The process of getting a TV show on the air is basically akin to finding a needle in a haystack, the chances are that slim; and even once you've made it, pulling the narrative through to a second season is pretty tricky, to say the least. The ante has to be upped big time in order to run with the big guns and thus, most shows cancelled after one season are usually met with a faint call of ciao, cya later, moving on now, bye.
Yet from time to time, a gem is caught in the net of shows being flung back out to sea, ones that we're unfortunately still mourning the loss of.
1. Freaks And Geeks
One of the most honest representations of teenage angst on TV ever, there are so many reasons besides the show's killer cast for deserving a second season. Authenticity paired with an awesome soundtrack, jokes for days and its serving of the underdog, to name a few.
Growing up circa 1980, a misfit high-school student and his pals are probably destined to become new media millionaires, but right now they're stuck in school, where all the girls are a foot taller and bullies terrorize the gym class. Meanwhile, his older sister is flirting with the dope-smoking bad boys, cutting classes and questioning the point of getting good grades."
2. My So Called Life
My So Called Life was so rightly expecting of a second season that it ended on a massive cliffhanger, making its cancellation all the more traumatizing. The show's cultural impact was immense, which was unsurprising seeing as — like Freaks and Geeks — it was temporarily home to a handful of today's biggest stars.
'My So-Called Life' is a bastion of teen angst. Angela is a high schooler in constant turmoil over her exposure to boys, friends, drugs, sex ... basically the normal 1990s teen trappings. Many a plot revolves around Angela's crush on heartthrob Jordan Catalano.
3. The Secret Circle
Firing witches into a game mostly owned by vampires, The Secret Circle was a bubbling brew of enjoyable supernatural mystery and a super attractive cast. Despite airing directly after its sister The Vampire Diaries, the show didn't garner a large enough viewership to keep The CW interested and fans were left mourning the loss of Jake's V-necks from their lives.
After her mother dies in a fire, Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) goes to live with her grandmother in Chance Harbor, Wash. As she adjusts to her new life, she is more than skeptical when her new friends explain to her that she is a powerful witch and they have been waiting for her return so they can complete the Secret Circle. When she finds a spell book hidden in her mother's childhood bedroom, she realizes what they have told her is true, but there is more danger ahead for them than they realize.
Firefly's oddball premise, its sterling cast portraying diamond characters, quirky style, spirited action scenes and on-point humor gave this one-season show a dedicated cult following filled with devastated fans upon its cancelation.
Fox axed the series on account of its low ratings — as is so often the case — yet this was largely down to the fact that it was a) promoted as an action-comedy, rather than a drama and b) episodes were aired out of order. Doh!
Set 500 years in the future after a universal civil war, the crew of a small transport spaceship takes any job so long as it puts food on the table. The disparate men and women just want to survive and maybe have better lives, but they face constant challenges on the new frontier, such as the Reavers -- flesh-eating mongrels who live on the fringes of the universe.
5. Clone High
This MTV show was a satirical teen dream for its one season, albeit with a strange AF premise. The animated series was brimming with banter and cultural references, from nods to Dawson's Creek to historical figures like Cleopatra, Abraham Lincoln and Marie Curie. Somehow the show didn't get the appreciation it deserved and after an unfortunate case of irreverently depicting Gandhi — which didn't go down so well in India — the show was cancelled.
A group of high-school teens are the products of government employees' secret experiment. They are the genetic clones of famous historical figures who have been dug up, re-created anew. Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, JFK, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and more are juxtaposed as teenagers dealing with teen issues in the 20th century.
6. The Grinder
Consistently funny, clever, sly, subversive and subtle, the timing and delivery of this hilarious and majorly meta show boasted a superb cast line-up, and, as the ratings weren't awful, would've undoubtably been renewed for a second season had Fox not been so cut-throat with its axing.
Emmy-nominated actor Rob Lowe stars as a famous actor, Dean Sanderson, who comes to a crossroads when his long-running hit TV series -- in which he starred as a lawyer -- is canceled. Despite the lack of a formal education, real-life experience in the courtroom or a license and bar certification, Dean decides to move back to his hometown and join his family's real-life law firm alongside his attorney brother, Stewart (played by acclaimed actor and director Fred Savage). While Dean and Stewart initially don't see eye-to-eye, they end up becoming a formidable team in the courtroom.
Channeling Freaks and Geeks and My So Called Life vibes by nailing the whole awkward, relatable teen thing, Undeclared was super earnest in its depiction of freshman uncertainty. Like Firefly, Fox aired the episodes in a non-chronological order, thus killing its popularity by rendering the narrative nonsensical. Such a shame.
This single-camera comedy caper follows an eclectic group of six college freshmen at the fictional University of North Eastern California. Created by Judd Apatow ('Freaks and Geeks'), the sitcom focuses on the trials and tribulations of college life.
Written with a healthy dose of wit, Wonderfalls was as charming as it was fresh and stylistically spot on. Its narrative was unpredictable and interesting, meaning the show had buckets of potential but again, the network aired it out of chronological order, which majorly impacted its ratings for the worse.
"A 20-something Niagara Falls souvenir-shop worker finds her life is changed forever when inanimate animal figures - toys, cartoon images etc. - begin talking to her. Their cryptic messages set into motion a chain of events that invariably lead her into the lives of others."
9. Almost Human
So much more than your average buddy-cop hour filler, Almost Human's leads, played by Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, had amazing on-screen chemistry, which evolved as the series developed. Sadly, the main narrative hooks only began building foundations when the show was cancelled due to its high production costs and Fox's already full slate.
In 2048, police officer John Kennex wakes up from a 17-month coma without his girlfriend, his partner -- and without one of his legs. While Kennex survived a catastrophic attack on the police department, his partner, relationship and one limb did not. Now outfitted with highly sophisticated synthetic appendage -- along with depression, trauma on-set OCD and PTSD -- Kennex is persuaded to come back to work by longtime ally Capt. Sandra Maldonado. As all cops are required to work with a robot, Kennex must overcome his aversion to androids and get accustomed to his new partner: a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses.
Offering something a little different, the shaggily haphazard manner was a perfect reflection of its lead character, Hank Dolworth. Although some fans put its smart, witty storyline on par with Breaking Bad and The Wire, and despite its critical acclaim, the ratings were so low that FX had to cancel it anyway.
Former cop Hank Dolworth and his best friend, Britt Pollack, team up to open their own private investigation agency. They aren't letting a lack of licenses stand in their way, although they would prefer to avoid both danger and responsibility as they try to solve crimes.