Old Shows To Watch, Ended Or Just Cancelled?

I’ve gotten burned a few times watching an older series that was cancelled without the writers being able to wrap things up. Situations tends to vary when shows end. Ideally, it’s a totally planned ending (Lost, TNG). Sometimes the writers know ahead of time that a certain season will be their last so they can wrap things up (Eureka?). Or they find out at the last minute, but still manage to add in some closure, even if just in the last episode (Caprica). And other times, shows are just cancelled unexpectedly, and are left with cliffhangers, and major storylines left unresolved. I generally hate spoilers, so it’s difficult to google why a series ended without coming across major plot spoilers.

I’ve got just a few shows I’m interested in watching soon, but i think this could develop into a valuable resource. So… of the following shows, I would like to know if they get cancelled or did they come to a planned end. If cancelled, did the writers have a chance to wrap it up?


Just say “cancelled” or “ended”, then a few words about the plot closure… “wrapped up”, “kinda”, “not at all”. It’s ok to say things like ‘cancelled due to low ratings’, or ‘too expensive’, ‘major cast member moved on’.

Just remember, the people reading this haven’t seen the shows we’re talking about, so no bitching about HOW it ended. Feel free to add a “(debatable)” or similar if there’s still a lot of open debate regarding if things were properly wrapped up.

I’ll start us off with a few:
ST: TNG (7 season) - planned ending. wrapped up.
Lost (6 season) - planned ending. wrapped up (debatable)
Caprica (2 seasons) - cancelled, season wrapped up naturally, series quickly wrapped up in last minutes
Carnivale (2 seasons) - cancelled, season kinda wrapped up, but major plot still unresolved and cliffhangers left
Heroes (4 seasons) - cancelled, last season wrapped up, new cliffhanger left unresolved

The few I’m currently interested in:

4400 (4 seasons) -
Jeremiah (2 seasons) -


Dollhouse (two seasons) – wrapped up in the next to last episode; the final one (broadcast) starts a new arc.

Pushing Daisies (2 seasons) – cancelled, but they shot a couple of scenes that gave it an ending.

ST: DS9 (7 season) - planned ending. wrapped up. Unlike earlier Treks, this show had fairly involved story arcs, so the fact that they didn’t get cancelled suddenly was important.

Rome (2 seasons) - Was decided during the second season that a planned third season wasn’t going to happen. But the writers found out early enough to plan out the ending and bring it to a satisfying close, though the last few episodes were a little rushed so that the characters could get to the point in history they wanted to end on.

I think the final season finale is considered to be a cliff-hanger, in that it dramatically changes the status quo of the series. However, it also served as a good wrap-up to many of the storylines and gave hints of what the future might hold for the characters… which is kind of what a series finale is supposed to do.

So I found it a satisfying finale. But I was also more intrigued by the premise of the cliff-hanger changes than I’d been of the original series premise, so the cancellation was a bit of a downer.

Wonderfalls - 13 episodes shot, 4 shown on Fox in 2004, wrapped up (kinda).

I thought House wrapped up satisfactorily.

I loved Wonderfalls and own the series on DVD. It really got cheated, but it was too unusual and quirky for mainstream viewers. Maybe it was ahead of its time?

**Dead Like Me was canceled after two seasons, but ended at a good stopping point. It feels complete.
Joan of Arcadia
was canceled after two seasons. Executive Meddling totally screwed up the second season, and the abrupt ending left a dozen major plot lines hanging.

Two of my favorites, My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks ended unceremoniously with everything hanging (Freaks, less so) but are both well-worth watching.

Good idea for a thread.

I still get pissed off about Firefly’s cancellation (TV show abruptly cancelled with almost all plot threads left hanging but was mostly satisfactorily wrapped up in the followup movie Serenity).

Due to this, I rarely watch many series in real time anymore. My tastes tend towards quirky, genre-based shows so there’s way too much chance of getting burned by sudden cancellation (Firefly) or creative burnout (X-Files, Heroes). I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Fringe.

I watched the 1st season earlier this spring and thoroughly enjoyed it and I was planning on starting the 2nd season soon. Should I just stop at the penultimate episode or be a completist and watch it all?

Oldies but goodies.

Sports Night had 2 seasons and it looked like there was to be third, but it didn’t happen.

The West Wing went 7 seasons. season 5 and part of season 6 sucked, but 7 was strong. And the last episode was a perfect conclusion. I would have loved another administration but oh well.

Hard to say. The penultimate episode wraps everything up – with a kicker. Then it goes on to show a single scene that dramatizes the kicker (and which is gratuitous). The final episode then goes to elaborate from there. But the kicker was the perfect place to end the show (especially since Whedon probably knew it would be cancelled).

It won’t hurt to watch the final episode, but it is unnecessary.

There was a follow-up movie too, Dead Like Me: Life After Death, worth watching, but it didn’t seem to add much…

Married with Children: the show had gone downhill fast during its final season. The final episode did kind of wrap some things up, but not all of them. It was obvious that the episode was very hastily thrown together, and it was just awful.

Married with Children did not know they were not being renewed until well after the episode was shot. But it isn’t like there were any ongoing plot threads. Each episode (with the rare exception of a two or three episode arc) was stand alone.

Journeyman. Cancelled, wrapped up.
New Amsterdam. Cancelled, wrapped up (mostly).

The movie was (a) totally unnecessary, (b) didn’t have Mandy Patinken or Laura Harris, and (c) sucked.

Paging Seven Bundy… Seven Bundy, please pick up the white courtesy phone…

Seven was pretty abominable, but at least the producers had the good sense to fire his ass after one season.

Caprica only had 1 season.

I don’t agree at all with the assessment of Dollhouse. The final episode of season 2 was the wrap up, it followed directly from the bonus DVD only episode from season 1 and by the end that was that.