‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ & More of the Most Painful Cancellations of the 2020-2021 TV Season

Prodigal Son Malcolm Martin Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Max
Mark Seliger/ FOX; Michael Courtney/NBC/Lionsgate

As another TV season comes to an end, so do some of our favorite shows for good.

The 2020-2021 season was no exception, with the ax coming down for freshman and established series alike. For some, the news came far enough in advance that there were proper farewells (like for NCIS: New Orleans and Mom). For others, what makes it so tough that the shows won’t be back is that they ended on such a major cliffhanger that we need to see what’s next (like Prodigal Son and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist).

Below, we’ve listed the cancellations that hurt the hardest at the end of the 2020-2021 season. (And with a few shows’ fates still up in the air, check back to see if any others are added.) Which cancellation hurt you the most? Vote in our poll below.

Tyrone Benskin as George Jones, Jonathan Tucker as Bryan Beneventi, Riann Steele as Finola Jones in Debris - Season 1, Episode 13 - 'Celestial Body'
James Dittiger/NBC


By the time we got to the finale of Debris, it felt like the show was just beginning with all the mysteries set up as we were left with questions about Bryan (Jonathan Tucker), Finola (Riann Steele) — or at least a version of her, her father George (Tyrone Benskin) after his true loyalties were revealed, and so much about Otto (John Noble), except exactly what he did in the gas station. It doesn’t even feel like a wrap-up movie would be enough to address everything; if ever a show needed a second season, it’s this one.

MacGyver season 5 cast photo - Justin Hires, Meredith Eaton, Tristin Mays, Lucas Till, Henry Ian Cusick and Levy Tran
Mark Hill/CBS


When it comes to series finales that left too much unresolved, MacGyver definitely fits that bill. While the last episode wrapped up a major problem for the Phoenix Foundation (the nanobots in Lucas Till’s Mac and Tristin Mays’ Riley ), it left quite a bit hanging, including with the central love triangle (Mac had just moved in with Levy Tran’s Desi but shared all the emotional moments with Riley). If ever it felt like there was a need for at least a wrap-up movie or one last episode — either could sufficiently provide at least a bit of closure — it’s with this CBS drama.

Mom Cast CBS Allison Janney Jaime Pressly


Mom had heart, humor, and heartbreak, all rolled up in a half-hour package each week. With an amazing cast, powerful writing, and touching moments amidst the comedy, the CBS series did a great job of taking a look at the characters (and their flaws) in Alcoholics Anonymous.

NCIS: New Orleans - Season 6 Cast - Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Pride, Necar Zadegan as Special Agent Hannah Khoury, Vanessa Ferlito as FBI Special Agent Tammy Gregorio, and Rob Kerkovich as Forensic Scientist Sebastian Lund
Sam Lothridge/CBS

NCIS: New Orleans

Sure, there are still two NCIS series on air and a third coming next year, but New Orleans is the one that celebrated the music of its location and that has made it stand out over the years. The team’s office and Pride’s (Scott Bakula) bar being embedded in the city kept it unique from other procedurals.

Prodigal Son Cast Gallery
Mark Seliger/ FOX

Prodigal Son

The Fox thriller hooked us for two seasons of profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), consulting for the NYPD, and his serial killer father Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), locked away in Claremont Psychiatric, and it ended with a wild cliffhanger: Malcolm stabbing — and possibly killing — his dad in self-defense. Admittedly, this cancellation hurt even before the finale aired; the cast and writing were just too good to bid adieu to so soon.

Skylar Astin Jane Levy Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Finale Max
Michael Courtney/NBC/Lionsgate

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

If ever we’d be singing a heart song to express just how bummed we are about a cancellation, it’s for this one. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was the musical dramedy we never knew we needed, filled with heartfelt moments, fantastic performances, and a unique concept. And after the finale ended with Max (Skylar Astin) suddenly seemingly having his (again) girlfriend Zoey’s (Jane Levy) ability to hear people’s inner thoughts in song (or just hers?), how can we not be upset we won’t get to see what’s next? Zoey and Max just got back together! She and Simon (John Clarence Stewart) were about to navigate being friends after their breakup (and Simon just made a career move that seems perfect for him).