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10 Best TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time, According To Ranker

Very often, television series acquire a momentum of their own, a level of popularity, either with critics or with viewers, which earns them a constant renewal of their networks. However, it’s just as often the case that even a great series doesn’t last as long as its most dedicated fans think it should.

In fact, television history is littered with these types of series, shows that struggled to get off the ground despite dedicated (if small) fanbases and heaps of critical acclaim. Many of them have only grown in rating since their untimely cancellations. Users of the Ranker website have exposed what they think is the best of the series which was canceled before its time.

ten Development stopped (2003-2006, 2013-2019)

Streaming on Netflix

Few comedies have had such an impact Development stopped, which centers on a wealthy family who must deal with drastically reduced circumstances. The family in question, the Bluths, are as dysfunctional and hilarious as one would expect, and the show stands out for its many strong performances, especially from Jason Bateman and Jessica Walter.

Although it was canceled before its time, it went through several revivals, revealing the extent of its popularity and its enduring appeal to its many fans.

9 The puppet show (1976-1981)

Broadcast on Disney+

There are few puppets that have become as famous as the Muppets, and they have appeared in many major movies and TV series. Arguably best of all, however, was The puppet showwhich stands as one of the most iconic shows of the 1970s.

Although it lasted much longer than would have seemed possible, given the goofy nature of its premise, many would no doubt have liked to see more of these lovable creatures (not to mention the many celebrity guests of their show). Movies and revival attempts have attempted to rekindle the magic, with varying degrees of success, but it’s never been quite the same as the classic ’70s variety show.

8 Animaniacs (1993-1998)

Streaming on Hulu

Animaniacs is widely considered one of the best animated shows of the 1990s. With its slapstick humor and ability to satirize almost every aspect of American culture, it had an intelligence that was, and still is, rare in entertainment for children.

Indeed, it was somewhat of a throwback to earlier Warner Bros. eras, when such fancy animation was the rule rather than the exception. It’s no wonder Ranker users felt that five seasons wasn’t enough time to spend with these lovely characters.

seven Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)

Streaming on Hulu

Although they began their existence on Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain quickly proved so popular that they earned their own series. Although it only lasted three seasons, it still managed to possess the same kind of humor as their shorter skits, as the two mice do everything in their power to take over the world (even if Brain’s plans are often undermined by Pinky’s idiocy).

The two characters have retained their appeal, so it is easy to understand why they would also appear in the revival of Animaniacs.

6 My Name is Earl (2005-2009) – Streaming on Hulu

My name is Earl was one of the most unusual series to emerge from the 2000s, focusing as it did on a man who, after winning the lottery, decided to change his life in order to gain good karma. Although the title character initially seems like the kind of dunce character so common in sitcoms, the show’s genius was in its ability to show its inner complexity.

However, despite the series’ popularity with critics and audiences, it was ultimately canceled early and efforts to revive it on another network were unsuccessful.

5 Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)

Stream on Paramount+

There is no doubt that star trek is one of the most enduring franchises in entertainment history, comprising an entire fictional universe. Of course, this all goes back to the original series, which was all about breaking down as many boundaries as possible. It may surprise modern audiences that the original series suffered from low ratings, which helps explain why it was canceled after only a few seasons.

However, while the original series was short, it managed to develop a devoted following in the reruns, leading to the original cast appearing in several star trek films in the 1980s, the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. The franchise has endured ever since.

4 Quantum Leap (1989-1993)

Streaming on the Roku Channel

quantum leap is another sci-fi series that Ranker users say hasn’t received as many seasons as it should have. The weekly adventure series had a unique premise: Dr. Sam Beckett is forced to bounce back in time, inhabiting the bodies of people from all walks of life, “fixing what went wrong” to change the future for the better.

quantum leap won fans by deftly walking the difficult tightrope between quirky comedy and emotionally moving drama, but it went on for five seasons before GameSpot unceremoniously pulled the plug. While the finale helped settle some of the lingering questions, there was clearly still a lot of material to explore. This helps explain why, like so many other series, it was revived for a sequel.

3 Futurama (1999-2003, 2008-2013)

Streaming on Hulu

Matt Groening is perhaps best known for creating The simpsonsbut for some fans, Futurama is the best and funniest of Groenings’ television series. With its story about a group of interplanetary delivery drivers a thousand years in the future, it’s a parody of many sci-fi tropes, but it’s truly a hilarious workplace comedy.

Although its original run was truncated, reruns on Comedy Central proved so popular that the network revived it for several additional seasons. It was eventually canceled again, but is slated for another revival next year.

2 Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

Streaming on Hulu

Teen comedy is one of the most enduring genres in film and television. Thus, it is not surprising that freaks and geeks would be on the list of shows canceled early, especially since it only lasted one season.

Despite its premature release, the 1999 series about the awkward high schoolers of 1980 would exert a powerful influence on the television landscape, continuing to appeal not only to its original fans but also to those who came to it later, discovering it in reruns. on ABC Family, then via a popular DVD release, and eventually on streaming services.

1 Firefly (2002)

Streaming on Hulu

Despite being one of Hollywood’s most successful designers, Joss Whedon is no stranger to failure, at least in the short term. A notable example of this phenomenon is Fireflythe space opera/western that was one of buffy the vampire slayer designer’s projects in the early 2000s.

Despite Whedon’s signature style, with its snappy dialogue and genre-blending, it only lasted one season, though it would go on to develop its own cult following. A film sequel followed in 2005, but as Whedon has since fallen out of favor, a further revival is unlikely at this point.

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