It's been a rough year for comic-based television. Cancellation season saw the end of a number of fantastic programs based on comic properties, some even getting the ax before their first episode had even aired.
While there was a time a few years back that networks were buying up all the comic-based properties they could get their hands on, recent oversaturation has led to a slew of programs being left behind. Sometimes, however, it's for the best. Here are 5 Cancelled Comic Shows We Miss (And 5 We Don't).
10 We Miss: Happy! (2017-19)
Topping off our list is Syfy's dark crime comedy Happy!, a show that shouldn't work for any conceivable reason but still ended up being a diabolical little gem. Based on Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's four-issue miniseries, the show follows hitman Nick Sax, who teams up with his daughter's imaginary friend, a talking blue unicorn, to save her from a child abductor dubbed "The Very Naughty Santa."
It's wild and weird and boasts some of the most visually stylish action on television right now, but after lackluster ratings for Season 2, Syfy pulled the plug. They really seem to like canceling their best shows.
9 We Don't Miss: The Cape (2011)
Oof, this one was rough. A rough and tumble ex-cop, presumed dead by friends and family, dons a magical cape and fights crime under the moniker...The Cape. If his superhero name isn't enough to make you laugh, the shoddy CG, wooden performances (even from the usually fantastic Keith David and Summer Glau), and convoluted plot should have you rolling your eyes when you're not guffawing at its unintentional hilarity.
If anything, The Cape is good for a throwback to the pre-Arrow world of superhero television, but not much else.
8 We Miss: Swamp Thing (2019)
What happened with this show? To this day, the answer will change depending on who you ask. While in the midst of filming the back half of the first season of this James Wan-produced super-horror series, the makers were informed that their initial order of thirteen episodes had been pared down to just 10. Hope remained, as the creators were sure that they had a hit on their hands, and conversations with the network seemed to indicate the same.
But then, just a few short days after the first episode premiered, it was announced that Swamp Thing would not be returning for any more adventures. The specifics surrounding the cancellation just added to the frustrations fans felt after the news dropped, amplified exponentially because the show was a masterclass in how to mix body horror, The Thing-style monsters, and superhero origins with aplomb and creativity. Swamp Thing was simply too good to last.
7 We Don't Miss: Constantine (2014-15)
They don't let Constantine smoke in this one. JOHN CONSTANTINE isn't allowed to smoke in his own solo series. If that doesn't clearly illuminate all the problems with this limp Supernatural knockoff, nothing does.
The character was brought back in DC's Legends of Tomorrow, so Constantine's cancellation was not the end of the line for the demon hunter.
6 We Miss: The Tick (2016-19)
Despite its untimely cancellation, The Tick managed to squeeze more episodes out of its run than almost any other show on this list. Receiving 22 episodes in total, The Tick followed the exploits of its titular superhero and his human sidekick Arthur as they try to keep their city safe from supervillains.
The show is a wonderful balance between superhero parody and satisfying action, but unfortunately, viewers just didn't give it the attention it deserved, and Amazon gave up on the program.
5 We Don't Miss: Birds of Prey (2002-03)
Oh, what could have been! A show following the titular group of superheroines could have been a giant leap for comic television. At the time Birds of Prey premiered, the only real competition it faced was the WB's Smallville, but audiences quickly dismissed this female-led superteam.
After a premiere that debuted to 7.6 million views, the numbers took a complete nosedive in subsequent weeks and the show was pulled after just thirteen episodes. Critics cited a confusing story and lackluster performances as the reasons the show didn't make the cut.
4 We Will Miss: Preacher (2016-19)
Preacher is the only show on this list that gets to go out on its own terms, as the creators were advised ahead of time that the fourth season will also be the last. Executive Producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have crafted a wholly unique television experience with their adaptation of Gath Ennis and Steve Dillon's seminal comic.
The action is fierce and kinetic, the characters are layered and consistently interesting, and the way the show pokes fun at the goofier aspects of religion as a whole is just brilliant. We'll miss this rambunctious program and how it riled up the churchgoing masses...to the end of the world.
3 We Don't Miss: Iron Fist (2017-2018)
Iron Fist isn't nearly the outright flop that critics made it out to be upon release. It's fun, diverting, and has a few decent kung-fu setpieces throughout its 23-episode run. But a slew of issues held this Defender back from being anything more than "just okay." TV's Danny Rand, while admirably played by Finn Jones, is an eminently unlikable character, with incredibly boring supporting characters around him.
The action, while not outright terrible, is lacking in the stunt-centric flair you'd expect from a superhero who specializes in kung-fu. Overall, the series is stuck being "just okay" in the company of some truly excellent superhero television. Hence, when Netflix wiped it's slate clean of everything Marvel, fans were most upset about Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, rather than poor Danny Rand.
2 We Miss: Deadly Class (2019)
This one still hurts. Deadly Class should have been the breakout hit of the year. It was a fresh take on a tired concept, it had the best soundtrack of any television show this year (or this decade), the cast was aces all around, and - to top it off - it was produced by the Russo Brothers.
Yes, THOSE Russo Brothers. Sadly, the gods of television decided to crush the hearts of the creators and the audience, as it was announced on June 4th, 2019 that the show would not be returning for a second season.
To make matters even worse, the first season ended on a huge cliffhanger, with protagonists Marcus and Maria facing down crime boss El Diablo and his entire gang. Seeing as the show was just a few episodes away from adapting the Freshman Finals arc (easily the most propulsive, action-heavy and completely insane arc of the series), this cancellation was probably entirely due to cost. Doesn't make it hurt any less though, as Deadly Class was easily the most visually interesting, fun, dark and crazy cool drama to hit the small screen all year. At least the comic by Rick Remender and Wes Craig is still going strong.
1 We Don't Miss: Marvel's Inhumans (2017)
It's hard to think of another comic-based show that dropped the ball as hard as Marvel's Inhumans did. Limp acting (from talented actors no less), bland action, and an influx of melodramatic nonsense had this series stumbling from the start, and later episodes did nothing to improve upon what many critics considered one of the worst pilots of the decade.
The sets looked cheap, the CG unconvincing, and the strange choice to film the first two episodes in IMAX for a limited theatrical run backfired, as it flopped at the box office and clued fans on to the lackluster final product before the actual premiere. The Inhumans might still have a future in films, but the MCU probably hopes you'll forget about this ill-advised Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off.