The 20 Greatest Shows Canceled By Fox Before Their Time

By Rob Bricken in Daily Lists, TV
Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:05 am
By Kevin J. Guhl

I'm going to come right out and say it; The Fox Network is the fucking devil. How many times in the last 20 years has this story repeated itself? Fox greenlights an awesome show. Many viewers love it and practically become obsessed with the show. Fox then cancels the series after a handful of episodes because the ratings did not climb fast enough for the impatient, small-minded execs at Fox. Imagine if a classic, long-running show like Seinfeld had aired on Fox (which actually almost happened) instead of another network. Seinfeld, which didn't become a ratings sensation until after a few seasons on NBC, probably would have died a quick death on Fox. Imagine the lost potential. And then think about all the great series that Fox did axe before really giving a chance to catch on and build an audience. It's heartbreaking and cruel. Fox is a god-damned cocktease. The network manages to find and purchase some of the most imaginative shows on television, and then proceeds to sentence them to a quick execution to the horror of the viewing audience. Even worse, Fox itself often sabotages its own shows by poor and erratic scheduling. Fox's sports coverage has a history of pre-empting and therefore destroying great shows. No wonder no one watched, you fucktards; they couldn't find the show! As for ratings, Fox obviously has unrealistic expectations to think that a show will succeed so immediately, especially in a day and age when there's so much competition. Why should anyone watch Fox when they obviously seem to delight in our pain? A complete list of good shows canceled by Fox would sadly be way too long, so I've narrowed it down to 20 of the best programs completely shat on by Fox. And now, a moment of silence for the (mostly) dead.

20) Strange Luck

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 17
The success of The X-Files generated a lot of shows hoping to capitalize on being weird, but Strange Luck was one that deserved more of a chance to stand out from the pack. D.B. Sweeney played a freelance photographer who was the sole survivor of a plane crash as a child and ever since then had a tendency to be around when something bad happened requiring his help.

19) John Doe

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 21
John Doe starred a character who had no idea who he was but mysteriously had full knowledge of just about everything else, and used that ability to help solve crimes while being monitored by the possibly nefarious Phoenix Organization. Before the audience could figure out who John Doe was, Fox canceled the show. The creators of John Doe have since revealed he was someone who had returned from death after coming into contact with the great universal mind that awaits us all.

18) Werewolf

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 29
If you needed verification that Fox has been abusive to television viewers since Day 1, here it is. Werewolf was part of the first Fox line-up in 1987. It told the story of Eric Cord, a man cursed with lycanthropy who traveled the country (kind of David Banner-like) while trying to find and kill the originator of his werewolf bloodline before Cord totally lost control. Interesting show, good special effects, shot with a silver bullet of course by Fox before Cord could complete his quest.

17) The Ben Stiller Show

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 12 (1 unaired)
Fox apparently didn't know what a huge future star it had in its hands with Ben Stiller, as the network barely gave this well-received and Emmy-winning sketch comedy show (which first aired a season on MTV) a chance before giving it the boot. Ben Stiller obviously did just fine for himself, and clips of the amusing impersonations that he did on the show like Bono, Captain Kirk, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Cruise live on online.

16) Profit

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 4 (4 unaired)
Maybe Fox can't take all the blame for the failure of Profit; perhaps the audience just wasn't ready for it. These days, audiences enjoy watching morally questionable main characters like Tony Soprano and Dexter. But in 1996, a main character (Adrian Pasdar of Heroes fame) that would do anything to climb the corporate ladder, even murder, was a hard sell to viewers. But still, they only got FOUR episodes to get used to the show before it was canceled? Fuck you, Fox; that's ridiculous.

15) Drive

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 4 (2 unaired)
Fox just does not like Nathan Fillion, as he starred in two shows on this list. His character in Drive was involved in an illegal cross-country race in which competitors drove muscle cars in the hopes of winning a $32 million prize - although some drivers were forced into the race. Fox canned the show just as the race got started in spite of decent viewership that was apparently not good enough for Fox's impossibly high standards. Drive managed to snag a bittersweet Emmy nomination for visual effects, though.

14) Tru Calling

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 25 (1 unaired)
The always lovely Eliza Dushku played Tru Davies, a morgue worker who speaks with the recently deceased and then finds herself 24 hours in the past with a chance to prevent those people from dying and also to repair things in her own life. As the series progressed, she met her counterpart, Jack Harper (played by Jason Priestly), who worked against her in a classic battle of fate vs. free will (preceding Lost). Before more could be revealed about the show's mysteries, Fox axed Tru Calling, even dickishly refusing to air the last episode filmed.

13) Family Guy

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 49 (1 unaired)
Whether you think the show is still hilarious or jumped the shark after its resurrection, this daring cartoon about a dysfunctional family in Rhode Island managed to do something pretty much no TV show had done before - escape the certain death of cancellation and come back in full force for several more seasons of episodes. And why did it come back? Because the DVD sales made Fox bucketloads of money. So there you go,  Fox, you were retards for playing loose and fast with Family Guy's scheduling and complete dumbasses for canceling it. Here's the proof that you do not know what the hell you're doing! Thank god the Cartoon Network has some brains and kept the show alive in re-runs during its dark days.

12) Undeclared

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 16 (1 unaired)
Fox really knows how to recognize the talent behind its shows, doesn't it? Judd Apatow's unique style of natural humor has made him a box office hit with movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad, but this funny, dramatic and mostly realistic show about college life died a quick death on Fox which, to be fair, followed the quick death of Apatow's similar show, the cult classic Freaks and Geeks, on NBC. Seth Rogen, later made famous through Apatow's movies, appeared as a regular on Undeclared.

11) Brimstone

Episodes Aired Before Fox Canceled It: 13
Brimstone had an awesome premise that was part Ghost Rider and part Highlander; NYC police detective Ezekiel Stone (Peter Horton) died and went to hell because he killed (and enjoyed doing so) the man who raped his wife. After 113 souls escaped from Hell, the Devil (played delightfully by John Glover) let Zeke return to Earth to recapture the immortal spirits in exchange for a second chance at life. Obviously, Zeke didn't get anywhere close to capturing all 113 souls before Fox, the real devil, sent him back to Hell.
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