As the new year arrives, we are beginning to wonder about the next crop of canceled TV shows. Because if this past year's crop is any indicator, we should expect bad news to start trickling in after a couple of months, striking many a critically-beloved show from the schedule.
So, we decided to take this moment for a bit of a retrospective on the shows we've lost that got universal praise. To filter that list, we've narrowed these shows down to titles with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 90% or higher. Basically, shows that got an A-, an A or an A+. And two of these shows had perfect 100% scores. But those don't pay the bills.
Made for Love
Already a decent enough show thanks to a solid premise — Hazel (Cristin Milioti) discovers her tech CEO billionaire husband has violated her privacy in shocking form — Made for Love was beloved for its performances. Milioti gets most of the praise, and that's only natural since Hazel gets to react in frustrated and shocked to everything that hubby Byron (Billy Magnussen) does. But Made for Love was also the centerpoint for the Ray Romanaissance, as everyone with HBO Max got to love Ray for his portrayal of Herbert, Hazel's dad who is in a relationship with a Real Doll.
Made for Love was canceled in June, one of the first shows to get the ax in the chaotic summer of HBO Max. Sadly, you can't stream Made for Love, because Warner Bros. Discovery's bean-couters took it off the service to save budget. Hopefully it winds up somewhere else soon.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Single mothers rarely get the spotlight in the way that the critically acclaimed (and relatively-long-airing) Better Things offered. Starring Pamela Adlon (who many met through Louie), who also served a showrunner, director, writer and executive producer, Better Things is all about the inherent difficulties of raising three kids on your own. Sam (Adlon) wants a life of her own, but she also looks after her own mother, while trying to keep her family intact. The series never strayed away from Adlon's personal brand of comedy, so viewers got every bit of the hilarious, provocative and realistic humor they expected.
Better Things' fifth season, which concluded in April, was its last. Adlon, though, spoke as if the story isn't completely over, telling Deadline "And I can’t wait for people to discover and re-discover Better Things. This is gonna be a wrap on Sam Fox (for now)."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Stream it on Hulu
Yes, you're reading that right. The Expanse was so nice that it got canceled twice. Original a Syfy series for its first three seasons, The Expanse was rescued by Prime Video, which delivered the back-half to TV. The beloved sci-fi series began with the brink of war between Earth and Mars that takes place hundreds of years in the future. Over six seasons, we saw the crew of the Rocinante involved with other interplanetary wars, personal dramas and the quest to terraform new planets.
The clues about The Expanse's future were clear when season 6 got a shorter 6-episode run from Amazon and Alcon Television. The upside? At least The Expanse got to run through to the end of the sixth book of Corey's run. That said, a seventh book does exist — though it's 30 years into the future. Season 6 ended in January, but authors James S. A. Corey interpreted this decision as more of a pause.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Stream it on Prime Video
In April, news broke that Netflix was canceling Raising Dion, and it was a bit of a surprise. Not because of its overall 91% Rotten Tomatoes score, but because it was popular enough to reach the top of Netflix's U.S. Top 10 charts.
Raising Dion follows 10-year-old Dion Warren (Ja’Siah Young), who was gaining superhero-like abilities, such as teleportation and radiating energy from his hands. A mystery-box story format involved the unexplained death of his father (played by Michael B. Jordan, who served as executive producer), Raising Dion felt like it had potential to go many more seasons. Earning praise for being a superhero series that actually feels relatable, and made for families.
Genre: Super hero
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Stream it on Netflix
The Baby-Sitters Club
Some of the most-frustrating cancelations happen to the shows that got the rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Baby-Sitter's Club, canceled in March, isn't just one of those series, but we also awarded it the title of being one of the best Netflix shows. Beloved for reviving the spirit of the original book series — without being cloying or mushy — The Baby-Sitter's Club got two years to modernize the story of friends who start a babysitting service. Except this time they have social media and smartphones.
Applauded for the chemistry its main cast shares, and how cleverly the series updated its premise for modern times, The Baby-Sitter's Club felt like a show that Netflix would keep for at least a few more years.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Stream it on Netflix
Gentefied arrived with seemingly good momentum. Not only was it produced by America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), a name that draws eyes, but it was beloved by critics earning a 92% score on RT for its first outing. Over two seasons, Gentefied told the story of a trio of Mexican American cousins living in Boyle Heights, a Los Angeles neighborhood. Through the series, we saw the pressing topics of gentrification, familial separation and border laws through its lens.
And while Gentefied may have been a hit with critics, this cancelation may have led some to believe it had trouble finding enough of an audience to survive. But maybe it wasn't about bad viewer numbers, because after Netflix canceled Gentefied in February, co-showrunner Linda Yvette Chávez thanked the series "millions" of fans, and noted "Metrics and algorithms," she writes, "will never measure the true impact of what we did here."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Stream it on Netflix
The Big Leap
Another member of the 100%'ers club, The Big Leap fell hard after its first season on Fox. Because while its premise seemed right up Fox's alleyway — the drama followed a whole cast of reality TV show contestants pursuing their dreams — it got the ax this March (three months after it aired its final episode).
Originally internally hyped at Fox for its similarities to Glee, The Big Leap also featured two relatively big names at the top of the marquee: Scott Foley (Felicity) and Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly). Foley won praise for the constant scene-chewing in his performance as a producer that was manipulating things constantly.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Genre: Comedic drama
Buy on Amazon Prime Video
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.