22 TV shows Netflix canceled even though critics loved them

  • Netflix often sees little value in long-running TV shows, which has led to some critically acclaimed series getting the boot early in their runs.
  • We looked at 22 Netflix originals beloved by critics that were canceled, from "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" to "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Netflix doesn't love long-running TV shows, and sometimes that means great shows get the ax early.

The streaming giant has canceled plenty of shows that upset fans but were panned by TV critics, such as "Everything Sucks!" and "Gypsy." But it's canceled ones that were critically acclaimed, too.

Netflix often doesn't see the value in shows that exceed 30 episodes (usually two to three seasons) because they become too expensive and too difficult for new viewers to jump into, Deadline reported last year. That means shows like "American Vandal," "One Day at a Time," and more have been given the boot earlier than fans, and critics, would have hoped.

On Tuesday, Netflix canceled the variety talk show "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj."

Other Netflix critical darlings to get the ax recently are "The Kominsky Method" and "Dead to Me" after their upcoming third seasons and "Ozark," which was renewed for a fourth and final season after season three was its best reviewed yet.  

We've rounded up 22 great TV shows that Netflix has canceled. We highlighted shows that received an average score over 85% on Rotten Tomatoes or whose final seasons were above 85%, and ranked them based on the average scores. We broke ties with audience scores and if those were the same, with the final season score.

We limited the list to shows that ended with four seasons or fewer on Netflix, which didn't include "BoJack Horseman" and other shows. In the case of a show like "Lucifer," which Netflix revived for a fourth season after Fox canceled it, and has renewed for seasons five and six, we included it because it received just three new seasons on Netflix. 

In the case of "Patriot Act," it aired six "volumes" but only lasted two years, so we counted it. It didn't have enough reviews for an average score on Rotten Tomatoes, so we ranked it based on just its season one critic score.

To fans' and critics' delight, though, a couple of these shows have been revived elsewhere.

"One Day at a Time," which Netflix canceled after three seasons, debuted its fourth season on the Pop network this year. "Tuca and Bertie" was revived for a second season by Adult Swim. 

Below are 22 canceled Netflix shows that critics loved: 

22. "Ozark" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 81%

Audience score: 91%

Critic score for most recent season: 97% (season 3)

Netflix description: "A financial adviser drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss.

What critics said: "Season three is the best season of the series so far. The story line arc works pretty well, with seeds planted early on that bloom in the later episodes." — Boston Globe (season 3)

21. "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 84% (includes winter special)

Audience score: 69%

Critic score for most recent season: 90% (season 3)

Netflix description: "Magic and mischief collide as half-human, half-witch Sabrina navigates between two worlds: mortal teen life and her family's legacy, the Church of Night."

What critics said: "The character growth of Part 3 is simply put, delicious. The emotional payoffs of each journey keep the show from slipping into WTF!?! territory and firmly ground CAOS as a show with something to say outside of quippy one-liners." — TV Guide (season 3)

20. "The OA" — canceled after 2 seasons

Average critic score: 84%

Audience score: 84%

Critic score for most recent season: 92% (season 2)

Netflix description: "Seven years after vanishing from her home, a young woman returns with mysterious new abilities and recruits five strangers for a secret mission."

What critics said: "The OA is kind of genius, while simultaneously being incredibly silly. And you know what? I love it! I love its goofy, loopy vibe." — Vox (season 2)

19. "Sense8" — canceled after 2 seasons

Average critic score: 86% (includes finale movie)

Audience score: 91%

Critic score for most recent season: 93% (season 2)

Netflix description: "From the creators of "The Matrix" and "Babylon 5" comes this tense series in which eight people can telepathically experience each other's lives."

What critics said: "This nakedly political show somehow manages to be free-spirited, rather than dull or polemical; its good intentions often border on goofy naiveté in a way that's charming rather than grating." — The Atlantic (season 2)

18. "Marvel's Luke Cage" — canceled after 2 seasons

Average critic score: 87%

Audience score: 71%

Critic score for most recent season: 85% (season 2)

Netflix description: "A hoodie-wearing, unbreakable ex-con fights to clear his name and save his neighborhood. He wasn't looking for a fight, but the people need a hero."

What critics said: "It takes a season for Luke to find some sense of certainty, for better or for worse. The next step of his journey may be the most fascinating." — Indiewire (Season 2)

 

17. "Lucifer" — canceled after 6 seasons (3 on Netflix)

Average critic score: 87%

Audience score: 85%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 4)

Netflix description: "Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective."

What critics said: "The more I think about it, the more I stand by my belief that the majority of season four is among the very best episodes the Lucifer has to offer." — AV Club (season 4)

16. "Atypical" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 87%

Audience score: 95%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 3)

Netflix description: "When a teen on the autism spectrum decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path of self-discovery."

What critics said: "Atypical is proving yet again why it remains the best half-hour on Netflix's slate." — Forbes (season 3)

15. "Santa Clarita Diet" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 89%

Audience score: 91%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 3)

Netflix description: "They're ordinary husband and wife realtors until she undergoes a dramatic change that sends them down a road of death and destruction. In a good way."

What critics said: "While season three is the richest and most layered look at marriage and mortality yet, 'Santa Clarita Diet' remains gloriously easy watching." — Collider (Season 3)

14. "Easy" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 90%

Audience score: 85%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 3)

Netflix description: "Features eight vignettes that follow the complicated, loosely connected lives of young Chicagoans in their 20s and 30s as they tackle love, sex, and self-improvement."

What critics said: "The final season fulfills the possibilities of the show's concept, informing it with humanist fury." — Slant Magazine (Season 3)

 

13. "Dead to Me" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 90%

Audience score: 90%

Critic score for most recent season: 95% (season 2)

Netflix description: "A hotheaded widow searching for the hit-and-run driver who mowed down her husband befriends an eccentric optimist who isn't quite what she seems."

What critics said: "Their manic lives and cascading calamities of their own creation provide a fantastic escape into a once-familiar world not long gone. Nobody wants their problems, but at least they're not boring." — Salon

12. "The Kominsky Method" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 90%

Audience score: 93%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 2)

Netflix description: "Acting coach Sandy Kominsky and best friend Norman Newlander keep each other laughing as they navigate the ups and downs of getting older."

What critics said: "Douglas, a Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee, shines throughout … Arkin, though, gets the richest material this season." — TV Insider (season 2)

11. "Glow" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 92%

Audience score: 86%

Critic score for most recent season: 86% (season 3)

Netflix description: "In 1980s LA, a crew of misfits reinvent themselves as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. A comedy by the team behind 'Orange Is the New Black.'"

What critics said: "Season 3 is a wrestling match between cause and effect, countering every bit of happiness with a proportionally steep cost." — The Atlantic (season 3)

10. "Marvel's Daredevil" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 92%

Audience score: 92%

Critic score for most recent season: 97% (season 3)

Netflix description: "Blinded as a young boy, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a lawyer and by night as the superhero Daredevil in Hell's Kitchen, New York City."

What critics said: "What's clear is that [showrunner Erik] Oleson and his staff course-correct after an overcrowded second season, returning the focus to the people who live in this story." — RogerEbert.com (Season 3)

 

9. "Dark" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 93%

Audience score: 95%

Critic score for most recent season: 91% (season 3)

Netflix description: "A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations."

What critics said: "'Dark' has maintained that highwire act for three of the most thrilling sci-fi TV seasons ever made. To see it make it across the chasm with its ambitions and technique intact is certainly something worth remembering." — Indiewire (season 3)

 

8. "Love" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score: 94%

Audience score: 86%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 3)

Netflix description: "Rebellious Mickey and good-natured Gus navigate the thrills and agonies of modern relationships in this bold comedy cocreated by Judd Apatow."

What critics said: "Love manages to close on its own terms, on an unconventionally hopeful note. But it also provides something that most of us seek but don't often find from our television shows: a couple of genuine surprises we didn't see coming." — Vulture (Season 3)

 

7. "Dear White People" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 95%

Audience score: 52%

Critic score for most recent season: 90% (season 3)

Netflix description: "Students of color navigate the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that's not nearly as 'post-racial' as it thinks."

What critics said: "The college campus satire attempts to reconcile two complicated histories, and mostly succeeds." — New York Times (season 3)

6. "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" — canceled after 4 seasons

Average critic score: 96% (includes interactive movie)

Audience score: 83%

Critic score for most recent season: 94% (season 4)

Netflix description: "When a woman is rescued from a doomsday cult and lands in New York City, she must navigate a world she didn't think even existed anymore."

What critics said: "Ellie Kemper's bold gameness has powered the show for so long that it's almost easy to take it for granted; even while she's failed to truly grow all that much over the years, her enthusiasm and dedication to the role remains engaging." — Indiewire

5. "Tuca and Bertie" — canceled after 1 season

Average critic score: 98%

Audience score: 68%

Critic score for most recent season: 98% (season 1)

Netflix description: "Free-spirited toucan Tuca and self-doubting song thrush Bertie are best friends — and birds — who guide each other through life's ups and downs."

What critics said: "Tuca & Bertie handled a wide range of emotion in just one short season with the utmost humor and heart — and seeing it canceled before it even had a chance to grow is a blow to fans." — Polygon

4. "American Vandal" — canceled after 2 seasons

Average critic score: 98%

Audience score: 91%

Critic score for most recent season: 98% (season 2)

Netflix description: "A high school is rocked by an act of vandalism, but the top suspect pleads innocence and finds an ally in a filmmaker. A satirical true-crime mystery."

What critics said: "It's better than anyone could have expected, but a little less than they might have hoped." — Slate (Season 2)

 

3. "One Day at a Time" — canceled after 3 seasons

Average critic score (for first three seasons): 99%

Audience score (first three seasons): 92%

Critic score for most recent season (on Netflix): 100% (season 3)

Netflix description: "In a reimagining of the TV classic, a newly single Latina mother raises her teen daughter and tween son with the 'help' of her old-school mom."

What critics said: "The heartbeat of 'One Day at a Time' was its spirited insistence that beauty can thrive alongside pain. The series blended multicam-sitcom laughs with a fearless willingness to tackle heavy social issues." — The Atlantic (season 3)

 

2. "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj" — canceled after 6 "volumes" in 2 years

Critic score: 100% (volume 1)

Audience score: 82%

Netflix description: "Every Sunday, Hasan Minhaj brings an incisive and nuanced perspective to global news, politics and culture in his unique comedy series."

What critics said: "What Patriot Act is doing very well in these early episodes is balancing the desire to tell cathartic jokes with the need to think, in a way that incorporates ideas about ethics and morality." — NPR (season 1)

1. "Mystery Science Theater 3000" — canceled after 2 seasons

Average critic score: 100%

Audience score: 91%

Critic score for most recent season: 100% (season 2)

Netflix description: "The cult hit returns! Captured by mad scientists, new host Jonah survives a blitz of cheesy B movies by riffing on them with his funny robot pals."

What critics said: "The movies are a good selection for the most part. They were able to pick six movies that have very little to do with each other. A very nice variety, all things considered." — Den of Geek (season 2)

 

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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