Fox - The Network We Love to Hate
Every year the Fox network executives break the hearts of millions of tv goers by debuting interesting tv shows that never get the chance to really develop their audience because Fox plays games with the airdates, airs episodes out of order or pulls the show from the schedule within a couple of episodes -- never to be seen or heard from again.
Why this happens over and over again is not that much of a mystery. The reason Fox is the both the network we love to hate and the network we just can't stay away from is that they routinely greenlight tv series with premises or within genres that often prove challenging for the maintream tv audience -- particularly those Nielsen family folks.
My Favorite Cancelled Fox TV Shows
So what kind of shows are we talking about?
Here's a few examples: a half-hour comedy without a laugh track that has incest as a running gag (Arrested Development); a drama about a girl who gets life advice from ceramic animal toys (Wonderfalls); a drama about a corporate executive who sleeps in a box (Profit); a show about cowboys in space (Firefly); any science fiction series.
Yes, I am defining my personal favorites as "best"! So let's take a look at some of the shows that I loved watching that our favorite heartless network has cancelled.
Also, it may be incidental or it may be a secret Fox plot, but many of my favorite shows happen to have Tim Minearas showrunner or member of the writing staff. So the first three shows on my cancellation list (Drive, Firefly, and Wonderfalls) all involved Tim Minear as either writer, show runner or producer. Secret network executive plot to torture me? You tell me!
Nathan Fillion in Drive
Drive is the most recent Minear-run show to get cancelled by Fox. It is also the second cancelled show starring Nathan Fillion, so maybe it's Nathan that Fox hates :) (naaah, just kidding... who could hate Nathan?)
Only six episodes were shot. Fox aired four, then pulled the show from the schedule. Then they scheduled the final two eps to air on the 4th of July. Then they cancelled that and re-scheduled for July 13th. Then they cancelled them altogether and put them online. Phew... I'm dizzy just writing it.
Right now, you can download Drive from Amazon. Hopefully, it will eventually be made available on DVD as well, but since it was only six episodes I think the hope is somewhat dim.
Plot: Various drivers are recruited or forced into participating in a secret cross-country road race for a $32M prize. Alex Tully, played by Nathan Fillion, is forced into competing by the promise that the masterminds behind the race will eventually provide him information about his missing wife. Naturally, all kinds of mayhem ensues
Nathan Fillion & Gina Torres
Firefly: The Complete Series
Created by Joss Whedon and Exectuve produced by Tim Minear (he was the showrunner), Firefly is the show that just wouldn't die. It aired 11 of its 14 episodes in 2002. Fox, in their eternal wisdom, aired episodes out of order (including the pilot!). I believe the DVD set features the episodes in the correct order.
After cancellation, Firefly went on to be a hit on DVD. Eventually Fox's loss was Universal's gain as Universal greenlit a film based upon the series, Serenity. The movie was released in 2005 and grossed about $39M worldwide during its theatrical release, not even covering its 40M price tag (not including promo). However, it made $60M during its DVD release!
Plot: Cowboys in Space.
Caroline Dhavernas as Jaye Tyler
This is the show featuring the ceramic animals. Very cute and quirky. 13 episodes were filmed, but only four of them were aired on the Fox network during 2004.
As usual, Fox aired the episodes out of their intended order and then switched the night it aired from Friday to Thursday without bothering to advertise the switch -- that all spells CANCELLED!
Plot: Set in Niagara Falls, the main character, aimless Brown graduate, Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), works in a tacky Niagara Falls gift shop where the various ceramic animals on display give her advice and instructions on how to help "people in need." Very cute show!
The Cast of Arrested Development
Actually, some may gripe, but it may not be entirely fair to blame Fox for the demise of Arrested Development. Unlike most of the Fox shows that barely made it out the gate, only to die on the racetrack, Arrested Development actually had three seasons.
Of course, its timeslot changed so often it would make your head spin, so only the truly dedicated audience would bother following it from night to night. And then they squared it off against Monday Night Football. Hmmm, okay. It's clear that show never had a chance. Let's go ahead and blame Fox after all *g*
Anyway, if you have never seen it and have bizarro cable channels, you can watch it on G4 in syndication. If not, buy the DVD boxed set of all three seasons. You will not regret it. I actually loathe half-hour comedy generally, but this is the funniest show I've ever seen and I watch it over and over.
Plot: During season 1, family patriarch George Bluth is sent to prison for tax evasion and other corporate crimes and his son Michael is left in charge of the family business. Yeah, I'm sorry, that doesn't even come close to describe the insanity of this show. You'll have to watch it.
Jason Priestley and Eliza Dushku
Okay, so maybe the big surprise is that Tru Calling got anything resembling a second season in the first place. The show started out lame and slow and basically proved that Eliza Dushku is a one-note actress, for her character on Tru Calling was simply Faith (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) without the slayer powers.
In my opinion, the show increased in interest substantially when Jason Priestley was added as a nemesis, but by then it was too late and the show was cancelled about six episodes into season 2. All of the Jason Priestley episodes are worth watching and he joins the cast about halfway through season 1.
Plot: Eliza Dushka gets a job in a morgue and while working there discovers that she has the power to hear the dead speak. When they do speak to her she is sent back in time (usually 24 hours or so) in order to correct what wrong and prevent their deaths. Jason Priestly plays her mirror image -- he also travels back in time to make sure events play out exactly the way they did the first time around.
Airing in 1996, Profit was probably just too ahead of its time. Television shows about anti-heroes have never really faired well, even today. And Jim Profit is particularly wicked! Starring Adrian Pasdar as Jim Profit, only four episodes aired on Fox in 1996, but the boxed set of all 8 episodes (or 9 if you count the two-part pilot as two separate episodes) was released in 2005 and the entire run has shown up on cable a couple of times.
Plot: Jim Profit is obsessed with the Gracen family and spends his time working his way up the ladder at the Gracen & Gracen firm by sabotaging his co-workers.
Add your Favorites
This is only a short list of shows cancelled by Fox. These happen to be some of the ones I watched. There are tons of others that I never saw, such as Point Pleasant, Futurama and Undeclared.
So if you have a favorite cancelled show that aired on Fox tv, feel free to talk it up in the comments!
Dasia from North Carolina on April 25, 2017:
I'm neutral when it come to Fox network. Most of the shows named went unnoticed, maybe that is why it was cancelled. Drive would have been a hit. When it down to the shows Fox produce, they definitely need to advertise like they did for Empire.
Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on April 25, 2017:
I will go with The Ben Stiller Show and The Cleveland Show. Stiller, Janeane Garafolo, Bob Odenkirk, and Andy Dick did some really funny sketches, such as Oliver Stone Land, Ice Man McGee, and Skank, a sitcom parody starring a sock puppet. I like Cleveland Brown and the years he spent back in his home town. I wish he could have stayed spun off from Family Guy longer.
Thad on September 19, 2014:
Firefly, Human Target, Futurama, Almost Human, Enlisted, The Finder, The Good Guys, Chicago Code, Alcatraz, Arrested Development. Forgot that Dark Angel was Fox also, I remember watching that show.
There should be a Wikipedia page just for listing shows cancelled by Fox.
Rob S. on January 02, 2014:
Lara on June 02, 2012:
The Finder. That is all.
lillylou1968 on May 03, 2012:
and also add Alcatraz and No Ordinary Family to the not renewing list
Lisa on April 12, 2012:
Don't forget the lyrcs hosted
by Wayne brady was cancel 3 years ago too. They had 3 back ups & the intro music that they had was so much better than the 1 that they had when Mark Mcgrafth was hosting it. So don't forget about that tv show too.
Emma (author) from Boston on March 23, 2012:
Damn that sucks. I hadn't realized they'd cancelled it. I think it was very expensive to produce. Ugh. Why oh why do I watch new Fox shows??
Guest on March 06, 2012:
and officially add Terra Nova to the list
Jamie Hall on February 24, 2012:
LIE to ME....Oh why, why, why did they not renew it?
Diane Van Hook from CT on January 27, 2012:
My list of cancelled too soon:
Greg the Bunny
The Lone Gunmen
Sarah Connor Chronicles
Dian on January 22, 2012:
Loved Keen Eddie and Good Guys. Am always amazed at the stupid, trite garbage that a network keeps and the really innovative funny stuff they dump. Oh well, the lowest common denominator is happy, who cares?
Manny on January 21, 2012:
Lie to Me, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dark Angel, were all excellent shows and millions of viewers are dissapointed for their cancellation. I wish Fox was more about quality and less about politics.
Michael on January 02, 2012:
I just learned about drive and watched the first episode online and it is amazing. How could it have been cancelled, I will never know. Fox lost an opportunity to make lots of money and viewers If they would just give shows a chance or atleast be able wrap up the story somehow.
Roy on December 14, 2011:
You guys are forgetting about married with children! They just canceled it without letting the vast know. Ed o'Neil found out they canceled it when he was on vacation!
EyesOnly on December 13, 2011:
Fox is obviously controlled by the us government, polishing the news with disinformation, as for cancelling shows, have a look at what great tv shows have been axed, anything that gets you to think outside the box it seems..
Dollhouse, a secret project was created to make programmable people, does MKUltra ring a bell..
Dark Angel, Genetic experiments, DNA manipulation, adding data to junk DNA strains.
Firefly, secret experiments on gifted children to turn them into assasins of sorts, chemical agents added to the air to cause calm and weed out aggression, I've never ran a chemical analasis of my tap water but my country isn't monitored by a shadow government within the government itself.
Sheperd Book - "A government is a body of people usually—notably—ungoverned."
ChuckG on November 28, 2011:
I actually didn't like it when they added Jason Priestly to "Tru Calling." The show had great promise, I think the producers just missed the mark the second season.
Andy on November 07, 2011:
Haven't watched FOX since they cancelled Dark Angel.
Emma (author) from Boston on October 14, 2011:
Reviewer, I am so afraid you are right about Terra Nova. I started watching it before I noticed it was on Fox. I was quite chagrined to realize it. Of course it will be cancelled soon!
Lily on October 12, 2011:
The WInner, The Return of Jezebel James, 'Til Death, Sons of Tucson, Murder in Small Town X and Back to You. Plus, I've watched a lot of the other shows on this list and shows people have posted. A lot of these shows are very creative, which Fox seems to want to explore, only to cut them off before they get an audience.
Lily on October 12, 2011:
I liked The War At Home a lot. It didn't last. Night Visions, That 80s Show (never really given a chance), A Minute With Stan Hooper, Still Life, Jonny Zero, Kelsey Grammer Presents The Sketch Show (I thought this had funny moments), Quintuplets (another Andy Richter show, I liked both this and Saves The Universe), Life on a Stick,
I also loved Starved on FX...probably way too un-PC to live...FX and FOX are related, I think...
ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on October 11, 2011:
I loved Profit. Such an awesome character. I was mad when they cancelled Werewolf. He was about to meet the head monster! I also enjoyed Space above and Beyond, and Brimstone.
The more interesting a show gets the more likely it is Fox will cancel it.
By the way was American Gothic a fox show too. It was cancelled too soon.
Reviewer on October 07, 2011:
We'll see Terra Nova up in that list soon
kake79 on October 05, 2011:
Ok, I've been sent down the rabbit hole of cancelled tv shows and now have more to add:
The Aventures of Brisco County, Jr.
The American Embassy
Greg the Bunny
kake79 on October 05, 2011:
Wow. Over thirty shows listed and no one has mentioned:
The Lone Gunmen
Jason on September 09, 2011:
how about the fox stop wasting their money on pointless reality tv shows and start spending on quality entertaining shows. Every network is obsessed with reality tv show. They didn't need to cancel awesome shows like firefly or tru calling but they did it to free up space to stupid shows like american idol. How many seasons do we need? Don't we have enough singers in the country.
Fan on August 30, 2011:
Simply mad and unwilling to watch anything on FOX, pissed pissed pissed for Firefly.
jomama on August 27, 2011:
FOX should not have cancelled Lie To Me. That show was great!
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on August 27, 2011:
"Werewolf" starred John J York whose talent has been wasted for the last several years on General Hospital as police commissioner, "Mac Scorpio". Mac started out as a dashing agent, but has spent the past decade as a top cop who isn't allowed to actually catch the main mobster in town.
What about 21 Jumpstreet? One of my all time favorite cop shows. But unfortnuately all of the original music has been stripped fro the DVD release. And what about New York Undercover? Great cop show.
living2well from Southern California on July 18, 2011:
I remember when Fox was only on Sunday. Have they come a long way.
alexis on July 08, 2011:
john doe was one of the most interesting series i've seen.
Nicholas on July 08, 2011:
Lie to Me was a great show. I hate that Fox cancelled it.
Clarissa on June 18, 2011:
Best shows canceled by Fox (they aren't in any particular order):
Family Guy (3 times?)
Futurama (Twice, I believe)
People seem to have forgotten a few of these...you can watch them in terrible quality, uploaded from VHS on youtube!
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on May 18, 2011:
I knew Sarah Conner looked great, but it still didn't last.
Mark on May 11, 2011:
I am so discussed with the TV scheduling you pay all this money to have cable and then they cancel of the good shows and put on all the worthless reality tv garbage. Human Target,Chicago Code and Lie to Me were great. Why not cancel American Idol or one of the many other cookie cutter garbage shows.
Margaret Parsons on March 17, 2011:
Why does Fox cancel all the shows we like? Such as 24 and now V and in the past many others. I don't care about Neilson ratings - we all know the morals of this country are extremely bad and we choose not to watch mainstream TV for the most part for that reason. Why don't us minority count also?
a blues clue on March 11, 2011:
actually, i also found they also cancelled good comedies besides Arrested Development. There was a good one when they first became a network it was called "Herman's Head" about an average guy and the decisions he makes...but the best show Fox ever cancelled and it's not even close "Titus"
LG on February 24, 2011:
Point Pleasant, Firefly, Terminator: TSSC, Darkskies, Brimstone, Space Above and Beyond.
Point Pleasant was about a girl finding out she was the antichrist, and fighting her destiny. Grant Snow as 'Boyd' is one of my favorite bad guys. Dark Skies, 'History is a lie'. Set in the 1960's an alien plot behind some of the 20th century's major events.
Emma (author) from Boston on February 15, 2011:
Rodney, Don't blame the tv networks for garbage like The Ghost Whisperer. Blame the audience who watch shows like that LOL
Rodney on February 15, 2011:
Yet they keep Glee and The Ghost Whisperer airing. It's funny here in Spain, every canceled show makes it to FOX and on the commercials for whatever show it is, for example, Defying Gravity, for a couple weeks while they're airing the already long canceled show, it's the "Most watched show in the U.S." And lets not forget the winners, like Cop Rock. I was only 13, but I'm sure it was on FOX. Very well put together, Thank you.
Kim Lynn on December 07, 2010:
I always wondered why good shows were cancelled. I always thought I liked the wrong shows. Interesting hub.
LookGee on November 23, 2010:
I still don't like Fox for having canceled Titus. The show did OK in the ratings and pushed the envelop weekly. Extremely funny show that got canned way too early based on nothing but internal politics.
fid on October 29, 2010:
Brief beef: The Loop; pretty damn funny show along with Undeclared. Pretty pissed off about Profit too. Was "Get a Life" an early FOX show?
Thannis Wolf on October 10, 2010:
One FOX casualty that I haven't seen anyone mention is Space: Above and Beyond. That show (like Firefly) could have been epic. I remember FOX constantly moving its time slot around resulting in many an episode being preempted by professional sports (mostly hockey, it seems). The characters were well-developed and had deep background stories. In typical FOX fashion, just as you became emotionally invested in the characters, they yank the rug out from under you and cancel the show.
Jake709 on October 07, 2010:
Great article. I think Wonderfalls is one of my favorite shows ever. Brian Fuller is remarkable. Firefly is the best sci-fi show television has ever aired. What a shame. And now, Lone Star can be added to that list. After airing a measly two episodes of this brilliant show, FOX promptly canceled it. My frustration knows no bounds!! The CLEVELAND SHOW is still on the air!
donjoe on September 03, 2010:
Cutting Firefly short was a damned shame. I'm still refusing to consider its botched "ending" called Serenity as a "true" part of the timeline. You just don't go around killing 3 of the good guys and putting stupid conclusions in Mal's mouth at the end.
Also, I absolutely loved the first season of Dollhouse and then during the second season it started to feel rushed and progressively weaker as Whedon was scrambling desperately to finish the story way ahead of its time.
There's nothing more perverse and sadistic than dangling amazing premises and/or characters in front of the audience for a few episodes, only to snatch them away forever at the drop of a retarded executive's hat.
Trudi on August 07, 2010:
Firefly was fantastic! It seems alot of the cool shows are axed, by the time the public "catch on" or "catch up" they are gone!! Take "Dead Like Me" for instance. And we had to keep fighting for "Family Guy".
Emma (author) from Boston on July 26, 2010:
Prison Break ran for four seasons and had a complete story arc. It doesn't qualify as a show canceled before it could really prove itself.
Fahad Rehman on July 24, 2010:
Hey guyz,wht about prison break.
Emma (author) from Boston on June 29, 2010:
Are you thinking of Kindred The Embraced? Mark Frankel was the head of a vampire clan and C Thomas Howell played a cop. It was pretty good, but ended after Frankel was killed in a motorcycle accident.
The only vampire thing Pasdar has done is the movie Near Dark.
chris on June 29, 2010:
I remember a Vampire show on fox with Adrian Pasdar as the head of the clan. It was very ahead of it's time, and had some great episodes. Does anyone know what the name of that show was? i am hoping to find the series on DVD somewhere.
jules on June 23, 2010:
I loved the 1999-2000 series "Action"...yes, it was too raunchy and hostile and what have you, but I personally feel it was ahead of its time and would have loved to have seen it gone at least 1 season farther than its only one season, 8 episode (13 on the DVD) run. But hey, it ended well.
Caitlin on June 22, 2010:
Firefly is amazing! FOX has no respect for its writers or its viewers for that matter. I heard from somebody that the people who okayed Firefly's production got fired and then management was trying to look good by gunning for their show.
Pete UK on May 14, 2010:
English so excuse my ignorance. I don't hate FOX - they aired this great show called, you guessed it 'Firefly'... Yes, only 14 episodes + 'Serenity' but boy were they goooood! Of course I wish there'd been more but that's life!
Adam on May 14, 2010:
Andy Richter Controls the Universe is a biggie for me. I loved that show and FOX broke my heart when they canned it after 14 episodes (it made 19). I also loved the live-action version of The Tick, which was only on for 8 (out of 9) episodes. FOX Sucks! I'm glad Conan didn't go there.
Sinara on May 01, 2010:
I agree with a lot of these shows. Firefly was simply amazing. I still find people all the time who love the show and wish more had come of it. Besides, the cast on that show was one of the most dynamic groups I have ever seen. Also, agree with Drive, which I thought had a great plot, and Tru Calling, which I thought was one of the leaders in the whole supernatural, magic powers, go back in time thing that is so popular now. I have to side with the people who mentioned Dollhouse and John Doe, as well. Both of those shows were absolutely amazing, with a good, solid cast.
Some that weren't mentioned, however, which I was highly disappointed about were Fastlane, with Peter Facinelli, Bill Bellamy, and Tiffani Thiessen, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with Thomas Dekker and Summer Glau (another Firefly alum). Why, Fox, why?
WeakvsFire on May 01, 2010:
Well the three shows you mentioned are on my list of shows I hate Fox for canceling. Would also have to include Roar which had a young Heath Ledger, John Doe, the Critic, Justice, Standoff, and Justice. Also pissed that they cancelled Dollhouse resulting in Joss Whedon having to do a rush wrap up, and Dark Angel considering the story was coming to an end anyway. Frankly a lot of the shows that end up getting the axe have suffered from the shifting schedules and serious lack of promotion. I don't even understand why anyone with a decent scifi show would go to Fox. And as to why some shows got episodes shown out of under it was most likely a decision to show an episode they thought would get an audience hooked.
I think though that in some cases like with In Living Color, Fox execs butting in can lead the demise of a show, though still boggles my mind that the show lasted only 4 years while Mad Tv took it's place and lasted up to 2009. How does that work?
Mitch Bolen from Midwest USA on January 12, 2010:
I agree, Kitchen Confidential.
How many of you remember when Fox was only on Sunday?
Emily on December 19, 2009:
Kitchen Confidential, Dark Angel...
Bonnie from Ohio, USA on November 07, 2009:
Vanished...which kinda vanished back in 2006...
blush48 from Virginia on September 25, 2009:
BRIMSTONE aired from Oct 1998-Feb 1999 and it was an excellent show! The main character (Peter Horton) was an NYC cop who died and was in hell - - until 100+ nasty people escaped from hell, so the devil sent him back to capture the escapees. It sounds like strictly fantasy, but it was also a great cop show. It also starred John Glover as the devil. The dialogue between the two of them was memorable. Many of the quotes are on the imdb.com website. For more info, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brimstone_%28TV_serie...
mads1 from Viborg, Denmark on September 25, 2009:
I Hate when they do that.
I also miss more episodes of Surface and Rome. I do not think it was FOX shows though, but still very annoying
browncoat4life on July 23, 2009:
Why oh why did they have to chose to hate Firefly? The mere 14 episodes we were left with were amazing and the show could have gone on to be even better. Instead we get them continuously renewing shows like American Idol which lost its originality in the first season
Wen on July 16, 2009:
UNDECLARED :( :(
Emma (author) from Boston on July 15, 2009:
Wow, I have never heard of Werewolf. Thanks for the tip! I will have to look it up :)
Werewolf Fan on July 15, 2009:
Nobody posted about the 1987 FOX cancelled series "WEREWOLF". It did so well in the ratings that they not only gave it a 22 episode full season run but they gave it an additional 10 episodes rounding it off at 32 episodes.... and then they cancelled it. Wat show took over its timeslot? "Married with Children" which lasted 11 seasons. I like MwC but "Werewolf" and later on "Profit" were the better programs in my opinion.
yankeedog on July 03, 2009:
"Women in Prison"!! Hilarious show with an exceptional cast...
Emma (author) from Boston on June 10, 2009:
Thanks Dilby, I've never even heard of Key West. Will have to hunt around and see if I can find any eps someplace ;)
Dilby on June 10, 2009:
Being an oldtimer, I learned to hate Fox long ago. See if you can even find a copy of a 13 episode series called Key West. (Think quirky community like Norther Exposure set in the keys.) Great stuff, gone in the haze . . .
Afonso from Lisbon on June 08, 2009:
i loved tru calling..
Emma (author) from Boston on June 08, 2009:
Thanks Teresa, :)
Sheila from The Other Bangor on June 08, 2009:
Great stuff -- lively and entertaining information, well-presented and well written (sorry, can't help sounding like I'm grading papers). Thanks!
T on February 12, 2009:
I wouldn't be so quick to diss Eliza's acting skills. Watch a season 3 episode of Buffy with Faith in it and then watch an episode of Tru Calling. Completely different person.
fox hater on December 01, 2008:
My husband and I simply won't watch anything on Fox until it has been renewed for a second season. Didn't even see a single episode of Sarah Conner Chronicles until it was released on DVD and greenlighted for S2 even though we are huge Terminator fans. We are still pissed about Drive and Firefly.
Ash on September 24, 2008:
I hate Fox, Firefly was such a great show and it just breaks my heart that Fox sabotaged it. They definitely have something against Joss and Tim Minear. Arrested Development was awesome! And so was Wonderfalls. I also liked Tru Calling. Never heard of Profit or Drive.Buffy was always on the edge of cancellation but the ratings caused Fox to give up on trying to cancel it. Same with Angel but they did cancel it in the end. Does anyone else think season 4 of Angel deteriorated when Charisma fell pregnant? Season 5 just wasn't the same without her, Harmony was no substitute. Sorry for the long ramble.
Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 26, 2008:
I learned to hate Fox years ago. At their start, their talking news heads didn't stop at bobbling at the usual and expected, instead they introduced slam, aggression, talking-over, disrespect, disregard, and plain confrontationalism.
I enjoyed your Hub because I never saw even one of these shows, but as I read your words, I realized I was missing a lot in terms of the ideas and values that are all around me today, ideas and values I don't witness in my day-to-day life.
Meanwhile, I couldn't help but make an association between Fox and IM spammers. Give it your outrageous best, but when the critical engines catch on to what you're doing, retreat and find another way. I could go into this idea more, but hey, it's your Hub, and I've taken up enough space!
So thumbs up all the way around. Great text and visuals, and an eye into a world a lot of us are blind to.