Casualties In The Network Cancellation Bloodbath, Ranked From Least To Most Heartbreaking

Hey, do you have a television show on ABC or Fox? I bet you don’t! Because odds are — I’ve checked the math — you never had one in the first place, but even if you did, you probably don’t after yesterday. Both networks pulled out the guillotine and lined up just about every show on the bubble for a beheading processional. And other networks got in on the action, too. It was a bit of a bloodbath.

Some of the cancellations were met with a collective “meh” from the viewing public, but some of them… man, some of them hurt. Here’s a rundown of the casualties, from least to most painful.

12. Bordertown

Bordertown probably looked like a hit on paper when Fox put it into production. It was an animated comedy from one of their biggest stars (Seth MacFarlane), with a notable member of the Simpsons voice cast in the lead (Hank Azaria), focusing on a very timely issue of the day (U.S./Mexico relations). It’s almost like it was created by a Fox Mad Lib. Then it debuted and… splat.

11. The Family

The Family was weird because it got kinda decent reviews and had a solid cast, and I don’t think I have ever met a single person who watched a single episode. I don’t even think I saw a story about it after the premiere, and I do this as a job. Probably not a good sign!

10. Containment

Containment was a show about a viral outbreak in Atlanta. Poor Atlanta. Between this and the zombie attacks on The Walking Dead, Hollywood seems intent on killing all of your residents. If someone greenlights a show next season titled Aliens Attack Atlanta with Nuclear Machetes of Doom, we’ll know for sure.

9. Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life

More like Cooper Barrett’s Guide to NOT Surviving on Network Television. Right? Right, guys? Get it? I used the title to do the thing. Like a joke.

8. Galavant

Galavant, ABC’s musical comedy from the writer of Tangled, got the ax after its second season, but will live on as it shifts from the screen to the stage to become a live show. I… I didn’t know you could do this. Where was this option when TNT canceled Franklin & Bash? It could have been just like Hamilton! With hot tubs! The thing all critics universally agree that the award-winning Broadway smash is missing!

7. Grandfathered

I wanted to like Grandfathered very much because I can always use some Stamos and because Paget Brewster is the best, but by about midseason I found myself setting my DVR for every show in Fox’s Tuesday night comedy lineup except it. Just never felt like it clicked.

6. Castle

As far as network procedurals about wise-cracking law-enforcement-types solving murders every week go, Castle started out really quite good, in large part because Nathan Fillion is a delight. As the show went on, however, it got weird. I had a marathon of reruns running on mute one afternoon — working from home is strange — and I looked up and the two main characters were getting roared at by a tiger. In Manhattan! Turns out you can only wring so much juice out of “a novelist tags along with the cops,” I guess.

5. Nashville

If the clowns in Congress don’t step up and put aside the partisan bickering to pass a law mandating that Connie Britton remain on a television show at all times, I say we vote the bums out.

4. CSI: Cyber

Look. CSI: Cyber was not a good show. In fact, it was a bad show. But it starred Bow Wow as a hacker and James Van Der Beek as an “action junkie” FBI agent named Elijah Mundo, and one time Ted Danson solved a murder using a Roomba, and it was just a hilarious mess. I mean, Van Der Beek jumped into a lake to save a drowning stolen baby in the first episode, and the show had him emerge in a slow motion close-up holding what was very clearly a plastic doll. That’s just… [kisses fingertips]

3. The Muppets

The bummer with The Muppets wasn’t so much that the show was good (it was… eh). The bummer was that you get the feeling the show could have been good if ABC hadn’t rushed it to air and tried to monkey around to fix it on the fly. The Muppets are good. The Muppets was less so. A missed opportunity.

2. Agent Carter

Marvel has had a rough time translating their blockbuster movie franchises into network shows (see the struggling Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its pre-killed spinoff), so the death of Agent Carter really hurts because it was actually good. It was light and fun in a time when there are entirely too many bleak dramas about serial killers and such, and it sucks that there wasn’t a place for it somewhere. I think my thoughts on this matter can be best summed up by Pope Francis.

1. The Grinder

Nope. Still not ready to talk about it.

UPDATE: More shows were cancelled late on Friday afternoon. News about those here and here.