It’s the circle of life: New TV shows are born, old TV shows get canceled (either before their time or at a natural ending point). This year seems to have more than its usual share of big TV series cancellations, with long-running favorites like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, NCIS: New Orleans, Shameless and The Walking Dead embarking on their final seasons.
And more TV shows keep getting canceled — MacGyver is the latest victim of the axe. The pandemic can be blamed for some of the more gut-wrenching cancellations, like GLOW (sob) which was supposed to get a fourth and final season before the lockdown prompted Netflix to change its mind. NCIS season 19, though is actually still happening, as we just learned.
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But other shows are ending because their creators planned it this way. Issa Rae will shepherd Insecure to an undoubtedly satisfying series finale, while Liz Feldman took a page from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s book to close out Dead to Me.
Here are the 16 biggest TV shows that have been canceled or are ending in 2021.
NBC announced in February that it’s closing the book on the cop comedy, which stars Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews and more as detectives at the 99th Precinct in Brooklyn. The final installment will air sometime during the 2021-22 television season.
Dead to Me
Creator Liz Feldman’s decision to end her Netflix show after three seasons was inspired by the short run of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. It “felt like the right amount,” she told Deadline. Stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini will return to wrap up the story of two friends brought together by murder.
Zoya the Destroyer, Liberty Belle and the rest of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling aren’t getting a last bow. While Netflix renewed the dramedy for a fourth and final season, the streamer reversed the decision due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, productions have restarted, so come on, Netflix — who do we have to powerbomb to get some proper closure?
Issa Rae started her HBO comedy on her own terms, and she’s ending it that way, too. “We always planned to tell this story through five seasons,” Rae said when HBO announced the show was coming to an end. The last outing for Issa, Molly, Lawrence and crew will air sometime in late 2021.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
E! has aired the antics of Klan Kardashian since 2007 (!), including all of their sibling tiffs, roller coaster romantic relationships and the introduction of the next generation. Now, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kris, Kyle and Kendall (and uh, Rob) are taking their business to Hulu, no doubt for a huge paycheck. The Kardashians are many things, but they know how to sell their brand. The big question is how much Kanye and Kim's road to divorce will make it to tape.
Lucifer has come back from the dead so many times, it’s easy not to believe that the sixth season is the end. The show was canceled by Fox, saved by Netflix, canceled by Netflix after season 5 and then un-canceled for one more hurrah. But this time, everyone swears this is the “FINAL final” season. With filming already completed, fans could get their last devilish delight by the end of 2021.
CBS is canceling more shows than ever, including Mom (see below) and the MacGyver reboot starring Lucas Till. The latter became the subject of controversy last year when the network fired executive producer Peter Lenkov for creating a toxic work environment; Till himself talked publicly about enduring verbal abuse, bullying, and body-shaming on the set. It looks no amount of MacGyver-ing could fix those problems and the show will end with its fifth season.
The writing was on the wall when Anna Faris left the sitcom last year, but CBS made Mom’s cancellation official in February. Still, Emmy winner Allison Janney told James Corden she wishes the writers had “more time to ramp up to the ending.” Comedy impresario Chuck Lorre himself penned the series finale, which airs May 13.
NCIS: New Orleans
While it feels like all of the NCIS shows could go on and on forever, even they are not immortal. After experiencing dwindling ratings, CBS decided to close the New Orleans outpost (and move on to a more tropical location with NCIS: Hawaii). Scott Bakula and team will say goodbye and let the good times roll one last time on May 23.
The award-winning crime drama will conclude with a super-sized season, which “means super sized problems for the Byrdes,” according to star Jason Bateman. Ozark season 4 will have 14 episodes split into two halves; the first batch has already completed filming and is expected to drop on Netflix in late 2021.
Goodbye, Gallaghers, you had a great run. Life will go on for Frank, Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl, etc. but the edgy, foul-mouthed family dramedy will close the curtains on April 11. We’ll miss William H. Macy pontificating Frank’s drunk but erudite soliloquies, and hope Emmy Rossum makes an appearance as Fiona in the series finale.
Supergirl is taking her final flight on The CW. The show starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El is packing the cape in after six seasons (one of which aired on CBS). Benoist has promised that fans will get a “great ending,” while co-showrunner Jessica Queller says it will be “emotional” and feature plenty of familiar faces.
The underrated workplace comedy, set in a big box retail store, was just as funny and observant as iconic NBC shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation. The writers’ approach to incorporating the coronavirus pandemic was truly genius stuff. The series finale, which aired on March 25, brought back America Ferrera for a final arc that was sweet and satisfying.
The Walking Dead
Who else thought that AMC’s drama, like the zombies that populate it, would never die? Until its middle years, The Walking Dead was a massive hit that went on to spawn two spinoffs and possible more. But more and more cast members have left (including star Andrew Lincoln) and ratings have fallen. For everything there is a final season and the time has come for this one-time behemoth, with The Walking Dead season 11 being its last run.
The gun-toting great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp is going out in style. The series finale, which airs April 9, is “the most heart-filled episode from start to finish that I’ve ever seen,” star Melanie Scrofano told TV Insider. That includes a much-anticipated wedding, some witchy shenanigans and a possible reunion between the titular character and vampire-no-more Doc Holliday.
The comedy has departed its home, TV Land, for the new environs of Paramount Plus. But the antics — and clothes — are just as wacky as ever. Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) isn’t pretending to be a millennial anymore, but her work and love lives are as complicated as ever. The first four of the last 12 episodes will premiere April 15.
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