10 Failed TV Shows That Became Cult Classics



as undeniably complicated as the world of filmmaking is the machination zuv TV are even more chaotic and difficult to understand with most shows operating on a season-by-season basis for their survival it's sadly all too common for beloved shows to get the chop long before they've had a chance to live out their natural creative lives but a premature cancellation can fuel fans dedicated enthusiasm and thanks to the posterity of DVD and streaming many of these shows have found a greater posthumous fandom than they ever did while they were on air so with all that in mind I'm will for culture and here at 10 failed TV shows that became cult classics number 10 freaks and geeks the coming-of-age drama D freaks and geeks is arguably the most perceptive and boundary smashing TV show about growing up that the medium has ever produced and so it's an utter travesty the NBC summarily canceled its after an 18 episode first season selecting poor ratings with an averaging only 7 million viewers compared to the 14 million scored by the network's flagship shows Frasier and Friends between those lofty expectations spotty scheduling and the show's producers bristling with NBC executives who wanted the teenagers to be cool rather than realistic misfits it never really stood a chance nevertheless freaks and geeks scored three Emmy nominations during its brief run and injures 20 years later as a brave almost uncomfortably realistic look at the anxieties of high school life number 9 dollhouse years after Fox pinned off Firefly which we'll get to later don't worry about that the network extended an olive branch to Joss Whedon by committing to a 13 episode first season order for his new sci-fi show dollhouse and even allowing him to forego the usual path of making a pilot episode first despite an inspired premise protagonist EKKO is a blank slate doll who has a new persona implanted each episode for whatever her mission requires the first half of season 1 was a real slog furthermore Fox's metals some tendencies soon enough resurfaced ditching the season's first episode yet still considering it a 13-part episode order requiring Whedon to beg the network to allow him to create a true 13th episode on a low of budgets though the first season certainly did pick up near the end it generally received middling reviews and pulled mediocre viewing figures so it was quite a surprise that Fox actually renewed it for a second run season two was considered a vast improvement by fans who stuck with it even if most prominent critics had already abandoned the show by this point with the viewing figures dropping below two million Fox counseled dollhouse near the end of its second season breaking the hearts of fans who felt the show and lead actress had just about found their stride number eight Constantine after Hollywood served up a stylish yet unconvincing adaptation of the beloved Hellblazer comics fans prayers seemed to be answered with MBC's TV adaptation co-developed by David s Goyer though Matt Ryan's take on the character wasn't shown smoking due to network regulations and he chose to speak with a more ambiguous regional accents Ryan nevertheless gave fans a decidedly more accurate portrayal of John Constantine signature trench coats and all after a slightly wonky start the show quickly picked up thanks to a combination of Ryan's performance stylish visuals and a creatively grim tone befitting the source material but NBC canceled the show a few months after it aired citing poor live viewership where most of the revenue is made though Warner Brothers television attempted to shop it around to other networks nobody bit causing the cast and crew to be released from their contracts effectively killing it dead fans were vocal in their desire for the show to find a new home regardless showing just how much its source accurate depiction of the title character meant to them and while those efforts haven't panned out yet Ryan's Constantine has appeared extensively in CW's arrow bursts and he voiced the character in both the animated film Justice League dark and the animated web series Constantine city of demons number 7 Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles with Terminator 3 being received rather tepidly by fans it made all the sense in the world for the property to leap into the TV medium and so Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles was born now the show certainly had early stumbles the first few episodes weren't great nor barely even goods and this being a fox show it couldn't offer up the r-rated brutality of the three prior movies the first season performed well as a midseason replacement though things quickly took a bad turn in season two tumbling from the first season's ratings low is seven point one two million to a brutal two point nine six million a mere three days before the release of Terminator Salvation Fox announced the show's cancellation to the frustration of fans who had seen the series grow in scope and nuance over its 31 aired episodes making matters worse was the ending of the show on a tantalizing and ultimately frustrating cliffhanger and the show's increasing lack of relevance within the extremely muddy Terminator continuity number six Jericho Jericho was a post-apocalyptic drama series taking place in the fictional titular Kansas City following a devastating nuclear attack on US soil and certainly suffered from expectations that it would be the new lost reviews for the 22 episode first season were heavily mixed but it nevertheless found a passionate cabal of fans for its more low-key cast and lesser emphasis on spectacle compared to other similar shows nevertheless CBS canceled Jericho after a single season only to grant fans a shortened 7 episode second season after fans collectively sent 20 tons of nuts to CBS HQ referring to a famous quote from the first season's finale reviews for season two enjoyed a steady uptick but sadly the ratings continued to drop and CBS subsequently can the show for a second time as a small sliver of solace the story was continued in comic-book form for two more seasons in recent years the Jericho creators attempted to shop the show to Netflix and despite the streaming platform reportedly being receptive CBS ultimately refused to sign off on it number 5 wayward Pines wayward Pines had one hell of a hook a twin peak style mystery show with a pilot episode directed by M night Shyamalan and although some criticized the show for feeling a bit too much like a Peaks clone its entrancing mystery and brilliant acting moved undeniable catnip to those seeking some David Lynch lights entertainments season one was broadly well reviewed and performed decently in ratings but season two was beset by a number of issues namely the departure of showrunner Chad Hodge and its last-minute renewal meaning many actors had already moved on to other projects the new lair of the show scored wildly mixed reviews with many citing its lack of necessity given that the first season adapted all of the existing novels and was intended as such to be a one-off the ratings promptly dropped off throughout season two though funks cruelly didn't officially cancel the show for more than 18 months after the season finale aired number 4 dead like me dead like me was a ludicrously entertaining black comedy-drama series following eighteen-year-old Georgia last who was killed in the show's pilot episode and subsequently becomes a grim reaper tasked with shepherding the dead into the afterlife it boasted a superbly unique premise and cracking cast while balancing its tone quite perfectly between light and dark unfortunately the show struggled with problems behind the scenes from day one particularly regarding creative differences between the showrunners and MGM television until Showtime cancelled it due to both declining ratings and unspecified production issues a direct-to-video follow-up was released over four years later to a relatively mixed response providing a capper to a show that never really got its fair do number three Carnivale HBO's carnival was another rich addition to the network's growing list of sumptuous premium drama shows in the early noughties taking place in America's Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and following the colorful roster of a traveling carnival brilliantly melding the authentic bleakness of the era with more surreal mythological musings carnival also benefited from a ludicrously talented ensemble cast led by Clancy Brown despite receiving 15 Emmy nominations over its two seasons the show consistently receives tepid reviews from critics many of whom took umbrage with its vague ambiguous approach whilst some compared it negatively to Twin Peaks but the show quickly won a dedicated fanbase given that it was quite unlike any thing else on TV at the time and boasted stonking production values despite debuting to the strongest ratings for any new HBO series at the time the show's viewership quickly dropped off to less than 1.5 million in some second season episodes prompting the network to give it the chop after 24 episodes on the air number 2 Firefly perhaps no TV show in history was cancelled in as heartbreaking a fashion as Firefly the brilliantly inventive sci-fi Western range I love Joss Whedon unfortunately Fox didn't really do the show any favours right out of the gate they aired the episodes out of order occasionally preempted airings for sports and marketed it as a wacky comedy series rather than the grittier black comedy it actually was citing low ratings after 11 episodes had aired Fox cancelled Firefly and burned off the remaining three episodes over six months later showing just how little they cared about giving the show even the vaguest chance of building an audience fans were heartbroken and campaigned extensively for Firefly to be renewed or picked up by another network all to no avail a feature film did eventually materialize but due to it tanking at the box office the property has only been able to continue in comic-book form since number one party down perhaps more than any other show on this list party down really had all the ingredients to enjoy a long life as a comedy mainstay a top draw cast wickedly funny writing that subverted genre cliches and a strong critical acclaim to boot but the one big thorn in the side of this show about a group of aspiring actors and writers working as caterers in Los Angeles it aired on Starz it's extremely easy to imagine how this show could have absolutely slayed as a low-key smash on a more prominent network that it was pretty much sent out to die on stars to scoring less than 70,000 us viewers near the end of its second season between the low ratings and the departure of Adam Scott and Jane Lynch for Parks and Rec and Glee respectively stars decided to end the show after just two seasons killing a cult gem in the process pretty much all of the main cast members have done well off the back of the show so that's a plus but one suspects that with a kanya treatment from the outset could have gone on for many many more successful seasons and there you have it folks 10 failed TV shows that became cult classics feel free to drop this video like if you enjoyed it and drop me a follow on Twitter at you sly dog you I'm will for culture thanks for hanging out and I'll see you next time

Firefly, we hardly knew ye.

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33 thoughts on “10 Failed TV Shows That Became Cult Classics

  1. It really pisses me off when a network refuses to release the rights to a show that they cancel and refuse to continue producing. It’s like a kid with a toy they won’t share, even though they are f playing with it. Very immature.

  2. When Stargate Universe got canned I decided then to ignore all new product ,….. I'll then binge watch any whole series, once it's cancelled.
    Honorable mentions for THRESHOLD and THE GOOD LIFE which I've just started as they've announced cancellation.

  3. Sarah Conner Chronicles got the same ratings as WWE programming so why is still WWE still available in 2020. IT is the mega contract for multiple years from a "billion dollar company". If WWE were like an conventional television show it would have ended in 1995.

  4. Wow. Looks like they forgot the small 1960's sci-fi series that got cancelled after it's second season and was brought back for a third season when fans complained to NBC. It was so loved they made a Saturday morning cartoon of which got cancelled after one season. Wasn't until the late 70's that they brought the show back in movie form and spawned 5 direct sequels, six spin off shows, one of which had 4 movies of it's own. And a 3 movie reboot!

  5. Never heard of that last one, Party Down, but pretty much the rest of the list are some of my all time favorite shows! Some others I’ve loved that died too soon are Tru Calling, Dark Angel, Jeremiah, Invasion, Surface, and Pushing Daisies. It seems like all the cool fantasy/sci-fi shows are the ones that get cancelled early. Networks don’t let them breathe.

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