DAR TV: 10 Black Shows That Were Canceled Too Soon

By @TrueGodImmortal

In television, there is always the chance that a show could be pulled from the network for various reasons. Perhaps the show is too controversial, the show is too "colorful", maybe the ratings are low, or perhaps the show isn't reaching the people like the network wants. Whatever the case, sometimes there are shows that are canceled far too soon. Today, we wanted to take a look at the black shows that were canceled too early and too soon. Keep in mind, these shows aren't necessarily classics, but shows that had a solid premise or was enjoyable and got removed from the screen before it got stale, before it reached its apex, or just before it was really time to do so. Let's take a look at the 10 shows that make the list.

*The Carmichael Show
(3 Seasons, 32 Episodes)

-The most recent of all the shows to get the plug pulled, the cancellation of this show is mired in controversy. For a show that seemed to be doing well enough to garner a third season, it is telling that the show got canceled at the height of their popularity. With an amazing cast that features stars like Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier along with Tiffany Haddish, perhaps The Carmichael Show was just too real for NBC. There was a controversy about an episode involving a discussion on police brutality and from there, the show was Instantly pulled off air. That episode show eventually did air and while I never felt like it was as bad as the NBC execs did, the damage was done. The Carmichael Show wasn't a massive ratings success, but that could have something to do with the timeslot, but it was still popular enough to maintain for 3 seasons and I think the show had at least another 2-3 seasons left in It, maybe even a bit more. Unfortunately, The Carmichael Show will have to be lived now through reruns.

*The PJs
(3 Seasons, 44 Episodes)

-Eddie Murphy had an expensive vision for his own television show. While the show was expensive, it was still a very entertaining and overall hilarious show. It went through some changes throughout the three seasons it was on air and even changed networks, but it was just before its time. The stop motion animation was groundbreaking for television at the time and the show could have been the black alternative to shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons. With smart yet hilarious writing, likable characters, and just an overall entertaining premise for the show, The PJs deserved another year or two, if not much longer.

*Everybody Hates Chris
(4 Seasons, 88 Episodes)

-Despite Chris Rock saying he was fine with the show ending when it did, one has to believe the program had a lot more left in the tank. With only 4 seasons under their belt, and the story of where Chris could go next providing an intriguing set up for season 5, it really felt like a weird way to end it all. The show would have worked really well to see the future of Chris trying to get into comedy, his struggle, meeting his girlfriend, how the comedy career changed his family dynamic and where things went in general. It just felt empty as an ending for one of the funniest sitcoms of the 2000s and I can only wish we got a 5th and 6th season to end the show the right way like so many of the legendary sitcoms in black TV history.

*Lincoln Heights
(4 Seasons, 43 Episodes)

-Do I consider myself to be a huge fan of this show? No. Not at all. Do I think this show was a sort of gritty yet solid look at life in California for a middle class black family? Yes. The show tackled the concept of a family moving back into their old neighborhood and everything that could come from that. Was the show a bit over the top? Yes, but as a part of ABC Family, I thought it took some risks that I didn't expect. From kidnapping to interracial dating to race riots to a number of heavy topics, the show addressed it all, and the way it ended was honestly a bit anti climatic. I think a 5th season would have sufficed to really end the show the right way and there was still another season or two worth of stories they could have wrapped up (ABC Family canceled the show shortly before the 5th season was going to start shooting). 

*The Parenthood (5 Seasons, 90 Episodes)

-Now, at 5 seasons, you might be wondering why I think this show was canceled far too soon. Well, the truth is, I think the show hadn't reached the apex yet and they had at least another season or two left. This one is probably the most debatable of all the choices on the list, but for a show to go 5 seasons and not even crack 100 episodes, I think they really cut it short just a little too soon. This Robert Townsend led show was funny, a bit corny at times, but always fun to watch on the WB. Their 5th and final season was cut short and there was definitely something left in the tank for the show to flesh out a full 5th season and a 6th season. Still, if anything, this show was supremely underrated and deserved more credit for being a positive show on black families.

(3 Seasons, 72 Episodes)

-FOX TV have a few shows on the list for good reason. Roc was a very solid show with some relatable elements and a very realistic premise. It had great laughs and featured a black family just trying to survive and make the bills in my hometown of Baltimore. Over 3 seasons, the show provided the viewers with engaging stories, and even gave us an amazing season where they did all of their shows live. It allowed for a much different feel and for an interesting way to film it. The show didn't have errors, didn't have outtakes when live, and that was one of the biggest reasons why I felt the show was so vital to black television. It took chances and risks that paid off, and after the third season, I'm sure there was so much more they could have done with the show going forward for another two to three seasons. Roc was canceled way before it was time and I wish we could have seen it go for a few more years. It is the most underrated black sitcom of all time IMO.

*South Central
(1 Season, 10 Episodes)

-I think FOX realized they were getting themselves too into the urban television experience and decided to retract. That must have been the case because for some reason, this show only made it to 10 episodes. It was a sitcom that would fit perfect for the climate of any era, and it's a shock the show didn't take off like it needed to. Larenz Tate and Tina Lifford are the main stars in this entertaining show based in South Central and revolving around the life you live in the neighborhood. The Mosely family is at the center of the show and after losing one of their own to gang violence, the family is still in recovery mode when the mother loses her job. It provided a realistic look at life in our neighborhoods and even gave us a darker theme behind the laughs, which made this show one of a kind. I always wished we got a few more seasons to see where the show could go and how much depth could be brought to the screen.

*The Sinbad Show
(1 Season, 26 Episodes) 

-Many probably don't even remember this show. Aside from having the legend T.K. Carter (black sitcom veteran) as a top co-star, this show was extremely slept on overall. It wasn't as cutting edge as some of the shows that were popular on TV at time, but it was a solid show and I've always thought that Sinbad actually could be hilarious when he wanted to be. It's one of those things where the Fox Network felt the need to make adjustments and trim their shows featuring people of color, and surprisingly, three of those shows make this list including this program. Sinbad plays a  bachelor who takes in two children who were orphans and raises them. This show tackled a few interesting issues and tried to show a positive image of a black man (or black father in this case) trying to raise children. The show featured appearances from a young Ray J and a younger Salma Hayek, and I just thought this show could have gotten at least another season or two to continue to grow and get even better. It's a shame the show was pulled from FOX so soon.

*My Brother And Me (1 Season, 13 Episodes)

-As a black child, we rarely got to see anything that resembled us or appealed to us on Nickelodeon. However, that would change with the arrival of the great yet short lived show My Brother And Me. Set in North Carolina, the show was entertaining, and gave kids many catchphrases throughout the short duration it was on the network. Being the first predominately black show on Nickelodeon, the show could have had a long history and went at least three seasons, but for some underlying reasons, the politics behind the scenes caused the show to be canceled. It was popular for sure, and could have been vital for the network, but the legacy still lives on, as it is one of those shows that many people wonder "what if" and that's why it makes this list.

*The Get Down (Season 1, 11 Episodes)

-Now, let me be honest. The 2nd part of the first season wasn't as fun to watch as the first half, but the fact remains, this show had some popularity amongst Netflix viewers. The issue? The cost of the show. While the cost was astronomical and is confusing (why does this show cost so much), the premise was fun and engaging, as we discovered the Bronx roots of hip hop, encounter the legendary DJs, while witnessing the underworld and how it can take some people under. There are elements of fame being offered, relationships, breakups, drama, and more, but the way they ended the first season left so much more to be desired. Could a 2nd and 3rd season have helped solidify The Get Down as a top tier Netflix original program? I guess we'll never know now.



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