The year is racing toward a close. We’ve already given you our rundown of best televisions shows from 2018, and our list of best performances, and a list of fun highlights. Now, it’s time for goodbyes. Below, please find our loving tribute to the shows we lost this year, whether they ended on their own or had their runs cut short by outside forces. Good night, sweet princes and princesses. We will never forget you. At least not until the new shows come out in 2019.
GROUP I — Shows that said goodbye on their own terms
We lost a few good ones this year, folks. The biggest one was The Americans. What a good and stressful — so stressful, my god — show that was, one that never quite got the credit or acclaim it deserved. The final season was excellent, too. It’s not easy to stick a landing with that combination of expectations and rigid real-life world events dictating your endpoint (they couldn’t just, like, have had the Russians win the Cold War and let Elizabeth become Czar of Maryland, even though that would have been wild), but they did it, man. They really did it. I’ll never be able to look at a paintbrush or hear U2 the same way.
Other shows reaching a natural endpoint included Scandal and New Girl. Scandal kind of careened off the rails toward the end but, in fairness, the fact that it stayed on the rails as long as it did was a minor miracle. That show was nuts. Fun and fast and addictive as all hell (the first three seasons are basically pharmaceutical-strength amphetamines), but totally nuts. And New Girl, well, I’ll miss that show dearly. What started as a star vehicle for Zooey Deschanel morphed into one of television’s best hangout sitcoms. It was as silly as it was warm and even when its wheels spun a little, it still gave us a handful of genius Nick Miller lines to save the whole thing. We’re running out of fun hangout sitcoms. It’s not okay. — Brian Grubb
GROUP II — Fun comedies that we lost too soon
This year was kind of a bloodbath when it came to comedies with endless potential getting the axe. There were enough comedies getting canceled in their second seasons that it made you wonder why their networks even renewed them past their already low-rated first seasons in the first place. (Especially a show like Trial & Error, which was great… but also extremely under-the-radar.) Of all of these cancellations, American Vandal was possibly the most surprising — as a Peabody Award-winning comedy, one that couldn’t have been too expensive to make, and as proof that Netflix has no problem canceling anything and everything these days. And then the year ended with the cancellation of the joyous and beloved Detroiters right behind it, as Comedy Central’s entire plan for original programming is more of an enigma than anything else. So, um, watch your back, Corporate?
But at the same time, while it hurt to witness these comedies get something of a second chance at life only to just have the plug pulled after the fact, at least these second seasons allowed us to get something more than the one-and-done treatment that breeds even more contempt. (I suppose if you’re going to cancel a sitcom, you might as well cancel it at two seasons. One season allows it to live on in infamy. For example, I’m still not over Ben and Kate’s cancellation, and that was back in 2013. And three seasons is just a jerk move. If a network lets a show make it to three seasons, there should be an unspoken agreement that the show will at least get a full solid four or five seasons before the plug is actually pulled. See: Happy Endings.) The Mick’s second season fully transformed the series into the surreal, live-action cartoon it was always meant to be — one could say it got too weird for FOX, between finger-chopping that only lasted an episode and season-ending electrocution comas — and Great News stealthily pulled off a really solid season of a series that was always doomed to live in the shadows of both 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. (But Briga Heelan and Nicole Richie both deserve their day in the comedy sun once more, hopefully soon.) Rest in power, Diana St. Tropez. — LaToya Ferguson