10 TV Shows That Should Have Been Hits But Had Impossible Competition

Comedy has thrived on television since its inception, but it’s the high-profile dramas that tend to garner the most attention for serialized media. There are endless factors to consider when it comes to the success of a TV show.



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Many shows get canceled because they aren’t good and don’t live up to expectations, but sometimes a great show gets cut short because it comes at the wrong time or is scheduled against impossible competition. There are some rewarding TV series from the past few decades that could have seen long runs if they had only aired under slightly different circumstances.

ten Carnivale was a Lynchian-like fever dream that came too soon

Set in the 1930s and following the exploits of the misfit members of a traveling carnival, at its heart Carnival depicts a grand battle between the biblical forces of good and evil. Carnival debuted with record numbers on HBO, which inevitably became its own downfall. A patient first season and setting the lost tone Carnival many viewers who weren’t around when the payoffs started happening in season two.

The methodical construction of the traditions of Carnival is actually much more in line with modern serialized dramas. Her biggest competition was her colleagues on the HBO series, like sex and the city, which attracted more viewers and cost less.

9 Rubicon rolls out a mind-blowing conspiracy that left AMC cold

Rubicon is a 2010 spy series that only lasted a glorious 13-episode season, but its cancellation still stings. Inspired by conspiratorial films of the 1970s, Rubicon was conceived as a confusing spy drama. James Badge Dale stars as a brilliant and obsessive intelligence analyst who begins to unravel a harrowing secret. Rubicon is another unfortunate case where a network’s prestige and expectations catch up with them.

In any other scenario, Rubicon would have outlasted AMC and it’s actually the type of drama they desperately need right now. However, the runaway success of AMC’s competing original series – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead – means that RubiconAchievements were not enough.

8 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is dead so 30 rock can live

Aaron Sorkin remains one of television’s most totemic names and his triumphs over The west wing created unrealistic expectations for his next project. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip applies Sorkin’s standard “behind the scenes” structure to a series of fictional sketches.

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Workshop 60 initially faced criticism for how he was too serious about comedy and not funny enough. It also premiered on the same network in the same year as Tina Fey 30 Rock. NBC ultimately decided that all they needed was a fake comedy sketch series. Workshop 60 really finds its place at the end of its first year, but it is too late.

seven Almost Human’s Android procedural antics cost too much and earn too little

almost human was a 2013/2014 police procedural set in a cyberpunk future where android partners are the norm for police forces. almost human explores ideas that have since been explored in person of interest, Westworldand black mirror, but FOX’s sporadic and messy schedule ruined its chances of finding an audience.

almost humanFOX’s untimely demise was also caused by the series’ high production costs and FOX’s extensive scheduling. FOX also cited that the series should have achieved ratings at ITUC level in order to continue, which was never going to be a possibility for a niche genre series.

6 The unique energy of Pushing Daisies couldn’t survive the writers’ strike exodus

grow daisies is one of the finest series ever to air on television networks. Coming from Bryan Fuller, grow daisies is a supernatural love story told against the backdrop of lavish Broadway musicals. The fairytale nature of the show’s writing, visuals, and relationships always makes it stand out as a creative marvel of the medium.

However, these heights were not cheap to reach, and the cost of the show played a role in its early cancellation. The biggest strike against grow daisies involved the Writers Guild of America strike of 2007–2008, which cut short the series’ storylines and lost the momentum of the first season when it finally returned.

5 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fearlessly forged a new lore for a cult audience

FOX was a welcoming home for genre shows during the 2000s that probably never could have aired on other networks, but they also would have had to make tough decisions about early cancellations.

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The Sarah Connor Chronicles was loved by fans and critics alike, but its ratings continued to decline, and it didn’t generate the same mainstream discussion as other genre series, like Lost. Ironically enough, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been reclaimed over the past decade as one of the most satisfying Terminator 2 followed and that none of the later cinematic sequels has matched its heights.

4 Miracles was a paranormal procedural series that lost out to real-world horrors

Bad comfortably fits the mark of a “spiritual X-files“, but almost two decades earlier, it was miraclesa short-lived supernatural drama that aired on ABC in 2003. The series follows a team as they investigate unexplainable “miracles” and attempt to ward off the growing forces of darkness infecting the world.

miracles has built a great foundation and Skeet Ulrich works as a compelling lead, but episodes of the show have started getting preempted repeatedly for the growing coverage of the Iraq War. miracles‘ Monday at 10 p.m. meant it always lost news coverage and the show’s ratings couldn’t recover from its inconsistent airings.

3 Firefly’s Complicated Genre Experiments Didn’t Fit TV’s Trajectory

The wonder of a season of FOX, Fireflyhas gained a solid second life as a fandom relic and proof that concentrated efforts to revive a lost series can be successful, at least to some extent. Firefly is a passionate genre hybrid that blends westerns and sci-fi into its own distinct universe.

Network feuds, a rearranged episode order (including a sideline from the original pilot), and a TV slate where reality TV reigned supreme all indicated Fireflyfailure. Firefly was truly a breath of fresh air in 2002, but has since become a product of its time.

2 Freaks And Geeks was a niche comfort food that had to compete with the mainstream

freaks and geeks has an infamous history and despite its perceived status as a one-season flop that was canceled after a dozen episodes, the cast and creative talent behind the show are now some of the biggest actors and names in comedy.

Freaks and Geeks arrived on NBC during the 1999/2000 season, and the networks weren’t yet ready for a “realistic” look at high school drama and ’80s culture. freaks and geeks was never able to build a following due to an infrequent schedule, but he also faced Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?the television juggernaut of this generation.

1 Hannibal is lucky to have aired just one episode, let alone three seasons.

by Bryan Fuller Hannibal is a real magic trick of a television series. He arrived at a time when audiences were exhausted from the overexposure of Hannibal and yet he is able to create a beautiful and bloody love story through the macabre world of Thomas Harris.

The Hannibal The series remixes Harris’s novels rather than adapting the books conventionally and the show’s greatest strength becomes the undeniable chemistry between Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham. The three seasons of Hannibal are beautiful, but high production costs and declining viewership prevented it from reaching numbers comparable to the rest of NBC’s programming.

NEXT: 10 Anime That Should Have Been Hits But Had Impossible Competition


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