Classic Comedies Canceled After One Season, Ranked
Sometimes, shows get canceled because they just don’t hold a candle to what’s already being streamed into our eyeballs. Other times, it boggles the mind that people either slept on or networks ended up canning shows that were not only good but could possibly have achieved greatness if they’d had more than one season to work with. Here's a ranking of those specific comedies and what we could’ve had...
The 2004 comedy-drama created by Todd Holland and Bryan Fuller was a hit among people who actually saw it. (It’s got a 100 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.) Centered around twentysomething Jaye Tyler, who works at Niagara Falls and has chats with animal figurines come to life, like many a FOX show of the era, it lacked proper promotion and suffered from time-slot switcharoos. As a result, it was dropped after only four episodes, even though the show was planned out for three seasons.
Already a classic (because it’s the freaking Muppets and any time prior to 2020 is widely known as the Before Times), this 2015 sitcom revolving around the everyday lives of our favorite star puppets got canned by ABC because the ratings didn’t match expectations.
The show was a parody of mockumentary shows like The Office and Modern Family, and it was the first Muppets TV series after ABC’s Muppets Tonight ended in 1998. As executive producer Bob Kushell explained, the idea was to bring Kermit and company back to a more mature audience and not just have them be a product solely for the entertainment of kids. However, folks at the time apparently didn’t care to see these furry puppets hungover at work following a wild karaoke night.
The adult animated sitcom featuring a kooky family who lives in a toxic wasteland underneath the sprawling hills of wealth and apathy had so much potential. Created by Angus Oblong (animator of Freakazoid! and Animaniacs) and based on his book Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children, the show was a satirical take on both classism and environmental destruction in the year 2001 and rounded up an impressive cast of voice over actors led by Will Ferrell and Jean Smart. Alas, Warner Bros. canceled the show before it could even air a full season, robbing us all of another animated sitcom inevitably satirizing, well, everything.
The year 2015 clearly wasn’t kind to good comedies — probably because everyone was too busy doing some politics than having a laugh (let alone a laugh with a dash of existentialism). The satire starring Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Bradley Whitford and Ellen Barkin was, perhaps, a tad too out there for folks at the time, but its dark humor and absurd nature made it unlike anything else on television and, in many ways, served as an outlet for people who’d “had it up to here” with the ridiculousness of corporate synergies and the idea of feeling “happy” in a world so bizarrely upside-down.
‘Freaks and Geeks’
Probably the majority of people’s favorite single-season comedies, Freaks and Geeks propelled so many currently successful comedians’ careers. Actors like Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr and Busy Philipps all started out playing 1980s teenagers navigating the madness that is high school. Its cancelation also famously gave Judd Apatow a hernia: “When it went down, I really felt like it was like shutting a band down in the middle of recording a great album," Apatow told NPR. “I was devastated. I had back surgery afterward because I had so much stress I herniated a disc because I just didn’t want to acknowledge that the show ended.”
As they say, though: When one door closes, a filmmaker will get funding to build a dozen more doors. And that’s pretty much what Apatow did. As he explained, “In my head, everything felt like an episode of Freaks and Geeks. Knocked Up is an episode of Freaks and Geeks, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an episode of Freaks and Geeks. And it was a way to stay connected to all these people who I loved and believe in.”
Following the failure of Freaks and Geeks to secure a second season, Apatow jumped back into the TV pool with the FOX sitcom Undeclared in 2001 — this time graduating up to following a group of college freshmen in the early aughts, including Jay Baruchel and Rogen. It was, as far as cult status goes, another success, but its Saturday night time slot didn’t help ratings, and we never got to see Linda Cardellini join the cast in Season Two as Eric’s new girlfriend, who gets to have her face decorated onto a cake.
The animated sci-fi comedy created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Lawrence is the only one on this list that’s at least appearing to get a reboot and a well-deserved one at that. The premise — a high school experience through the eyes of teenage cloned versions of Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc and Gandhi (to name a few) — made for a perfect parody of both teen high school shows and historical figures who tend to be put on pedestals. Here’s hoping the reboot gives us all our favorite characters and more. Perhaps a cloned version of Ruth Bader Ginsburg being all for women’s rights while wrongly cursing anyone who "disrespects" the flag by taking a knee.