CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows
5) SPORTS NIGHT (ABC)
From Aaron Sorkin came SPORTS NIGHT, a show that many mistook for an ESPN-esque rip-off. But it's cast, including Felicity Huffman and Josh Charles, made it so much more than that. It was an intelligent, behind-the-scenes peak inside the world of sports, with characters reminiscent of Sorkin's much more popular, THE WEST WING.
4) MY SO-CALLED LIFE (ABC)
The cancellation hardly hurt Claire Danes' career: i.e. catching terrorists (and crying) on HOMELAND. There was insight and inspiration hidden within the angst of teenage life. But the show concluded on a cliffhanger, and though its only season was a great one, it's easy to be angry at a no-answer ending.
3) FIREFLY (Fox)
This short-lived series from Joss Whedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) garnered as much praise as a show can receive. The fan base is absolutely rabid - and absolutely awesome - not only has the show become a sci-fi convention favorite, but the fans, with Whedon's help, convinced FOX to make SERENITY, a follow-up feature film.
2) VERONICA MARS (UPN/The CW)
There are few shows in TV history to get so many things right. If Nancy Drew and Buffy Summers had been genetically altered into one super-sleuthy teen - you'd have Mars, played by the indelible Kristen Bell. This is modern noir at its finest, and most missed. But MARS never caught on in the ratings. As the titular character once said, "Veronica Mars is smarter than you."
1) FREAKS AND GEEKS (NBC)
One season? Really? Judd Apatow's FREAKS AND GEEKS was a freaking masterpiece. Starring James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, and Linda Cardellini - this was an all-star cast before they were all-stars. The show's drip-dry wit and unparalleled encapsulation of the nothingness of being a teenager have secured it a well-deserved Cult following.