Just because a television series has screened for ten seasons, it doesn’t mean it’s a classic, as some of the greats were gone before they even had a second season. Here are five TV shows that left our screens before their time.
1. Freaks & Geeks
Without a doubt, when you think about a television series that got a bum deal, it’s Freaks & Geeks. First airing in 1999, the show instantly found an audience – albeit, a small one.
Its fan base has only kept growing, thanks to being syndicated and finding a second – or is it a third? – life on Netflix. During its original run, only 12 episodes were aired, before it was canned. Thanks to a campaign by fans, another three episodes were screened, with the last three (that completed the first series) were screened on a cable channel.
As the brainchild of Paul Feig (director of the Ghostbusters reimagining and Bridesmaids) and developed by Judd Apatow (Girls and This is 40) it also saw the introduction of James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. The show also had regular appearances by Lizzy Caplan and Thomas F. Wilson.
Even though he had success with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon’s Firefly would never get the chance to show what it could offer, with the series not only being cancelled after the first season’s initial run but also being screened out of order.
Not only that, Fox also screened it on Friday nights, a slot that is notorious for shows that are left to die. Despite that, the show quickly found a small but loyal audience – dubbing themselves “Browncoats” – that lobbied for more.
That passion didn’t see a second season ordered, but it did see the crew of the Firefly Serenity heading to the big screen, in a movie that was named after not only the ship but also the pilot episode (that only aired after the series had screened).
It was an HBO show that was critically acclaimed and received great ratings, which is why it is a complete mystery as to why it was cancelled before its fourth and (possibly) final season.
Created by David Milch (of NYPD Blue fame), but based on the lawless Deadwood and using historical figures such as “Wild Bill” Hickok and “Calamity Jane”, this Western is considered as one of the greatest television dramas of all time.
But, like Firefly, it looks like Deadwood will reappear on screens. In late 2016, HBO and Milch both confirmed that the latter is writing a script for a telemovie.
4. Arrested Development
Originally screening between late 2003 and early 2006, Arrested Development told the story of the Bluths, a wealthy family who financially hit the skids.
Being narrated by Ron Howard (who also was the executive producer), the cast featured the likes of Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Portia de Rossi, along with introducing Michael Cera. The show many awards, and was included on Time’s “All-Time 100 TV Shows”, but that didn’t stop it being canned due to low ratings.
Due to its cult following, the show and its characters were brought back when Netflix ordered and screened the fourth season. The producers have also confirmed that a fifth season is in development, too.
This is yet another Judd Apatow production that wasn’t given the chance that it deserved. With Jay Baruchel in the lead role, Undeclared follows a group of freshman at a Californian university in the early years of the new millennium, which is also when it originally screened.
But it also had the misfortune of being screened out of order, which didn’t help viewers get to know the characters. With its status as a cult show, it has since found a home on Netflix.