Brilliant but cancelled?
February 4, 2009 12:17 PM   Subscribe

What are some great, blink-and-you-missed them TV shows?

I'm on the look out for shows that aired but were cancelled too quickly by some trigger-happy TV executive. Specifically, I'm hoping to find a show that can be watched and enjoyed even though they weren't allowed a full run as some shows start setting things up and then end before anything can be resolved. No matter how great a TV show, I find it upsetting if it ends abruptly and I don't get any emotional closure. Some of the type of shows I'm thinking of:

Andy Richter Controls the Universe
Andy Barker, PI
Clerks the Cartoon
Clone High
Father of the Pride
The Handler
Invader ZIM
Keen Eddie
Kitchen Confidential

Among this list, I'd say Keen Eddie and Kitchen Confidential would be the best examples of having the sense of completion that I'm looking for.

American or British shows are fine.
posted by jaybeans to Society & Culture (119 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Freaks & Geeks.
posted by pazazygeek at 12:19 PM on February 4, 2009 [11 favorites]

Life As We Know It was really good, especially if you like My So-Called Life
jPod was a Canadian show that ran one season and ended on a cliffhanger.
posted by kid_dynamite at 12:20 PM on February 4, 2009

Eerie, Indiana
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:23 PM on February 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

The pilot of the Black Donnelys is very good, especially if you can find the leaked screener with the original music. I'm not sure how the rest of the episodes are since I didn't bother to watch them.
posted by smackfu at 12:26 PM on February 4, 2009

Pushing Daisies
Day Break
posted by jaimev at 12:26 PM on February 4, 2009

Call me crazy but I loved Day Break with Taye Diggs. Worldcat (put in your zip code to see where it is in a library nearby).
posted by cashman at 12:27 PM on February 4, 2009

Dead Like Me
posted by thejanna at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2009 [6 favorites]

Everthing's Relative. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who ever watched it; very much in the vein of Arrested Development (even has Jeffrey Tambor).
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2009

Wonderfalls was great - it was on for a few weeks then cancelled, but a DVD set with 13 episodes was released afterwards. There's definitely an ending, too. It's quirky like some of the shows you listed, too.
posted by firei at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Veronica Mars and Wondershowzen
posted by Steph1en at 12:29 PM on February 4, 2009

I wouldn't call it great, and in fact in a lot of ways it's pretty awful, but I found the short-lived show Drive to be ridiculously entertaining.
posted by craichead at 12:30 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jericho - It has some really cheese moments but I liked the overall idea of the show. It also was canceled and then brought back due to overwhelming work by the fan base so it could get another season.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:30 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

2nding Freaks & Geeks. In the MeFi demographic you'll certainly find a huge cult following for it. Along similar lines, Undeclared.

Arrested Development had a longish run but might still be considered to be prematurely axed and grossly mismanaged/scheduled/advertised by Fox.
posted by drpynchon at 12:30 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Knights of Prosperity was a great comedy show that was crammed into one season.
posted by lilkeith07 at 12:31 PM on February 4, 2009

Wonder Falls is fairly complete in its DVD release. (Only 4 or 5 eps aired but the DVD set has the entire 13 episode mini-run.)

Brimstone, but its not out on DVD so its tough to find easily.
posted by anastasiav at 12:32 PM on February 4, 2009

+1 for Freaks and Geeks.

Also agreed on Arrested Development - it ran 3 seasons but never got the support it deserved. Futurama was a similar situation but ran 4 seasons.
posted by pombe at 12:32 PM on February 4, 2009

I'm not sure how it measures up but I was kinda bummed when Witchblade was cancelled.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 12:33 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

... and I don't know if I'd call it "Brilliant" but Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip certainly was a limited run, but with closure at the end.
posted by anastasiav at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Brilliant But Cancelled chronicles quite a number of these shows.
posted by coryinabox at 12:34 PM on February 4, 2009

American Gothic lasted a single season on CBS, with frequent pre-emptings of shows, complete with airing episodes out of intended order, etc. Not a great show, but a good one about a little Southern town whose sheriff just happened to be, for all practical purposes, Satan.
posted by Drastic at 12:35 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Clone High and Greg the Bunny.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:36 PM on February 4, 2009

Freaks & Geeks is much cooler, but I liked Once & Again (which ran for 3 seasons before being canceled).
posted by juliplease at 12:36 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Riches on FX had two seasons, but I quite enjoyed it.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:37 PM on February 4, 2009

coryinabox's link reminded me that I miss Joan of Arcadia, too.
posted by juliplease at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2009

Police Squad! The show that spawned the Naked Gun! franchise had only six episodes.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

The Critic, very funny. Today known mostly through a Simpsons crossover episode and the quote "and nothing of value was lost."
posted by Paragon at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, Traveler from ABC didn't even finish a season. Cheesy but entertaining.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:39 PM on February 4, 2009

Max Headroom.
posted by snowjoe at 12:41 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Sports Night from Aaron Sorkin.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:41 PM on February 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

Get a Life (not to everyone's taste, but fans tend to be huge fans)
posted by rusty at 12:42 PM on February 4, 2009 [4 favorites]

Sports Night was written by Aaron Sorkin (creator of West Wing) although the tone is probably closer to 30 Rock - smart and funny. You don't need to know nothing about professional sports to enjoy it (I don't and I did)

Greg the Bunny, the TV show that aired for one season on Fox is just plain funny. Our family watched every episode and then when my son came home on vacation, we made him watch them all with us. A number of memorable lines from the show had made their way into our family's vocabularly.
posted by metahawk at 12:44 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dead Like Me was hardly a blink — it was on for two seasons.

Surprised not to see Wonderfalls mentioned yet.

I'm also a fan of Cupid and the 2002 Fantasy Island series. (Even the show's creator, Rob Thomas, bought DVDs of Cupid off this guy on eBay; the latter's mostly YouTube'd.)
posted by WCityMike at 12:44 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I didn't pay enough attention to the original poster. Those three series are all utterly fantastic and definitely should be watched, but I'm not sure they bring the sense of story arc finality you're looking for.
posted by WCityMike at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2009

Due South. Wasnt as good after actor David Marciano left however.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Does have a decent ending. And, c'mon, it stars The Man, Bruce Campbell.

And I'll second American Gothic, although I'll argue it was a better show than Drastic suggested. If you buy the entire series on DVD, it'll tell you what order to watch them in. It's important. And I'll add that Sean Cassidy also made the very short lived show "Invasion". Ended after one season, and never really got enough impetus to say whether it would have been great or not. Repeats are playing on the SciFi Channel now.

And as a general note, if you ever see anything by Brian Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, first season of Heroes) or Sean Cassidy , you can be assured of two things: 1) It will almost certainly be quirky and great, and 2) It will be cancelled because TV execs and people who get Neilson boxes are morons.
posted by elendil71 at 12:46 PM on February 4, 2009

Sports Night was on for several seasons, although it is very enjoyable.

Seconding Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.
posted by muddgirl at 12:47 PM on February 4, 2009

Slings and Arrows wasn't cancelled—it just had a short run (three seasons). And it was Canadian. So you probably didn't even have to blink to miss it.

Since it's a full series, it definitely has the feeling of completion you're looking for. And it's hilarious.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:49 PM on February 4, 2009

I hate my 30s
posted by cestmoi15 at 12:50 PM on February 4, 2009

Twin Peaks, Star Trek Enterprise (went on a couple years but planned a huge arc that it never got to finish out), Tru Calling

Some older ones: Automan, Manimal, Misfits of Science. All could have been classics

seconding Carnivale, Pushing Daisies, Knights of Prosperity by the way
posted by arniec at 12:51 PM on February 4, 2009

Nthing Wonderfalls, which has a definite story arc and "ending."
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:53 PM on February 4, 2009

John Doe
posted by jclovebrew at 12:54 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Profit was ahead of its time, too edgy for even the full first season to be shown, and some people that were later involved with Buffy and Angel were involved with it.
posted by matildaben at 12:56 PM on February 4, 2009

I remember really liking the show Action, starring Jay Mohr. Although I was 14 when it aired, so who knows.

nthing Arrested Development and Freaks & Geeks.
posted by mesh gear fox at 12:56 PM on February 4, 2009

American or British shows are fine.

I don't think you're getting many British suggestions because even the successful ones don't have many episodes in a series/season. Like Spaced had 2 series of 7 episodes and the story was done, or Hustle has been on for 5 series but only 6 episodes each.

So my answer is... almost everything on UK TV.
posted by smackfu at 12:57 PM on February 4, 2009

Space: Above and Beyond. Brilliant? That might be a bit strong, but it was really really good if you like sci-fi and maybe even if not. Since sci-fi on tv is usually of the nauseating cheeselike caliber of Stargate or that one with Kevin Sorbo, this one really stood out. It was good drama and a great story.
posted by Askr at 12:57 PM on February 4, 2009

Late to the party, with nothing to add. Just seconding John Doe and Action.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:58 PM on February 4, 2009

I really liked LAX. Also: Wonderland, which is now airing on DirecTV's The 101.
posted by majikstreet at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2009

I liked the live-action "The Tick". The first two shows were rough but they seemed to have it all working great after that. Sadly, I think I was the only person who liked it.
posted by chairface at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Posting to agree with the people who mentioned Sports Night and Studio 60, although I have to say that Sports Night does not have a similar tone to 30 Rock. While Sports Night does lack the...gravity of the West Wing, they have the rapid conversational pace and the "fairly realistic except that everyone is too smart" characterization in common. Aaron Sorkin shows are really all just Aaron Sorkin shows. I've yet to find anything else especially similar.
posted by miraimatt at 1:02 PM on February 4, 2009

I *highly* recommend watching HBO's Rome. Only two seasons long. How about this for a rationale for canceling the series? The production values were too high! Yeah, they spent too much money trying to recreate an authentic, historic Rome, and they just couldn't keep making new episodes. That's about as positive a reason you'll ever find for a show being canceled.

Murder One is a good legal drama that only had two seasons at most. Gets a tad soap opera at times, but otherwise solid. Daniel Benzali is amazing in it as a cutthroat attorney.

I second Jericho. The nice thing about it is that it has a proper conclusion that was planned for. I watched both seasons of it back to back in less than two weeks (it was that addictive). Like zephyr_words says, there's some cheese, esp. wrt the romantic relationships, but overall a very dark, suspenseful post-apocalyptic show.

Cracker was a fantastic British series about a forensic psychologist. Similar to Wire in the Blood, but I think smarter. The lead actor is just brilliant in an anti-hero sort of way. I believe it only ran for three seasons, and then a couple special one-off episodes.

I watch waaaay too much television.
posted by wastelands at 1:04 PM on February 4, 2009

nthing Sports Night, My So Called Life, and Freaks and Geeks.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2009

Quark - Richard Benjamin as the captain of an intergalactic garbage scow. Buck Henry (Get Smart) was the series creator. It ran for 8 episodes from February to April 1978.
posted by zippy at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

I did not get any emotional closure when Carnivale was cancelled. I should watch it again, you know to remind myself that I didn't get.
posted by collocation at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2009

I also liked the live-action Tick, although I also feel lonely in my appreciation of it.

Another show that was too good for TV: Bakersfield P.D.. Hourlong comedy with no laugh-track. Very slow-burn, sly humor.
posted by adamrice at 1:37 PM on February 4, 2009

The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
posted by elmono at 1:38 PM on February 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

Call to Glory
posted by jgirl at 1:41 PM on February 4, 2009

Another vote for Carnivale.
posted by defreckled at 1:42 PM on February 4, 2009

The Inside.

Seconding Carnivale, Clone High, and Veronica Mars.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:49 PM on February 4, 2009

More praise for Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, and Firefly from me. All of them come to somewhat of an ending, although Pushing Daisies still have 3 unaired episodes left, so I can't guarentee that it's a satisfying conclusion, but it supposedly does come to a semi-fulfilling finish. Firefly wraps up in the Serenity movie.

Here's one I haven't seen mentioned yet: God, The Devil, and Bob. The premise, from Wikipedia: "The series was based on God (voiced by James Garner) and the Devil (voiced by Alan Cumming) making a bet over the fate of the world. God wants to wipe humanity off the face of the planet and start over, but he realizes that He's "not that kind of God." The devil gets to choose one person, and if that person does not prove they have made the world a better place, God will destroy the world. The devil chooses Bob Alman (voiced by French Stewart), a beer-drinking, porno-watching auto plant worker from the suburbs of Detroit who, when asked to save humanity from complete annihilation, asks "What's in it for me?" After saving humanity in the pilot episode, the series revolves around Bob being God's "Go-To Guy" whenever He gets a great idea to help out the world." Alan Cumming as The Devil steals the show.
posted by Servo5678 at 1:50 PM on February 4, 2009

John from Cincinnati
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:50 PM on February 4, 2009

I loved Committed.
posted by Danf at 1:52 PM on February 4, 2009

Besides a lot of great shows already mentioned, I really enjoyed the brief run of The Class on CBS. Unfortunately it didn't really have a resolved ending, but I liked it anyway. It's not on DVD yet, but it would be worth it to find it elsewhere.
posted by CoralAmber at 1:52 PM on February 4, 2009

One that hasn't been suggested:

That's my Bush. Trey Parker & Matt Stone (of South Park) pitched a sitcom about the new president, whoever it might be. 8 episodes or so - great show.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:55 PM on February 4, 2009

Oh, and a great short lived cartoon was Lucy: Daughter of the Devil. Darkly funny and sometimes repeated on Cartoon Network in the middle of the night.
posted by CoralAmber at 1:57 PM on February 4, 2009

I'd say Firefly is the canonical example for my viewing habits. Also, Twin Peaks was only on two seasons, though I imagine anyone who would like it knows about it already.

If you like Dennis Leary's Rescue Me, you might be interested in checking out his cop series (with similar character dynamics, just with cops instead of fire fighters), The Job, which was complete in one season.

For UK cop shows that I liked, Second Sight (starring Clive Owen) had a short run, probably due to Owen going on to a career in movies.

The X-Files spin-offs Millennium (which introduced us, or at least me, to Terry O'Quinn, later of Lost) and The Lone Gunmen both had very short runs, and I remember liking aspects of both.
posted by aught at 1:59 PM on February 4, 2009

I really liked Boomtown
posted by toomuch at 2:01 PM on February 4, 2009

Police Squad had a super short run (6 episodes), but was hilarious. It basically became the Naked Gun movies. There was no arc to them, so no need for any closure with the plot.
posted by jefftang at 2:05 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding Profit, cancelled after only four episodes. Its the only time that I have actually mourned the death of a TV series. I am convinced that Adrian Pasdar owes his casting as Nathan Petrelli in Heroes to the fact that the character resembles the lead role he played in Profit.
posted by googly at 2:05 PM on February 4, 2009

posted by lois1950 at 2:07 PM on February 4, 2009

Tenacious D on HBO
posted by premortem at 2:16 PM on February 4, 2009

Best answer: See also Too Good To Last at TV Tropes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:20 PM on February 4, 2009

I thought the show Drive was innovative and entertaining. If you like the whole Joss Whedonverse thing, you'd probably like it too. It was cancelled after 4 episodes. 6 total were produced.

I know you used to be able to view the episodes online, but I can't seem to find where. The myspace page has been taken down.
posted by King Bee at 2:22 PM on February 4, 2009

Mean Streets and Duckman.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:24 PM on February 4, 2009

posted by fire&wings at 2:27 PM on February 4, 2009

Robocop: The Series
posted by euphorb at 2:29 PM on February 4, 2009

Seconding Brisco County Jr.
Also seconding Carnivale.

I wouldn't exactly call "Manimal" brilliant...
posted by kaseijin at 2:30 PM on February 4, 2009

Kingpin, about the drug lord and his personal life, played brilliantly by Yancey Arias). It was pretty edgy and I liked the casual (and realistic) use of Spanish throughout the dialogue.
posted by parilous at 2:48 PM on February 4, 2009

I really enjoyed Raines, a short-lived detective drama/comedy starring Jeff Goldblum in all his neurotic glory.
posted by bristolcat at 2:53 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a great short lived cartoon was Lucy: Daughter of the Devil. Darkly funny and sometimes repeated on Cartoon Network in the middle of the night.

@ CoralAmber

Lucy: DOTD is not canceled.

After a successful first season, the brain-surgeons at AS told Loren Bouchard and co that they needed to write the entire second season before they would pick it up again.

After soup2nuts did that, AS told them that they will have to make a pilot of Lucy: DOTD.

It might be the first show to air a full season before its pilot was written.

You can read the entire harrowing tale, as told by Loren who periodically updates the site on:
posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 2:55 PM on February 4, 2009

Alien Nation. Late 80s one-season buddy-cop drama with the straightlaced one of the pair being the alien. Though really, it's a campy morality play about the evils of prejudice shot through with culture-clash humor and god-awful/awesome puns. If you like 60s _Batman_ you'll probably like this.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:06 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding the 9-episode run of Fox's live-action The Tick. It really brings out the 12-year old boy in me (whom I suspect may be reallyreally gay).
posted by heyho at 3:08 PM on February 4, 2009

Seconding Jericho and firsting Earth 2
posted by aetg at 3:12 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Did anyone say Nowhere Man?

Worst cancellation after an *awesome* cliffhanger finale ever.
posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 3:14 PM on February 4, 2009

I grew up in New Orleans and the only show that really got the city's flavor right was Frank's Place. Unfortunately, it's quite a forgotten little show. The star, Tim Reid, literally rescued the shows from a dumpster and has been trying to get a DVD published.
posted by tcv at 3:46 PM on February 4, 2009

I really wanted to recommend Odyssey 5, but it has a cruel, brain-bending cliffhanger in the last episode. So instead I'll recommend another Sci-fi show with Christopher Gorham, Jake 2.0. Not too many loose ends, and those that are you can tie up by reading the writer's outline for the final episode.
posted by saffry at 3:47 PM on February 4, 2009

repeating a lot but... The Tick, Undeclared, Greg the bunny, Cupid.
posted by Wolfie at 3:57 PM on February 4, 2009

I say it every time this kind of question comes up, but PLEASE SOMEONE watch Now and Again. It premiered around the same time as Once and Again, and the name confusion didn't help, I guess. It is a fairly complete one season drama about a guy whose brain is put into the body of a secret government supersoldier. Most of the plot involves his attempts to contact his wife and teenage daughter, who believe him to be dead. It stars an excellent Dennis Haysbert, an easy-on-the-eyes Eric Close and a young Heather Matarazzo.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:37 PM on February 4, 2009

OK, strap on your "wayback" machine...

Check out It's About Time
posted by Drasher at 4:53 PM on February 4, 2009

Firefly, Wonderfalls, Rome, Sports Night, Jericho, Once and Again.

All stellar...all canceled before their time. A tragedy in each case.
posted by johnvaljohn at 4:56 PM on February 4, 2009

The Class, which, as CoralAmber already noted, appeared briefly on CBS.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 5:20 PM on February 4, 2009

My husband and I were both big fans of Moonlight. If you're into vampire shows.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:25 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Frank's Place.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:40 PM on February 4, 2009

Strange Report
posted by IndigoJones at 5:45 PM on February 4, 2009

posted by piratebowling at 6:08 PM on February 4, 2009

Nowhere Man was a fucking awesome show. Full of action (complete with cheesy action dialogue), conspiracy theories, long story arcs, weirdness, and a (semi)coherent ending.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:38 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Heat Vision and Jack.
posted by spiderskull at 6:43 PM on February 4, 2009

Seconding Max Headroom.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:28 PM on February 4, 2009

Does Dr. Horrible count? It basically ended with a punch to stomach.

These Comedy Central shows don't really require emotional closure but deserved more seasons: Stella, Strangers with Candy, and The Hollow Men. I think Comedy Central executives relish in airing great shows and then canceling them all the while keeping Mind of Mencia and C-grade movies in rotation.

Also, a vote for Courage the Cowardly Dog, which did get four seasons. What a lovely show it was though. John Dilworth apparently disappeared off television, but someone should give the man another show.
posted by shadytrees at 8:07 PM on February 4, 2009

It's Garry Shandling's Show
posted by any major dude at 8:30 PM on February 4, 2009

I can't believe that I'm the first one to mention the absolutely brilliant Maximum Bob. Beau Bridges in the best role he's ever had.

I also can't believe I'm the first to mention arguably the best comedy show to appear on TV in years--Chappelle's Show. The show that gave us "I'm Rick James, bitch!"

The comedy Titus is the reason there's an argument about the best comedy. Dark, brutal, hilarious.

And am I seriously the only one here who'd ever seen the amazing G. vs. E.?

There's also the Brilliant-But-Canceled Dana-Delaney Double-Feature: Pasadena (if you like soaps, this was one of the better ones to come along in recent years) and Kidnapped.

I cannot say enough good about Deadwood.

Nthing Action!, Space: Above and Beyond; Cupid, The Tick, Profit, Now and Again, Wonderfalls, Sports Night, Police Squad, Invader Zim, Freakazoid, Pushing Daisies, and Frank's Place. I have Action!, S:A&B, The Tick, Chapelle's Show, and Wonderfalls on DVD. Profit, Sports Night, and Wonderfalls are all on DVD currently. The rest can be found via various online sources.

Absolutely recommending against Manimal (I can't believe someone seriously suggested Manimal), Automan, Nowhere Man, Misfits of Science, and John from Cincinnati (even the show's creator couldn't really, explain what it was about at TCA a few years ago). Some shows were justifiably canceled, and they are among them.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:32 PM on February 4, 2009

Definitely Freaks & Geeks is the classic answer. Wonderfalls, too. And Knights Of Prosperity was really good.

Last summer there was a good show called Miss Guided that shouldn't have been cancelled (seriously, ABC hangs on to According To Jim.. and The George Lopez Show for far too long.. and they get rid of Knights Of Prosperity, Miss Guided, and now Pushing Daisies?! I've been seeing an ad for a new show, Better Off Ted, with Portia di Rossi on ABC, and I can't help but wonder how long it'll last. I give it a month.)

Fox had a show called Reunion that was intriguing. That was cancelled, but I don't think it was released on dvd. It was sort of a murder mystery set through the 1980s to the present day. I'm basically a sucker for any tv show set in the past (Wonder Years, Freaks & Geeks), so I kind of didn't think that That 80's Show was that bad.. and there was another sitcom on around the same time (it was on the WB) about a jaded businessman who went back in time to when he was a teen in the 80s. Wish I remembered what that was called.

Also, Aliens In America, which was endearing. Okay, that's it!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:38 PM on February 4, 2009

Seconding Firefly, The Riches and Pushing Daisies.
What about Farscape? They had to settle for a miniseries instead of the fifth season, and I still feel sad about it.
posted by gemmy at 9:34 PM on February 4, 2009

Seconding John From Cincinnatti - that was a great show.
posted by gt2 at 10:47 PM on February 4, 2009

No love for Dark Angel? Direction shifts drastically after one season, axed after two, all good.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:57 PM on February 4, 2009

Oh, and definitely watch Now and Again as per Rock Steady's rec above. This was my first experience with watching an awesome show out of the US, then jumping on the net only to find it'd been axed. What a waste.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:01 PM on February 4, 2009

Fawlty Towers.
posted by nudar at 2:08 AM on February 5, 2009

My previous question "What good TV shows can I watch on DVD that won't leave me frustrated?" might help you out here. (see related questions at the bottom: i blame the writers strike)
posted by kidsleepy at 6:55 AM on February 5, 2009

Nthing "The Class" - my wife and I enjoyed it tremendously, and were sad when it was cancelled.

Also, "Pushing Daisies".
posted by EastCoastBias at 7:14 AM on February 5, 2009

On Showtime, "Jeremiah," a post-apocalyptic drama starring Luke Perry and Malcolm Jamal Warner, and I also loved "Odyssey 5."
posted by cass at 8:02 AM on February 5, 2009

Mission Hill only lasted a single season, but is probably the most watched DVD set I own. Laugh out loud (LOL?) funny every time. Plus, Brian Posehn.
posted by nbSean at 8:11 AM on February 5, 2009

+1 Day Break.

Canceled mid season, but the budget allowed them to finish the season out and give it a proper ending.
posted by Muffy at 9:53 AM on February 5, 2009

"State of Grace", about the friendship of two pre-teen grils in 1965 is a sweet show that only lasted two seasons.
posted by of strange foe at 10:59 AM on February 5, 2009

The Associates. Two Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, one season. Wilfrid Hyde-White was the best befuddled English lawyer of all time.
posted by joaquim at 3:12 PM on February 5, 2009

Nthing Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared, Arrested Development and Twin Peaks. Also, there were only 12 episodes of The Office, British-version.
posted by snofoam at 10:06 AM on February 6, 2009

Response by poster: Wow. Thanks for all the suggestions, it's going to take me a long time to get through all of these suggestions and I am looking forward to it. I'm especially eager to dig into a couple of the series mentioned...

Freaks and Geeks
American Gothic
Brisco County
John Doe
Slings and Arrows
Once and Again
Now and Again
Jake 2.0

Thanks again to everyone who suggested something. I'm planning on giving pretty much everything mentioned at least a try.
posted by jaybeans at 4:31 PM on February 6, 2009

And of course (smacks forehead), there was My World And Welcome To It. Quirky before TV was quirky. Here's a clip. Here's a little more (with contemporary commercials no less).

Did anyone mention Hank?. (Good luck finding it.)

Both, as I recall, notable for breaking the fourth wall. Alas, neither dispensed with sound tracks.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:37 PM on February 25, 2009

dispensed with laugh tracks.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:37 PM on February 25, 2009

When Things Were Rotten, 1975. How I miss Mel Brooks.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:23 AM on March 24, 2009

Eyes starring Tim Daly - I think it made it six episodes before getting shafted! I also really liked Six Degrees - well written and a nice homage to New York.
posted by heartquake at 8:32 PM on March 24, 2009

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