Gone Too Soon: Best Canceled TV Shows of the Decade

Trauma fans recently rejoiced after learning their edgy paramedic series set in San Francisco just got a three-episode extension. Word had it Trauma NBC was pulling the plug after the original 13 episodes ordered aired. Now NBC has confirmed an additional three -- bringing the total to 16 episodes -- when Trauma returns some time in the spring

Will Trauma get a permanent reprieve? Or will the saved-by-Subway series Chuck permanently replace it on NBC's limited-by-Leno prime time schedule? Chuck returns on Jan. 10 after a successful fan campaign that drove supporters to buy the sandwiches, joined by some potential ad buying interest by Subway.

But whether or not the series can grab enough viewer interest to stay on the air still seems to be in question. At least Chuck gets another shot to prove NBC was wrong in putting it on the hit list. That's not often the case.

Here's a list of the Unlucky Seven, a random list of series airing in the past decade and canceled before their time. And just so we don't play favorites, this list is in chronological order.

Annie Wersching

7. Freaks and Geeks: The decade started out bad for Freaks and Geeks fans, who saw their favorite show about high school fringe players dropped from NBC's schedule in 2000. Fans even called the home of then-NBC entertainment president Garth Ancier, but nothing helped. The kids are alright, though. Linda Cardellini (as Geek-turned-Freak Lindsay) had a nice run as Nurse Sam Taggart on ER, a role in Brokeback Mountain and served as the inspiration for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, John Francis Daley (brother Sam) now co-stars on Bones and

James Franco

(head freak Daniel) now works on a soap - when he's not starring in movies. Seth Rogen (Freak Ken) has a nice run going with movies like

Pineapple Express

and Jason Segel (Freak Nick and longtime boyfriend of Cardellini's) stars in How I Met Your Mother, and wrote and starred in Sarah Marshall. Oh, and Busy Philipps (Freak Kim) now prowls Cougar Town.

6. Roswell: Before there was a mortal girl in love with a vampire, there was the touching love story of a New Mexico waitress (Shiri Appleby, who also landed on ER) who falls for an alien (Jason Behr). Of course, his alien pals weren't happy with this development, especially his sister, the beautiful Isabel, played by Katherine Heigl who now sports the same name on Grey's Anatomy. Alien bad boy Michael now plays Booth's troubled brother on Bones. The aliens loved their Tabasco sauce (which has now turned up on Fringe as the condiment of choice for The Watchers), and fans sent a ton to the WB after it was canceled in 2002 in an effort to save their show. Didn't work. Fringe fans might keep that in mind.

Annie Wersching

5. Firefly: Nathan Fillion, star of Joss Whedon's 2002 Fox series Firefly, has been seeing a bit of success with his new ABC frothy detective show Castle, but that hasn't stopped him from reaching out to his former fans. In the Halloween episode, he dressed up in his Firefly space cowboy duds and for a brief bit relived his days as the dashing rebel fighter Mal leading his rag-tag group into a universe filled with memorable characters. Morena Baccarin, who played the beautiful courtesan love interest, now stars as the big reptilian alien leader on V, while right hand guy played by Alan Tudyk popped up on V as a double agent. What a snake. Summer Glau has appeared on an impressive list of canceled too soon series, including The Unit, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse. This could inhibit her future job offers among the superstitious.

Annie Wersching

4. Arrested Development: This series put the "q" in quirk, a smartly written series with a cadre of fiercely loyal fans -- most of whom were TV critics. The self-absorbed Bluth clan captured critical acclaim, but never quite reached a large enough audience. After struggling for years, Arrested Development finally was laid to rest in 2006, but rumors of a potential movie keeps hope alive for the faithful. Meanwhile, cast members Jason Bateman and Michael Cera have been doing just fine on the big screen.

Annie Wersching

3. Jericho: When Jericho fans discovered their show set in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on the United States was in danger, they went nuts. It came down to a line in the finale about surrendering. Nuts to that, says hero Jake (Skeet Ulrich). And the next thing CBS execs knew, they were drowning in nuts. Jericho had a loyal, but not quite large enough following. CBS gave it a second chance after the nutty campaign, but ended up canceling the series in 2008. One of the producers, Carol Barbee, when on to another canceled-too-soon series Swingtown, then to not-canceled-soon-enough The Beautiful Life and now serves on the probably-going-to-be-canceled Three Rivers.

Annie Wersching

2. Moonlight: Cloves of garlic were sent to CBS entertainment honchette Nina Tassler, blood drives were mounted across the United States, and DirecTV, the savior of Friday Night Lights, was pounded by a write-in campaign that pledged subscriptions if only the company would pick up the vampire series. Nothing worked. The fan-fueled campaigns couldn't make up for the low ratings and it was canceled in 2008. So instead of being a crime fighting vampire, CBS turned actor Alex O'Loughlin into a transplant doctor in Three Rivers. Too bad CBS didn't hang in for one more season, when they could have cashed in on the current vamp phenomenon that's turning the Twilight franchise into a money machine.

Annie Wersching


The Unit:

This series seemed destined for success as the one flag-waving, military-centric series on a broadcast network. And it was helmed by Broadway playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet. Mamet teamed with The Shield's Shawn Ryan. Terrific stories, great actors, yet it struggled in the ratings until CBS finally shut it down in 2009. Hard core Unit fans refuse to wave the white flag, and still remain true to their series in the hopes that some day it might be resurrected. Won't happen. But if there's one thing you can count on with die-hard fans, they never surrender.