7 Hyped-Up Cable TV Shows That Bombed

Network TV has been taking a real pounding lately — aside from some stuff on CBS, they’ve just been having a hard time finding new hits. Cable, on the other hand, has come on like gangbusters. No longer searching for their first breakthroughs, cable has been stumbling into hit after hit. Of course, it’s not all success for them — cable has had its fair share of bombs. And HERE THEY ARE!

Luck, HBO

Tragic extenuating circumstances lead to the failure of Luck, as the show about horse racing kept having horses die during filming. Instead of ending up with a legacy as HBO’s Great Horse Massacre Show, the parties instead all agreed to shut down production. It was a big blow for HBO, considering the show was created by David Milch, who had made successful shows for them before, and starred Nick Nolte and Dustin Hoffman. A real all-star affair, felled by the brittle legs of horses.

Chozen, FXX

Archer was a big critical success for FX (in fact it REMAINS a big critical success, seven seasons in), so they were probably like “we should make another animated show, with the very same animation studio!” The show they made? Chozen — the tale of a gay, white rapper, fresh out of prison and looking to retake his place at the top of the rap industry. But unfortunately, both critics and audiences weren’t into it, and the show was cancelled and taken off the air before it even aired all of its episodes.

Vinyl, HBO

This is the most recent entrant on the list, and boy, was it ever a blow to HBO. Created by some of their most trusted creators, and with a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese, the incredibly expensive Vinyl was supposed to be the network’s next big hit. But people aren’t really into stories of the golden era of rock n roll opulence anymore, and after a low-rated first season, HBO replaced the showrunner (Terrence Winter, a longtime and frequent collaborator with HBO) before making the decision to just cancel it altogether.

Party Down, Starz

Party Down breaks my heart, because it was a truly fantastic and hilarious show, but the numbers speak for themselves. (They were very low.) Of course, this was also one of the very first original shows ever aired on Starz, so it still managed to survive for two seasons. Two glorious seasons.

Kojak, USA

Kojak was a beloved series that ran during the 1970s about a bald, no-nonsense police officer named Kojak. In the 2000s, it was remade by USA, and no one remembers it except for a few people, and their memories are not typically fond.

Happyish, Showtime

Happyish‘s first problem was its cynical attitude about young people that didn’t feel fresh. We get it, selfies and technology. But the show’s BIGGER problem is that the original star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died of a heroin overdose before they’d started shooting the show and was replaced with Steve Coogan. Steve Coogan is great, but they’d really tailored the show for Hoffman, who maybe would’ve been able to elevate the show’s material.

Skins, MTV

I’m not sure how many of you were familiar with the UK version of Skins (named after a slang term for rolling papers there, which means that by keeping the title in the US it is no longer a clever double entendre) but it was a pretty big hit, running for seven years and going through three different casts. But American audiences were less prepared for the show’s controversial content, and boycotts and outrage from concerned viewers’ groups (those people are literally the worst) lead to advertisers bailing and MTV just pulling the plug. It’s not like Skins was a big draw for viewers anyway, and critics had a tough time with the rough performances form a lot of the cast, many of whom had never acted before.

Look, you can’t succeed without failing once in a while, right? Nothing to be ashamed of here! Which of these shows would you bring back for, like, a wrap-up movie? Let us know on Twitter @Smosh!

Will Weldon
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