Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good a TV show is—a competitive time slot or bad marketing can keep a spell doom for a great show, sometimes before it even reaches Season Two.
Now, thanks to cult followings and programs like Kickstarter, shows that were taken off the air too soon are coming back. “Arrested Development” was able to reemerge on Netflix this year and a “Veronica Mars” movie will soon be playing in theaters.
Here, we’ve rounded up 10 incredible TV shows that were cancelled way too soon—from “My So-Called Life,” which didn’t make it past Season One, to “Undeclared,” one of Judd Apatow’s lesser-known show from 2001.
Did your favorite make the list?
My So-Called Life
The '90s wouldn't be the '90s without one cult hit: "My So-Called Life." Although Time magazine listed it as one of the "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME," the show was cancelled in 1995 after only one season. The fact that it was slotted against popular NBC shows like "Mad About You" and "Friends" ultimately hurt its numbers.
Freaks and Geeks
It's wild how many successful actors and actresses today got their start on the 1999 show "Freaks and Geeks." Starring Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segal, the show took place in the '70s and centered on high school outcasts. Low ratings sunk the show after just one season.
Judd Apatow followed up "Freaks and Geeks" with "Undeclared" in 2001, which is about kids in college. Strangely enough, networks aired the episodes out of order, which might have contributed to the low ratings. Entertainment Weekly listed it as #16 in the "25 Best Cult TV Shows."
This cult classic show on UPN centered on a high school student who solved cases in her small town. This show's fans were so loyal that star Kristen Bell nicknamed them her "Marshmallows." When the show was cancelled in 2007, after three seasons, fans were upset and relentless questions about a possible reunion began. In 2007, the show's creator began a Kickstarter fund for a movie, and he reached his $2 million goal in under 10 hours.
During its third season in 2006, the hilarious "Arrested Development" —a show that centered around a family reeling afer the patriarch is arrested for fraud— was cancelled by Fox because of low viewership (the show was clearly ahead of its time). The show's cult following eventually helped to revive it in 2013 through Netflix, which distributed the show exclusively through their streaming video service.
Following the major success of "Friends," Lisa Kudrow went on to star in an HBO comedy called "The Comeback" in 2005. Like "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation," the show is filmed like a reality show and follows a once famous actress trying to make a comeback on a new TV show. Entertainment Weekly called it "the most brilliantly brutal satire of reality TV ever captured on screen," but low ratings caused it to be taken off air after a single season.
Tell Me You Love Me
Wait, you didn't watch this 2007 HBO drama? Yeah, neither did most people, which is why it was cancelled in 2008. But the show was truly compelling; it explored different couples going through counseling, and even featured Adam Scott doing a serious role for once.
If you grew up watching WB (now CW) shows like "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity," then you might remember the short-lived show "Popular." The 1999 show centered on two polar opposite high school students who have to get along when their parents get together. The show ended after only two seasons. Fun fact: "Glee"'s creator Ryan Murphy also created this show.
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23
The ABC comedy—which starred James Van Der Beek (as himself!) and Krysten Ritter— was cancelled in early 2013, halfway into season two. The show was about a woman who moves to New York and is forced to live with a con artist roomate. While low ratings caused the cancellation, the show has a cult-like following that might help it come back in some form later on.
The ABC comedy had a strong start in 2006 with high viewership in the first two seasons. By season three, however, ratings dropped, and in 2010 the show—about a terribly unfashionable girl who is thrown into the fashion magazine biz— was cancelled. Since its cancellation, the show has developed quite a following and there have been rumors of a possible movie.