Making viewers laugh has always been a serious business for television executives and writers. Tons of really awful sitcom ideas made it to the air and were quickly shut down.
However, there are some truly original and funny sitcoms that somehow ended up with the same fate as the ones that didn’t quite cut the mustard. Luckily, several of these shows are still alive in syndication or on DVD or Netflix for binge-watching.
Here are some of the best ones that should have been around much, much longer:
Maybe this show was just better suited for the big screen. Leslie Nielsen starred in the send-up of police dramas created by Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker. It lasted just six episodes, but the show also led to the massively successful Naked Gun movies, which also starred Nielsen.
Judd Apatow and Paul Feig sure got the last laugh — they brought this incredibly funny show to the airwaves. Freaks & Geeks has gained a ton of popularity on DVD in recent years, while Apatow and Feig continue to churn out quality entertainment. The duo collaborated on the hugely successful Bridesmaids. Several actors from Freaks & Geeks, like James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, have also gone on to massive stardom.
Given the fact that The Addams Family is so huge in syndication, it’s really hard to believe the story of a ghoulish family only lasted for 64 episodes. The show also developed a huge following, spurring reunion specials, movies and even a Broadway show that opened in 2009. That’s some serious staying power.
4. The Munsters
Very similar to The Addams Family in plot and longevity, The Munsters were a family of friendly monsters (and a beautiful, non-monster niece). The show made it six more episodes than The Addams Family, but it also lives on in syndication. The show spawned five television movies and a movie that never made it to the screen.
Tom Hanks was introduced to the world in this hilarious comedy, also starring Peter Scolari, about two males who dress up as females to live in an apartment they could afford. The chemistry between Hanks and Scolari was the driving force behind the success of the show, which launched Hanks’ monster movie career. It’s hard to believe there were only 37 episodes.
This show getting canceled is a huge head-scratcher. Based in Chicago and centered on the lives of six friends, Happy Endings is extremely quick-witted. The show, created by David Caspe, was originally a mid-season replacement. There is some speculation it might be coming back, a la The Family Guy and Arrested Development. Let’s hope so. It’s really great.
7. Sports Night
Set on a nightly sports news show, Sports Night had a fantastic cast, sharp writing and some incredibly memorable episodes. Created by Aaron Sorkin, the show starred Robert Guillaume, Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause and Josh Charles. The ensemble cast had spectacular chemistry. Although somewhat of a dramedy, the show focused more on the funny. Like Freaks & Geeks, Sports Night has deservedly gained even more popularity upon its DVD release.