gone gays

Gone too soon: 6 queer shows canceled before their time

The Society

Television has a fickle nature. A show can become a smash hit in its first season, only to peter out into obscurity with the next (see also: Twin Peaks, Felicity). On the other hand, what started as a ratings loser can also go on to legendary status (Cheers, Seinfeld). Still, others just seem to go on forever (The Simpsons), or come back from the dead more than once (Futurama).

Where queer shows are concerned, we, the devoted audience, have had to sit through some dreadful stinkers. We’ve also seen a few axed a bit too soon, depriving a devoted audience of their beloved stories and representation. These queer series deserved to go on longer, but hit the chopping block instead. Here’s hoping somebody, someday might give them the full-on resurrection treatment. (Hey, it worked for Twin Peaks!)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

What can we say? All toxic behavior aside, nobody does interviews or comedy quite like Ellen DeGeneres, and seeing an open, married lesbian on TV every afternoon helped acclimate middle America to queer acceptance. We’ll miss her talk show, for sure… not to mention her montage of scaring the crap out of celebrities.

Airs on NBC.


The Wachowskis gifted us this Netflix show about a cluster of strangers telepathically connected around the world. Sense8 might well rank as the Queerest Show of All Time. Canceled after two seasons, Netflix had the good sense to allow Lana Wachowski to return for a wrap-up movie. That consolation aside, we could still see the Sense8 gang return for another adventure… not to mention another one of their notorious orgy scenes.

Streams on Netflix.


Love it or hate it, Looking featured a stellar cast and portrayed modern gay dating with rare frankness and honesty. HBO canceled the show after just two seasons, and despite a wrap-up movie, we’ve never felt satisfied. Given the recent Republican onslaught against LGBTQ rights and the fact that gay life does not end with marriage, or at age 40, Looking could provide fertile ground for a revival about queer life in middle-age.

Streams on HBO.

The OA

Brit Marling and gay director Zal Batmanglij’s weird sci-fi series about dimension-hopping, parallel universes, and magic Tai-Chi also hit the Netflix chopping block after Season 2. We’ve never recovered. The series that introduced the world to Ian Alexander and that also featured Kingsley Ben-Adir, Zendaya, Jason Isaacs, Paz Vega and Riz Ahmed in recurring roles deserved a movie-wrap up to help us decipher its brand of weirdness. Failing that, how about a comic book conclusion?

Streams on Netflix.

Madame’s Place

Most of you won’t even remember Wayland Flowers, the hilarious stand-up comic and ventriloquist whose signature character–the boozy faded starlet Madame–kept audiences entertained throughout the 1970s. Flowers tried to get in on the sitcom game with Madame’s Place back in 1982, but the show only lasted one season. Imagine what Madame would have had to say about mid-80s Reaganomics or the rise of MTV.

Streams on YouTube.

The Society

This Netflix series fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it wasn’t exactly Battlestar GalacticaThe Society–and its story of a group of high schoolers that ended up in a deserted copy of their hometown–had a strange and captivating quality to it. That could have something to do with the relationship between Grizz and Sam (Jack Mulhern and Sean Berdy), a former football player and a thoughtful, hard-of-hearing teen. Could the two at least get their own spinoff?

Streams on Netflix.