Every year we lose shows. It’s a fact of television. However, 2021 featured some long-running, popular series taking their final bows. The Covid-19 pandemic also led some shows to end production, rather than deal with on-set difficulties. And as usual, studio nonsense got in the way of genuinely entertaining programs finding an audience. As Boyz II Men says, “It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye,” but we’re going to try anyway. These are the shows we’re sad ended in 2021.
As much as we wish they could, the wacky shenanigans of the 99th precinct couldn’t continue forever. The chemistry of the cast created a unique style of comedy that probably wouldn’t work on any other show. The running jokes, recurring guest stars and found family made fans feel like part of the show. Our only real disappointment came in the way NBC basically burned off the final season post-Olympics, not giving the show the triumphant sendoff it deserved.
A prisoner who’s also a lawyer is such a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, viewers didn’t think the same, as For Life never really garnered any ratings success. Nicholas Pinnock was a captivating lead who had us instantly invested in Aaron’s story. Yes, there were some bumps in the story road, but this is one of those shows we can see have a second life as it’s discovered on streaming.
The black-ish spinoff was a charming coming of age story following Bow through her teen years in the ‘80s. With a great cast and stories that still resonated, mixed-ish was a fantastic third piece of the franchise. Sadly, it was a victim of behind the scenes wrangling, as ABC cut back to one night of comedy, cancelling several of its popular shows.
Black superheroes rarely get screen time, let alone an entire show built around them. Black Lightning not only highlighted the title hero’s importance to his city, it also made Jefferson Pierce the educator, husband and father just as important to the community. From police brutality to medical abuse to government conspiracies, Black Lightning used its sci-fi roots to tackle issues that have plagued Black people for centuries. It’s one of the smartest shows in the genre. The good news is, Jefferson is great friends with The Flash, so while the show may be over, his character can still pop up for crossovers.
And the category is: heartbreak. We can’t properly put into words how much ground-breaking drama Pose has meant to us. The way it showcased LGBTQ people of color was beautiful, thoughtful and most of all, real. It was also fun. Yes, there were devastating stories of loss, abuse and bigotry, but the show still found so much joy to give us. Oftentimes, writers feel like they have to choose between fun and seriousness, whereas Pose delivered both perfectly.
The Haves and the Have Nots
There’s only so many paternity scandals, shocking murders and mysterious fires a primetime soap can go through before the stories get too repetitive. We’re not saying this is what happened with The Haves and the Have Nots, but things did get really crazy toward the end. Like a storyline from the actual show, HAHN found itself caught in backstage machinery, as it was a casualty of Tyler Perry’s contract with OWN ending. We’re still going to celebrate though. Eight seasons and 196 episodes is a great run.
Issa Rae has given us her last mirror pep talk. The phenomenal HBO comedy ends its five season run with one of its strongest storylines ever. Molly and Issa’s fractured relationship was so raw, we felt like we were fighting with our friends. Season 5 finds the pair slowly mending their relationship, as they help each other through life’s struggles. We just want Issa to finally find some lasting happiness and peace. And Natasha Rothwell, we’ll miss Kelli most of all.
Dear White People
Based on the movie, Dear White People was such a smart, ahead of its time show. Unfortunately, it was stuck in a constant fight for viewers, as Netflix never seemed to push it as much as it did some of its other properties. We have no doubt this will be one of those shows that lives on to become even more impactful, as its stories and themes will always be relevant. We just have to make sure it doesn’t get buried in an algorithm basement.