5 Shows On Premium Networks That Should Never Have Been Canceled (& 5 That Went On For Too Long)


Premiere networks such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime are known for producing work with high production value and quality writing. Epic titles such as Game Of Thrones and Outlander fall under the umbrella of premiere network television and are extremely successful. Still, some shows occasionally slip through the cracks.

RELATED: 10 LGBTQ+ TV Shows That Were Cancelled Way Too Soon

Beloved television dramas might drag on too long for their own good because of overall popularity, while others with great viewership get canceled too quickly. Network executives have their reasons for canceling or retaining their shows, and unfortunately, most of the time, the decision has to do with money. That doesn’t make it any easier to see fan favorites go downhill.

10 Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled: Rome (HBO)

Rome HBO Poster

Set in 1BC, Rome weaves the exciting tale of the transition between the Republic and the bloody rise of the Roman Empire from the point-of-view of two Roman soldiers. Though the series has an 8.7 on IMDb and an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, only two seasons were released before its cancellation.

HBO cited the need to save money as the reason behind it, but fans were reasonably disappointed by an early end to the popular historical drama.

9 Went On Too Long: Californication (Showtime)

David Duchovny in Californication

Essentially a diary of a womanizing writer’s sexcapades, Californication last for 7 seasons before its end, and remains one of Showtime’s longest-running shows. The writers made the decision to end for fear of it going on too long, but some fans think that it could have ended a season or two earlier.

Hank Moody’s hedonism wasn’t the only thing on display throughout the series run. During filming, Duchovny suffered from his own sex addiction, and in 2008, he checked himself into a clinic for therapy.

8 Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled: Deadwood (HBO)

Welcome to Deadwood: A piece of land unclaimed by any U.S territory and a hotbed for greed, lust, and foul play of all kinds. Set in 1876, during the Gold Strike, the series starred Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane.

RELATED: 10 Deadwood Characters, Ranked By Intelligence

While Deadwood earned an 8.6 on IMDb and an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was canceled in 2006, after only three seasons. Fan outcry finally won out, and the show was ended once and for all with a final movie in 2019, over a decade after the series was canceled.

7 Went On Too Long: Dexter (Showtime)

A serial killer who has struggled with homicidal tendencies lives a double life – one as a blood-spatter analyst for a Miami police department, and the other by a code of conduct for killing established by his adopted father.

Dexter was a fantastic show in many ways. That made the fact that it dragged on far too long and got progressively worse even more painful for fans. Hopefully, the Dexter revival will serve as a much-needed band-aid for the lingering wound of that lumberjack ending.

6 Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled: Magic City (Starz)

The Miramar Playa Hotel is one of the most successful hotels in 1950s Miami. It entertains celebrities, politicians, models draped in the peaks of fashion, and all of the sex and crime that goes with it. Ike Evans has worked hard to make his dream come true, but not without dealings with Miami mobsters and Fidel Castro himself.

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Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danny Huston, Steven Strait, and Olga Kurylenko, Magic City had excellent writers and performances, and positive viewership, but was ultimately canceled in season 2 for budget reasons.

5 Went On Too Long: Episodes (Showtime)

Matt LeBlanc in Episodes

Playing a fiction version of himself, Matt LeBlanc leads this Showtime sitcom as, well, Matt LeBlanc. Exploring the premise of a hit British series being remade starring the Friends actor himself, it covers the topics of friendship, marriage, and how that fits into a life in Hollywood.

Episodes was quirky, fun, and scored decently with critics, but ultimately, it didn’t have a strong enough premise for the 5 seasons that it aired.

4 Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled: The Newsroom (HBO)

Created and written by Aaron Sorkin, this political drama took audiences deep into the world of a fictional cable news network called ACN (Atlanta Cable News). Starring Jeff Daniels as a news anchor, Will McAvoy, it tackles the ever-relevant topic of a network’s responsibility of being a responsible, truthful, and ethical news source.

The show ran for three seasons but was subsequently canceled. It is rumored that the cancellation was due to going over budget and timeliness of receiving scripts from the series creator.

3 Went On Too Long: Weeds (Showtime)

Known for Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, Jenji Kohan created another classic with Showtime’s Weeds. Taking a more comedic route than Breaking Bad, the show revolves around a recently widowed Nancy Botwin, and her attempts to support her family by starting a business growing marijuana.

RELATED: 5 Things Weeds Did Better Than Breaking Bad (& 5 Things Breaking Bad Did Better)

Though the show was fairly successful, it too fell into the trap of taking a popular show and wringing it for all its worth until it just isn’t as fun anymore. It was canceled after 8 seasons, due in part to fans steadily waning interest.

2 Shouldn’t Have Been Cancelled: Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Ray Donovan Liev schreiber

Starring Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan tells the story of a Hollywood “fixer”, who specializes in making problems go away for the rich and famous – even if they happen to be “living problems”.

Earning an 8.3 on IMDb and a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was widely praised by audiences. After 7 seasons, the series was canceled, despite writers petitioning for an eighth season to properly wrap things up. The show is rumored to have ended due to a dispute between Showtime and Viacom.

1 Went On Too Long: True Blood (HBO)

Anna Paquin Stephen Moyer True Blood

Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels written by Charlaine Harris, this Southern Gothic drama set in Bon Temp, Louisiana came just at the right time for the Twilight-driven vampire craze.

The first season of True Blood was written exceptionally well for a modern fantasy, boasting a broad ensemble of unique and fascinating characters with genuine development. Unfortunately, it was hit and miss over the next 7 seasons, before the network finally called it quits.

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Updated: November 22, 2020 — 1:00 am

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