It’s safe to say that each of us has, on at least one occasion, experienced that heartbreaking feeling of learning your favorite television series has been canceled unexpectedly. News Radio, My Name Is Earl, and Carnivàle were all canceled after ending their unintentional final season on a cliffhanger, meaning millions of people around the world were left to mourn the sudden deaths of their favorite characters and are still going through life with the constant and weighty discomfort that comes with unanswered questions.
But let’s not focus on negative things such as canceled television shows or the unnerving fact Better Call Saul is yet to be renewed for a fourth season. Instead, let us look at the television shows that we can expect to see back on our screens within the next couple of months. After all, we’re at the tail end of spring, the time when television networks traditionally announce what shows will be dropped from their lineup and what shows will be returning for more episodes.
Thankfully, 2017 saw more shows than ever before being given the thumbs up to move ahead with another season, and we’re going to be looking at some of the most noteworthy today.
Here are 25 television shows that have just been renewed.
The second season of Quantico – a thriller starring Priyanka Chopra – was a disappointment with ratings for ABC. While the first season of the show was well-received by the public and critics alike, the second installment saw a 36% fall in total viewers, which left its future in limbo.
This summer, however, ABC announced that it had commissioned Quantico for a third season, albeit with a couple of changes. While both the first and second season of the show featured a total of 22 episodes each, season three will be composed of just 13 episodes, which doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence that the network believes in its own product. Furthermore, Joshua Safran will not be returning to his role as showrunner and will instead carry the meaningless job title of “Consultant”.
Scandal is partially based on the administration of George H.W Bush and is one of many political dramas airing at the moment. However, it has an advantage over its rival shows as it has the input of co-executive producer Judy Smith, who served as a press aide to Bush the Elder during his single term in office.
The show – which stars Kerry Washington in the role of Olivia Pope – focuses on the hectic day-to-day running of a crisis management firm and has been a massive hit with critics, even being named Television Program of the Year by the American Film Institute. Scandal returned for its sixth season on January 26th, 2007, with ABC renewing it for a seventh and final season the following month.
23. Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy is a racially diverse, sexually charged medical drama which follows the tempestuous career and personal life of Dr. Meredith Grey – portrayed by the fantastic Ellen Pompeo, who also appeared in the medical drama Strong Medicine – as she rises through the ranks to the title of Chief of General Surgery at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital (formerly known as Seattle Grace Hospital).
Since premiering in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy has become one of the most watched television shows of all time and is the longest running scripted series currently airing during primetime on ABC. Although its viewership is not quite what it used to be, it remains a rating juggernaut even in its 13th season. ABC, to the shock of absolutely nobody, renewed the series for a 14th season in early February.
22. Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds is one of those shows that has become a staple of television worldwide. It sort of seems like it’s always going to be there, with new murderers for Joe Mantegna and the rest of the revolving cast to track down.
Of course, Criminal Minds is no different to any series in that it must remain a consistent money maker for its network if it wants to stay on the air. While the show’s ratings have been slipping in recent years, it has managed to bring in enough revenue for CBS to justify its continued production.
21. Fear the Walking Dead
The Walking Dead first hit our screens on Halloween night, 2010, and is today among the most popular shows in the history of AMC. In fact, The Walking Dead is arguably one of the most popular shows in the history of television as a whole. Due to its immense popularity among both viewers and critics, an annual renewal of The Walking Dead has been a sure thing since the series began airing almost a decade ago. However, the same cannot be said of the show’s prequel, Fear the Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead first began airing in August of 2015 and focuses on the state of the world just prior to the zombie apocalypse seen in its anchor show. Although the series started off strong, reviews became increasingly negative and ratings had almost halved by the end of the second season. Despite this, AMC announced the show had been commissioned for a fourth season several months before the third even began airing.
20. The Bachelor
The Bachelor is up there with the most controversial television shows ever produced. The reality TV series, hosted by Chris Harrison, sees two dozen or so women vying for the love of a frustratingly handsome eligible bachelor. The designated bachelor, obviously, varies from season to season and is granted the luxury of taking each of his potential wives on a series of dates before eliminating them one by one and proposing to the final contestant.
In today’s sociopolitical climate, you’d think that such a blatantly misogynistic show would be pulled from the air, but ABC seems to love it, mainly due to the fact it requires very little money to produce (like most reality TV shows) and remains a success in the ratings. In fact, the network is so fond of The Bachelor, that it renewed the series for a 22nd season this past May.
19. Arrested Development
Arrested Development follows the formerly affluent Bluth family as they struggle to adapt to life without the wealth they had grown used to. The series, which introduced the world to future comedy megastar Michael Cera, began airing on Fox in 2003 and ran for three seasons before being canceled due to low ratings in 2006.
Despite its lack of success with the ratings, Arrested Development was a favorite of critics and developed a dedicated cult following that never gave up hope the series would one day return for a fourth season or feature length instalment.
In 2012, it was announced that streaming giant Netflix had reached a deal with series creators to bring back Arrested Development as a Netflix exclusive, and the long-awaited fourth season of the show finally began airing in May of 2013. While the revival proved popular, Netflix was silent on the possibility of a fifth season of Arrested Development for four years, though another batch of episodes was finally announced in May of 2017.
18. 13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why has been the big Netflix hit of 2017 so far. The show focuses on the suicide of teenager Hannah Baker and a collection of cassette tapes which she recorded prior to her suicide. In the tapes, Baker discusses the events which prompted her to take her own life. There are 13 tapes in the total – which gives the series its name – one for each individual who played a role in her suicide.
The series was warmly received by critics and viewers alike, but quickly attracted controversy for what some perceived as glamorizing teenage suicide. For Netflix, however, the popularity of the show overruled the admittedly irrational concerns of various suicide prevention agencies and it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season in May of 2017.
17. Dancing with the Stars
Networks love reality television as they don’t have to worry about paying for actors, scriptwriters, and directors, meaning reality TV shows are much cheaper to produce than their scripted counterparts. This largely accounts for the constant renewal of Dancing with the Stars, which has been continuously welcomed back for another series since debuting in 2005, despite a significant decline in ratings.
Due to the relatively little effort required to produce the series, ABC has been able to roll out multiple seasons of Dancing with the Stars every year, with a total of 24 being released in just over a decade (that comes in at over 400 episodes). The show was renewed for seasons 25 and 26 earlier this year.
16. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Netflix has been remarkably good at figuring out what millennials want to see and giving it to them. As it turns out, what millennials want to see more than anything else are their favorite childhood movies and television shows being remade and ever so slightly altered, which was the catalyst behind Netflix’s 2016 adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Season one of the series, which features How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, consisted of eight episodes and covered the events of the first four books of Lemony Snicket’s beloved collection. The fact that the first season didn’t span the entirety of the series led fans to the assumption that Netflix was planning on at least one more season of the show. These suspicions were confirmed this past March when it was announced Netflix would be producing a second season intended to cover books five through nine. Shortly after, it was announced that a third and final season is being planned to cover the remaining books of the series.
15. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is one of the most divisive sitcoms ever produced. It has been a major hit with those who want to sit down and watch television in the evening without having to think too much, which means the majority of American television watchers. However, fans of more subtle shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office have been relentlessly critical of The Big Bang Theory, seeing it as a symbol of everything that is wrong with mainstream comedy.
Regardless of what side you’re on, it’s impossible to argue with ratings, and The Big Bang Theory continues to pull them in at a rate that would be alarming if it were any other series. At the beginning of this year, it was announced that CBS, more than pleased with the show’s performance, had commissioned it for another two seasons. CBS also announced a spin-off of the series – Little Sheldon – which will begin airing on the network this fall.
14. American Horror Story
American Horror Story has been going from strength to strength since its first season began airing back in 2011. The mercilessly creepy show – which somehow came from the minds of the creators of Glee – features a different self-contained miniseries (such as Murder House and Coven) every season, giving viewers an entirely different experience each year.
American Horror Story: Roanoke, the sixth season of the series, began airing in 2016 and was presented as a fictional paranormal documentary entitled “My Roanoke Nightmare”. The season was well-received and the widespread praise for its bold new format as compared to the format of previous seasons convinced FX to renew American Horror Story for a seventh season.
The producers of American Horror Story like to play their cards close to their collective chest, so not a whole lot is known about the show’s upcoming seventh season. What we do know, however, is that the story arc will take place during the already terrifying 2016 United States presidential election.
13. Kevin Can Wait
Kevin James achieved his greatest fame playing the role of Doug Heffernan in the hit sitcom The King of Queens. Following the completion of the series, he moved on to the motion picture world, where he would star in such questionable quality comedies as Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Grown Ups, and Zookeeper. James made his return to television on September 19th, 2016, playing the role of retired police officer Kevin Gable in Kevin Can Wait.
In May of 2016, The CW decided to dip its toe into the water that is Archie Comics and ordered a 13-episode season of Riverdale, a teen drama based on the characters created by the popular magazine. A deal was also reached with Netflix which allows the streaming service to make each episode of the series available on its website and their app just one day after its initial airing in the United States.
With multiple viewing platforms and a heavy marketing campaign behind it, it is no wonder the first season of Riverdale turned out to be a great critical success.
11. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is considered by many, including myself, to be the greatest American sitcom of all time. The series, which stars, among others, Danny DeVito, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton, has been going strong for twelve seasons now. Sure, the quality of the show may have dipped somewhat in recent years and the past couple of seasons may have been a little over reliant on gimmick episodes, but It’s Always Sunny, as it is affectionately called by fans, remains far superior to pretty much every other comedic offering on television.
The show was recently commissioned for a 13th and 14th season, which means it will tie The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as the longest running live-action sitcom in the history of American television. But although It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is guaranteed to return for at least two more seasons, female lead Kaitlin Olson recently confirmed our fears that the cast will be taking a hiatus to work on outside projects and won’t begin work on the 13th season until 2019.
10. How to get Away With Murder
How to Get Away with Murder is a show created by Peter Nowalk, who has worked on similar shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Nowalk’s experience with writing about difficult, often upsetting topics allowed him to perfectly craft his own dramatic series, which focuses on the life of Annalise Keating.
Keating, portrayed by the wonderful Viola Davis, is a Philadelphia law professor who becomes caught up in the murder of her adulterer husband, which was committed by five of her first-year students.
The series has been a critical and ratings success and turned Viola Davis into the first African-American female to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The show has three seasons in the bag already and was renewed for a fourth on February 10th, 2017.
9. Modern Family
Since it first began airing in September of 2009, Modern Family has become one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the series is shot in the style of a documentary and focuses primarily on the fictional Dunphy family and their various wacky relatives. The show has been praised not just for its comedic content, but for the manner in which it has normalized relationships that at one time would have been looked upon with skepticism by society at large.
Modern Family recently finished airing its eighth season, which many assumed would be its last due to behind-the-scenes drama, primarily about money. However, just prior to the show’s season eight finale, it was announced that it had been renewed for a ninth and tenth season, with cast members receiving a significant rise in pay.
8. RuPaul’s Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race has its ardent supporters, who view it as one of the most progressive television shows airing at the moment, and its staunch critics, who believe it is just another nail in the coffin of artistic integrity in the world of television. Whatever your position is, it is impossible to deny that RuPaul’s Drag Race is the single greatest show about finding America’s next top drag queen in the history of American television.
The series first began airing on Logo TV, where it became a massive hit by the station’s generally modest standards. Ahead of its ninth season, it was announced that the series would be airing on VH1, with encore presentations still being available on Logo TV. In April of 2017, amid calls for RuPaul to run for president in the 2020 United States presidential election, it was announced that RuPaul’s Drag Race had been renewed for a tenth season.
7. The Simpsons
The Simpsons is, without question, the single most iconic television series of all time. The show, which focuses on the Simpson family and their interactions with those within their hometown of Springfield, has launched the careers of dozens of comedians and has inspired millions more. Of course, for almost two decades now, critics have been bemoaning the show’s decline in quality and calling for it to be canceled. Despite this, it remains a television mainstay and just finished its 28th season, which included the first hour-long episode in the history of the series.
Although most fans expected series creator Matt Groening to call it a day after the 28th season – with many involved in the running of the show hinting that this would be the case – it was recently announced that The Simpsons will be returning for a 29th season and a 30th after that.
Portlandia started out as Thunder Ant, a little-known internet sketch show created by best friends and writing partners Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. The series that we know and love today first began airing on IFC in January of 2011 and was an instant hit with critics, though it wasn’t exactly the highest rated show of all time.
Despite underwhelming ratings, the show developed a loyal following of dedicated comedy fans, with Jerry Seinfeld describing it as one of the finest television comedies of all time. It is praise like that, along with a multitude of awards, which explains IFC’s continued decision to renew the show year after year. In January of 2017, it was announced that Portlandia would return for their eighth season, which is also planned to be its last.
5. Madam Secretary
Madam Secretary, which airs on CBS, follows former CIA analyst Elizabeth McCord (played by Téa Leoni) as she adjusts to life as the United States Secretary of State. The series has been a critical success, though some have found problems with it. Most notably, the show’s creators became the target of criticism by those who believed they were attempting to use Elizabeth McCord as a subtle means of persuading people to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential election. It also came under fire for its negative depiction of the president of the Philippines.
Despite these controversies, CBS stands by the series, which continues to bring in significant viewers. On the 23rd of March, 2017, Madam Secretary, having just completed its third season, was renewed for a fourth.
4. Trial & Error
The premiere episode of Trial & Error aired on the 14th of March, 2017. The first season consisted of 13 episodes and reintroduced fans of 3rd Rock From The Sun to the comic genius of John Lithgow.
The series is a parody of all those crime documentaries that have risen to prominence in recent years and focuses on the trial of Larry Henderson (Lithgow), a seemingly genial South Carolina poetry professor who stands accused of murdering his wife.
While the show was a hit with critics, who praised its unique production and clever writing, it wasn’t quite the success NBC had been hoping for with ratings. Despite this, the network renewed Trial & Error for a new batch of ten episodes shortly after its debut season concluded.
3. Grace and Frankie
Netflix original Grace and Frankie is unique in that it has appeal for multiple generations. Older viewers have been brought in by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who play the titular characters, while younger viewers have been motivated to watch by the show’s progressive takes on romantic relationships and the role of women in society.
Grace and Frankie have become a staple of Netflix’s original content and the streaming service announced the show had been renewed for a fourth season less than three weeks after the premiere of season three.
Although the third season proved to be, in the eyes of many, the most underwhelming of the show so far, fans are enthusiastic about season four, which is rumored to include Friends star Lisa Kudrow in the role of Grace’s manicurist.
2. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Over the past decade or so, Marvel has cemented itself as the single most powerful force in the motion picture industry. For the past couple of years, Marvel head honcho Stan Lee has been trying to gain similar control over the television world, a desire from which arose Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focuses on the adventures of a team of elite spies who use their skills to deal with a variety of strange cases within the Marvel Universe. It has built up a loyal and mixed following composed of the usual Marvel devotees and recent converts who never would have chosen to see a Marvel creation in the cinema. Although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seen a steady decline in ratings since its premiere (which drew 12.12 million viewers), it was recently renewed for a fifth season by ABC.
1. Drunk History
For those who have never seen the show, Drunk History is basically just a bunch of guys getting drunk and recounting, often incorrectly, various events from the past. The narrator’s inebriated historic ramblings are accompanied by dramatizations of his or her lecture.
It’s a relatively simple formula, but it actually makes for a pretty entertaining show and has proven extremely popular among young audiences. Since climbing through the ranks of popular culture, Drunk History has featured comedy notables such as Jack McBrayer, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Bob Odenkirk in guest roles; not bad for a show that started off as a 2007 web series.
On January 13th, 2017, Comedy Central announced that it had renewed Drunk History for a fifth season, which will premiere a little later on in the year.