We’re in the age of Peak TV – there’s no denying it at this point.
With countless hours of television fighting for our attention each and every new season, some additions make it through while others are left behind. For those that pass the first season threshold, there’s still the matter of competing against the next new crop of shows the following year.
Precious few series hit that 100 episode mark, and even with those that do, sometimes it’s still hard to say goodbye to them.
2016 saw the end of several shows, both established series and those in their freshman year who never quite made it through. Here are some of the most notable TV shows that ended this past year.
1. Agent Carter – March 1st
Peggy Carter got her man and solved the mystery of Zero Matter, but that doesn’t mean that viewers weren’t devastated that Agent Carter was canceled. Peggy was the hero that we needed on television, on a series that battled old-school gender roles in a way that felt very timely.
This short-lived Marvel series gave us a look at the adventures of the iconic woman who eventually went on to create the super spy organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. In two seasons, SSR Agent Peggy Carter faced assassins, extra-dimensional forces, and sexism, becoming a cult classic and paving the way for women superheroes in the Marvel universe.
While the show itself was canceled and she’s since died in present day, Peggy will hopefully live on (in flashbacks or even hallucinations) in future Marvel movies and TV shows.
2. Downton Abbey (US) – March 6th
After six seasons of fancy British aristocracy, nostalgia for an earlier era, and, of course, major Crawley family drama, Downton Abbey came to an end earlier this year. Though the series had officially wrapped its run in late 2015 across the pond in England, the final episodes of Season 6 didn’t air until the first few months of 2016 here in the States.
Downton gave its loyal viewers an unusually complete and uplifting ending – there were virtually no loose ends left untied and just about every character enjoyed a happy ending. And somehow, nobody died! Remarkable.
Perpetual underdog Edith finally married and got the family she’d always wished for, while Mary softened a bit and found love again years after her husband Matthew’s death. The family’s servants also ended on a great note, with the Bateses welcoming a baby boy and even Mr. Barrow was allowed to remain at Downton following being let go earlier in the season.
3. Vinyl – April 17th
This music industry period drama seemingly had everything going for it. Its pedigree was flawless, with Martin Scorsese and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger listed among the show’s creators.
Unfortunately, Vinyl was bogged down by messy plotting and cliché characters, despite its often excellent performances. It never quite caught on with viewers and HBO laid the series to rest after it wrapped the ten episodes of its first and only season.
4. The Good Wife – May 8th
In seven years, Alicia Florrick went from humble housewife to HBIC. While The Good Wife at its core was the exploration of one woman’s journey (or “The Education of Alicia Florrick“), the show’s combination of quirky characters, dry humor, headline-ripped court cases, and dramatic themes created an addictive show that you and your mother could finally watch together.
The Good Wife ended its seven-year run with Peter on trial, an amazing reunion between Alicia and Will that left viewers lamenting what could have been, and a slap that remains controversial to this day.
While we were all sad to see Alicia Florrick’s story come to an end, there was a sense a full-circle finality that left many viewers completely satisfied. Plus, thanks to the show’s massive popularity, it will live on, in a sense – a spin-off series, The Good Fight, premieres this February on CBS All Access, the station’s online streaming channel.
5. Grandfathered – May 10th
It’s unimaginable that, with a ridiculously handsome and charming leading man in the form of John Stamos, Grandfathered didn’t manage to eke out at least one more season.
The half-hour comedy, which followed Stamos’ character Jimmy discovering and bonding with the insta-family that he never even knew he had, was light-hearted, sweet, and fun. Unfortunately, this show aired on FOX and not ABC, the latter of which seems to know better what it’s doing when it comes to family-based comedies.
The show was canceled, along with the similarly-handsome-man-led The Grinder, after a solitary season this past May.