On way too many occasions, we've seen some of the best TV shows get taken from us too soon. From Netflix's One Day at a Time to Freeform's addictive Shadowhunters, these gems never got the chance to live out their full potential (and no, we're still not over it). Fortunately though, network executives don't always get to have the final say when it comes to giving popular shows the boot. Because of loyal fans who refused to say goodbye to their favorite characters, some of these shows were rescued from the chopping block.
While some viewers launched online campaigns, others went the extra mile by raising money, writing letters and, in some cases, sending memorable objects that appeared on the series. Of course, these gestures don't always lead to the fans getting what they want, but when network executives take notice of all the passion and creativity that goes into trying to save a show, it's nearly impossible for them to not cave in. See which canceled shows have their dedicated fanbase to thank for their renewal.
After five seasons, Fox canceled the beloved cop comedy in 2018 because of low ratings. When the first season aired, it had about six million viewers and a 4.8 average rating. But by season five, it dropped to an average of two million viewers and a 2.7 rating. Fortunately for fans, this disappointing news was short-lived because NBC agreed to pick up the series the very next day. As luck would have it, Brooklyn Nine-Nine received its biggest ratings in two years after it switched networks. And as of now, the series has been renewed for a seventh season.
The time-travel series was initially canceled after just one season and fans were NOT happy. Just three days after viewers spoke their minds on social media, NBC quickly renewed the series for a ten-episode second season. The show's co-creator, Eric Kripke, tweeted: "So huge thanks to @nbc for supporting us. And THANKS for the fan support. It's a MAJOR reason we're back. It worked, guys! #TimelessRenewed."
But in June 2018, which was only a few months later, NBC canceled the show a second time. Then in July, NBC announced that they'd be doing a two-part finale to end the series. Talk about a rollercoaster ride...
Though it wasn't exactly blowing up at the time, Designing Women was doing fairly well on CBS. It had decent ratings and viewership when it aired on Mondays, but when the show's time slot was moved to Thursday, the ratings dropped drastically because of the competition.
As a result, the show was taken off the air and put on hiatus. But before the network decided to nix the show for good, they were met with over 50,000 fan letters. And judging by CBS's swift decision to bring back the show, most of those letters were not pretty. After the show's return, the production manager, Tommy Thompson, said: “Believe me, the network doesn’t want to incur the wrath of these women again.” It's no wonder why the sitcom ran for a solid seven seasons!
Though Friday Night Lights was a critical success and had a loyal fanbase, the show's second season received low ratings and NBC considered canceling it for good. However, fans got creative and organized campaigns to help keep the show on air. For instance, one involved sending small footballs with the show's popular catchphrase, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” to NBC. And another involved sending light bulbs with "lights on" written on them.
Rather than renewing the series for their network, NBC agreed to partner with DirecTV and the show was brought back for three more seasons.
The series garnered a huge audience during its first three seasons, but unfortunately, the ratings were low. After three seasons of mixed reviews and disappointing numbers, Fox canceled the show, much to the fans' dismay. They were vocal enough on social media to get both Amazon and Netflix to consider picking up the series. And lucky for them, just a month later, Netflix got the show and ordered a 10-episode fourth season. There's no confirmation yet on whether there will be a fifth, but here's hoping fans won't have to take to social media for a second time.
After four seasons on the air, ABC canceled the series, which came as a huge surprise to fans. Before the cancellation, the network's former president, Paul Lee, noted that there was "a lot more story to tell." Plus, they had recently announced the addition of new showrunners. But apparently, that didn't stop ABC from suddenly pulling the plug.
The fans not only spoke out on social media, but they also started a petition to bring back the show, which got thousands of signatures. In the end, they got what they wanted because CMT picked up the show for a fifth season. Brian Philips, president of the network, said: "CMT heard the fans. The wave of love and appreciation they have unleashed for Nashville has been overwhelming. We see our fans and ourselves in this show and we will treasure it like no other network."
The cult classic was canceled after only two seasons, but fans weren't ready to accept that it was already over. Sci-fi writer Betty JoAnne and her husband came up with a fan campaign and got over 100,000 fans to send letters to the network. Plus, people actually protested right outside of NBC's offices so their voices would be heard. On the bright side, it worked and viewers were rewarded with another season, but after that concluded, the show was canceled again. When fans tried to convince the network to bring it back a second time, they had no such luck.
Arrested Development was definitely one of Fox's more popular shows, but even despite its critical success, the ratings were disappointingly low. When word got out that the network was planning to cancel the show after two seasons, fans sent in letters with fake bananas as a reference to Bluth's Original Frozen Banana stand. Some also created the site SaveOurBluths.com to help save the show, and thankfully, all the effort paid off. The series got renewed for a third season but got canceled again afterward. Seven years after the show ended, Netflix saw enough interest to revive the show, and so they released both a fourth and fifth season.
Fans were understandably not ready to say goodbye to students of Greendale Community College, so when NBC canceled the series after five seasons in 2014, they put up a fight. For their campaign slogan, fans cleverly took inspiration from Abed's infamous cape scene, where he said "six seasons and a movie!" in "Paradigms of Human Memory." However, it seemed like NBC's decision was final. In the following month, though, Yahoo! became the knight in shining armor that would rescue this show. Fans were able to get their six seasons and, as of now, a Community film is definitely a possibility!
In this case, it wasn't hordes of fans sending in letters or signing petitions that got the show back on the air. When Fox canceled Family Guy after just three seasons, DVD sales suddenly went through the roof, which was definitely not expected. Fox was so impressed that they decided to renew the show in 2005. And that turned out to be a good call because as of now, the comedy is in its 18th season and already renewed for its 19th.
The show was nearly canceled after its first season due to poor ratings, but fans weren't prepared to let it go that easily. To get a second season, they sent bottles of Tabasco sauce to The WB, a popular condiment that the aliens on the show loved putting in their food. Over 6,000 of them were sent and it actually worked, leading to a second season. In an attempt to improve ratings, more sci-fi elements were introduced, but sadly, this didn't really help.
So after season two, the network canceled Roswell again and this time, for good. Still, the fans were so determined to get another season that they sent more Tabasco sauce bottles to UPN. With some persuasion from the show's producers, UPN decided to air the third season of the show. But unfortunately, this would also be its final one because of poor viewership.
The comedy series, which focused on a college-dropout who worked for the Devil, was more like a tamer version of Supernatural. But still, the viewership was low and the ratings weren't so great. After season one, The CW immediately tried to cancel the series, not knowing that hundreds of fans would actually put up a fight to keep the show going. After they mailed in tons of socks (as a tribute to the character Bert "Sock" Wysocki), executives took notice and eventually caved in. However, the ratings for season two were still consistently low, so the network chose to cancel it for good.
The Expanse was (and still is) a critical success and it has tons of loyal fans, so when Syfy announced that they'd be canceling it after three seasons, it came as a bit of a shock. Fans got creative in their efforts to get the show back. Aside from getting 100,000 signatures for their petition, several fans (and some celebrities, including Wil Wheaton and George R. R. Martin) went as far doing a crowdfunding campaign that paid a plane to circle around Amazon Studios with the banner "#SaveTheExpanse."
Jennifer Salke, the CEO of Amazon Studios, explained: "Really smart people, whose opinions I really value creatively, started reaching out to me, saying, 'have you seen this show, The Expanse, it’s actually great'. I hadn’t so I spent some time, I watched the show and I was like, this show is actually really well done, why is nobody watching it?" It was enough to get Amazon to pick up the show and as of now, it's still going strong.
Because of Disney Channel's 65th Episode Rule, it was a typical practice to cancel shows after a certain amount of seasons - even if they were doing consistently well. The Emmy-winning Kim Possible was one of those shows that sadly got the boot when its time ran out, but because of devoted fans who sent letters and begged Disney to keep it on the air, they decided to make this awesome show the exception to the rule. They not only added another season (totaling 87 episodes), but they also made a Kim Possible movie. Definitely one of the best decisions they ever made.
After just two seasons, Netflix axed the show because its audience wasn't big enough to support the cost of production. Still, determined fans started online petitions and social media hashtags to help save it. After about a month of fan protests, Netflix agreed to treat fans to a special finale that would offer them a bit more closure.
The show's creator, Lana Wachowski, said: "The passionate letters, the petitions, the collective voice that rose up like the fist of Sun to fight for this show was beyond what anyone was expecting...Improbably, unforeseeably, your love has brought Sense8 back to life."
Many fans would argue that Jericho is an awesome series, but sadly, this wasn't reflected in the show's ratings. CBS canceled it after its first season, but fans weren't willing to let go of it that quickly. They came up with the creative idea of sending actual tins and bags of nuts to the network, which was a reference to a line from the character Jake Green. Over 40,000 pounds of nuts were sent, and that was enough to convince CBS to change its mind.
Fans were rewarded with a second season, but it was canceled again after that, which fans didn't take lightly. However, in 2009, Devil's Due Publishing saved the day by announcing that the show's storylines would continue as a comic book series, which is definitely better than nothing!
We've got the fans and Subway to thank for rescuing this show. It was on the brink of cancellation because it got really low ratings by season two. But fans weren't going to settle for this. They came together to launch a huge "Save Chuck" campaign, where they signed petitions and wrote letters. Even the restaurant chain, Subway, got involved in their efforts because they were briefly featured on the show. Tons of fans headed to Subway for foot-long sandwiches and gave the TV show all the credit. Even Zachary Levi, who starred as Chuck, played a part in the campaign.
In the end, NBC gave in and continued the series, which stayed on the air for five seasons.
Fans got to see characters "slide" between different worlds for three seasons on Fox, but because viewership continued to drop, the network said farewell to the sci-fi series. Despite this, the show's fans started a campaign where they sent in letters and called up the studio to air their frustrations. After realizing how passionate the fans were, Fox offered to pass the torch to another network, and Syfy was the one that swooped in. They got the series and kept it on the air for two more seasons.
Fox was so quick to cancel this space Western that they pulled the plug even before they aired all the filmed episodes. The fans rallied to get the show back but sadly, this didn't happen. However, their efforts weren't totally in vain because when DVD sales rose, Universal Pictures paired up with Joss Whedon to create a film that would continue the story. The film follow-up, Serenity, was released in 2005.
Okay so technically, the show wasn't renewed right away, but the fans did earn themselves a Veronica Mars movie after its cancellation. The show got the boot after three seasons and fans weren't too happy, but word soon got out that a movie might be in the works. A script was written to continue the storyline and by 2013, Kristen Bell and the show's creator, Rob Thomas, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the film. They were able to reach their goal of $2 million in less than a day and wound up raising over $5.7 million!
Aside from having a 2014 movie release, the series was also revived by HULU in 2018. Season four will have eight episodes and is set to air on July 26, 2019.