Three BBC shows recently canceled for mystifying reasons

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If you're an American who loves programming from across the pond, this winter has been a rough ride. Three extremely popular British shows have recently gotten the ax. The cancellation of these shows has baffled and mystified fans and some TV insiders, and here's why.

"Being Human"

Canceled because…it was too popular!

In America, the idea of a TV show getting canceled because it's too popular seems ridiculous. And yet, "Being Human" was canceled in the UK this month for being just that.

According BBC Three's Zai Bennet, "All good things come to an end, and at BBC Three, we're committed to breaking new shows and new talent."

Series creator Toby Whithouse commented on his show being canceled. He wrote, "We must remember…that the remit of BBC Three is to encourage and support new talent, to give them opportunities to make television, to test out new ideas and formats. In that sense, 'Being Human' is perhaps a victim of its own success. We can't really call ourselves a new show anymore, and much as I'd like to think of myself as a young thrusting new talent and not a bitter old war horse, the reality is we have a duty to move aside and make space."

The series will end with this current season, the show's fifth, with a finale set for March 10.

"The Hour"

Canceled because…of a footie match

Sadly, the beloved series was canceled earlier this month. To be fair, viewership for the second season of "The Hour" was down from Season 1. But that may have had less to do with the show's quality, and everything to do with how the show was scheduled.

The all-important Season 2 premiere aired opposite a football match between England and Sweden. Not surprisingly, the sporting event was the top-rated program of the night. Viewers who missed the Season 2 premiere because of the game might have also skipped the second episode of the season, not wanting to be confused by a story already in progress. If only the show had premiered on a night when it wasn't overshadowed by sports, viewership might have been up this season.

Despite the dip in ratings, canceling a show with so many prestigious award nominations just doesn't make sense, especially given that the show had become something of a flagship series for the BBC during its too-brief time on the air.

"Merlin"

Canceled because…the BBC and show creators hate money?

At least, that's the only rational explanation. The show was popular not only in the U.K. and the U.S., but it also aired in over 180 countries around the globe. Selling the rights to broadcast the show made tons of revenue. Why cut this cash cow's potential short?

"Merlin" got the ax in late November 2012 despite steady ratings -- with a two-part Christmas finale event bringing the series to a close. However, there have been rumors of a "Merlin" movie that could reunite the cast one last time, though the creators allegedly thought five seasons was a good length of time for the show to tell its story.

The Guardian's Stuart Heritage felt that ending "Merlin" at Series 5 was a mistake. "Merlin is better than it has ever been," he wrote after the series finale plans were announced. "It has moved on from its shaky start and transformed into a brilliant kind of Poundland 'Game of Thrones.'" (Poundland is the U.K. equivalent of a U.S. "dollar store.")

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