An ode to 'Ringer' and 25 other shows cancelled way before their time.
By
Stephanie Marie Anderson

28 Mar 2016 - 12:29 PM  UPDATED 28 Mar 2016 - 12:38 PM

Hello, my name is Stephanie and I will never be over the 2012 cancellation of Ringer. Join me on this journey as I explain to you why I will never be over it, and join me as I list all the other shows cancelled way before their time.

"What's Ringer?" you're probably asking, unless you were one of the four other people who watched it.

Well friends, let me tell you. Ringer was not a great show. Sometimes Ringer was not even a particularly good show. But I. Loved. Ringer.

Sarah Michelle Gellar played twins (!!!) Bridget and Siobhan. Bridget was a recovering addict who witnessed the murder of her friend while working at a strip club, who runs from both the FBI and the gangsters she was supposed to testify against. You know, the usual.

Meanwhile, Siobahn was your typical New York upper-east side housewife; cheating on her husband, faking her own death to get revenge on her twin sister by setting up an elaborate scheme in which she knew that Bridget would take over her life in order to evade everyone after her.

So yes. Ringer was a soapy, melodramatic mess, and its ratings reflected that, in that it was one of the lowest-rated shows on television in 2011-2012.

So why can't I get over it? 

Because I have no closure.

Here's the thing. When Sarah Michelle Gellar was doing the promotional rounds for Ringer, this is what she told multiple media outlets:

"One of the things I know as an avid television watcher is that I get frustrated when I don't have answers."

Same, Sarah, same.

"One of the things that I loved about our creators Nicole and Eric is that when the pitched the show to me they pitched three seasons, all the way through. [Ringer knows] where [it's] going so there are answers."

She also said that "for every new mystery that we unwrap, there will be answers, constantly, so it won't be frustrating... That's important to me."

I have no answers.

In the same way that Titanic's Jack Dawson lives on only in the memory of ol' Rose, those answers live on only in the memory of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicole Snyder and Eric Charmelo. And in a similar display of spectacular apathy for broken promises, these three don't care that they promised me answers, in the same way that Rose did not care that she promised to never let go.

Meanwhile, I have not let go of my search for answers.

In 2012, when the show was looking like it was about to be cancelled due to its abysmal ratings, I sent possibly the most embarrassing email of my life, begging Ringer's network, The CW, not to cancel my show.

They did not listen, and cancelled Ringer after its first-and-only season. Rude.

I signed petitions begging them to #SaveRinger. Again, my pleas were ignored, but did I give up, like someone with better things to do and/or a life to live?

No. I did not.

In late 2014, nearly three years after Ringer's cancellation, Sarah Michelle Gellar tweeted that Ringer's co-creator had just joined Twitter, and asked her followers to welcome her to the social media platform. I saw my opportunity, and got straight to the point.

She did not respond.

A year later, I tried asking Sarah Michelle Gellar (again), to no avail.

And these days, when I least expect it, I'm confronted with my loss all over again, like this day I was just casually scrolling through Tumblr.

It's been four years since Ringer was cancelled and all I can do is live my life knowing that every six weeks or so I will wonder what season two and three were going to be about. The struggle is oh-so-real.

Of course, Ringer is not the only show to get the axe long before its time. Here are 25 other shows that should've lasted far longer than they did.

1. Firefly

Chances are if you've ever been burned by a show's untimely cancellation, you've either felt the sting of FOX's biggest mistake - the cancellation of Firefly - or you've commisserated with a Firefly fan over shows gone too soon. Canned after only 11 episodes were aired, Firefly was a Joss Whedon masterpiece, and Serenity doesn't do enough to make up for its loss.

 

2. Grosse Pointe

 

This 2000 Darren Star comedy was a scathing satire of the world behind Beverly Hills, 90210, and honestly if they rebooted it today it would still be just as flawless.

 

3. Happy Endings

In an April Fools Day prank that went oh-so-wrong, the creators added salt to the fans' collective wound by starting a rumour that the show was going to return. Too soon, man.

 

4. Matrioshki

This gripping Dutch drama about the sex trade industry only lasted 20 episodes, but they certainly packed a punch.

 

5. Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23

 

One of ABC America's many criminally underrated shows done wrong by a terrible name, this cult fave still gets rumours of a reboot once in awhile. Despite moving on to Jessica Jones, star Krysten Ritter is still keen to resume her role as the B herself, so fingers crossed that this happens one day.

 

6. Selfie

Another one of ABC America's great comedies done wrong by a terrible name, this modern day adaptation of My Fair Lady was canned after only one season.

 

7. Better Off Ted

Despite great reviews from critics, ratings were near non-existant for this hilarious single-cam comedy, and the show was not renewed for a third season.

 

8. Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies was a critically acclaimed show that suffered from the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike. With only 9 episodes of season one completed when the strike occurred, the show failed to pick up viewers in its second season, and was cancelled by ABC America.

 

9. Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks lives along with Firefly in a special category of one-season shows that everyone seems to love... now. Judd Apatow's most notable television endeavour was canned in 2000 due to low ratings, and fans of the show have never gotten over it (I feel you, guys. See above.). Adding insult to injury, Apatow's next television show, Undeclared, was also cancelled after one season.

 

10. Carnivale

Carnivale joined the HBO family in 2003 with a bang. It was everywhere, and everyone loved it. But when the show failed to maintain its ratings into a second season, it was axed after 24 episodes, cutting its intended six season run short by four years.

 

11. Hannibal

Fans were devastated when NBC chose not to renew Hannibal, citing that the ratings weren't good enough to justify the cost of airing a show that they were purchasing the rights to, rather than producing themselves. Despite rumours that the show would be picked up by a streaming service like Amazon or Netflix, so far there have been no bites.

 

12. My So-Called Life

Despite being hailed as one of television's best and most accurate teen dramas (yes, ever), and 15-year-old Claire Danes winning a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Angela Chase, ABC America cancelled the drama after only 19 episodes. Fans launched a campaign to save the show, to no avail.

 

13. Joan Of Arcadia

An Emmy nomination and critical praise couldn't even save God from the CBS execs decision not to renew Joan for a third season.

 

14. United States of Tara

The trifecta of Steven Spielberg's production company, Juno's Diablo Cody running the show, and Toni Collette flawlessly portraying eight characters, wasn't enough to snag this show a fourth season.

 

15. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Fans were outraged when FOX decided not to renew the show for a third season, partially because they just wanted more episodes, and partially because the second season finale ended on a cliffhanger that undid the premise of the entire Terminator franchise. Ouch.

 

16. Veronica Mars

Although somewhat placated by the Kickstarter-funded film, the Veronica Mars fandom remains one of the most vocal "I was scorned by a network's cancellation" groups on the internet, and with good reason. This teen-dramedy-meets-film-noir-mystery series remains some of the sharpest writing on TV, even now.

 

17. Party Down 

The second time Thomas fans were burned by a cancellation-come-too-soon, Party Down was one of the funniest comedies on television at the time, and the combination of Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott was too pure for this world. The silver lining in Party Down's cancellation, of course, is that it freed up Adam Scott's schedule to join the cast of Parks and Recreation.

 

18. Smash

Let's be honest, Smash was as much of a mess as Ringer, but damn it was entertaining if you didn't think too much about it. If they made a real-life Broadway musical out of it tomorrow I would buy tickets.

 

19. Bunheads

 

A quick-witted dramedy about life at a ballet studio, ABC Family only blessed us with one season of Sutton Foster's flaw-free performance as Michelle Simms. #RIP

 

20. Arrested Development

Okay okay, I'm not sure if this one technically counts anymore since Netflix rebooted it in 2013, but its original cancellation by FOX was such a tragedy that even with the reboot, the sting remains. And let's be honest. The reboot was... not as good.

 

21. Deadwood

Deadwood was cancelled by HBO with a lot of loose ends, mostly because its ratings did not justify the expense that comes with producing a period drama. Loose ends that HBO announced it would tie up over the course of two films. Those films do not exist in this world. The loose ends remain. Savage move, HBO.

 

22. Flashforward

Flashforward debuted to massive numbers and was regarded as a possible replacement for Lost, but suffered from the network's decision to "retool" the show mid-season. Viewers dropped off, the network realised the error of its ways, and cancelled the show, rather than giving the author of the show's original novel a chance to fix the show in season two. The cliffhanger finale was called "one of the worst in television history".

 

23. Terra Nova

This Steven Spielberg-produced sci-fi drama was insanely expensive to produce. With the pilot alone costing $20 million to make, it's not surprising that when the first season's finale hit a ratings low, FOX cut its losses and cancelled it. 

 

 

24. Kyle XY

Despite making it to three seasons - longer than many on this list - fans of Kyle XY were enraged when the show was cancelled, as the cliff-hanger final episode left many questions unanswered, some of which were answered by the showrunner in this interview.

 

25. Dead Like Me

Showtime's Dead Like Me premiered to critical acclaim, and was cancelled after its second season due to a "loss in quality", according to creator Bryan Fuller, who left the show after five episodes due to creative differences. Loose ends created by the show's cancellation were tied up in the direct-to-DVD film Dead Like Me: Life After Death.