Every year, television networks like ABC, NBC, and Comedy Central create pilots for new sitcoms in the hopes of creating the next Seinfeld. Of course, as you’re already aware, Seinfeld is arguably the best sitcom ever made. When it was released, Seinfeld was doing things that no other sitcom at the time would even dream of doing. In fact, the show set the tone for what a traditional sitcom should be.
Today, although there are still a few traditional sitcoms on the air such as The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls, the traditional sitcom seems to be dying. Shows are taken off the air due to poor ratings, the cast wanting to move on, or the show wanting to finish on a high note to preserve their legacy. Oftentimes, shows run for a season too long or release a terrible movie to earn a quick buck. Nevertheless, shows are still constantly trying to create a legacy for themselves by making a show that stands out from the rest; nobody wants to create a show that will be forgotten once it’s taken off the air.
Of course, there are some sitcoms, such as Seinfeld and The Office that are so unique that they’ll never be forgotten. This article isn’t about those shows. This article is about the shows that, despite being canceled a little over a decade ago — are already not cared about by their previous viewers.
15. Will & Grace
Will And Grace originally ran from 1998 to 2006, for a total of 194 episodes over 8 seasons. When released, Will & Grace was considered controversial because one of the main characters, Will, was gay. Despite initial criticism, the show evolved into a critically acclaimed sitcom that had a progressive message. Will & Grace has even been cited many times as helping introduce LGBT issues into the mainstream media. The show was so progressive that in 2014, scripts, props, and set decorations were donated to the National Museum of American History.
Like most sitcoms, the ratings eventually began to dip, and Will & Grace was put to rest after nine seasons. In January 2017, NBC announced that they would be creating a 10-episode season of the series, set to air later this year.
14. That 70’s Show
That ’70s Show (1998-2006) launched the careers of Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, and of course, Ashton Kutcher. The show was primarily set in the house of Eric Forman (played by Topher Grace) as his friends hung out in his basement and occasionally received life advice from his parents. It had the same level of drama as Friends but was a little harder to take seriously because all of the characters in the show were teenagers.
The show ran for 8 seasons, but any fan of the show will tell you that the only seasons that mattered were the first 7 seasons. The 8th season was so terrible because Eric Forman, possibly the most important character in the show, was written out as Topher Grace wanted to move on with his life. His role was replaced by a character named Randy, who literally everyone hated.
If you ask millennials what the greatest sitcom of all time is, majority of them are going to say Friends. The show ran for 10 seasons and is one of the most iconic shows of all time. It was loved by critics, the general public, and was nominated for so many awards that adding them all up would be a challenge. Friends photos, GIFs and YouTube videos are in abundance when browsing online, which means the show still has some popularity. So, why did it make this list?
The only people watching Friends now are the people that watched Friends when it was airing. The show is filled with so many cultural references, which would shoot over the heads of those who weren’t born in the 90s. The show was meant to be relatable to the audience at the time, but the world has changed so much since the show stopped airing that people can no longer relate to the show. Additionally, the greatest moments from Friends were moments that required you to watch the entire series to be able to understand. You can’t just turn on an episode of Friends and understand what’s going on.
The relationships of the characters are still something to be admired — but those relationships can be found in any popular sitcom. Besides, Friends is just an outdated version of How I Met Your Mother anyway.
12. 8 Simple Rules
In life, not everything goes the way that you plan, and Hollywood is no different. 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter (2002-2005) was an incredibly popular show after its first season aired in 2002. The show had a unique but relatable premise that focused on a strict father trying to keep hormonal teenage boys from hurting his daughters. The role of the father was played by John Ritter, and sadly, while filming the second season, Ritter unexpectedly passed away after being misdiagnosed with a heart attack.
The show addressed the death of Ritter and tried to continue on without him. The title of the show was even changed to 8 Simple Rules, and other characters were brought in (including a wacky cousin played by David Spade) to try and shift the focus of the show from raising teenage daughters to the family itself. However, the show never really recovered after Ritter’s death.
On a side note, you may recognize one of the daughters as Kaley Cuoco, star of the show The Big Bang Theory, which, by the way, sucks in comparison to 8 Simple Rules. Just saying.
11. Malcolm in the Middle
Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006) was a hit sitcom starring Frankie Muniz at the peak of his childhood stardom. The show ran for 7 seasons and was received well by critics and praised by fans. Though the viewership dwindled over the years, a loyal number of people stuck with the show through to the very end.
What drew so many people to the show was that everyone knew a family that was like Malcolm’s. They were just another dysfunctional, working class American family — but there was something about the bizarreness of the characters that made the show unique.
Bryan Cranston played one of the best characters on the show: Malcolm’s father, Hal. Cranston was also the star of the television drama Breaking Bad. Fans of both shows even tried to connect his character (Hal) to the protagonist of Breaking Bad (Walt). There is even a scene in the bonus features of Breaking Bad’s season 5 that teases the connection as a joke.
It’s surprising that there wasn’t a revival in Malcolm in the Middle’s popularity after Bryan Cranston became a household name. After all, the show felt like the early 2000s brilliantly squeezed into a 30-minute episode. In fact, years from now, people are probably going to be using it to see what life was like at the turn of the century, but at the moment, it seems like no one cares about the show anymore.
Entourage (2004-2011) was a show that most people considered above average, but to young men (particularly frat boys), this show was legendary. It was nominated for 26 Emmy awards during its 8-season run, and the show ended on a note that left fans wanting more. 4 Years after the finale, producers decided it was time to give fans what they wanted — a feature length film.
Working on a budget of $39 million, the film was made using many of the old cast and crew members. It was probably considered to be an easy moneymaker for HBO, but when the movie was released, it was an absolute flop. People hated it. The movie only grossed $49 million at the box office and was considered a complete failure. The numbers speak for themselves — people stopped caring about Entourage the day it stopped airing.
9. Arrested Development
Arrested Development (2003-?) was a show filled with so many references and jokes that a lot of them went over people’s heads — and that’s okay. It’s a comedy that’s widely regarded as being among the defining comedies of the 2000s and was on the list of Time‘s Best 100 TV Shows of All Time. Despite this acclaim, Arrested Development never found an audience while it was airing and was canceled after three seasons.
In 2013, Netflix released a fourth season of Arrested Development and has announced plans to make a fifth season, and possibly a movie. While still good, the season on Netflix wasn’t nearly as well-received as the previous seasons. In fact, the first three episodes of the season were considered the worst in the series. Despite its revival, it seems that nobody is talking about — or cares about — the future of Arrested Development.
8. Yes, Dear
Yes, Dear (2000-2006) was a feel-good comedy about two families that lived together despite having drastically different personalities. It lasted six seasons on CBS. The show starred Anthony Clark, a comedian who had his beginnings in stand-up.
Despite being a show that aired on a major network, it seems that no one remembers Yes, Dear anymore. This is strange considering that the show received 13.1 million viewers in its first season and 7.8 million in its final season — numbers that are actually pretty impressive when compared to other shows on this list. So why can’t anybody remember this show? Well, there’s nothing memorable about it. The characters are stock characters found in every show, and it had no recurring gags or episodes that made the show stand out from any other family sitcom.
7. The King Of Queens
Airing a total of 209 episodes, The King of Queens ran for 9 seasons from 1998-2007. The show starred relatively unknown (at the time) comedian Kevin James and rising star Leah Remini. The show focused on James and Remini’s marriage as a working class couple living in Queens, New York, while having to juggle their careers and the demands of Remini’s father (played by Jerry Stiller). The show was perfect to just throw on and vegetate to after a long day because you didn’t have to pay attention to get a laugh. Everyone has seen the show — so why does nobody remember it?
The stars of the show, Kevin James and Leah Remini, have evolved since their appearances on the show. It seems that Kevin James has become known as the guy that appears in Adam Sandler movies and stars in his own family comedies. The fact that Paul Blart: Mall Cop became such a popular meme online overshadowed Kevin James’s previous projects. As for Remini, she’s become known as the woman that’s trying to take down Scientology one documentary at a time.
6. Everybody Hates Chris
Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009) was a short-lived sitcom created by Chris Rock. The show was nominated for a number of awards over the years including a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Additionally, it was praised by critics because of the issues touched upon in the show.
The show focused on a working-class family in the 1980s and tackled social questions throughout its run. Narrated by Chris Rock, the sitcom seemed to have been inspired by Rock’s own experiences with his family and growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
Unfortunately, despite being a great show, Everybody Hates Chris never found a steady audience and was canceled after four seasons. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that without Everybody Hates Chris, maybe Terry Crews would have never been able to star in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
5. Reno 911!
Reno 911! (2003-2009) was a mockumentary-style sitcom that parodied law enforcement shows such as Cops. The show ran on Comedy Central and attracted people with a crude sense of humor. There have been a few clips from Reno 911! that have gone viral because people thought the clips were genuine.
While the show was still on the air, the team behind Reno 911! released the film Reno 911!: Miami in hopes of cashing in on their television success. The film was considered a moderate success, earning $22 million at the box office on a $10 million budget despite being panned by critics.
The fans of the show have grown up, and because mockumentary-style comedies are in abundance now, you’d be hard pressed to find a TV channel that airs reruns of Reno 911! However, there are talks of Netflix reviving the show.
4. Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005) was a loved show for the same reason that King of Queens was a loved show: it was something you could watch after a long day without thinking. The show’s success led to Ray Romano earning $1.7 million per episode, making him the second-highest-paid American television star of all time.
The show appealed to an older audience, which is partially why you’ll hardly find any memes, gifs, or appearance of Everybody Loves Raymond on social media. The show’s genius has been compared to that of Seinfeld. While it was airing, critics even called it the greatest sitcom of all time. It wasn’t a show with defining moments that could be shared online — the humour of the show came from your attachment to the characters putting themselves in unbelievable situations. But there was just something about it — something people forgot about. It seems nobody loves Raymond anymore.
3. My Name Is Earl
My Name Is Earl (2005-2009) had one of the most unique premises out of any sitcom. The show focused on Earl, a selfish man who had lived his life doing awful things to the people around him. After becoming obsessed with karma when he won the lottery, Earl made a list of all the terrible things that he had done and made it his mission to cross off the items on the list. He wanted to do more good things than he had ever done bad. Each episode had a heartwarming moment, though none of the episodes really stood out from the rest.
The humor of the show was built around bigoted characters, so the show rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The show was cancelled unexpectedly after four seasons, despite show’s creator, Greg Garcia, being told that it was going to be renewed for a fifth season.
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Garcia stated how he wanted the show to end. In his own words, Garcia wrote, “I had always had an ending to Earl and I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to see it happen. You’ve got a show about a guy with a list so not seeing him finish it is a bummer. But the truth is, he wasn’t ever going to finish the list. The basic idea of the ending was that while he was stuck on a really hard list item, he was going to start to get frustrated that he was never going to finish it. Then he runs into someone who had a list of their own and Earl was on it. They needed to make up for something bad they had done to Earl. He asks them where they got the idea of making a list and they tell him that someone came to them with a list and that person got the idea from someone else. Earl eventually realizes that his list started a chain reaction of people with lists and that he’s finally put more good into the world than bad. So at that point, he was going to tear up his list and go live his life. Walk into the sunset a free man. With good karma.”
2. The Drew Carey Show
The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004) ran for 9 seasons and regularly featured celebrity guests. Former guests included Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, and Weird Al Yankovic. The show was supposed to revolve around what Drew Carey thought his life would be like if he never started working as a comedian. It was a show about an everyday man for the everyday man.
The show peaked in viewership during the third and fourth seasons, and by the time the ninth season rolled around, The Drew Carey Show had been relegated from a primetime spot on ABC’s fall schedule to a slot during the summer lineup.
People will never remember Drew Carey for The Drew Carey Show. His role as the host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? will forever outshine the time he was the star of his own sitcom. After his career with Whose Line Is It Anyway? ended, Drew Carey went on to replace the iconic Bob Barker as the host for The Price Is Right.
Frasier (1993-2004) was created as a spin-off of the sitcom Cheers (1982—1993). It received critical claim despite being an unoriginal sitcom. It focused on the life of Frasier Crane, a psychiatrist trying to build a life in Seattle. The only memorable thing about this show is that it was way too smart for the average person. The only people it might have resonated with were other psychiatrists and people living in Seattle.
Frasier appealed to a much older audience, which is why you’re unlikely to find a millennial raving about how great it was. Additionally, Frasier was a spinoff of Cheers, which aired before a lot of millennials were even born, and people usually don’t want to watch the spin-off of a show that they had never watched in the first place. In fact, people usually don’t even want to watch spin-offs of the shows that they actually did watch. Does anyone else remember the Friends spin-off, Joey?
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