Freaks and Geeks
The year was 1999. The network was NBC and a couple of guys, Judd Apatow and Paul Fieg, were involved in producing this fish out of water take on 80s high school students. Starring (gasp) Linda Cardinelli, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal, Martin Starr and Busy Phillips -- it still couldn't get the traction required to score a second season.
Co-created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (of Gilmore Girls fame) Bunheads aired on ABC Family. It starred Sutton Foster as a dancer past her prime who married a fan; a fan who had a lot of money and whisked her to the coast to live a fantasy life. Co-starring a bunch of great young dancers and Kelly Bishop (GG mom), the series was held together by performances, fast and witty dialog and dancing. We have yet to see any of the stars make a similar splash elsewhere.
The Secret Circle
In 2011 The CW aired the series about witches gathering where their parents did before them and creating a coven revealing special powers. Starring Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekkar, Phoebe Tonkin, Shelley Henning and Chris Zylka, the only good thing to come out of its cancelation was the continued careers of the stars (with an exception or two) on series that respected their talent.
At a time when legit high school drama Dawson's Creek was on the top of the food chain, circa 2000, someone thought it wise to make a SATIRE about a high school drama. Grosse Pointe missed the mark in terms of demographics and didn't last past the first season.
No Ordinary Family
Michael Chiklis! Julie Benz! No Ordinary Family was NOT one of Greg Berlanti's finest moments, despite the star power he pulled in for the series.
This past season the brothers-in-the-military comedy struck a cord with Fox viewers. Unfortunately they were passionate but few. The entire production team including the cst were 1000% behind their work and it showed. Created by Kevin Bliegel (Cougar Town), the series starred Geoff Stults and Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars). None of that helped.
Fox has to still be kicking themselves over letting Firefly sail off into the horizon. The prestige! Joss Whedon created the series which boasts writing credits from some of the all time best (i.e., they're writing all of our entertainment now!). The space western with heart starred Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Barracin, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and more. Only one season and there are fan conventions for the series. That's not one you'd want to let go gently into the night. Yet, it happened.
This DBS series had a great premise -- an "and then there none" story where a bunch of young adults go to an island for a wedding... but they don't all make it out alive. It featured one of the most haunting scenes of self sacrifice (to save a loved one) ever shown on TV and starred Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Matt Barr, Jim Beaver and more. Great summer fare that deserved a better fate.
Created by Howard Gordoon and Tim Minear (the latter who is on this list too much) in 2005, the series followed a rookie FBI agent joining LA's Violent Crimes Unit. She had a special understanding having been a victim of kidnapping. It starred Rachel Nichols, Adam Baldwin, Jay Harrington and Peter Coyote. Airing during summer before summer series carried any weight this, of course, failed.
Before genre shows were all the rage, there was Invasion. To be fair, a lot of shows were one and done in 2005, But Shaun Cssidy created something special for ABC. After a hurricane, aliens invade the earth and inhabit your friends. Starring William Fichtner, Eddie Cibrian, Kari Matchett and Taylor Labine, it was mysterious and humorous and left us with one hell of a cliffhanger. It has the dubious honor of airing right after Hurrican Katrina. Death knell.
Greg the Bunny
Seth Green! Sarah Silverman! Eugene Levy! A PUPPET BUNNY NAMED GREG! Greg the Bunny was a cult hit which never garnered a wide enough audience to give it staying power. Maybe if Greg had been an alien from Melmac...
Before Fringe, J.H. Wyman brought Keen Eddie to Fox. Starring Mark Valley, Sienna Miller (no, really) and Colin Salmon (Arrow's Walter Steele), the series was about a wisecracking NYC cop who find himself a bit out of sorts when he's transferred to the UK. It was Miller's only US TV series, but died due to poor promotion and schedule shuffles.
Javier Grillo-Marxuach created this funky series based off of one of his graphic novels for ABC Family in 2008. Starring Matt Keeslar as The Middleman and Natalie Morales as the struggling artist recruited to help him fight evil forces for a secret agency, it was terribly misplaced on the network. A comic book based on a 13th episode that was ordered and cut confirmed the cancelation.
In 2003 genre lover Richard Hatem (who sadly has two shows on this list) brought Skeet Ulrich, Angus Macfadyen and Marisa Ramirez together in this ABC series about an investigator for the Catholic Church who questions his faith after seeing freaky-arse stuff. Americans had to wait for the DVD to get the full 13 episodes, but it was worth the wait.
It's not a coincidence that Alex O'Loughlin stars in Hawaii Five-0 on CBS. In 2007 he was Mick St. John, a vampire. He made women swoon and despite ratings that weren't bad, the series was canceled (long before vampires were a "thing"). Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars) co-starred and women were happy. They were not so happy upon discovering it wouldn't be back. At all. Today? The fans would be akin to "beasties."
My So-Called Life
Ugh. We still wonder what happened between 15-year-old Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto). Oscars, Emmys, they were poised for greatness, but in 1994 on ABC they were scheduled for cancelation. 20 years later reuinions still ignite fans. Tsk tsk.
In Journeyman Kevin McKidd played Dan Vassar, a journalist with the gift of time travel who often poofed out of his present life in order to help someone in the past creating a ripple effect which changed the present. The ending was not nearly as devastating as the B-side of The Butterfly Effect.
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
On ABC Family in 2011 we were introduced to a girl who found out she was Mai played by Skyler Samuels. With special powers, she found her sexuality and had two love interests, Grey Damon (who is in everything now) and Benjamin Stone (who we need to see more of). Alyssa Diaz, Grace Phipps and Hi Kong Lee rounded out the little group that viewers fell in love with. They promised a TV movie to end the series, but eventually just released a script instead. Teen Wolf alum Alicia Coppola, Daniel Sharman and Colton Haynes all appeared on the series!
John Cho does not have much luck when it comes to television. Flash Forward, a semi sci-fi drama from 2009, was canceled after one season. Selfie didn't even get a full season order.
Who can forget the tagline "20 years. 6 Friends. 1 Murder."? Not us! Even if Reunion only got one season to solve the big whodunit!
The summer of 2010 brought a quirky mystery to NBC. People woke up and found themselves in a ghost town without any idea how they got there or, initially, who they were. The series may have suffered from it summer slot, a poor title or the little-known cast. Jason Wiles had done Third Watch and Alan Ruck Spin City, but the others were relatively unknown. Daisy Betts went on to join Fire Station 51 on Chicago Fire and commited suicide.
Swingtown aired on ABC during the summer (groan) of 2008. Titled inappropriately, viewers thought it was about swingers, when it was instead about families in the summer of 1976. Starring Lana Parilla, Jack Davenport, Josh Hopkins, Grant Show, Miriam Shor and Molly Parker, the poor promotion robbed viewers of an introspective look at family life and marrige in the 70s. Booo.
If ever a show suffered from horrendous marketing, it was Terriers. Airing on FX in the fall of 2010, the entire marketing campaign attempted to be ironic -- a dog with a bone. Yep, alcoholic ex-cop Hank Dolworth (Donal Logue) and ex-criminal Britt Pollack (Michael Raymond-James) were tenacious private investigators, but it was lost in translation. Thankfully, the finale gave viewers enough meat to jump to our own conclusions, even if it would have been better to have them played out in a second season. The series also starred Laura Allen, who went on to Awake and Ravenswood other one and dones).
Another sad ending for a Judd Apatow production, this series aired in Fox in 2001 starring (OMG) Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogan, Charlie Hunnam (yep), Carla Gallow and Monica Keena. You don't even want to see the recurring stars. Really, you don't. The story focused on very different college freshman at a fictional California university. It didn't help renewal chances that episodes aired out of order (how very Fox of Fox to do that!), which distrupted character development.
Another Fox death, this 2004 series starred Caroline Dhavernas as a girl living in a trailer park working a souvenir shop at Niagra Falls. Did I mention the souvenirs talk to our lead lass? Where they lead her is half the fun. Lee Pace, William Sadler and Neil Grayston also appeared in this Bryan Fuller production. The good news? Dhavernas followed Fuller to Hannibal!
Jack & Bobby
Jack & Bobby was the tale of the 2049 US President's childhood. The series was told in a faux documentary format which probably confused people leading to the series' short run.
Before she was Blair Waldorf, Leighton Meester played Savannah Barnett in 2005's Surface. Fans were NOT happy when the series ended after one season and begged for a second to give the show a proper sendoff. (Or just to see more of Leighton Meester in a bikini.)
Before Bradley Cooper was Jennifer Lawrence's work husband, he was cooking up something delicious as a chef on Kitchen Confidential alongside Buffy's Nicholas Brendon and a pre-Bones John Francis Daly.