What makes TV, in some cases, superior to film is that there's time and space to fully develop a plot and characters.

With a film, you've got one block to get everything in and put across an interesting story. With TV, our opinions on characters can change over the course of a season or, indeed, an entire series. So when a TV show is cancelled prematurely, we're only getting half the story and the absence of closure can mean that fans and viewers will never know how a story shook out.

There's been many instances of shows being cancelled unjustly, very often with major plotlines left unresolved. In some cases, they've brought back to complete them. In other instances, there's been spinoffs.

Here's the six most egregious cancellations in TV history.



The most recent entry on our list, Hannibal was a curious thing. Based on the novels by Thomas Harris, Hannibal didn't really concern itself with following people's expectations or even the storylines from the source material. Instead, it forged its own path, rewrote characters to suit the mood and became something different altogether. Hannibal really was avantgarde television - wildly experimental, deeply disturbing and mixed arthouse influences with horror to create a series that has no equal in television's history. Although the show technically isn't cancelled, we're pretty sure its fate has been sealed. What a shame.



For people of a certain age, they'll have fond memories of watching The Critic late at night on RTE Two (then called Network 2). It aired before The End with Sean Moncrieff and was basically a part of the weirder end of RTE's broadcasting schedule. Those who watched it back then will recall two things - it looked eerily similar to The Simpsons and it was hilarious. It's easy to see why. It shared writing staff with The Simpsons and, as we know, the central character - Jay Sherman - turned up in a crossover episode of the series. The Critic ran for just two seasons, but in that time, it garnered a cult following. The Critic is, in our opinion, one of the most underrated comedy shows in recent years and probably the smartest animated series you're ever likely to see.



HBO are known for taking a gamble on a new format. However, Deadwood's fate was unjust. The bleak Western, set in the wilds of Dakota during the Gold Rush, wasn't exactly cancelled so much as it just evaporated into the ether. There's been recent talk of a proposed film based on the series that would wrap up the remaining storylines, but so far nothing concrete. It's easy to see why a show like Deadwood wouldn't work in the conventional sense. It didn't have any recognisable names, it was a period drama, the dialogue was oftentimes difficult to follow due to its flourishes and lyricism and they cursed and killed each other - A LOT. Still, Deadwood was consistently brilliant and deserved better than what it got.



Like Deadwood, Rome came to an abrupt end - albeit with its story more or less completed. Its fans - and some of the cast, in fact - believe it was cancelled to make way for another series, namely Game of Thrones. It's intriguing to note that Rome and Game of Thrones share some commonalities. For one, they're both highly sexualised and violent. Neither of them are set in contemporary times. They both boasted a wide range of Irish and British talent. They both had remarkable visuals and they both were very, very expensive to make. What made Rome so enjoyable to watch was that you could see the actors giving it their all. The sets weren't the gleaming, marbled sights you'd see in, say, Gladiator. In Rome, it was loud, dirty and gritty.




Although the fourth season left a lot to be desired, Arrested Development was - until its cancellation - consistently high in quality. The level of writing, talent and comedy on display was simply astounding. However, for whatever reason - some blame poor marketing by Fox - Arrested Development didn't find an audience on conventional television. Instead, it became the poster-child for TV shows that gained a second life via DVD sales, Netflix and the like. It's clear why - Arrested Development is one of the few conventional TV comedies that actively rewards you watching it again and again. The amount of jokes, visual gags and references that fly over your head on first viewing practically begs you to watch it again.



Studio interference isn't just limited to films, y'know. David Lynch and Mark Frost, the showrunners for Twin Peaks, were adamant that people would never know who killed Laura Palmer. As they saw it, it was inconsequential. The murder served as our window into the town of Twin Peaks and, not only that, who says murders get solved? That may happen in normal TV, but Twin Peaks was anything but. Pressure from the powers in their television netwrok forced Lynch and Frost to reveal the identity of Laura Palmer's killer long before they had planned. Frequently absurd but always fascinating, Twin Peaks was the first TV series to use elements from film. The cinematography, lighting, name-recognition actors, complex storylines that didn't finish at the end of an episode - all of it was unlike anything on TV at the time. As we now enjoy the likes of True Detective, Homeland and the like, it's worth noting that they all owe a debt to Twin Peaks. David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan and Lara Flynn Boyle were all well-known for film and had no earthly reason to "slum" it on TV. However, the quality was there in Twin Peaks for them - and all of us - to see.