Who doesn’t love settling down on the couch to watch a light-hearted romantic comedy in 22-minute segments? Well, apparently, pretty much every major TV network boss.
It’s nothing new for shows to be cancelled before their time, but some of the most egregious cancellations fall under the category of romantic comedies.
I’m taking a walk down memory lane and reminiscing over some of the worst heartbreaks I’ve ever had (yes, between me and TV) with this list of the ten greatest romantic comedy TV shows that ended way too soon.
Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
This early aughts show follows Ned (Lee Pace), a pie-maker with the ability to bring people back from the dead with only his touch. He can also bring fruit back to life, hence the successful pie business. There’s a caveat, though: once he brings someone back to life, he can never touch them again.
Sure, I guess you could call Pushing Daisies a dram-com (dramatic romantic comedy), thanks to the murder cases Ned often solves with his “gift,” but the heart of the story is the love between Ned and Chuck (Anna Friel), his childhood friend and crush whom he brings back to life after an unfortunate accident.
It pains me that we never got to see how this story played out. Chuck and Ned’s forbidden romance only got two seasons on ABC, although the series was nominated for seventeen Emmy Awards during its short run. The show is whimsical, colorful, and dreamy, and definitely worth a rewatch.
A To Z (2014-2015)
This show tells the story of Andrew and Zelda (Get it??? A to Z???) and the timeline of their relationship. NBC cancelled the series in the middle of its first season, however, so we only ever get to see their timeline from about A to M.
While A to Z didn’t necessarily do anything groundbreaking, it was fun to watch and included great character work from Superstore actor Ben Feldman and co-star Cristin Milioti (of How I Met Your Mother fame).
This sitcom starring John Cho and Karen Gillan was handed a similar fate when it was cancelled mid-season, despite fan support and overall positive reviews.
Selfie is loosely based on My Fair Lady, a reference that seems to have gone over the heads of the execs at ABC. The show was pulled off the air, and the remaining episodes premiered on Hulu.
This one may have been ahead of its time. The social-media crazed Eliza would make much more sense with a 2022 audience, but there’s no denying the chemistry and talent of John Cho and Karen Gillam, who’ve both seen huge success in the years since Selfie’s cancellation.
Happy Endings (2011-2013)
Here we go again, ABC. Happy Endings was canned after only three seasons, despite having all the makings of a buddy-rom-com hit like New Girl or Friends — in fact, the show even jokes about its similarities to Friends. The charismatic cast included Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, and Casey Wilson, portraying a group of best friends living in Chicago.
Happy Endings is the perfect example of a show that was written off before it had the chance to realize its full potential. The series was dragged all around to many of ABC’s time slots before meeting its untimely demise in 2013.
The Last Man On Earth (2015-2018)
Will Forte and Kristen Schaal led this post-apocalyptic rom-com about the aftermath of a deadly virus that wiped out most of the human population. Guys, I swear in 2015 that seemed like such a stretch.
Phil (Will Forte) is of course not the last man on earth, which he discovers thanks to the help of Carol (Kristen Schaal). The series devolves into absurdity as the remaining survivors try to rebuild a makeshift society.
The Last Man On Earth made it through four seasons (more than many of the shows on this list) but was cancelled before the show’s creators could carry out their full vision.
Depicting the lives of a group of gay friends living in San Francisco, Looking starred Johnathan Groff as Patrick, a 29-year old man dealing with the challenges of love, friendship, family, and self-identity.
Looking has been called the “gay version of Sex and the City,” which is a misleading introduction to the premise of the show and probably played a factor in it’s poor viewership. In reality, Looking was more similar to The L Word in the sense that it portrayed the everyday lives of queer people without the gimmicks and stereotypes a Sex and the City audience would expect.
Looking was cancelled after only two seasons, but Looking: The Movie was released on HBO in 2016 and served as the finale to the story.
Sirens was a match made in heaven: workplace comedy meets rom-com. This series followed three EMTs on their day-to-day adventures working in Chicago.
Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, and Kevin Bigley starred as EMTs Johnny, Hank, and Brian, respectively, with supporting help from Jessica McNamee as Johnny’s police officer ex-girlfriend and Josh Segarra as her new partner.
The show perfectly blended workplace humor, relationships, and medical comedy in a way I’ve never seen before — with a name like Sirens, you’d half expect the show to be a procedural drama about 911 operators. But, Sirens is hilarious and heartfelt, and definitely did not deserve to be axed by USA after only two seasons.
Starring Pete Holmes as a fictional version of himself, Crashing tells the story of an aspiring stand-up comedian whose world is flipped upside down when his wife (Lauren Lapkus) cheats on him.
While Pete's progression as a comedian is a very important part of the story, his journey of self-discovery is even more meaningful. Pete stumbles through finding himself outside of his conservative Christian upbringing and re-entering the dating pool as a newly single man.
One of the best parts of the comedy is Pete's relationship with Ali (Jamie Lee), a fellow comedian, although their relationship hits a roadblock at the end of season two when they argue after competing in a roast battle.
Crashing was cancelled after only three seasons, unfortunately forcing the show's writers to bring Pete and Ali's relationship to a rushed conclusion. The two end up together, but, had the show gotten a fourth season, we could have seen this progress in a way that made more sense.
Miss Guided (2008)
Miss Guided ran for less than a month in 2008 on — you guessed it — ABC. The show followed Becky, a high school guidance counselor working at the same school she graduated from.
Becky (Judy Greer) finds herself trapped again in high-school drama, including crushes, bullies, and teachers from her own days as a student. Greer is lovable and endearing in this show as the quirky and awkward Becky.
Miss Guided might have had a different fate if not for the 2007-2008 writers’ strike, but regardless, the show came to an end after only seven episodes. It’s truly painful that this laugh-out-loud comedy didn’t have the chance to prove itself.
New Girl (2011-2018)
I know what you’re thinking—New Girl had a respectable run, right? I disagree.
Fox executives made the decision to cancel the show after six seasons, without giving the writers and actors the proper opportunity to bring the story to a meaningful conclusion. Thanks to pleas from the cast and fans—notably, Jake Johnson’s letter to Fox asking for a final season—the show returned for Season 7.
Here’s the thing: since the show’s cancellation, New Girl has arguably become one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. While this is likely thanks in part to the binge-watching that occurred around the world during the pandemic, New Girl has been resurrected as a show people can’t get enough of.
While the final season of New Girl definitely served as a satisfying conclusion, I think there was still more story to tell here. After seven seasons of Nick and Jess’ will they/won’t they, we deserved more time to watch how their relationship could grow.
It can be hard to commit to TV shows knowing they might be stolen away from you at any moment. Find peace in knowing that when you rewatch these shows now, you'll at least know when the abrupt end is near.
She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.
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