Channel 4 axed ‘Utopia’ in October last year and then it was nominated for an International Emmy, which prompted Martyn P Jackson (to whom thanks) to compile this list, featuring five British and five American productions.
- ‘Utopia’ Critical acclaim didn’t stop Channel 4 axing this stylish conspiracy theory thriller after two series and with the main storyline unresolved. At least four series had been planned.
- ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ Aaron Sorkin’s follow-up to The West Wing, starring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, was well received, but was cancelled by NBC after just one season.
- ‘Ultraviolet’ Intelligent British vampire drama, featuring a young Idris Elba, lasted just one series before Channel 4’s axeman struck again.
- ‘Star Cops’ A terrible title hid BBC2’s best attempt at producing a believable hard science-fiction show, but it lasted just one series. Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter praised its writing.
- ‘Carnivale’ Ten Emmy nominations couldn’t save this Depression-era dark fantasy series from HBO’s axe. Intended to run for six seasons; only two were made.
- ‘Deadwood’ This foul-mouthed, revisionist Western series won eight Emmys, but HBO canned it after three seasons. Plans to tie up loose ends with two TV movies came to nought.
- ‘Ripper Street’ Its mix of coppers, violence and Victoriana was a hit with mainstream BBC1 viewers, but that didn’t stop the Beeb’s axe. Amazon Prime has now stepped in to rescue the show.
- ‘Dirk Gently’ BBC4 failed to give this comedy detective show, based on the novels by Douglas Adams, a second series. Lead actor Stephen Mangan was not happy.
- ‘Firefly’ Joss Whedon’s sci-fi Western was adored by fans and critics, but Fox cancelled it partway through its first season. Strong DVD sales prompted a coda, the movie Serenity.
- ‘Space: Above and Beyond’ Gritty, militaristic humans vs aliens sci-fi series axed after one season by Fox. Years later, a re-imagined Battlestar Galactica borrowed its template, with much success.
First published in the Independent on 18th January 2015.