CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

BWW TV World is thrilled to present our weekly Critic's Cut: slicing the best (and the worst) moments of pop culture into ten little digestible pieces.

Critic's Cut runs every Friday, presenting television's 'Best Of' moments, characters, shows, and more!

This week's edition presents the most underrated and overzealously cancelled shows. Check out the top 10 below!


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

10) DEAD LIKE ME (Showtime)
Two Seasons
SHOWTIME's short-lived series (there was a straight to DVD movie later released) was wildly original. Created by Bryan Fuller, the show was equally smart in its handling of such dark material, such as, you know, death. It's hard to beat a bunch of quirky grim reapers led by Mandy Patinkin.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

9) HEROES (NBC)
Four Seasons
Sure, it jumped the shark in its final season - but LOST did the same thing much earlier on. And everyone's still talking about that mess. The ensemble cast, as well as the exceptional execution of a (kind of) tired premise created a four-season wonder. Many might disagree with this pick, but the sense of outsiderness interwoven into HEROES was something special. Plus, it was just really entertaining.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

8) PUSHING DAISIES
Two Seasons
DAISIES, also by Bryan Fuller, was so different, it was practically begging to be cancelled. The series, starring Lee Pace as a pie-maker with the power to bring people back to life, Anna Friel, and Kristin Chenoweth was weird in the best of ways. Think Lisa Frank (if she painted dead animals) through a 1950s, sci-fi kaleidoscope. Quirk, quirk, quirk.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

7) POLITICAL ANIMALS (USA)
Miniseries
This was a recent one, and though there were more storylines than the writers knew what to do with, Sigourney Weaver ran with that pantsuit. Inspired by Hillary Clinton's run for presidency and her time as Secretary of State, it presented a fictionalized tale of the beloved family, featuring sharp performances and major promise. Audiences tended to either love or hate the show, and USA ultimately decided to forego expanding the miniseries into a full order.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

6) PARTY DOWN (Starz)
Two Seasons
Adam Scott. Jane Lynch. Megan Mullally. I mean, this show had a dream cast. PART DOWN was practically dehydrated from the dry snark of a group of wannabe actors working for a catering company. The show was eventually pulled due to low ratings and Adam Scott jumping ship for a fantastic little show called PARKS AND RECREATION. It's a shame, but it's hard to blame many of the actors for signing on to larger and more lucrative shows.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

5) SPORTS NIGHT (ABC)
Two Seasons
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.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

4) MY SO-CALLED LIFE (ABC)
One Season
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.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

3) FIREFLY (Fox)
One Season
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.


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

2) VERONICA MARS (UPN/The CW)
3 Seasons
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."


CRITIC'S CUT: Most Underrated, Overzealously Cancelled TV Shows

1) FREAKS AND GEEKS (NBC)
One Season
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.

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Tyler Peterson Tyler is one of BroadwayWorld's lead News Desk Editors, covering breaking Broadway and theatre news daily. He studied Public Relations and Creative Writing at Loyola University Chicago while working part-time for BWW on evenings, weekends, and occasionally during classes. He has also been involved in the Chicago theatre industry, working in media relations and publicity with Margie Korshak, Inc.