28 TV shows that were canceled and never got the closure they deserved

"GLOW" was renewed, only for Netflix to reverse its decision and cancel the show.Netflix
  • Not all shows can be hits — those that aren't usually end up canceled.

  • As a result, some shows end on brutal cliffhangers, such as "No Tomorrow" and "My Name Is Earl."

  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for many different TV shows.

Now shows like "Ted Lasso" and "Succession" have come to an end, it's worth it to take a look at some of the all-time most unsatisfying conclusions on TV.

Some shows like "The Society" and "Pitch" were only given one season to find their audiences, and, when they didn't, were canceled on huge cliffhangers.

Keep scrolling to read about some TV shows we still think deserve better than what they got.

We'll never know if Ruth rejoins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling in "GLOW," which aired on Netflix from 2017 to 2019.

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Alison Brie as Ruth.Netflix

"GLOW," a drama set in the over-the-top world of '80s women's wrestling, wasn't a smash hit for Netflix, but it had a very dedicated fan base who were distraught when it was canceled in October 2020, over a year after it had been renewed. According to Deadline, the COVID-19 pandemic made returning to filming logistically impossible, and, instead of delaying further, the streamer decided to cancel it instead.

The third season ended with Ruth, the main character, deciding to leave Las Vegas and get on a plane, without giving a definite answer if she'd return to film another season of "GLOW," the in-universe show that the characters starred in.

With a large ensemble, there were plenty of unresolved plots that a fourth season would've tied up, but fans won't get to see them.

Katy Keene confronted the man who might be her father in the series finale of "Katy Keene."

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Lucy Hale as Katy Keene.The CW

"Katy Keene" was a spin-off of "Riverdale" that only lasted one season from February to May 2020, before getting canceled in July 2020, as TVLine reported.

It followed aspiring fashion designer Katy Keene and her group of friends who were all trying to make it in New York City, including "Riverdale" character Josie McCoy, of Josie and the Pussycat Dolls.

Throughout the season, Katy's late mother is mentioned frequently and seen in flashbacks, but one of the great mysteries of her life is the identity of her father. At the end of the finale, Katy meets Leo Lacy, the son of Katy's boss — and potentially her father?

Unfortunately, the show was canceled and Katy's parentage remains a mystery.

The 2019 series "The Society" was canceled after just one season by Netflix, failing to answer the big question: What happened to the residents of West Ham?

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Kathryn Newton as Allie.Netflix

In "The Society," a group of high schoolers return from a field trip to find their town has vanished into thin air, including their parents and the rest of their families. They also discover a dense forest has surrounded the town, and the outside world has seemingly ceased to exist.

While most of the season revolves around a "Lord of the Flies"-esque story of the teens trying to build a society, there's a running background mystery of what, exactly, is going on. The first (and only) season finale seems to imply the kids are in a parallel universe of some kind — we see the "real" West Ham, with a group of schoolchildren reading a plaque with the names of the missing teenagers.

The show was originally renewed for a second season in 2019, but, due to the pandemic, it wound up getting canceled in 2020, as Deadline reported.

"Prodigal Son" ended with Bright stabbing his father, but it's unclear whether he survived.

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Tom Payne and Michael Sheen as Malcolm Bright and Martin.Fox

"Prodigal Son," which lasted from 2019 to 2021, was about Malcolm Bright, a former FBI profiler turned NYPD consultant, who brought some special firsthand knowledge to his job — his father, Martin, is a serial killer known as the Surgeon who killed 23 people. The show saw Bright lean on his father for help understanding the minds of the murderers he profiles.

At the end of season two, Martin saves his son's life, only to turn on him in the end and attempt to kill him, but Bright, who had always been afraid of killing someone, stabbed his father first.

Fox canceled the series before the finale aired in May 2021, so we may never know what happened to Martin.

At the end of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," it seemed Zoey's musical gift had transferred to Max, but we may never know why.

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Jane Levy as Zoey.Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

"Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," which aired from January 2020 to May 2021, followed Zoey, a programmer who, after an accident involving an MRI machine and an earthquake, can hear people's innermost thoughts via song. Throughout two seasons, Zoey learned secrets she didn't want to know due to this "gift," and she had to deal with the consequences.

In the series finale, it's revealed that Zoey's musical gift had transferred to her best friend/boyfriend Max — he finally hears her sing a song to him for the first time.

Unfortunately, "ZEP" was canceled soon after season two concluded. This was a shock, according to star Jane Levy, who told Vanity Fair she kept all her stuff in storage in Canada (where the show films), because "I was like, 'Of course we're coming back.'"

"Last Friday it seemed like it was a green light," said Ley. "And then Monday morning it was a red light."

The sudden cancellation left viewers to speculate what it meant for Max to hear Zoey's heart song.

A wrap-up holiday film was released on The Roku Channel in December 2021, but it didn't really conclude the story, and the explanation given for why Max got powers (to learn ... empathy?) was silly.

"Pitch" was canceled after a critically acclaimed (but low-rated) first season that aired in 2016, leaving viewers to wonder what happened to Ginny, her relationship with Mike, and her potential injury.

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Mark Paul Gosselaar and Kylie Bunbury as Mike and Ginny.Fox Network

"Pitch," the story of the first female pitcher in the MLB, has a stellar 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and was loved by critics. Unfortunately, it couldn't find its audience, and executive producer Kevin Falls announced its cancellation in May 2017 on X (formerly known as Twitter), a few months after the first season had wrapped.

For fans, this couldn't have come at a worse time.

The season finale's last shot was of Ginny, the pitcher, entering an MRI machine after pitching a no-hitter and potentially injuring her elbow. Plus, Ginny and her will-they-or-won't-they relationship with Mike, the team's catcher, was also teetering toward a they-will by the end of the season — too bad we'll never know.

"No Tomorrow" ended with Xavier, an apocalypse truther, finally being taken seriously and announcing to the world that an asteroid was on course to collide with Earth ... and then it was canceled.

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Joshua Sasse and Tori Anderson as Xavier and Evie.The CW Network

"No Tomorrow" aired on The CW in 2016 and 2017. It was about a girl (Evie) who met a guy (Xavier) who believed the world was going to end in eight months and 12 days. They fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their "remaining" months together, checking items off their "apoca-lists." Hijinks ensue.

The first (and only) season of "No Tomorrow" ended with Xavier being proven right by NASA and moving to Washington, DC, to save the world, while Evie meets a cute doctor.

Obviously, the end of the world is a ridiculously huge cliffhanger, and The CW broke a lot of hearts when they canceled the show in May 2017, even though they did end up releasing a three-minute epilogue tying up some loose ends.

"The Family" had more than a few twists and turns in its 12 episodes across March, April, and May 2016 — and the finale was no different.

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The titular Warren family.ABC Studios

"The Family" examines what happens to the Warren family after one of their kids is kidnapped and then returns years later.

Of course, the show became much more complicated when it was revealed that Adam, the miraculously returned son, wasn't Adam at all, but a different missing boy named Ben. And that wasn't even the finale.

The finale set up two big cliffhangers back in May 2016. First, the real Adam, who had been presumed dead, was revealed to actually be alive and well (and understandably angry at Ben).

Second, Willa, the morally dubious daughter of the Warren clan, murdered a journalist named Bridey because she was going to release all the dirt she had on her family. Plus, Bridey had been sleeping with Willa and Willa's brother, Danny. Too much drama, perhaps?

However, it was canceled the day after the finale aired.

"Finding Carter" ended with a beloved character confessing to murder, while another was left badly beaten on the side of a road.

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Kathryn Prescott and Alex Saxon as Carter and Max.MTV

"Finding Carter" started as a show about a girl, Carter, who discovered that the woman she believed was her mother was actually her kidnapper.

Over the show's two seasons in 2014 and 2015, it evolved into a web of relationships, secrets, and lies, which is why it was so disappointing when the show got axed in January 2016.

The second season's (and the series') finale ended with Max, Carter's best friend, confessing to killing Carter's abusive ex-boyfriend, Jared. And if that wasn't enough drama, the finale also left Carter's brother, Ben, beaten up on the side of the road by a drug dealer named Rick after Ben had agreed to testify against Rick in court.

"The Whispers" ended with the show's main character sacrificing herself to aliens to save her son (yes, really).

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Lily Rabe and Milo Ventimiglia as Claire and Sean Bennigan.American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

"The Whispers" was marketed as a show about kids and their not-so-imaginary friends, but it evolved into a conspiracy theory-heavy, alien-invasion drama.

The show's sole season ended in August 2015 with the main character, Claire, sacrificing herself to the aliens to save her son, Henry, from being zapped into dust ... or maybe she was transported to the alien's ship. We'll never know, because ABC canceled the show in October 2015, soon after its finale aired.

"Chasing Life" ended with its main character traveling to Italy ... to die.

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Italia Ricci as April.ABC Family

"Chasing Life," which was on the air from June 2014 to September 2015, was about a leukemia diagnosis: It followed April's battle with cancer, her attempt not to let it affect her career and personal life, and how it impacted the rest of her family.

The show's second and final season was emotional, with April's new husband, Leo, dying in his sleep soon after their wedding and April finding out that her cancer had returned.

In the show's finale, April is told that the clinical trial she is participating in has been ineffective and that she could try chemotherapy and other avenues of treatment, but that they might not work. So April decides to move to Italy and live out the rest of her days drug-free. And that's it! It was canceled the next month.

Executive Producer Patrick Sean Smith told TVLine the creative team behind "Chasing Life" had hoped for a third season, but when that didn't materialize, the producers asked to "wrap everything up in a two-hour movie or in a couple of episodes," but that didn't happen either.

"Southland" faded to black and left its main character's fate in question after a fellow police officer mistakenly shot him.

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Michael Cudlitz as Officer John Cooper.TNT

"Southland" had a difficult journey: NBC renewed it for a second season in 2009, and then, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the network rescinded its renewal and canceled the show after producing six episodes.

TNT then bought it and renewed the show until its fifth season in April 2013. That season ended with Officer Cooper getting into a physical altercation with his neighbors.

During the fight, the police show up and mistakenly take Cooper as an aggressor, shooting him twice. And then it ended, without viewers knowing if Cooper would survive or not.

"TNT has made the difficult decision not to renew 'Southland' for another season. We are enormously proud of 'Southland,' which stands as one of the best police dramas ever made," the network said in a statement to Deadline in May 2013.

"Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (1993 to 1997), ended with Lois and Clark receiving a mysterious Kryptonian baby from a time traveler.

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Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as Clark and Lois.Warner Bros. Television

"Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" was the defining version of Superman for many '90s kids.

However, the show's fourth season was running out of tension once Lois and Clark finally stopped dancing around each other and got married.

The fourth season finale's 1997 cliffhanger, in which Lois and Clark find a baby in their basement with a note claiming it belongs to them, wasn't supposed to be a series finale. In an interview given to the "Superman" fansite Kryptonsite in 2003, writer Brad Bucker spoke about a fifth season the show's writing team had planned.

"Bored to Death" had one big twist in its finale: The main character's girlfriend, Rose, turned out to be his half-sister.

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Zach Galifianakis and Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan and Ray.HBO

"Bored to Death's" premise — a struggling writer who moonlights as a private investigator — lent itself to many ridiculous scenes, only made more hilarious by its all-star cast, which included Ted Danson, Patton Oswalt, and Kristen Wiig. It was on HBO from September 2009 to November 2011.

The show's final season ended with Jonathan, the struggling writer/private investigator, finally finding his dad (a sperm donor) and discovering that his father is also the father of his girlfriend, Rose, played by Isla Fisher.

Audiences thought he would come clean about their shared heritage, but instead, Jonathan keeps it a secret and kisses her. Roll the credits — and cue a cancellation that December.

Creator Jonathan Ames told Vulture that he was in a "numb state" after the cancellation news and that he had plans on how to resolve the show's various plotlines, but never got the chance.

"Flashforward's" inventive premise of characters seeing six months into the future wasn't sustainable in the long run. It was canceled after one season airing in 2009 and 2010, but not before blowing up a building with a main character inside.

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Joseph Fiennes as Mark.American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

The "Flashforward" series finale in May 2010 had characters see years into their own futures instead of six months.

During this flash-forward, Mark, one of the show's protagonists, sees himself inside the FBI headquarters as it explodes, potentially killing him. Or maybe he lived. We'll never know, since the show was canceled that month.

In 2015, Robert J. Sawyer, the author of the 1999 novel that the show was based on and a writer on the TV series, shared a memo on his blog he'd written in 2010 that was sent to the writers of "Flashforward."

It detailed his plans for a potential second season, and explained how he thought "Flashforward" could stand to be more like "Lost." But the network didn't pick up the show, and these plans were never put into action.

"Joan of Arcadia" was canceled right as it was implied that Joan's journey was just beginning and that the first two seasons had only been preparing her for the real fight.

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Amber Tamblyn and Hilary Duff as Joan and Dylan.CBS

The first two seasons of "Joan of Arcadia," airing from September 2003 to April 2005, saw Joan communicating with God and doing his bidding to better herself and the world around her, though viewers never really knew why she could communicate with God or what the end goal was.

That all changed with the second-season finale when God informed Joan he had been training her to fight a battle against someone who could also speak to God but was using their powers for evil.

Too bad the show was canceled in May 2005, and viewers were left wondering, "What if God was one of us?"

"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" took place four years after the events of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." It followed Sarah and John Connor attempting to stop the creation of the destructive SkyNet, and aired from January 2008 to April 2009.

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Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker as Sarah and John Connor.20th Century Fox Television

A huge plot point for all of the "Terminator" movies is that John Connor is the chosen one who will defeat the evil software SkyNet.

So fans were understandably shocked when season two of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" ended in April 2009 with John traveling to a future where no one seems to know who he is.

Even more shocking? The show was canceled in May 2009, and viewers were left wondering what exactly happened in the past to change the future and wipe John from existence.

"Sliders" ended with the show's last remaining character injecting himself with a virus and "sliding" into a parallel universe.

Cleavant Derricks and Kari Wuhrer as Rembrandt and Maggie.Fox Network

The concept of "Sliders" (which aired March 1995 to February 2000), is a bit complicated. In every episode, the titular Sliders would "slide" into a new parallel universe, encountering alternate versions of themselves, aliens, and other wacky circumstances.

In the show's final episode, the only original Slider left — Rembrandt, a former singer with no scientific background — injects himself with a virus that would destroy the show's main antagonists, the Kromaggs (a type of alien).

The show ended with a virus-infected Rembrandt in a new universe without closure on what happened to him or the rest of the Sliders, most of whom had left the series in previous seasons.

Even 23 years later, fans online are still wondering why "Sliders" was canceled.

"Kyle XY" is best remembered as the show about the guy with no belly button, but it ended abruptly with an attempted murder, a surprising revelation, and no closure for the show's love triangle.

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Matt Dallas as Kyle.ABC Family

"Kyle XY" was about a teenage boy who woke up in a forest with the abilities of a newborn and no memory of life before. It aired from June 2006 to March 2009, but was canceled in January 2009, months before the finale even aired.

While the show started as one of the most successful ABC Family (now Freeform) shows of all time, as Entertainment Weekly reported, the plot eventually shifted from a sci-fi series to teen drama, causing viewership to drop.

The show's final season was just 10 episodes long, making it hard to wrap up the story satisfactorily. The last episode ended with Kyle choking Cassidy (the season's villain) until Cassidy revealed that the two were brothers.

The final episode also didn't provide closure for the show's main love triangle between Kyle, Jessi, and Amanda.

According to TVLine, the producers shared what would have happened on a season three DVD boxset, including that Cassidy would have remained a bad guy and Kyle would've picked Jessi, but they would have broken up eventually.

"Las Vegas" ended with a main character walking into his own funeral with no explanation.

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Molly Sims and Josh Duhamel as Delinda and Danny.NBC

"Las Vegas" was about a surveillance team overseeing a casino's security, and aired from September 2003 to February 2008. While the finale looked like it would be a tribute to one of the team's fallen members, it ended with a twist when the colleague they were all mourning walked into his own memorial service. It was canceled later that month.

Fans were so upset with this development that a petition was created to bring back the show and provide closure.

"My Name Is Earl" ended with the dreaded "To be continued..." and then never was.

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Ethan Suplee and Jason Lee as Randy and Earl Hickey.NBC

Low-level criminal Earl's life takes a turn when he wins the lottery. He decides to pay it forward and atone for the bad things he's done across 96 episodes from September 2005 to May 2009.

The fifth and final season of "My Name Is Earl" ended with two big reveals. The first was that Earl's adopted son, Dodge, was his biological son. The second was that Earl's other son, Earl Jr., assumed to be the result of his ex-wife's affair with Darnell, wasn't Darnell's.

In a 2014 Reddit AMA with the show's creator, Greg Garcia asked the network if they were safe to end the season on a cliffhanger, and NBC told him yes (clearly, they were wrong).

While he's talked about how he would have ended the series, until a "My Name Is Earl" movie appears, it's all up in the air.

"The Dead Zone's" series finale left viewers with a jaw-dropping revelation: The apocalyptic future Johnny had been trying to prevent might be his fault.

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Chris Bruno, Anthony Michael Hall, and John L. Adams as Walt, Johnny, and Bruce.USA Network

"The Dead Zone" is based on the characters of Stephen King's novel of the same name but not the plot, so viewers couldn't even find closure in the book.

In the show, Johnny wakes up from a six-year coma to discover that he can see a person's past and future by touching them or related objects.

The show lasted six seasons from June 2002 to September 2007, which makes the lack of a real ending even more frustrating for devoted fans. Throughout the show, Johnny is dedicated to stopping a hellish future in which Greg Stillson, an evil politician, takes power and turns the world upside down.

By the beginning of season six, the apocalyptic future had been averted by the death of another character. But in the finale, the "bad" future was seen again by Johnny and his son JJ, who was revealed to have inherited his father's powers. It was also hinted that the terrible future may have been Johnny's fault.

But, as The Hollywood Reporter wrote in December 2007, "The Dead Zone" was "vaporized" by USA before these questions could be answered.

"Hannibal" ends with the two main characters flinging themselves off a cliff.

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Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy as Hannibal and Will.NBC

"Hannibal," a prequel to the events of the horror classic "The Silence of the Lambs," was critically adored and quickly gained a cult following upon its premiere in April 2013, but the numbers were never large enough to justify the show's high production costs, Deadline reported in June 2015.

The show ended that August with Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic forensic psychiatrist, and his frenemy Will Graham, an FBI agent, defeating their nemesis, the Tooth Fairy Killer, once and for all. But in a final act of love and hate, Graham flings them both off a cliff.

Arguably one of Marvel's best TV shows to date, "Agent Carter," suffered from low ratings and was canceled after season two — it ended with a main character bleeding on the floor due to a gunshot wound.

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Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter.ABC

In a then-rare Marvel failure, "Agent Carter" could never find its audience across its 18 episodes from January 2015 to March 2016, even though Peggy is one of, if not the, best female characters in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was canceled in May 2016.

The show revolves around Peggy Carter, Captain America's former true love and a secret agent who needs to balance her work with life as a single woman in the 1940s.

The show's second season ended with Peggy's nemesis-turned-friend Jack shot by a mysterious figure, who then stole a heavily redacted file containing incriminating details about Carter.

The ending of "Agent Carter" was further complicated by the events of 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" and season seven of "Agents of SHIELD" in 2020, with characters from "Agent Carter" seemingly negating the ending of the show, as Captain America and the main characters of "AoS" both traveled back in time to the events of "Agent Carter" — which directly goes against what was shown in "Agent Carter."

"Popular," a perfect satire on the ridiculous plot twists of teen dramas, got to end on an absurd cliffhanger of its own: Queen Bee Brooke getting run over by drunk and jealous Nicole.

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Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope as Brooke and Sam.The WB

Ryan Murphy's very first entry into the teen dramedy playing field (he was previously known for "Nip/Tuck") was near perfect, but "Popular," which aired from September 1999 to May 2001, was canceled after just two seasons on The WB.

The show revolved around two teenage girls — one super popular (Brooke), one very much not (Sam) — who were forced to get along when their parents got engaged.

Season two ended with Brooke fleeing prom after forcing her and Sam's shared love interest, Harrison, to choose between the two before getting hit by a drunken driver, who turned out to be an angry and jealous Nicole, Brooke's former best friend.

Fans never found out who Harrison chose or if Brooke survived the car crash.

Murphy later spoke with Entertainment Weekly in 2016 about his experience making the show.

"I wanted it to work so I did the notes and thus I ended up jeopardizing my own sensibility and it got cancelled after year two," said Murphy.

No one expected "Moesha," a sitcom, to end the way it did, with one of the girls in Moesha's dorm pregnant, Myles abducted, and Moesha deciding whether to move in with her boyfriend.

Countess Vaughn and Brandy as Kim and Moesha.UPN

"Moesha" was about the life of an average, middle-class Black family. But, in an unexpected, soapy plot twist, it ended with a character in potentially mortal peril, a surprise pregnancy, and a longtime couple in serious trouble. It aired from January 1996 to May 2001.

According to a 2001 report in Entertainment Weekly, some of these plots were supposed to be resolved in the "Moesha" spin-off "The Parkers," a show that followed Moesha's best friend Kim Parker who left "Moesha" after season four, but the cross-over never materialized over "The Parkers'" five seasons.

In 2014, Brandy, who played the show's titular Moesha, even apologized to fans of the show for its unresolved ending in an interview with Keke Palmer for her BET show "Just Keke."

"Mork and Mindy" was canceled after a steady decline in ratings, leaving the fate of its two main characters up in the air.

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Robin Williams and Pam Dawber as Mork and Mindy.ABC

This unlikely spin-off of "Happy Days" lasted four seasons from 1978 to 1982 before getting the boot, two years before "Happy Days" ended in 1984. It revolved around Mork, an alien, and his friend-turned-wife, the human Mindy.

"Mork and Mindy" ends with Mork discovering that his new friend, fellow alien Kalnik, is evil and trying to kill him. To save his and Mindy's lives, he outs himself to the world as an alien, and the two escape using magical shoes that allow them to time travel.

But they end up stranded in prehistoric times ... and that's it. Viewers never discover if Mork and Mindy ever return to their own time.

"Terra Nova," a time-traveling epic about what would happen to Earth if it becomes too populated, was canceled after just one season, leaving viewers to wonder what became of the citizens of Terra Nova.

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Jason O'Mara as Jim.Fox

"Terra Nova" is a bit complicated. The premise is essentially that the Earth will become overcrowded and almost inhospitable by the mid-22nd century, so technology is developed to help citizens travel back 85 million years to inhabit the untouched Earth in a settlement called Terra Nova.

The show's conflict arises from a rebel group called the Sixers, who are helping an evil corporation travel back and forth in time to exploit the past Earth's natural resources for usage in the future.

The series' sole season aired in 2011 with the main character, Jim, destroying the portal to the past and narrowly making it back to Terra Nova.

However, even though the portal was seemingly destroyed, an artifact from the 18th century was found in Terra Nova, left behind by the Sixers, suggesting that another portal to a different time had opened up.

What would that mean for the people of Terra Nova? Fans will never know since Fox canceled the show soon after, Entertainment Weekly reported in May 2012.

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