Why must networks cancel TV shows just as we are getting to like them? It seems a continuing problem that ratings dictate whether a show is good or bad. Never mind that it may actually be that the writers who have lost the plot! That’s not to say that it’s always the case. Sometimes the premiss of the show itself has a limited run time. Other times the situation can be forced upon us by one of the cast leaving.

The crew step out the lifeboat, ready for a new mission.


Timeless started off well in the ratings. It had a great premiss, good acting and some especially good stories. Then something started to get a bit stale mid-way through the season. Happily though, towards the end of the season the plot solidified and things got interesting again. The problem is, by the time this had happened, the ratings had dropped quite significantly. This was enough for TV chiefs to cut their losses and move onwards.


Sleep Hollow

This has been a great series. A mix of history and horror with a couple of great lead characters that more than kept us interested. Story was good, guest stars were good, acting was good and initially the ratings were good too. However, even before the end of season 1, the ratings had started to decline. By the time season 3 had ended, the ratings had dropped to an all time low. Many doubted that there would even be a series 4, especially after one of the two main stars Nicole Beharie decided to leave.

However, Tom Mison stuck with the show and carried it forward with a new team into a fourth season. Things started to go wrong straight away. Despite its title, the show was no longer in Sleepy Hollow and only paid the title lip service by returning there later in the season. Set in Washington DC, with an almost completely new team and unfamiliar surroundings, the lack of familiarity only enhanced the rapid decline in ratings. Those that had stuck around for the chemistry between Nicole and Tom’s characters didn’t like the changes, so they stopped watching. Ratings dropped and the series was dropped too.

A shame really, because the show had just started to get interesting again.


Emerald City

Emerald City was always going to be a difficult pill to swallow. Based on the story of the Wizard of Oz, it followed a modern day Dorothy as she was swept into a new world where time ran faster and magic was a reality. In this world magic might have been real but it was outlawed. The Wizard still exists but he is a failed scientist and rules the Emerald City, Oz included, as a dictator.

This was a fresh look at the human sides of the characters, including the supposedly wicked witch and her colleagues. It was interesting, it was character driven and the cast was absolutely brilliant. However, it made the mistake of taking things just a little bit too far away from what we were used to and included many adult themes. Think Game of Thrones meets the original Wizard of Oz and you get an idea.

Initial ratings were good, but they dropped off mid season only to return in the season final. It wasn’t enough for the broadcaster – so it has been cancelled.

Ratings vs Fans

Some would argue that for a series to become popular you have to create a fan base, nurture the fan base and then somewhat pander to the fan base. This makes for a successful show that keeps it’s core audience interested and should boost ratings.

This isn’t always the case though because there is a fine line between keeping the fans happy and making a show accessible to a new audience. Sometimes, the series creators, the writers and more importantly the broadcasters forget this.

Can you think of any shows that have been spoiled by changes that didn’t need to be made or by writing that pandered to closely to the core fan base? If so, send us a message or make a comment.

By Louis Turfrey