Everybody has that one that got away, a beautiful moment of connection and understanding that was lost forever due to circumstances beyond their control. But I'm not talking about true love. I'm talking about something much purer: good TV. So many incredible shows were culled from the schedule because of ratings, or because they were just too ahead of their time. This list of 23 critically-acclaimed TV shows that were canceled after just one season proves that.
Plenty of shows come and go every season, but not many make a major impact. Some cancellations are definitely deserved: if neither the viewers nor the critics are catching on, then it might be a no-go. But other shows just needed a little extra time to find their footing, and years off their air have unexpectedly caused their audiences to grow much larger then when they first premiered. The shows on this list were a little weird, often unappreciated, but ultimately beloved by those they resonated with. It took them longer than most to find their fanbase, but that just makes it all the more heartbreaking that they were gone too soon.
Click on through to see if your favorite brilliant but cancelled TV series made the cut.
It's impossible to create a list like this without Firefly, because its cancellation stung so many diehard fans. Things were wrapped up in a movie, but it just wasn't the same.
My So-Called Life
My So-Called Life has been critically praised for decades for hitting on something very honest about the teen experience that most teen dramas missed. Unfortunately, it met its end because of ratings and because young star Claire Danes did not want to continue with the show.
A late-'90s series starring Adrian Pasdar, Profit played off American Psycho but took its dark worldview even further. That resulted in it having little appeal to audiences, though it would probably have done much better if it premiered just a few years later.
Though critics loved Terriers, viewers didn't feel the same and that led to it being axed. However, many felt it exceeded expectations for a cop drama. IGN called it "a massively gratifying TV experience like no other."
Jack & Bobby
Jack & Bobby was an intriguing series that followed two brothers, one of whom would end up president one day. Like quite a few of the shows on this list, it also boasted a cast that would go on to even greater success, including actors like Bradley Cooper, John Slattery, and Logan Lerman.
Freaks and Geeks
The strength of the connection between Almost Human's two leads, Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, was a big part of what made it resonate with fans. Though it may have stumbled throughout its season-long run, the show could have done a lot more if it had only been given the time.
Some of the shows on this list met their demise for a very silly reason: an unappealing title. Despite critical praise, Trophy Wife may have been bogged down by a name that painted a very different picture than what the show really was.
Kings was an unusual but compelling series that had a lot of talent both in front of and behind the camera. Despite that, it didn't get a chance to find an audience. All that lost possibility might be the worst part of saying goodbye to Kings.
Tell Me You Love Me
Tell Me You Love Me was an HBO series that mostly got attention for how graphic its sex scenes were, which is par for the course with a lot of shows on HBO. Its intense look at relationships could have yielded a fascinating series, but it just wasn't to be.
Rubicon was a quiet political thriller that may have been too quiet: it lacked the outsized thrills that some audience members might have wanted from it. Still, its reviews were mostly positive and its viewership wasn't terrible for AMC, so its fans are bound to miss it.
Undeclared followed Freaks and Geeks in both good and bad ways: it was a success with viewers but couldn't get quite enough of them, so it didn't make it past Season 1. But it was undeniably enjoyable and gone too soon.
Don't Trust The B In Apartment 23
Much like Trophy Wife, the lengthy and absurd title of Don't Trust the B turned audiences off before they could give the show a chance. The network airing episodes out of order didn't help. But looking back, it was a truly bizarre and delightful little sitcom that should have been given more of a chance.
Perhaps suffering from comparisons to Mad Men, a critical smash that dug into the past in a very different way, Pan Am just didn't make it. But it had a fantastic cast and consistently kept its female characters' stories at the forefront, so it would have been fascinating to see it grow and develop.
The often broad humor of military satire Enlisted endeared it to many fans, but unfortunately not enough to keep it on the air for longer than a year.
Terra Nova, similar to quite a few canceled-too-soon shows, might have bit off more than it could chew. It tried to tell a complicated story but just didn't have enough time to do it. A few tweaks could have resulted in a better show, but Terra Nova was over before it could figure that out.
The intense love for Gilmore Girls means that devotees of Amy Sherman-Palladino are always ready to see what new shows she might have on the horizon. Bunheads seemed like the perfect next step for its creator and it even shared many of the beloved qualities of her other shows. But low ratings struck again and ended the show before its time.
Bryan Fuller has a talent for delivering totally weird but extremely wonderful TV shows that rarely make it past their second seasons. Wonderfalls was no different. It was surreal and funny and just too bizarre to make it on network TV.
Grosse Pointe was a little-seen show that deconstructed glossy teen dramas like Beverly Hills 90210 by going behind the scenes of a fictionalized parody. It came from Darren Star, who had worked on 90210, and satirized many of the actors and characters of the much more popular show. Maybe it was a little too on the nose or it premiered at the wrong time (90210's popularity had waned by 2000), but it was definitely like nothing else airing then.
Despite the painful pun in the title, So NoTORIous was actually a fresh and funny sitcom that proved its leading lady Tori Spelling had a real sense of humor about her public perception. Poking fun at her own image and also having genuine heart made this sitcom a surprising gem.
Clone High's premise (major historical figures were cloned and dropped together into high school) was what made fans fall for it, but also led to the controversy that caused its demise. Its depiction of Mahatma Gandhi got the show in trouble and it didn't make it past its first season, but it became a cult classic in the years since it was cancelled.
The Get Down
Though the fact that its first season was split in two may make it seem like The Get Down got two seasons, the ambitious show was actually only given one. Its low viewership couldn't justify its high cost, but while it lasted it was a genuinely unique series that told stories that hadn't often been seen on screen.
Why oh why was Selfie taken from us all too soon? This series was another one that got bogged down by a cringe-inducing title and a rocky beginning, but it was really finding its rhythm right when it was cancelled. It was utterly charming, and the chemistry between John Cho and Karen Gillian was undeniable.