Shows Based on Books That Were Cancelled Too Soon

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Gone but not forgotten!


It's a tricky task, creating a television series. It's an even trickier task creating one that has its own set of mythology and a built-in fanbase. While many series succeed in adapting books (Game of Thrones, Outlander and Pretty Little Liars to name a few) and snagging a vigorous audience, there are so many that are so rarely given the chance to flourish.

Through the years, I've seen many shows based upon books come and go. A lot of them, sadly, are given the ax before really having a chance to connect with its target audience. Recently, the most notable shocker of a cancellation has been Freeform's Shadowhunters.

It's always disappointing.

Here are some of my favourite television adaptations that were cancelled before their time. Because the series is still on-air for the remainder of their season, Shadowhunters is only getting a little nod right now and won't be featured on today's list.


THE LYING GAME (ABC Family, now Freeform)
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by Sara Shepard 
Cancelled After: 2 Seasons  

Although The Lying Game is virtually nothing like its source material, it was still indulgent and a little mysterious. While it wasn't the biggest TV cancellation shocker, I was still pretty surprised when ABC Family hit the stop button on a series that felt right at home with Pretty Little Liars. It was, and still is, a huge mistake. Then again, that seems to be the Networks forte: cancelling things before their time. 

THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING (ABC Family, now Freeform) 
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by Liz Braswell
Cancelled After: 1 Season  

Another series to fall victim to its network's lackluster advertisement and quick-to-cancel thumbs. The Nine Lives of Chloe King proved several things: one, girls really are the most kickass. Two, shows based upon books can still stay true to its source material and still branch out into something fresh and new. It's bittersweet, looking back on this show and knowing that it could have been something huge. While I understand why viewers didn't tune into the show like they should have, its fanbase was quite loyal.

THE SECRET CIRCLE (CW) 
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by L.J. Smith
Cancelled After: 1 Season  

Shadowhunters only recently dethroned The Secret Circle on my list of most shocking cancellations. I think this might have been my first *big* shock when it comes to a show getting the ax for two reasons. One, I didn't really watched much television beyond whatever was playing on The-N for most of my teenage years and two, The Secret Circle was (and still is) quite popular. I vividly remember coming home from work and hearing that it was renewed--only for that to be an error, promptly followed by an apology and a baffling cancellation. Ouch. It was just starting to get into its groove, too!

FAMOUS IN LOVE (Freeform) 
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by Rebecca Serle
Cancelled After: 2 Seasons  

Remember that time that Freeform abruptly cancelled a show and didn't tell the cast/crew and then THEY found out from a PRESS RELEASE? Yeah. Yeah! That left a bad taste in my mouth. Famous in Love was just fun. It wasn't serious. It was pure, indulgent, dramatic escapism with a little bit of mystery thrown in here or there. It doesn't hurt that the entire cast was startlingly BEAUTIFUL and the sets and costumes were just as gorgeous. I honestly thought this one would last because it seemed to do really well with its initial "binge the entire first season" plan via Freeform's site and still had a standard time-slot on the network's schedule. 

666 PARK AVENUE (ABC) 
Based Upon the Novel of the Same Name by Gabriella Pierce 
Cancelled After: 1 Season  

Honestly, ABC did this show SO dirty. I think they were banking so hard on it being the next Desperate Housewives, something stylish and indulgent but with a supernatural and horror twist, and it just backfired. I think it would have done a lot better if it aired now. I also feel like they could have done a lot more to advertise it because even now, I bring it up to people and they're like, "What the hell is 666 Park Avenue?" And I just have to sigh. It was an odd gem of a show. While I never read the novel that it's based on, the series itself had a loyal viewer in me--at least, before they took it off air and then promptly moved it to a time slot I didn't know.

THE CARRIE DIARIES (CW) 
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by Candace Bushnell 
Cancelled After: 2 Seasons  

I think this show would have done a lot better if the fans of the Sex and the City TV series understood that it was a prequel about the book character. And is based on a book series itself. Not entirely the show. The Carrie Diaries was a fun little haze of a show that was empowering, romantic and stylish--much like Sex and the City. I felt like after a certain point its origin story turned into something like a mashup between the Sex and the City book and television series, The Carrie Diaries books and then something entirely its own. Which wasn't altogether coherent, but it was still fun. And it blocked out the more tacky 1980s fashion trends and made them, ah, less obnoxious? I understand the lackluster reception the show was given, due to the frustrations of the fans of the HBO original series, but I still think this was sweet and deserved more of a run.

THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES (MTV, Spike)
Based Upon the Novels of the Same Name by 
Cancelled After: 2 Seasons 

This show wasn't great and neither were the books, but they are both still entertaining. My Grandpa is rolling around in his grave at me saying that--side fact: it was his favourite book series. The Shannara Chronicles was a lot of fun, though, when it wasn't taking itself too seriously. Aesthetically speaking, it's a stunning show. I loved a lot of the characters and thought it was FINALLY getting to a point where things were really getting good. And the dialogue was becoming less awkward. I think it deserved better and that MTV shouldn't have tried to play it off as their attempt at capitalizing on Game of Thrones popularity only to switch it over to another network. With. No. Advertising. I didn't even know it moved networks until the second season was nearly over and I'm still rolling my eyes at this.  

What show comes to your mind first when reading the phrase, "Cancelled too soon"?

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