We’ve recently passed the time period which most TV execs dread every year due to how anxiety-ridden and stressful it is — that time period being the period in which major television networks decide which shows need to be canceled and which shows need to be renewed for a new season when the fall comes around. The overall 2016-17 television seasons gave us a variety of shows to prepare us for this period. In just the past few months, primetime television has given us enough superheroes, gods, monsters, cops, robbers, adaptations, and remakes to span several seasons worth of material, except not every TV show gets the luxury of being renewed for another season, let alone several seasons. In fact, in the case of shows like Doubt, some titles don’t get much more than a couple episodes before getting axed.
When the announcements came in regarding shows that have been canceled and shows that have been renewed, they gave us a mixed bag of emotions not just because we were saddened at losing our favorite shows or rejoicing at our favorites being renewed, but also because some of the cancellations and renewals left our heads scratching. Some cancellations and renewals were obvious no-brainers, while others were complete shocks. In the case of renewals, especially, it’s mind-boggling to think that certain shows got renewed. To get renewed for just one season is a high honor in TV land, so being renewed for multiple seasons is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment, but certain shows should’ve been stopped while they were ahead. We hate to say that any show should’ve been cancelled because it would leave several TV workers out of jobs, but for the sake of quality and for the sake of our eyeballs having to watch such shows on TV, we have to take the time to call out some of the shows that got renewed this year when they really shouldn’t have.
15. Family Guy
Despite being canceled on two previous occasions by FOX, Family Guy has somehow found a way to stay on the air for 14 seasons. The show, at one time, used to be a big ratings draw for FOX and was the main promotional advert that FOX used to bring in its audience. However, the 14th season took a noticeably huge dip in the ratings. Ratings weren’t bad in astronomical terms, but they were still pretty low by Family Guy’s standards. This should be a sign that it’s time for the show to hang up its boots, but Family Guy will continue to hang in there for at least a 15th season. Signs seem to show that the decline in ratings will continue, and if that’s the case, then the show should’ve just been put out of its misery at the end of Season 14.
14. The X-Files
The main allure behind the revival of The X-Files was that fans would get to see Mulder and Scully in action together for the first time since the 2008 film, I Want To Believe. Beyond that, there wasn’t much to praise about the 10th season of the show. A once fresh and remarkable series premise from the 90s feels tired and mundane now in 2017, especially when made convoluted thanks to the show’s attempts at trying to over-complicate the already complicated relationship between Mulder and Scully. Seeing the show renewed for an 11th season seems pointless in retrospect. The whole reason people wanted to see the show again was to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson rekindle their chemistry for the first time in nearly a decade, but now that we’ve already seen it, there’s no need to see it for another season. FOX just needs to let this show die already while it’s ahead to savor what fond memories we still have.
13. Designated Survivor
Designated Survivor was a show that originally aired with high expectations and at the right time. In addition to bringing 24 alum Kiefer Sutherland back to television, this show was introduced around a time when the political climate was at its highest and most enraged. A show that caters to conspiracy theorists and dissatisfied Americans was perfect for the fall season. For the most part, Designated Survivor has not disappointed thanks to some interesting stories and strong performances. However, something about the premise just doesn’t scream long-term success. Much like Sutherland’s last starring television vehicle, 24, Designated Survivor runs a high risk of starting off strong only to overstay its welcome in later years, slowly fading into mediocrity. For Season 2, this show needs to tread lightly if it hopes to reignite the same success it had this season.
12. 13 Reasons Why
When this show hit Netflix recently, it was one of the more divisive shows in recent memory. It was a show that viewers either loved or hated. Despite the mixed reviews, 13 Reasons Why was renewed for a second season to be released in 2018. The news of its renewal was mostly met with disapproval from experts who study suicide, as the show seems to be doing more harm than good in bringing light to teen suicide. Much of the criticisms from critics, researchers, and casual viewers alike regarding this show concern how the show is a bonafide glorification of suicide. It was reported that since the show aired, teens have been harming themselves more often and threatening to commit suicide themselves all in the name of the show. If all of this is true, then maybe the show is better off being laid to rest. The show’s cast and executives have promoted that the show is meant to raise awareness for and start serious discussions about teen suicide, but it seems to be doing more harm than good to its key demographic.
11. The Exorcist
2016 saw FOX attempt to revamp a flurry of movies into remade television shows for no particular reason and even if no one asked for these shows to be remade, to begin with. Such revamps included Rocky Horror Picture Show, Lethal Weapon, and arguably the most maligned of them all, The Exorcist. No one thought that an Oscar-winning classic picture like The Exorcist could have or should have been revived as a weekly television series. To the surprise of many, the series actually made for genuinely good, compelling television. It was a surprise just how well that first season managed to be, and it surprised even more people that the show was renewed for a second season. Maybe it shouldn’t have, to be frank about it. The show was lucky enough to take an old concept from the 70s and make it feel fresh while simultaneously respecting the source material the first time around. Lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and the show isn’t likely to produce the same effect next season. It would’ve been best for the show to end on a good note as a sort of one-off mini-series.
NBC recently nixed a few of their newer and more promising shows that entered the television stratosphere this past season. These include Chicago Justice, The Blacklist: Redemption, and Powerless. All three shows received some critical acclaim, but muddled in the ratings. Yet, somehow, this prequel to the Taken film franchise managed to pass the cut. The show’s ratings were just as bad, and no one was raving about the series. In fact, the typical crime of the week premise (which a flurry of network shows seem to follow, making it even more average) seems to be getting lukewarm to basic reviews judging by its first season’s 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. By all accounts, these are not the makings of a show that needs to be renewed, yet NBC decided to continue wasting money on this for another season.
There was once a time when NCIS made for compelling television. In a time when criminal investigation series dominated primetime television in the early 2000s, NCIS reigned supreme over all of them. However, the formula has been overused for so long in recent years that NCIS feels like a shell of its former self, losing much of its original luster. Storywise, NCIS is just the same old schtick every episode, and as much as the show was always highlighted by the colorful cast of characters, the show can’t even claim that anymore. The show has continually taken hits whenever key cast-mates like Sasha Alexander, Cote de Pablo, and most recently, Michael Weatherly all left the series. As of Season 14, their spots have been replaced by the likes of Wilmer Valderrama and Jennifer Esposito, but none of these characters are nearly as compelling as those who came before them, nor do they share the same strong chemistry as a unit. With reports that Mark Harmon may be leaving the series either during or after Season 15, it doesn’t leave us much to look forward to for Season 15.
8. Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds, a show that was once a ratings juggernaut for CBS, has seemed to suffer a staggering decline in ratings as of late. The February 8th, 2017 episode of the show suffered a series record low in its demographic with a 1.6 rating and then a month later, the March 1st episode was the least-watched episode in Criminal Minds history. Not even fan-favorite Spencer Reid can do much to reel fans back in. Speaking of Dr. Reid, who continues to be played brilliantly by Matthew Gray Gubler week in and week out, he seems to be the only reason why longtime fans continue to watch as the stories and characters themselves as a whole aren’t cutting it like they used to. In fact, even Dr. Reid’s recent storyline that saw him arrested and left his fate in jeopardy still wasn’t enough to bring in the kind of huge ratings the show used to bring in. It’s almost a miracle that CBS decided to renew the show after everything. After almost 13 years on the air, maybe it’s finally time to put this show out of its misery.
Throughout Season 2 of Quantico, the show was in jeopardy of cancellation due to low ratings. Showrunner Josh Safran penned the Season 2 finale as both a typical season finale and also a potential series finale if the inevitable occurred. Luckily for the cast and crew, Quantico was actually renewed for a third season but perhaps at a detriment to the show’s growing legacy. Quantico’s second season finale was the ideal finale for any show wrapping up. Plenty of fans agreed that they would’ve been satisfied if the show had ended in that moment. Without spoiling it for anybody curious to see it, it was quite a crowd-pleasing episode, and there’s now anxiety going into Season 3 that nothing else can top it. There’s also concern over the fact that Safran has decided to pack his bags as showrunner for the show despite the renewal in order to focus on rebooting Fame for Lifetime. With fear that the show’s quality may decline with the original creator and showrunner gone, Quantico should’ve just ended on a high note with that last finale.
Mom is a show that no one seems to talk about yet continues to get renewed and even snag a few awards somehow. These awards are always directed toward Allison Janney, who actually is deserving of these accolades considering she’s a tremendous actress who steals the show in everything she’s in. One can argue that Janney is the sole reason why the show continues to get renewed, as it’s just been renewed for a 5th season, but ratings haven’t exactly been great for the Anna Faris vehicle. We can only assume that the show continues to be renewed because it’s cheap to make and continues to produce passable ratings. There isn’t any harm to keep a show on the air when it produces decent ratings, which is far less risky than taking a chance on a new show that might bomb. With that in mind, it isn’t the most genuine reason to keep a show on the air and it’s withholding a spot from potential shows looking to air on CBS.
5. The Goldbergs
Since 2013, The Goldbergs has been pushed by ABC as the next premiere family sitcom after Modern Family. Unfortunately, The Goldbergs fails to impress as much as, to deliver as many laughs as, or to garner ratings like Modern Family. The Goldbergs has received mixed reviews at best and continually fails to enter any major award season discussions every year, while Modern Family is the exact opposite. The Goldbergs continues to pass off ratings that are merely passable enough to get renewed without having the quality entertainment which would make it deserving of a renewal. Ratings continue to get lower with each season for the last couple years, but ABC continues to renew it and have recently done so for a fifth season, even raising the possibility of a spinoff series being created. ABC needs to understand that whatever hopes they had for The Goldbergs aren’t being fulfilled, and the show simply isn’t connecting with viewers. This show is better off being taken out the Old Yeller way instead of being forced down our throats.
4. Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time is another show which was in jeopardy of ending this season, and so Season 6 ended on a high note. Without spoiling how that season finale went down, it had the inner workings of a satisfying series finale where the audience gets to see all of their favorite characters prevail, ride off into the sunset, and have an overall happy ending. The general understanding among fans is that with a finale like that, there doesn’t need to be a seventh season even though the show has been renewed. It doesn’t help that season 7 will be rebooted with key characters like Emma, Charming, and Snow not coming back in favor of a new cast. This reeks of shades from the ninth season of Scrubs where after a perfect Season 8 finale, most of the main characters were tossed aside for a younger cast, and it bombed because it wasn’t what fans wanted. There’s a chance that OUAT will suffer the same fate if Season 7 doesn’t cater to old fans. If that’s the case, the better decision would’ve been to end it on a high note.
3. Legends of Tomorrow
Of the numerous DC Comics-related superhero shows that are currently airing on The CW television network, Legends of Tomorrow is undoubtedly the weakest. As soon as the show originally premiered, it was met with dismay due to lukewarm characters and poor storytelling that remained consistent throughout the first season. To be perfectly fair, thanks to some sharper writing and the removal of some less likable characters, the second season of the show improved in quality. However, this didn’t do much to improve ratings, and the 2nd season has been reported to have much fewer viewers than the first. Thanks to last year’s four-way crossover between all of CW’s superhero shows, Legends of Tomorrow maintained steady ratings, but on its own merits, the show struggles in the ratings department. Perhaps we should give the third season a chance before being too harsh, but if the show fails to gain stronger ratings in the future, then it’ll just prove initial reactions from viewers claiming that the show is a flop waiting to happen.
2. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is perhaps the most overrated show there is on television. Perhaps this is merely a matter of opinion, but TBBT has coasted off of a one-note joke that was, at first, mildly funny, but when stretched out to a 10-season timespan, that joke became nauseating. To be honest, the initial premise of a nerdy guy snagging a hot girl and incorporating her into his even nerdier friend circle isn’t a bad one. This would have done wonders for an ’80s film, but to see this premise dragged out past even one television season has become more and more cringeworthy as the platform continues to grow into a global phenomenon. Sure, a show like this will always have a loyal fanbase, and as long as it continues to have ratings as incredible as it does now, it can be argued that it deserves to continue on. We’ll even go as far as to give credit where credit is due for a show that struggled in the ratings during its inception and now averages 15 million viewers a week; it’s a commendable rise to stardom. However, the longer a show goes on, it’s only a matter of time before their fans turn on it for jumping the shark or losing its flair. Seeing as the show has been renewed for not one, but two seasons, it’s only a matter of time before that happens.
12 years. Supernatural has been on the air for 12 years. That’s much longer than a show of this caliber ever needed to be on the air. To be fair, Supernatural used to be a genuinely great show with strong, impressive writing and damn near Emmy-worthy performances from its cast. This is much in part because creator Eric Kripke stuck to a well executed 5-year plan for the first five seasons. This would have been a perfect show if it ended in Season 5, but since it continues now even with the departure of Kripke as showrunner, it gets more and more obvious that the series is making it up as it goes along. A show with a simple monster of the week premise has quickly disintegrated into a convoluted mess that somehow rages on going into its now renewed 13th season. The CW continues to pump life into this show at the cost of draining everything it used to be worth.