Last year around this time, the champagne was popping in Hollywood as Fox took mercy on many of its underperforming bubble shows. Series like Human Target, Lie to Me, and Fringe were all granted new seasons in a rare moment of kindness for a network that's become known for its harsh decisions.
That was then, this is now.
Things are back to normal this year, as Fox brought down the Hammer of Cancellation on the skulls of five series today, including two that were mercifully spared last season: Human Target and Lie to Me. The three other shows sent packing are all new series: the male-oriented rom-com Traffic Light, Shawn Ryan's cop drama The Chicago Code, and Christian Slater starring vehicle Breaking In.
Human Target has struggled through both of its two seasons, despite boasting kick-ass fight scenes and the incredibly huggable Chi McBride. And even though Lie to Me had a loyal fan base, its audience wasn't growing and Fox had troubles scheduling it. But you can't say Fox didn't give either show a chance, as the network could have easily axed them both last year.
As for the new shows, cutting Breaking In was probably the most difficult decision to make. Fox has been searching for a successful live-action comedy, a genre that has eluded the network for some time (until Raising Hope this season). Both Traffic Light and The Chicago Code received generally positive reviews from critics, but their tepid ratings made the cancellations a pretty easy decision. With Lie to Me and The Chicago Code code gone, that's two executive producer credits for Shawn Ryan gone in a snap. Breaking In's cancellation is more of the same for its two stars, Christian Slater and Bret Harrison, who can't seem to find a show that sticks.
Meanwhile, Fringe fans should be thanking their lucky stars.
Which of these five shows, if any, do you think deserved another chance?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom