Bump" - Episode 301 - Having maxed out on antidepressants, Julie faces a family Passover Seder armed only with a meditation app. Meanwhile, Billy gets a gig as a warm-up comic for Larry Wilmore's new late-night talk show and Arthur heads to Florida for work. Guest stars include Maury Povich as himself, Larry Wilmore as himself and Stockard Channing as Bonnie. Julie Kessler (Julie Klausner) and Billy Epstein (Billy Eichner), shown. (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

  • 2015 – 2017
  • Three Seasons
  • Lives on via Hulu

Because of how special it was, in so many ways, this one hurts. The crass jokes and brutal barbs that Billy and Julie would sling at the world around them were hilarious. But there was an inner pathos to the series, rooted in the characters’ unquenchable desire for more than their current lot, which made the Hulu comedy so very relatable. We’ll always and forever believe that eventually Billy and Julie got their break, even if that never ends up being true.

“Downward Dog”

DOWNWARD DOG - "The Full Package" - Nan meets Eric, (guest star Timothy Odmundson) an attractive dog owner who appears to be the older, more successful version of Jason, and enlists his help with Martin, secretly hoping to score a date. But when Martin spends time with Eric's well-trained dog, it thrusts Martin into a crisis of self-confidence, on "Downward Dog," TUESDAY, JUNE 6 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Donald Rager)NED, LUCAS NEFF, ALLISON TOLMAN

  • 2017 – 2017
  • One Season
  • Lives on via Digital and DVD

ABC’s short-lived comedy about a talking dog named Martin (voiced by creator Samm Hodges), who has an emotional journey that is complementary to his owner Nan’s (Allison Tolman), was far brainier than its premise may seem. There’s a reason why the show, which was based on the web series of the same name, became the first broadcast comedy to ever premiere at Sundance. It’s just that smart. In eight short but beautifully made episodes, Martin ruminated on various topics from self-esteem and agency, to identity and relationships. But no matter where his rather skewed dog logic took him, he always ended up back home with Nan. ABC may have failed “Downward Dog,” but it will always have a forever home in our hearts.


Episodes Season 5 Matt LeBlanc Episode 2

  • 2011 – 2017
  • Five Seasons
  • Lives on via Showtime

“Episodes” wasn’t as fast-paced as other satires, like “Veep” or “South Park.” It wasn’t as emotional as other so-called “dramedies,” like “Better Things” or “Master of None.” It wasn’t as ambitious as other Showtime originals, like “Twin Peaks” or “Homeland.”

But “Episodes” was absolutely perfect as it was. Matt LeBlanc gave a fearless, self-deprecating, and very, very funny performance as an alt-reality Matt LeBlanc, while creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik more than matched his bravery by taking it to Hollywood time and time again. It went out on a high-note, ending before it had to but at exactly the right moment.

“The Get Down”

The Get Down Part 2 II Skylan Brooks, Tremaine Brown Jr., Justice Smith, Herizen F. Guardiola, Jaden Smith

  • 2016 – 2017
  • One Season
  • Lives on via Netflix

Robbed, I say — robbed were we of a long, rich run with The Get Down Brothers and Shaolin Fantastic in Baz Luhrmann’s gorgeous flurry of a musical, “The Get Down.” Be it due to a ballooning budget, a lack of viewers, or Luhrmann’s planned departure from his ever-so-important showrunning role, Netflix capped this wild, wonderful period drama at just two parts. It’s a great season of television, though, and one that will be savored via soundtrack for more spins than even the streaming giant could track. Hopefully subscribers watch, too: From the choreography to the visuals to the performances, “The Get Down” could get it.

“Halt and Catch Fire”

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark, Toby Huss as John Bosworth  - Halt and Catch Fire _ Season 4, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/AMC

  • 2014 – 2017
  • Four Seasons
  • Lives on via Netflix

Not to kick a dead TV show, but it’s kind of amazing “Halt and Catch Fire” lasted as long as it did. That’s no slight against the quality of Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers’ creation: It was stellar throughout. But the ratings were abysmal, AMC aired the final season on Saturday nights, and even with the previous entries showing up on Netflix pretty quickly, the fan base remained small — passionate, but small.

But hey, we’re not here to count how many friends are at the memorial; we’re here to celebrate what was lost. And frankly, there’s no better way to mourn than what’s shown in Season 4, Episode 8, “Goodwill.” So just watch that. It’ll be on Netflix December 14, and it’s one of the most moving TV episodes ever penned.


Kingdom Season 3 Episode 9 Nick Jonas Frank Grillo Jonathan Tucker

  • 2014 – 2017
  • Three Seasons
  • Lives on via DVD

See that “lives on via DVD” line above? Yeah, we’re not too happy about that. Sure, people can buy the first two seasons of Byron Balasco’s invigorating family drama on DVD, and yeah, you’ll probably be able to purchase Season 3 the same way pretty soon. But that’s not a practical option for a show that first aired on DirecTV’s Audience Network and could become a legitimate cult classic if it just got enough eyeballs on it. The fights are riveting. The characters are dynamic. The scripts are tight, and the performances, I mean, don’t get me started. If you’ve got DirecTV, seek this one out. If not, order the discs. It’s worth the old school effort.

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