5 Ridiculous Reasons Awesome TV Shows Were Canceled

Your favorite TV show getting canceled isn't the end of the world. It's actually more like getting explosive diarrhea: Sure, it ...

Tomwang112/iStock/Getty Images

Sorry for making that dumb joke, but at least you know that I did it to illustrate a point. You may not agree with it, and you may not have laughed at it, but my decision made sense because it had a purpose. TV fans don't always get the luxury of knowing why they're getting the rug pulled out from under them. Sometimes, a network will decide to ax a perfectly good show for the most nonsensical reasons imaginable, like ...

#5. You Had To Watch It To Understand It (Police Squad!)


If you don't know anything about the 1982 comedy series Police Squad! but love the Naked Gun movies, then maybe you should shut your lying mouth and go back to Lie Town, where- ... sorry, let me try that again: Did you know that the Naked Gun franchise was based on a TV show? Probably not. For some reason, Police Squad! still isn't as popular as the movies it inspired, despite the show's name being right there in the title of the first Naked Gun.

Paramount Pictures
To be fair, if you put the word "naked" next to a 60-year-old man,
the human brain tends to shut down to protect itself.

It's a little puzzling, though, because Police Squad! and Naked Gun are pretty much the exact same thing: a hilarious, Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker (ZAZ) spoof of police procedurals starring Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin. Why, then, did the series last only six episodes before getting canned by ABC? The answer to that is so stupid, it sounds like a line that would be said in the actual show: ABC President of Entertainment Tony Thomopoulos went on record to say that the network canceled Police Squad! because, "The viewer had to watch it to appreciate it."

"We had to bring an end to this madness!"

Now, I am willing to admit that ZAZ's signature style of comedy (also seen in, say, Airplane!) has always been more visual than verbal, making it impossible to just put Police Squad! on in the background and still enjoy it. You actually have to sit down and pay close attention to it to get all the jokes, and that's really not how television used to work.

For one, TV shows used to have a lot more zebras in hats than they do now.

Not that long ago, television was a lesser form of entertainment, a place where you didn't want to be challenged or to make any sort of mental effort. The reason for the show's cancellation, as idiotic as it was, is now more of a commentary on how much more demanding and observant we've become when it comes to pop culture. Then again, if you've missed all the Batmen I Photoshopped into every single pic in this entry, then maybe we haven't become as perceptive as I'd thought.

And, speaking of Batman ...

#4. Too Many Girls Liked It (Young Justice)

Cartoon Network

I was born a 30-year-old man, and I've only gotten older, so I never really enjoyed movies and TV shows with young main characters. Needless to say, I was reluctant to check out Young Justice, because it was a cartoon about teenage (uuugh) sidekicks from the DC universe trying to establish themselves as legitimate superheroes. But then I thought that there might be enough Batman there to make it worth my while, so one day I put it on, and then I immediately started working on a time machine so I could slap my younger self for not watching the show sooner.

Cartoon Network
"You *slap* kept me *slap* from experiencing one of the *slap* greatest superhero lines ever, you *slap* dipshit."
-me, to past me.

As it turns out, there isn't that much Batman in the show, but at the same time there is, in the sense that Young Justice feels very much like Batman: The Animated Series because of how seriously it treats the audience while dealing with some heavy subjects. You have Superboy's daddy issues, Miss Martian's borderline-body dysphoria, Red Arrow's entire story arc -- oh, and that fucked-up Halloween episode. All in all, Young Justice is one of those rare, beautifully written, beautifully animated cartoons that really anyone can enjoy. And that's pretty much why it was canceled in 2013.

During an interview with Kevin Smith, Batman: TAS writer Paul Dini explained that Cartoon Network ended Young Justice because it didn't like the type of people it was attracting, namely the penisly challenged. Dini claims to have actually heard executives say, "We do not want girls watching this show," which was a problem because, as it turned out, women made up a significant chunk of Young Justice's audience.

Cartoon Network
And even if they didn't, that'd still be an incredibly fucked-up thing to say.

The studio's reasoning was that older female viewers would either a) not buy Young Justice toys or b) demand the WRONG Young Justice toys, like official Batgirl tampons or something. What actually pisses me off the most, though, is not the economically nonsensical sexism but rather that Cartoon Network saw Young Justice, probably one of the greatest animated shows of the last few years, as just a vehicle to sell toys. It's like telling someone to make you Cars and then complaining that you got Up instead.

#3. The Creator Demanded An Immediate Decision About Being Renewed (Angel)

The WB

I still miss Firefly, guys and guyettes, but I have been trying to go clean by turning to the Firefly-version of methadone: Angel, another Joss Whedon series with an ensemble cast and a creative, genre-melding angle, which in this case pits a vampire detective against occult lawyers. That's so stupidly badass, I always wondered why so many women liked this show. It couldn't be because of the awesome writing and acting, because that's a guy thing. It must be because they found something pretty in the scenery.

The WB
Ah, there we go.

Another thing that Angel and Firefly have in common is that they were both screwed over by TV executives.

The fifth season of Angel coincided with the series finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, causing an influx of Whedon fans to the David Boreanaz vehicle. Armed with his show's improved ratings, Whedon smugly walked up to Jordan Levin, then-head of The WB, blew cigarette smoke into his face, and flat-out told him to decide right now whether they were renewing his suddenly-hot-shit show for a new season or not. Then he flicked his cigarette at him and insulted the man's mother. At least, that's how Jordan Levin probably remembers it.

Hey, I wouldn't put that past Whedon. The man is a fucking psychopath.

After being put on the spot by Whedon, the studio head decided that, if he had to choose immediately, he had no choice but to cancel the show. But the thing is that ... he really didn't have to choose then. He was well within his rights to pat Whedon on the head and tell him that The WB would get back to him whenever the fuck they felt like getting back to him. What would Joss do then? He couldn't take Angel to another network, and he sure as hell wouldn't shut down production on it himself, because all he wanted to do was get his crew some job security.

See, up until then, The WB always waited until the last second to renew Angel, which forced the show's staff to turn down other gigs for a possibility of maybe working on another theoretical season of What If Philip Marlowe Was A Vampire? To deny dozens of people some peace of mind because a show's creator didn't fall to his knees and worship your tiny cock was, ironically, a huge dick move.

The WB
Now, if he had asked Whedon to kiss his feet?
That might have been a different story.

The WB did eventually admit that canceling Angel was a mistake, but their decision still robbed us of the show's sixth season, which was supposed to be something like "Angel in The Road Warrior."

Recommended For Your Pleasure

Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

  • Rss

More by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!