Television is a fickle bitch. As such, many shows are canceled far too soon. Like Manimal.  I'm still reeling about that one.

This happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, audiences don't take to it as they should, or it's marketed incorrectly and the audiences doesn't know about it in the first place. Other times, however, there are shows that the critics love that still have trouble finding their audience. And from time to time, the critical praise (and awards) help to keep the show around longer than it would normallylast. We hope this is the case with Community and it is granted a stay of execution. It's one of the best comedies on television (although a little high on itself) and deserves more watchers. If the shows listed below were given second and third chances, Community should get one as well.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development shows up on just about every best television list. Rightfully so. Despite the quality of the program, Fox just couldn't get anyone to watch. However, they were willing to do something so un-Fox and allow the show to stay on the air in the hopes that strong word of mouth would bolster the ratings. Of course, moving its time slot without sufficient promoting didn't help that. Still, it was allowed to air for two and a half seasons with low ratings before the final episodes were harshly screened with no notice on a Friday opposite the Olympics. Oh, Fox.


Shockingly, Fox didn't cancel Dollhouse when they had every reason to. The first season sucked and the ratings dropped as a result of that. But the network must have felt it owed Joss Whedon after dumping Firefly, so they were willing to roll the dice on his revised approach for season two. The series came back much-improved, but ended up not finding its audience. Can't say they didn't try, though.

Get a Life

I love that I live in a world where Get A Life was able to produce 35 episodes. The comedy was over the top bizarre but also hilarious. Thankfully it aired back in the halcyon days before reality television when networks were still willing to get weird. If it were to air on Fox nowadays, they'd switch over to a Family Guy repeat before the first episode's third act.

Homicide: Life on the Street

David Simon's precursor to The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street, was at risk of cancellation through the entirety of its seven seasons. The only thing that kept it afloat were Emmy wins and the success of cop shows on other networks. Despite the accolades and award caliber performances, the show was never able to beat its main competitor -- Nash Bridges. Perhaps they should have signed "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as a recurring guest.


Cheers was a smash hit by the time of its final curtain call, but it started out on shaky ground. It seems there was once a time before Jersey Shore where viewers weren't interested in watching people sit around and drink. In fact, it was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere. Over time, though, it built its audience and aired for eleven seasons. Then, Kelsey Grammer's character spun off into the series Frasier which aired for eleven seasons, which is scary if you think about dealing with twenty-two years of The Situation. I'd drink to that not happening.

The X-Files

Who would have guessed that a show about mutant babies, sewer monsters and government conspiracies wouldn't be a hit right out of the gate? Believe it or not, The X-Files was not. The ratings weren't amazing, but there were enough viewers to make it a cult hit. Over time, more people got pulled into the over-arching mysteries of the series and it became a hit, leading to two film spin-offs and countless dorm room posters.


Can you imagine a world without close talkers, puffy shirts, trash can eclairs, and Festivus? Well, you almost did. Seinfeld's ratings in the early years were pitiful. In fact, its four-episode second-season renewal ties it with Homicide as the lowest number of episodes ordered in network history. These troubles ended and Seinfeld entered the Nielsen Top 30 in its fourth season. After leading the ratings in its sixth and ninth season, TV Guide declared it the greatest television program of all time. 76 million people tuned in for the finale, making it the third highest-viewed finale in history. However, no one has wanted to watch Michael Richards ever since.

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