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10 Shows That Got Popular After They Were Cancelled (and Many That Were Brought Back)

by Kevin Marshall   November 14, 2012 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 6,066
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks Dead Shows
Source: Apatow Productions/DreamWorks Television

The cult hit still seems to struggle to find an audience, as many still haven't watched the show despite the near universal acclaim it receives. In addition to starring future stars like James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen, it was also the show that made executive producer Judd Apatow into a powerhouse in Hollywood and one of the most influential voices in comedic films.


Deadwood Dead Shows
Source: HBO

Though it stands out a bit from the company of other shows on this list, we have a soft spot for what may be the best Western of all time. It's certainly the best televised form of the genre, particularly with the performance of Ian McShane as Al Swearengen. The show was cancelled after three all too brief seasons. At the time, HBO hinted at two televised films, but they never materialized.

Arrested Development

Arresteded Development Dead Shows
Source: J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Image

Here we have another series that lasted only three seasons, surged in popularity after the fact, and was promised a return in the form of a movie. Despite several close calls, the film never materialized. Then in 2011, Netflix announced it was bringing the show and its cast back for a run of thirteen episodes, all of which will be available on the same day sometime early next year.

The Tick

The Tick Dead Shows
Source: Evan Agostini/Getty Images Entertainment

"The Tick" wasn't just a Saturday morning favorite for kids, but also a great send-up (and sometimes indictment) of tropes in super-hero comics and their television adaptations. With a colorful cast of characters and clever writing, "The Tick" became a cult favorite but like every other show on this list had trouble finding an audience. It also had trouble finding a time slot, as Fox alternated between airing it alongside other kid fare on Saturday mornings and putting it in primetime. It was smart but accessible, a quality that should have made it a surefire hit but instead made it a quagmire for studio suits. It eventually became a hit on DVD and was brought back by Fox as a live-action sitcom starring Patrick Warburton, which was short lived but also eventually gained its own cult following.

Party Down

Party Down Dead Shows
Source: Starz

Comedy nerds exalted the virtues of this show during its brief run on Starz, but low ratings combined with the departure of its two biggest stars – Adam Scott left for a permanent role on the NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation" and Jane Lynch left to star in Fox's "Glee" – led to the decision to cancel the series after two seasons. A film version is currently being written by the show's creators but has not been greenlit.

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