Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
There’s nothing worse than having a show you’re currently enjoying being unceremoniously cancelled. If you have a Netflix account you can probably relate. Sadly, being a bit of a niche genre, horror-related series tend to get the axe faster than a slutty cheerleader in an 80’s slasher, leaving us with hanging plot lines and unsatisfying conclusions.
No amount of time heals this particular wound, and I’m sure you’re already listing off in your mind all the shows you wish would get a second chance to tell their stories. But since this is a horror blog today we’re going to be looking at my TOP 5 HORROR TV SERIES THAT WERE CANCELLED TOO SOON.
Note: Hannibal was fantastic and it goes without saying it deserves to be on this list, but since it already made Number 1 on my Top 5 Horror Movies that became Awesome TV Shows, I’ll be leaving it off this one. With that out of the way, let’s get to it!
#5 The Exorcist
I’ve mentioned this one before but I can’t help it. The Exorcist series wasn’t just some cheap rip-off of the iconic eponymous movie; instead it was genuinely terrifying and well-crafted story, from the world that Pazuzu built.
Following an older, jaded priest named Marcus and his younger, fresh-faced counterpart Tomas as they battle the forces of evil both supernatural and human, The Exorcist was atmospheric, well-written and, most importantly, nightmare-inducing. The second season was a solid follow-up to a shaky first, but sadly it wasn’t enough to pull in the viewers needed to keep it on the air. So we were stuck with an ending that showed Marcus finding his faith once again only to realise the demonic forces had set their sights on his young progeny Tomas. While we’ll never know what happened next, there is a new trilogy of films coming our way soon which will take us back to the world of The Exorcist. So break out your crucifixes, heat up the pea soup, and let’s hope these new movies are just as good as the series was.
From one classic to another, The Exorcist might be considered the scariest movie of all time, but the particular devil-styled film that got under my skin was The Omen, and Damien was the television show spawned by it.
This version follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (in the process ignoring the sequels) as a 30-year-old photographer who has forgotten his Satanic past but is slowly being pulled back into that world by the devil’s followers who wants him to embrace his role as Antichrist. This one didn’t even get a chance at a second season which was a shame because each episode got a little stronger than the last, leaving us with a series finale that saw Damien begin to tap into his darker side. Would he ultimately give into it? Who the hell knows! Ten episodes is all we got and no amount of #Damien on Twitter could save this sinful delight from the chopping block. At least we still have the movies to fall back on.
#3 Santa Clarita Diet
Seriously Netflix?! Are you even paying attention to what we’re watching, or is that thumbs up just something you sit on?
Santa Clarita Diet took the overused zombie trope and turned it on its head. It features the simple but zany premise of a loving family that has their world flipped upside down when wife and mother Sheila, played by the always adorable Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels, E.T.) dies and is reborn as a flesh-eating zombie. Her poor husband Joel, played by Timothy “Swaggerific” Olyphant (Justified, Hitman) stands by his lady and goes above and beyond to make sure she’s…well-fed. Meanwhile their smart and sassy daughter Abby, with the help of her geeky but loyal friend Eric, tries to juggle this madness and deal with teenage life to boot.
Everyone I know loves this show, so it was a swift and surprising kick to our naughty parts when Netflix decided to double tap this zom-com series in the head. It’s one of the most unforgivable cancellations in the history of the streaming site and one of the most unexplainable, especially when you read interviews from the cast who said it also came as a shock to them. So here’s to their future successes, as far away from Netflix as possible.
#2 The Passage
Okay THIS ONE I’m really upset about!
The Passage started off strong with a premise that promised a vampire apocalypse. A VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE PEOPLE! Other than The Strain (another series staked in the heart, but at least that one felt kind of concluded) we never really see anything like this on screen with most shows throwing zombies at you left and right. Instead here we had a stoic yet kind-hearted Federal Agent (played by Saved by the Bell’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar) tasked with bringing a young girl to a secret medical facility that is trying to prevent the spread of a virus turning humans into blood suckers. When Agent Brad realises Amy’s life might be in more danger in the hands of the scientist running Project Noah, he makes it his personal mission to protect her, which may come at the cost of humanity itself.
With only one season in the bag and a seriously crazy cliffhanger of an ending, The Passage was unceremoniously cancelled. And even in a world full of streaming sites I haven’t heard anything about it being picked up and saved, so it looks like the only light at the end of this tunnel is the upcoming television adaptation of the award-winning game, The Last of Us. With a similar storyline, let’s hope this one brings in the numbers so it doesn’t suffer the same fate as The Passage.
Carni-who? I can hear some of you saying from here (I’m skilled like that). So for those of you who missed out, let me give you a quick peek behind the curtain of this seriously fantastic series that HBO cancelled so unceremoniously, you’d swear it tweeted something racist.
Set during the Great Depression, the series focused mainly on two men. One was a young man named Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl of Terminator Part 3, Sin City) who joins a strange travelling circus, otherwise known as a carnival. The othe is a small town preacher named Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown of Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption), who has dark, otherworldly powers. Both men gradually discover they are to play a massive part in the battle of good and evil. And caught in the middle of all this madness is a slew of engaging characters like Jonesy the crippled ball player and Sofie the tarot card reader.
I cannot begin to describe how damn good this show was. It was one of those rare stories where you never knew what was going to happen next, which always makes for entertaining viewing. But just when things hit that oh-so perfect plateau, HBO dropped the hammer (something they did back then with a lot of fan favourites like Rome and Deadwood to name a few) and Carnivale was never heard from again. To make matters worse, HBO doesn’t like to share their toys and has complete ownership of the property. So the likelihood we will ever get a revival of this outstanding series is slim to none.
As a fan of the horror genre, I don’t think the trend of cancelling series before they can properly wrap-up is going away any time soon. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s in the fact we’ve been getting more horror-related content on the small screen than ever before. So make sure and demonstrate your love for your favourites every which way you can (share, like and comment) as this is the only way to show those soulless studio execs that yes, we ARE watching and we most definitely want more!
So which of these is your favourite? And did I miss any horror TV series that was cancelled too soon? Hit us up in the comments. And you can check out more great horror TV content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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