The biggest TV shows cancelled in 2019 – and why

Abby Robinson
Photo credit: Getty Images/Digitalspy/ST - Netflix

From Digital Spy

All good things must come to an end, as the following TV shows know all too well.

From The OA's shock cancellation to Arrow's final chapter, these are the biggest TV casualties of 2019.

1. Santa Clarita Diet - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

The uproar following SCD's cancellation was LOUD, but why did Netflix decide to call time on the series?

At a conference in 2019, the company's head of original content Cindy Holland said (via Deadline): "When we're investing, we decide how much to invest based on the audience that will show up. If the audience doesn't show up, we think about the reason to continue to invest in something that doesn't do as well as we had hoped.

Translation: not enough people were tuning in and Netflix couldn't justify the production cost.

2. The OA - 2 seasons

Photo credit: Netflix

Fans of Netflix's The OA were furious when it was announced that the show wouldn't be returning for round three. And to make matters worse, no explanation was offered as to why it had been canned.

Our guess is dwindling viewing figures, which isn't ideal when its production cost would have been fairly substantial.

3. Designated Survivor - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Netflix - ABC

Designated Survivor initially looked like it wouldn't get to season three when it was first cancelled by ABC. But Netflix swooped in and saved the day, brining it back for one more round before pulling the plug.

In an interview with with Simon Mayo on Scala Radio before the news about its cancellation was made public, its star Kiefer Sutherland suggested it wouldn't return for the following reason: "The reality is, because the contracts were so complicated and different from network television to Netflix, they didn't book a lot of the actors who were on the show and they took other jobs."

Deadline also reported that Netflix and Entertainment One only struck one-year deals with the cast, which took them to the end of season three and no further.

4. Bojack Horseman - 6 seasons

Photo credit: Netflix

Some fans have alleged Bojack Horseman's cancellation is political.

The BoJack crew successfully unionised in 2019, which was reportedly something they had wanted since day one. Their new contracts entitled them to a minimum wage and employer-paid retirement and health benefits.

That, according to rumour, could have been a deciding factor.

There have been no official statements from any parties in response to the cancellation that reference unionisation (we reached out to Netflix for comment but received no reply).

5. Humans - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Kudos - Channel 4

According to TVLine, Humans' (Channel 4, AMC) final season averaged just 353,000 total viewers, which was down on seasons one and two. And as we all know, viewing figures are king.

Star Katherine Parkinson (Laura Hawkins) backed that up.

"It critically did so well, but it just didn't, for whatever reason, get the ratings, and sometimes that can be an accident of when it's gone," she told Digital Spy exclusively.

"I think it was the World Cup and all the rest of it, and that's just the way it is and people have to respond to the ratings."

6. Lethal Weapon - 3 seasons

Photo credit: FOX

It felt like it was only a matter of time before Fox's Lethal Weapon was cancelled given the drama behind the scenes.

Clayne Crawford (Martin Riggs) was fired after being accused of intimidating behaviour on-set, and he'd also had multiple confrontations with his former co-star Damon Wayans (Roger Murtaugh), one of which hit the headlines.

Wayans then announced that he was quitting, and despite creator Matt Miller telling fans that there was a possibility he would come back, it was hardly a return to the good ol' days for the show's faithful.

On top of all that, its ratings had begun to slide, which was the final nail in the coffin.

7. Legion - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

We speculated about the many reasons why FX's Legion wrapped up for good in 2019, but the driving factor was, undoubtedly its poor ratings.

After debuting with 1.6 million viewers, the numbers slipped to a measly 288,000 for its penultimate episode.

Plus, it was expensive to make, so to continue would have been a financial headache.

8. Jessica Jones - 3 seasons

Photo credit: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

As soon as Disney's streaming service Disney+ was confirmed, Marvel's relationship with Netflix was essentially dead, which sounded the death knell for Jessica Jones.

Daredevil, Iron Fist and Luke Cage had already had their cancellations announced, so it was only a matter of time before JJ followed suit.

Like numerous other corporations, Disney has been busy reclaiming or removing its content from the clutches of its competitors to strengthen its position in the streaming market.

9. The Punisher - 2 seasons

Photo credit: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

The Punisher's cancellation was announced in tandem with that of JJ.

Frustratingly for fans, there are currently no plans to resurrect any of those Marvel titles for Disney+.

10. Anne with an E - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Netflix

The third (and final) season of Anne with an E has already aired in its native Canada, while the rest of us can catch it on Netflix on Friday, January 3.

Fans who have already watched it weren't best pleased when its cancellation was announced given the lack of closure during the last episode, and to add insult to injury, they weren't told why it won't head into its fourth season.

As ever, our suspicions lie with disappointing ratings.

Still, there's always the possibility of a movie.

11. Criminal Minds - 15 seasons

Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS - Getty Images

The 15th (and final) season of CBS's Criminal Minds will kick off in January 2020 in the US, but why did the network decide to cancel the show?

It has witnessed a drop in ratings – up to season 11, it never fell below 12 million on average, but the last three seasons have been significantly lower.

That dip in audience numbers could be linked to slight changes in the show's format, its narrative approach, and the female victim trope, relentlessly throwing its female characters into the the jaws of danger.

12. Arrow - 8 seasons

Photo credit: Warner Bros / Dean Buscher

Following the announcement that The CW's Arrow would end after season eight, its lead Stephen Amell took to Facebook to explain why the decision had been made: "A large part of this decision is because I'm now a father and a husband and a lot of my life and interests don't really reside in Vancouver anymore and thinking that's the best thing for me personally and professionally.

"Towards the end of season six, I approached [executive producer] Greg Berlanti and said that I thought both personally and professionally that at the end of my commitment this coming season, it would be the best for me to move on.

"I've always been a fan of TV shows that not only don't overstay their welcome but end in a manner that really packs a punch."

13. Vikings - 6 seasons

Photo credit: HISTORY

During an interview with Variety, Vikings creator Michael Hirst revealed that it was pretty much always the plan to end the show at this point.

"I always knew where I wanted the show to go and more or less where it would end if I was given the opportunity," he said. "What I was trying to do was write the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons.

"After six seasons and 89 episodes, that's what I felt – finally – I'd done... I felt that I'd said all I needed to say about Ragnar and his sons.

"I told my saga... I had no reason to want to continue it beyond that."

But fear not, Vikings fans. There is going to be a spin-off, titled Valhalla, for you to sink your teeth into.

It's set set 100 years after the OG show, and will follow "the most famous vikings who ever lived", including William the Conquerer, Leif Erikson, Harald Harada and Freydis, according to The Wrap.

14. Suits - 9 seasons

Photo credit: USA Network

USA Network hasn't revealed why the legal drama drew to a close after nine seasons, but it's common knowledge that viewing figures dipped after Meghan Markle (Rachel Zane) left.

Perhaps the network was concerned that the show would continue to drift in the wrong direction and called time before its legacy could be ruined.

15. Broad City - 5 seasons

Photo credit: Comedy Central

In an interview with TVLine, the co-creators and stars of Comedy Central's Broad City, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, explained why the show had to end after season five.

"The show was always really about what New York is like in your twenties, from these two specific points of view," said Jacobson. "It's supposed to exist in your twenties. It's a flash-in-the-pan kind of thing, and we wanted to stay true to that."

Glazer added: "We had been talking about what we envisioned as the end since season three, maybe. We just always thought, like, five or six [seasons].

"But…it just became clear that it was the right decision creatively: for the world, for the characters, and for us as artists. We didn't want to write it in a way that felt incomplete."

16. Lucifer - 5 seasons

Photo credit: John P. Fleenor/Netflix

Lucifer ran for three seasons on Fox before it was cancelled by the network. But Netflix decided it wanted a piece of the action and rescued it from the TV graveyard for season four and its fifth and final chapter.

But despite those additional two seasons, fans are still furious that it's coming to an end.

So, what gives?

Netflix didn't explain the reasoning behind its decision, but there's a possibility that not enough people were watching it, or the numbers weren't high enough to justify the production costs.

17. Man in the High Castle - 4 seasons

Photo credit: Amazon Studios

There was no official statement from any of the parties involved in creating Man in the High Castle about why it wouldn't go beyond season four, and given that Amazon doesn't release viewership figures, it's hard to know if that was the reason... but we suspect that it is.

18. Preacher - 5 seasons

Photo credit: Alfonso Bresciani/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

The fourth season of AMC's Preacher wrapped up back in September 2019.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision to can the show was made just days after showrunners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg moved their "Sony TV-based Point Grey Pictures to Lionsgate" after signing a huge film and TV deal. But it's not clear if that played a part or not.

What we do know is AMC had to pay a licensing fee for Preacher, which was based on an existing DC/Vertigo comic book.

19. Marvel's Runaways - 3 seasons

Photo credit: Hulu

The third season of Marvel's Runaways is set to hit Hulu in the US on Friday, Dec 13 – and it will be the show's last.

No official reason has been given for the show's cancellation, but there have been lots of changes behind the scenes at Marvel – Jeph Loeb is stepping down from his role as head of Marvel Television at the end of the year after ten years at the helm – with the TV division now under the control of Kevin Feige, who was recently promoted to Chief Creative Officer.

That's a strong indicator that the MCU's movies and TV shows will be become much more closely linked.

20. One Day at a Time - 4 seasons

Photo credit: Netflix

In an official statement by Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos following the cancellation of One Day at a Time, he said: "While it's disappointing that more viewers didn't discover One Day at a Time, I believe the series will stand the test of time."

So there you go – not enough people were watching it.

But the series was eventually saved by Pop, with 13 brand new episodes set to air in 2020.

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