10 Failed TV Shows That Became Cult Classics

10. Freaks & Geeks

Freaks and Geeks
NBC

Paul Feig and Judd Apatow's coming-of-age dramedy Freaks and Geeks is arguably the most perceptive and boundary-smashing TV show about growing up that the medium has ever produced.

And so, it's an utter travesty that NBC summarily cancelled it after an 18-episode first season, citing poor ratings, with it averaging "only" 7 million viewers compared to the 14 million scored by the network's flagship shows Frasier and Friends. Shocking, that.

Between those lofty expectations, spotty scheduling and the show's producers bristling with NBC executives - who wanted the teenagers to be "cool" rather than realistic misfits - it never really stood a chance.

Nevertheless, Freaks and Geeks scored three Emmy nominations during its brief run, launched the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Philipps, Martin Starr and Linda Cardellini, and endures 20 years later as a brave, almost uncomfortably realistic look at the anxieties of high school life.

While most similarly-themed shows would've featured conventionally gorgeous actors in their mid-20s playing the focal teens, Freaks and Geeks boasted an uncommon authenticity among its cast while presenting social issues far ahead of its time.

After all, how many other high school shows have ever been brave enough to feature a subplot about a hermaphroditic student, and not turned it into a cheap joke no less?

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.