It’s that time of the year when the big U.S networks decide which of their TV offerings will be renewed for further seasons and which will inevitably make their way to the graveyard. Undoubtedly, the biggest news story this year was Fox’s axing of the popular comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and its eleventh hour rescue courtesy of NBC, but which shows were not so lucky? Here we count down the top 5 biggest casualties of this years renewal season.
Fox themselves have declared the loss of Lucifer to be a “ratings based decision” and with a reported 50% drop in viewers it’s hard to argue that the Tom Ellis-fronted drama was capable of either maintaining it’s current viewership or attracting new ones. In addition to this, it received very mixed reviews from critics and, despite critical reception increasing during its latest run-out, its position became increasingly under threat from some of Fox’s newest dramas and resulted in its cancellation. Fans of the show have not responded well to the news and have set up several petitions and social media campaigns to try and save the show from the axe; probably baited by the show-runner’s announcement that they deliberately left the season finale on a cliffhanger in order to deter Fox from cancellation – a tactic that definitely backfired.
Serving as a prequel for the popular film trilogy, Taken found it’s own run ended after only two seasons. Haemorrhaging viewers, Taken rates as NBC’s lowest rated drama and even a cast overhaul just before the broadcast of the second season couldn’t save the show from the axe. Starring Clive Standen as a younger version of Liam Neeson’s protagonist, the show always struggled to firmly establish itself from its source and wasn’t reviewed all that positively by critics even when revamped after a poorly received first season. Despite NBC being fairly conservative when it came to cancelling this year, it’s hard to argue with the network’s rationale on this one.
The first of an ABC 1-2-3, Quantico, at its launch, became the first American drama series to have a South Asian star as its lead. However this act of diversity was clearly not enough to save it despite fairly consistent critical approval and praise for the performance of the lead, Priyanka Chopra. As it often the case, it was a fall of viewers that lined up the nails across Quantico’s coffin and, enjoying a 70% drop since its first season, the writing was perhaps on the wall when a shorter episode count for its third season was commissioned last year. Nevertheless, the loss of Quantico will be felt both as a force for greater diversity on network TV and as a solid action-based drama.
2. Marvel’s Inhumans
After the success of the majority of the Netflix based Marvel shows (sorry Iron Fist), Marvel pulled out all of the stops for its newest comics-based offering. Originally pencilled in as part of Marvel’s Phase 3 film slate, Inhumans was slyly taken off the official schedule (possibly to make way for the far superior Spider-Man: Homecoming) and began to develop into in a TV show. Filmed with special IMAX cameras and assembling a solid cast, there was plenty of hype heading into its debut last September so one has to ask; where did it go wrong? The answer: it simply wasn’t good. Featuring frankly bizarre accents, a confusing plot-line and an emphasis on the mundane, it is perhaps no shock that ABC decided to produce no more of the troubled show and is perhaps further proof that for all of Marvel’s film successes, it still lags behind DC Comics when it comes to producing successful TV shows.
1. Designated Survivor
Arguably the biggest casualty of this year’s cancellations is Kiefer Sutherland’s Designated Survivor. Acting as his first appearance in a network TV show since 24, the show follows the aftermath of a terrorist attack that wipes out the entire American government and was well received during its first run. Whilst the second season suffered a bit in terms of plot and pacing (something exemplified by its continually dropping ratings), it was still a solid political drama and was personally the only entry on this list that I was surprised by its cancellation. Featuring a solid cast and a likeable turn by Sutherland, it is unfortunate that Designated Survivor finds itself in the TV graveyard come the end of its second, and now final, season.