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The Top Ten TV Shows That Ended in 2012

This past calendar year has given us plenty of memorable TV moments. With buzz-worthy new shows arriving and some of our returning favorites delivering their best seasons yet, 2012 also marked the end of the road for a handful of series. Some were on the air for years, while others aired just one short season. In alphabetical order, revisit the shows that ended in 2012.


This sci-fi series about Alcatraz inmates from 1963 reappearing in the present day and committing their crimes all over again had a magnificent pilot and managed to stay on track for thirteen episodes before FOX decided that renewing it wasn’t in the network’s best interest. It could have become a cult classic with just a little more time, and certainly had a lasting idea that shouldn’t have been cut short.


Starz claims that it may close out this brilliant, sex-filled story of power and corruption in Chicago with a two-hour movie, but we’ve heard that one before. The fact that this show was renewed before the pilot even aired shouldn’t have mattered – this show produced some of the most intriguing, edgy television in a while. Kelsey Grammer’s Golden Globe-winning performance wasn’t even the best thing about it, and that’s saying something.


NBC announced long ago its plans to wrap this show, which got a shaky start right around the time of the writers’ strike five years ago, with a thirteen-episode swan song. This show hit its peak with its second and third seasons, which radically changed its format, but this humor-filled tale of a nerd turned super-agent was entertaining up until the last minute.

The Closer

This TNT procedural cop show may be done, but its series finale led right into the premiere of Major Crimes, which preserved pretty much all but Kyra Sedgwick from the main cast. This show was still good enough to merit transplanting eighty percent of its characters to a new series, and it only ended because Sedgwick wanted to try something now.

Common Law

Now that USA has started programming weeknights, Fridays are no longer the place to be. Along with sophomore series Fairly Legal, this show bit the dust because it couldn’t attract a decent audience on the weekend. This odd couple cop comedy, however, had potential, and while it wasn’t always even, it was enjoyable to watch Michael Ealy’s Travis and Warren Kole’s Wes bicker.


This is one show that, despite the awards it won early on, got much better with age. Adding all-new villains and supporting characters each season made it much more enticing than its original focus on the rivalry between lawyers Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons. The final season’s hacker-centric plotline was strong, and though its conclusion wasn’t too satisfying, the show deserves credit for its strong use of guest talent.

Desperate Housewives

Most of this show’s best moments came early on in its run, but its final season was relatively fun. It’s hard to recapture a sense of originality faded over the years, but this show always managed to provide juicy, scandalous storylines for all of its characters. Eight years is nothing to scoff at, and the closing moments of the finale served as a haunting tribute to the entire show.

The Finder

Why Bones is in eighth season and this spin-off couldn’t even make it to a second will never be clear. This energetic, offbeat crime show found a terrific leading man in Geoff Stults, and used Mercedes Masöhn, Maddie Hasson, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan to great effect in the ensemble. The antics of the crew from the Ends of the Earth should have seen more days, and thirteen episodes is all we’ve have to remember them.


This show’s fate was sealed by the deaths of multiple horses during filming. Already renewed for a second season, this layered drama series, which gradually got better after a mediocre pilot, saw production halted and cancellation decreed two weeks before its first season finished airing. An excellent season finale suggests there would have been great things to come had the show been filmed more carefully and responsibly.


This show had a rollercoaster run best exemplified by the creative opening credits sequence from its final season. The story of a widowed mother dealing pot in the suburbs took on a whole new life as its characters grew up. Following all the actors through eight seasons was a rare pleasure not usually seen on television, and the show ended on just as weird and wild a note as it began.

By Abe Fried-Tanzer


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