Premature cancellation: 10 comedy shows that left the world too soon

By | July 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm | 11 comments | Features, Lists, TV/Movies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seems every season there’s a sad departure of a comedy series that had potential. Usually it’s a slight bummer but then you find a replacement during that time slot each week and you stop mourning the loss. But a few shows have graced us in the last 15 years who were gone far too soon. Their cancellations bring firey rage to thousands of fans and their one-liners live on in tweets and blog posts around the world.

Here is a list of 10 shows we miss deeply. We’ve also noticed some creepy connections between producers, writers, actors and studios with these shows – so let us know if you see any others. Let’s have a moment of silence …

Freaks and Geeks: 1999-2000
This cult classic lasted only a season but it left us wanting more. Thanks to the mind of Judd Apatow we got to see into the lives of a few misfits in a Michigan high school in the 1980s. It starred Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, James Franco, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, John Francis Daly and Linda Cardellini. Some of these comedic geniuses are mentioned in other shows on this list, and damn it – they all did well for themselves in the long run.

Party Down: 2009-2010
I am so upset by the demise of this show that it’s taken me 10 minutes to write this sentence. This STARZ show focused on a catering company staffed by washed up actors and wannabe writers, all hoping for their big break. Those crazy kids got into some trouble when they were working, and it was brilliant. Brilliant! The show starred Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizz Caplan, Ryan Hansen, Jane Lynch, Martin Starr (bad luck, Bro!) and Megan Mullally (in the later episodes); and the writing staff included Paul Rudd.

Stella: June 2005-August 2005
Shit, you guys. TWO MONTHS!? Ugh. Okay. Stella was the TV series written and starring sketch comedy trio Stella (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, David Wain). The trio turned some of their long-standing sketches into bits on the show, with their immature characters dressed in suits, without jobs and expecting the world. Episode Six, titled “Meeting Girls” is a brilliant vision. Condensing two serious relationships into a single 24-hour period? YES. Elizabeth Banks guest starring? YES. A clip below not from that episode? Indeed.

Stella
Breakfast
www.comedycentral.com
Comedy Central Funny TV Shows Roast of Charlie Sheen

Arrested Development: 2004-2006
Obviously. This show starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, David Cross, Alia Shawkat and Will Arnett centered around selfish, materialistic family trying to keep it together while being investigated for a variety of white collar crimes. I still talk about how I “blue” myself; every time someone doesn’t understand me, a tiny angel weeps.

Undeclared: 2001-2002
Since nothing was allowed to be funny after 9/11, this Judd Apatow baby (a follow-up to Freaks and Geeks) starring Seth Rogen, Carla Gallo (who can currently be seen on Fox hit Bones along with John Francis Daly – whhaaaattt!? ), Jay Baruchel and Charlie Hunnam was destined to fail. The show surrounded a group of freshman at a fictional California university and rather than being raunchy, the show was realistic and appropriately immature. Even the various cameos and guest stars couldn’t save this well-written show from Fox’s axe.

Andy Richter Controls the Universe: 2002-2003
Starring Conan O’Brien’s #2, Andy Richter, this show was based on a character named Andy who was a short story writer but had to work as a technical writer to get by. It was a basic concept, a good cast and boasted solid writing. If it had been given more than one season, this show definitely could have found its footing. Anyone who says Richter isn’t a fantastic comedian on his own hasn’t seen this show.

Better off Ted: 2009-2010
Portia de Rossi stars with Jay Harrington, Andrew Anders, Jonathan Slavin, Malcom Barrett and Isabella Acres in this highly underrated show that aired on ABC for two seasons. Portia is a heartless VP at a creepy company called Veridian Dynamics, which makes weapons and gadgets and foodstuffs that could likely kill you. Jay stars as a more sympathetic guy (Ted) who wants to treat his employees right. If you’re reading this sitting in a cubicle right now, this show is for you. SO genius. It was created and written by Victor Fresco (who also created Andy Richter Controls the Universe – WHAAAT!?), and just didn’t have enough viewers to keep going.

Wonderfalls: 2004
This show was half Canadian, and I don’t know many of the actors (other than William Sadler) but this was a well-written, well-acted dramedy/fantasy hybrid about a girl working at a Niagra Falls gift shop who can talk to animal figurines. Through her communication with these inanimate objects, she helps people in need. Truly dark humor was the show’s calling card.

Clone High: 2003-2003
This animated sitcom was based around a high school filled with clones of famous people. Cleopatra, Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, JFK and others were voiced by the likes of SNL’s Will Forte and MadTV stars Nicole Sullivan and Michael McDonald. It was funny and ridiculous; who doesn’t want to see Gandhi struggle with an ADHD diagnosis while Cleopatra and Abe Lincoln are hooking up? Fucking gold, you guys.

Saved by the Bell– The College Years: 2003-2004
What! No? Just me? … Fine. I’m leaving you with a clip, anyway.

About the Author

Meagan Kate

Meagan Kate is a Portland, Oregon writer and comic. She has been laughed at by audiences at The Brody Theater, The Someday Lounge, Theatre! Theater! and other venues that provide her with the validation she has yet to receive from a long-term relationship. She says things at http://myfacewasred.tumblr.com and you can follow her @MeaganKate.

  • Uaintgotthese

    i was so glad to see better of ted on here, i loved that show!!!

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  • Anon

    Ted was good.

    Also like S*** My Dad Said.
    Only saw the first episode of Paul Riesers show (as did everyone else) – and liked what I saw.
    What hope do you have if you can get axed after one episode!

    Different genre – but I thought Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip was brilliant too.

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  • Anonymous

    So glad to see Better Off Ted on the list. I totally agree it’s severely underrated, even among comedy nerds. I miss that show.

  • http://twitter.com/SimpleDude17 The Simple Dude

    I mostly agree with you on these… but I completely agree with you on
    Better Off Ted.  It was a little bit ahead of it’s time.  Or I’m a
    little behind my time.  Either way, I was pissed when it was cancelled.

  • katy telberg

    I’m glad Better Off Ted was included! I loved that show but I don’t think I know anyone else that has even heard of it.

    • Zach

      I felt the same way. I showed it to a few friends who said, “That’s funny” and never watched it again

  • http://twitter.com/fardmuhammad Fard Muhammad

    I guess the “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” might count except that the show wasn’t exactly “canceled”- it was more or less “replaced” with the same show from 1992.

  • Anonymous

    Another good one cancelled prematurely: Andy Barker, P.I.

  • Travesty

    I liked Saved by the Bell: The College Years, too.

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