The biggest TV shows cancelled in 2021 - and why

·12-min read
Photo credit: NBC/John P. Fleenor
Photo credit: NBC/John P. Fleenor

Welcome to the TV graveyard, where we're cataloging the most notable casualties of the 2021 season because we're helpful (and morbid) like that.

Here's the current rundown.

Peaky Blinders - six seasons

Photo credit: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions/Tiger Aspect Drama/Robert Viglasky
Photo credit: BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions/Tiger Aspect Drama/Robert Viglasky

The BBC crime drama, which revolves around the exploits of the Shelby family, is bowing out with the upcoming sixth season, despite previous talk of a seventh instalment.

Creator Steven Knight confirmed in January that the cast and crew were back on set after a lengthy delay imposed by Covid, as well as delivering the big news.

But he did say that it isn't strictly the end. "Peaky is back and with a bang. After the enforced production delay due to the Covid pandemic, we find the family in extreme jeopardy and the stakes have never been higher.

"We believe this will be the best series of all and are sure that our amazing fans will love it. While the TV series will be coming to an end, the story will continue in another form."

We'd expect season six to air at the end of 2021 at the very earliest, but 2022 is more likely.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - eight seasons

Photo credit: Fox
Photo credit: Fox

It's been confirmed that NBC's police procedural Brooklyn Nine-Nine will end with season eight.

"When Mike Schur and I first pitched the pilot episode to [star] Andy [Samberg], he said, 'I'm in, but I think the only way to tell this story is over exactly 153 episodes,' which was crazy because that was exactly the number Mike and I had envisioned," said executive producer Dan Goor said in a statement.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with this amazing cast and crew for eight seasons. They are not only among the most talented people in the business, they are all good human beings who have become a family."

Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) wrote: "I'm sad it will end, but happy to have had the chance to be a part of something so special."

Melissa Fumero (Amy Santiago) on the show, tweeted: "It has been one of the greatest joys and honor of my life to play Amy. I am so grateful to be able to take a victory lap with our beloved cast and crew. To our amazing fans, we love you. No tears for now, we still have a whole season to shoot!"

The show lived on Fox for its first five seasons, before it was axed. But NBC brought it back to life.

Season eight will hit US screens in August, and for UK and Irish fans, season seven is available to watch now on Netflix.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show - 19 seasons

Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images

The final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will air in the US in spring 2022.

The US daytime talk show was flung into the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons last year following allegations from people who had worked behind the scenes of a toxic culture off-camera.

But according to DeGeneres herself, the controversy did not force her into making this decision having only renewed the show for three years back in 2019.

"When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The truth is I've always trusted my instincts. And my instinct told me it's time."

The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs on NBC in the States and ITV2 in the UK.

Pose - three seasons

Photo credit: Pari Dukovic/FX
Photo credit: Pari Dukovic/FX

It's three seasons and out for FX's Pose, a series about 1980s ball culture in New York during the AIDS epidemic.

"It was a very difficult decision for us to make, but this has been an incredible journey and we have told the story that we wanted to tell the way that we wanted to tell it," co-creator Ryan Murphy said in a statement.

Co-creator Steven Canals had previously told The Hollywood Reporter that he envisaged the show running for five chapters: "With that said, could it be a four-season? Could it be a six-season? Sure. It could be more or less. What's really important for all of us — and maybe more specifically for Ryan, Brad [Falchuk] and I — is that we felt we told the story that we intended to tell. Once we've hit that point, we'll know that it's time to end it."

Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

Speaking about why he wanted to make the show in the first place, Canals said: "At the time we weren’t seeing very many Black and Latinx characters – that happened to also be LGBTQ+ – populating screens. And so I wrote the first draft of a pilot the 'younger me' deserved.

"Pose was conceived as a love letter to the underground NY ballroom community, to my beloved New York, to my queer & trans family, to myself. I, along with my incredible collaborators, never intended on changing the TV landscape.

"I simply wanted to tell an honest story about family, resilience, and love. How fortunate am I to have done that for three seasons."

Pose is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and Netflix in the UK.

The Irregulars - one season

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

YA Sherlock Holmes drama The Irregulars, which follows a group of teens who solve Sherlock and Dr Watson's mysterious crimes for them, has been canned by Netflix after just one outing.

The streamer didn't explain the decision behind the axing, but it's a given that the show didn't perform as well as the company would have liked. Netflix has cited financial strain imposed by the pandemic in the past following other cancellations, which could have been a contributing factor.

Birds of a Feather - 12 seasons

Photo credit: Retort / QuirkyMedia Stuff - ITV
Photo credit: Retort / QuirkyMedia Stuff - ITV

A show source recently told Radio Times that "there are no current plans for a new series" of ITV sitcom Birds of a Feather, which revolves around squabbling sisters Sharon (Quirke) and Tracey (Linda Robson), and their neighbour Dorien (Lesley Joseph).

It might not come as a surprise to fans following Quirke's absence from the 30th anniversary show in 2019 and last year's Christmas special. There have also been rumblings of a feud between Quirke and Robson.

But Robson herself labelled those rumours "codswallop" (via The Sun) and told people to "take no notice" of the reported fallout.

"Pauline just chose not to do Birds Of A Feather," she added. "She wants to concentrate on her acting academy, that's that."

The Twilight Zone - two seasons

Photo credit: CBS
Photo credit: CBS

Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone reboot will not be back for a third season.

Monkeypaw & Genre Films, the production company behind it, said in a statement (via TVLine): "We greatly enjoyed our time working on The Twilight Zone – particularly when the real world around us often felt more and more like another dimension.

"We cherished the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented writers, actors and crewmembers. After 20 unique episodes, we have told the stories that we wanted to tell, and CBS All Access was gracious in their understanding of our decision.

"It was an honour and a privilege to bring audiences a modern re-imagining of Rod Serling’s iconic creation."

Cast members across the two seasons included Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time) and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), to name just a handful.

The series aired on Syfy and Sky One in the UK.

The Circle - three series

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Channel 4 has said goodbye to reality series The Circle, hosted by Emma Willis, in which a group of contestants can only communicate via a social media platform on which they can play as themselves, or catfish their fellow competitors.

"The Circle has been a huge hit for young audiences and has grown successively over three seasons on Channel 4, consistently outperforming slot averages," the broadcaster told Digital Spy.

"In much the same way as when we originally commissioned The Circle, Channel 4 has a responsibility to continually look at how we reinvent and create space for new ideas, and so we have decided not to commission the show for a fourth season."

But given that the US version of the show streams on Netflix, Channel 4 has said that a UK version could also live on that platform: "The second season of The Circle US is doing very well on Netflix and we are in talks with Netflix about the future of the show in both America and in the UK."

The Duchess - one season

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Katherine's Ryan's The Duchess, in which the comedian plays an artist and single mum living in London who decides to have another baby, will not be getting a second season.

Speaking on Vicky Pattison's The Secret To… podcast, she said: "[Netflix] didn't want to make any more, not enough people watched it. I think something like 10 million people watched it in 28 days and that wasn't enough.

"But also, I'm not terribly sad about it. I feel like it's a whole lot of work, a whole lot of time to make a sitcom. I was so grateful to be able to make it, but I think it speaks for itself. I kind of like the way it ended."

Mixed-ish - two seasons

Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

Mixed-ish, the prequel spinoff to Black-ish, won't be back for a third instalment.

The sitcom, set in 1985, stars Arica Himmel as Rainbow Johnson, a young girl figuring out what it means to be biracial in the place and time in which she's living.

According to Deadline, its second season wasn't flying in the ratings department.

Truth Seekers - one season

Photo credit: Amazon Prime
Photo credit: Amazon Prime

Cornetto trilogy duo Nick Frost and Simon Pegg were hit with some disappointing news in February when their Amazon comedy, which follows part-time paranormal investigators, was canned.

"Sadly, Truth Seekers will not be returning for a second season," said Frost in a now-deleted Instagram video. "Truth Seekers has not been renewed, which is a massive kick in the willy for me.

"We really put our all into this – our heart and soul, and blood in some cases, so to not come back is really sad for us. It's a shame. I think we had lots of lovely ghost stories to tell – stories that will remain now untold. If you liked the show, thank you. And if you didn’t, are you happy now? Happy now?"

Samson Kayo (Bloods), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes, Chewing Gum) and Julian Barratt (Bloods, The Mighty Boosh) also appeared alongside the pair.

Wynonna Earp - four seasons

Photo credit: Syfy
Photo credit: Syfy

The second half of Wynonna Earp's fourth season, which hit Syfy in the States on March 5, is its last hoorah.

Melanie Scrofano, who plays the titular demon hunter, wrote on Twitter: "I'm really proud of what we've accomplished over these four seasons and so excited to get to watch the second half of season 4 together. There will be tears but there will also be laughs. And crop tops. And family."

But it sounds like there could be more stories from this world coming our way in the future.

"I have been honoured to tell Wynonna and her family's story, and along with Seven24, Cineflix and CTV Sci-Fi, are hopeful we can continue to share their inspiring tales in the future," said showrunner Emily Andras (via Entertainment Weekly).

Wynonna Earp airs on 5Spike in the UK.

Year of the Rabbit - one season

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

After renewing Matt Berry's Year of the Rabbit for a second season, Channel 4 announced that it had reversed its decision due to the impact of the pandemic.

"We're hugely proud of this hilarious and fearless comedy series, but as result of the impact of COVID on our schedules we have made the difficult decision not to enter into a second series with a heavy heart," said a C4 spokesperson.

But Layla Smith, chief executive of producers Objective Media Group, has said that they're working on finding a new partner.

The period sitcom stars Berry as a detective in London, alongside his incompetent partner, played by Freddie Fox (The Pursuit of Love), and Susan Wokoma as the country's first female detective.

Mom - eight seasons

Photo credit: CBS
Photo credit: CBS

CBS sitcom Mom, which previously starred Anna Faris as single mum and recovering alcoholic Christy Plunkett, will not continue after season eight.

This comes after Faris did not return for the final season.

Her former co-star Allison Janney, who plays her mother Bonnie, said that both the actor and her character are "very missed", adding: "We are just happy she is doing what she wants to do now and we are happy that we are still able to tell these stories about these great women in recovery."

Mom previously aired on ITV2 in the UK, but was eventually dropped. You can purchase the first four seasons on Amazon.

Prodigal Son - two seasons

Photo credit: Fox - Fox
Photo credit: Fox - Fox

Fox serial killer drama Prodigal Son will not be getting a third outing.

It starred Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) as FBI profiler Malcolm Bright, Michael Sheen (Quiz) as Malcolm's father and serial killer Martin Whitly, and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Feud: Bette and Joan) as a doctor working at a psychiatric hospital, among others.

"Wow. Gutted. Didn't see that one coming," said Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays NYC police lieutenant Gil Arroyo, on Twitter. "Might be taking a few days away from the platform #Prodigies.

"Just know that you have been the most wonderful, entertaining, brilliant fan base I have ever encountered. Much Love. #GilArroyo #ProdigalSon."

Season one aired in the UK on Sky One.

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