It’s always heartbreaking when you find out that one of your favorite shows has been canceled. Though some lucky few have been brought back thanks to fans, many others are never given the chance. The characters you’ve become so attached to are left in the dust. Their storylines and arcs are unresolved. All audiences get is an abrupt and unfulfilling ending. It becomes difficult to rewatch them or to recommend them to friends and family knowing there’s no proper conclusion.
It’s even worse if it’s a cliffhanger ending! With so much at stake, we just want to find out what happens next. Will our favorite characters survive their life-threatening situation? Will these two characters finally get together as a couple? How will the world be saved? A cliffhanger puts us on the edge of our seats with so much anticipation, and then, the next episode never comes.
Over the years, lots of comic book shows have unfortunately found their fate in cancellation. Despite this, whether you’re already committed to a show or just a newcomer, some deserve to be revisited by audiences. The storytelling and characters are simply too good to be left un-watched, even if their endings leave you wanting more. This list will showcase some of the best canceled comic book shows worth revisiting. Shall we begin?
Originally debuting on Netflix in April 2015, Daredevil was Marvel’s first TV show intended for mature audiences. Though set in the MCU, the connections remained minimal, allowing the show to tell its own unique and contained storyline. Upon its release, it received universal acclaim and set the stage for future Marvel Netflix series, in which characters would go on to crossover.
Set in New York, the show follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer who at night fights crime as a masked vigilante, later known as Daredevil. He works at his own law firm with his best friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson (Elden Henson). Their first case leads them to meet Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a woman being framed for the murder of her co-worker. While trying to solve her case, Matt’s vigilantism puts him in the crosshairs of crime lord Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).
Like many great comic book shows, Daredevil showcases the struggles of someone trying to live two separate lives and the dangers of them colliding. Over 39 episodes across three seasons, Matt goes through the wringer, physically and emotionally, doing whatever he can to protect the people of New York, both with and above the law.
The show’s cancellation came as a shock, and though its main storylines were (mostly) wrapped up, much more was teased for the team of Matt, Foggy, and Karen to face. Fortunately, Marvel looks to be bringing some of these characters back (though this article will stay spoiler-free for those that don’t know yet!). Whether all the characters make big returns to the MCU or not, Daredevil is still a great show that’s worth investing your time into.
The entire series is currently streaming on Disney+.
Like Daredevil, Jessica Jones was an adult-orientated Marvel show, again keeping a distance from the MCU films and other series. It similarly garnered universal acclaim and was praised for addressing more mature themes through its characters such as PTSD, sexuality, and abuse. The show follows the titular Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), a super-powered private investigator in New York. She was once a superhero but gave up the life after a traumatic incident involving a mind-controlling criminal named Kilgrave (David Tennant). When Kilgrave returns to the city, Jessica is forced to confront her past and try to stop him for good. She is helped by her foster-sister Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor), lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), and bar owner/crime fighter Luke Cage (Mike Colter).
Though it may be a slow burn to some, the show is always engaging and suspenseful as Jessica gets deeper into her cases. There are lots of twists and turns as the cases unfold, and when her personal life, unfortunately, becomes entangled in her work, Jessica’s life becomes a chaotic mess.
Again, similarly to Daredevil, the show’s main storylines were mostly wrapped up before its cancellation, but there was still plenty that could have been explored with these characters. There are also rumors that Jessica will return to the MCU in the near future. For now, though, Jessica Jones is a dark noir-inspired thriller that you don’t want to miss seeing.
The entire series is also currently streaming on Disney+.
Originally debuting on Freeform, Cloak & Dagger is set in New Orleans, a distinct location compared to the MCU’s focus on New York. A change in setting allowed the series to showcase its own unique story while maintaining continuity with the larger MCU franchise.
The show ultimately follows teenagers Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph). Connected by the same traumatic event in their childhoods, both grew up in dysfunctional households, eventually meeting each other years later. They discover that they have both manifested superpowers: Tandy has the power to control light, and Tyrone, to control darkness. Realizing their powers are linked, the two work together to uncover the truth behind their shared life-altering experience while helping the people of New Orleans. Being still in high school, the show highlights the high-wire act that Tandy and Tyrone face on a day-to-day basis. It is difficult to keep their ordinary and superhero lives separate, especially as the police and other-worldly entities create ripples in both.
Despite its cancellation, the show ended its two-season run on a very open-ended note, giving these characters a clean way to return to our screens if the opportunity arises. Until then, Cloak and Dagger has a fascinating story to tell, with Tandy and Tyrone’s unbreakable bond at its center.
The entire series is currently streaming on Hulu.
Compared to the previous Marvel shows on this list, Agent Carter is undeniably a show set within the MCU. Hayley Atwell reprises her role of Peggy Carter from the films, along with many others, with the show exploring her life after Steve Rogers/Captain America’s (Chris Evans) presumed death. Set in 1946, the show follows Peggy as she works at the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), a predecessor to S.H.I.E.L.D. When Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is framed for supplying weapons to enemies of the United States, Peggy secretly assists him in uncovering the true culprits. This investigation leads her down a dangerous path filled with rogue spies, deadly assassins, and the origins of secret government programs.
Across both seasons of Agent Carter, the show incorporates many elements from the MCU films and shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Some of these include the Red Room where Black Widows are trained, super-soldiers, as well as an extra-dimensional energy source known as the Darkforce. Despite these strong connections between other MCU properties, the show can still be enjoyed if you’ve never watched them before.
The show was unfortunately canceled on a big cliffhanger, which is unlikely to be resolved. Saying this, if you’re already a fan of Peggy, the MCU in general, or just spy shows with a fun comic book twist, Agent Carter is an exciting period piece that you’re sure to enjoy.
Just like with Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the entire series is streaming on Disney+ as well.
An outlier on this list, Teen Titans actually had a good run on Cartoon Network before its cancellation. The show lasted for five seasons (65 episodes), with each season focusing on a different member of the titular team. Now, who’s on the team you might ask? We have Robin (voiced by Scott Menville), the Teen Titans’ strict but courageous leader; Starfire (Hynden Walch), a humanoid alien princess that is very kind, but clueless about Earth’s customs; Raven (Tara Strong), a half-human/half-demon with telekinetic and magical abilities; Cyborg (Khary Payton), a tech-genius who after a horrible accident became part machine; and last, but not least, Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), a shapeshifting prankster. The show follows the team of adolescent heroes as they learn to work together while protecting the city, and even the world, from supervillains, most memorably Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Ron Perlman).
Though the show didn’t end on a cliffhanger, the un-intended series finale set up a big story for the potential sixth season. A follow-up TV film, Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo, premiered a few months after the finale, providing some closure for the characters, but not really addressing Season 5’s ending. Despite this, Teen Titans remain a fan-favorite DC and Cartoon Network show, with the characters recently returning in 2019’s incredibly fun Teen Titans Go! Vs. Teen Titans animated film. The show has been gone for quite some time now, but it’s still a blast, balancing comedy, drama, and action, with a lot of emotional depth and maturity considering its intended younger audience.
The entire series, as well as both animated films, are currently streaming on HBO Max.
With The CW’s Arrowverse growing in popularity during this time, NBC jumped into the superhero genre too by developing its own DC comics-based series, Constantine. The show follows the titular John Constantine (played by Matt Ryan), an English occultist and demon hunter in America. He travels the country using his skills to send demons back to Hell, saving people and their souls in the process, while paying penance to redeem his own. Helping John on his travels is Mary “Zed” Martin (Angélica Celaya), a psychic that sees visions of the future. Together, they learn of a new looming threat called the ‘Rising Darkness’.
Despite solid reviews, Constantine had low viewership, and it was canceled after only 13 episodes. The show ended on a game-changing cliffhanger, which will likely remain unresolved. However, less than a year following the show’s cancellation, John was brought onto the hit show Arrow in a guest star role, still played by Matt Ryan. The canceled series subsequently found itself retroactively established within the Arrowverse’s continuity, giving John’s character a second shot at the limelight. John would then go on to become a main and fan-favorite character in multiple seasons of Legends of Tomorrow.
Arrowverse aside, there’s still lots to enjoy from John’s original solo series. With good chemistry between its lead characters, an intriguing mystery, and lots of demon hunting action, it’s an entertaining introduction to this world and the life of John Constantine.
Constantine is currently available on DIRECTV and Sling.
Swamp Thing was unfortunately forced to reckon with many production issues through its barely one-season run. With talks of the studio having creative differences with the show, its budget being cut short, and the episode count being reduced, hopes for a second season faded away quickly. Fortunately, the ten episodes which were released engaged audiences and received high praise.
The series revolves around Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed), a doctor returning to her hometown in Louisiana to investigate a virus originating from the swamps. Abby is partnered up with Alec Holland (Andy Bean), a scientist that is quickly killed by something in the swamp, which takes his body. The locals soon start seeing a terrifying creature living in the swamp (played by Derek Mears), which they dub “Swamp Thing”. Things take a turn for the even stranger when Abby finally encounters the creature, and it claims to be Alec. Drawing on horror and supernatural tropes, Swamp Thing has a distinct vibe and visual aesthetic that makes it stand out from other superhero/comic book series. The unlikely relationship between Abby and Swamp Thing is the heart of this story, and despite its incredibly short run, it is still worth exploring.
The series is not currently streaming on any service but can be purchased or rented from online stores such as Apple TV, Amazon, and Vudu.
Originally debuting on Syfy, Krypton had a unique approach to exploring the Superman mythos, by setting the show 200 years before the birth of Kal-El. Without a superhero front and center, the show instead focuses on the divide between powerful political families on Krypton, the Houses of El, Vex, and Zod, and their impact on Kryptonian society.
The show follows a young Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Kal-El’s grandfather, as their House has been stripped of its reputation. Living among the slums of Krypton’s struggling capital city, Kandor, Seg hopes to restore his family’s honor and legacy. As the Vex and Zod families fight each other for power in Kandor, Seg meets a time traveler from the future, Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos). Adam warns Seg that time is being altered, leaving Earth at great risk of invasion as his grandson, who has become Superman, is fading from the timeline completely.
Blending political drama, military action, and time travel sounds like an unusual mix, but to Krypton’s benefit, it keeps the story fresh as the elements slowly start tying together. There’s no Superman, but his ancestors are still riveting to watch as they fight for Krypton, Earth, and the future.
The series is not currently streaming on any service but can be purchased in online stores.
Honorable Mention: Legends of Tomorrow (2016-2022)
Just a few days before finishing this article, Legends Of Tomorrow was canceled by The CW, abruptly ending the show on a massive cliffhanger. It had a great run, but it’s still awful to think about a show you’ve watched for so long suddenly being gone, likely for good. You can read more about the fantastic series, my thoughts on it, and why you should still watch it here.
The series is currently streaming on Netflix.
Honorable Mention: Young Justice (2010-2013, 2019- ongoing)
A beacon of hope on this list, and for canceled TV shows in general, Young Justice originally aired on Cartoon Network for two seasons from 2010 to 2013. Like Teen Titans, the show follows a group of teenage superheroes as they learn what it takes to become a team under the mentorship of the Justice League.
Following Season 2’s conclusion, funding for the show was cut, and it was subsequently canceled. However, in February 2016, the show was released on Netflix, giving it a new life and audience base. Through overwhelming fan response and viewership numbers, it was announced in September 2016 that Young Justice would return for a third season, premiering in January 2019. Additionally, Season 4, titled Young Justice: Phantoms, is currently airing now, so it’s never been a better time to catch up!
Young Justice is now streaming on HBO Max.
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