Sitcoms have been a cornerstone of television throughout the medium’s history, and there are countless reasons for their popularity. By putting relatable characters in hilarious situations, sitcoms provide an escape from the dramas in life, typically in short 30-minute bursts.
While the desire for high-quality sitcoms has remained strong, streaming platforms have flooded the market, producing new original series almost daily. As a result, it’s virtually impossible to catch up with every new TV series, and this quantity of competition can make it hard for sitcoms to compete for audience attention. So, while there have been many excellent sitcoms, plenty of them get canceled way too soon.
Updated January 18, 2023, by Anthony Jeanetta. The boom of TV shows, thanks to the streaming wars, has led to a flood of content. While this means more options for fans, it also means some series don’t get the attention their quality deserves. This list has been updated to include more sitcoms that should’ve been hits but weren’t because of their competition.
15 Don’t Trust the B—- In Apt. 23
2 Seasons, 26 Episodes — Canceled in 2014
Don’t Trust the B was an acerbic comedy starring Krysten Ritter before her Jessica Jones fame and Dreama Walker. The two are complete opposites, but end up living together and forming an unlikely friendship. Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek also added delight, playing an absurdly zany version of himself.
Don’t Trust the B took the odd couple roommate formula and twisted it into something fresh and clever. Unfortunately, the network aired some episodes of Season 1 of Don’t Trust the B as part of Season 2 without any thoughts toward continuity. This confusion contributed to ABC canceling the show following its second season, despite fan petitions.
14 Happy Endings
3 Seasons, 57 Episodes — Canceled in 2013
Sometimes, prematurely canceled series, like Happy Endings, gather a cult following that continues years after it ends. The show follows six dysfunctional best friends, making it a more diverse and zanier version of Friends. Despite this solid setup, ABC canceled Happy Endings after three seasons, much to its audience’s chagrin.
Since then, there have been multiple rumored revival attempts, but all have fallen short. In 2020, Happy Endings aired a special charity-event episode via YouTube titled “And the Pandemmy Goes To…” This episode even renewed the fervor around a reboot. At the same time, fans continue to rewatch Happy Endings via streaming networks for the comfort of watching these kooky characters and their easily digestible hijinks.
13 Single Parents
2 Seasons, 45 Episodes — Canceled in 2020
Single Parents gave a fun and goofy insight into the world of single parenting, offering a fresh take on situational comedy. It also tackled real-life hardships that single parents face with sweet humor.
The cast of Single Parents was charming, and the child actors were hidden gems who meshed brilliantly with their adult counterparts and often stole the show. This setup made the series fun for the whole family to tune into. Unfortunately, this charm and heart weren’t enough to save the show, and it ended after only two seasons.
12 Bad Judge
1 Season, 13 Episodes — Canceled in 2015
Bad Judge followed a complicated woman, Rebecca Wright, a tough judge by day and a reckless partier after hours. The brilliant Kate Walsh brought this character to life in possibly her best role since starring as Addison Montgomery on Grey’s Anatomy.
Bad Judge gave Walsh a chance to let her comedic side shine. This comedy often unfolded within the courthouse, a setting that sitcoms hadn’t used since the classic Night Court. Still, even with its unique setup and stellar leading performance, NBC canceled Bad Judge only a month into its run, although it did air the entire 13-episode season.
11 The Unicorn
2 Seasons, 31 Episodes — Canceled in 2021
Sometimes, life’s most heart-wrenching experiences can make for the most heartfelt comedy, as evidenced by The Unicorn. This series features a recently widowed father navigating life a year after his wife’s death. The story tracks his life and friend group, including his late wife’s best friend.
While some of The Unicorn focuses on his adventures in dating, the show also finds a sweet spot in the often-overlooked humor that comes with life’s most challenging moments. The Unicorn excels in its ability to tell a tragic, lovely story where people find beauty and comfort in each other. Despite this mix of heart and humor, CBS didn’t renew the series after its second season.
10 Better Off Ted
2 Seasons, 26 Episodes — Canceled in 2010
Much like other popular workplace sitcoms like The Office or Parks and Rec, Better Off Ted was a satirical sitcom surrounding a wild but lovable group of characters who regularly broke the fourth wall. With a great cast and witty humor, it’s hard to imagine why this series didn’t last.
Better of Ted’s creator, Victor Fresco, claims the show’s failure came from a lack of name recognition. Like other creative and talent-rich TV shows, sometimes a series can be close to perfect and still get lost in the overwhelming amount of available content.
9 The Class
1 Season, 19 Episodes — Canceled in 2007
The premise for The Class was immensely creative. Eight people from the same 3rd grade class come together 20 years later for their classmate Ethan’s proposal to Joanne. However, Joanne dumps Ethan at the proposal party and sets the show’s real story in motion.
The Class was chock-full of incredible talents such as Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lizzy Caplan, Jon Bernthal, and Jason Ritter. Every episode featured clever humor, and the series looked ripe for success out of the gate. However, CBS abruptly canceled the show after one season and slated a new series, a little sitcom called The Big Bang Theory, to replace it. A fan campaign attempted to save The Class but was ultimately unsuccessful.
8 Bless This Mess
2 Seasons, 26 Episodes — Canceled in 2020
Bless This Mess told the story of a couple, played by Dax Shepard and Lake Bell, who moved from their NYC home to a farm in Nebraska. This fish-out-of-water comedy was light-hearted and well-written. It demonstrated a consistent ability to make audiences laugh at the eccentricity of the supporting small-town characters.
Bless This Mess also gave a hilarious look at the house-flipping trend and how it’s more challenging than HGTV might make it look. While the series started strong, it struggled due to production complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ABC canceled it in 2020 after two seasons.
7 The Mick
2 Seasons, 37 Episodes — Canceled in 2018
The Mick finds Kaitlin Olson’s titular character, Mick, becoming the parental guardian for her wealthy niece and two nephews when the government arrests her sister and brother-in-law for fraud and tax evasion. Not only is Mick an unsuitable guardian, but she’s also a complete disaster. Still, like most sitcoms with a similar premise, Mick and the kids manage to survive together and learn some life lessons along the way.
Fans of It’s Always Sunny might have found The Mick to be much tamer than Olson’s other work, but seeing her flex her comedic and dramatic muscles as a character other than Sweet Dee was refreshing. As fun as the show was, Fox canceled it after two seasons.
3 Seasons, 30 Episodes — Canceled in 2019
When GLOW premiered in 2017, Netflix was still on its way to becoming the streaming giant it is today. The show, which follows a group of women wrestlers in the 1980s, was one of the streamer’s first big original hits — at least by critical reception. With sharp scripts and a stellar cast led by Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron, the series was quality from top to bottom.
GLOW — the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — utilized its setting in the past to illustrate struggles still relevant to modern women. With in-depth character development, the show did an excellent job of fleshing out the lives of a large ensemble cast. Like Orange Is the New Black, this series gave even what were first background characters a memorable and emotionally affecting story. Still, COVID-related production complications led to Netflix canceling it shortly after “renewing” it for a fourth season.
1 Season, 13 Episodes — Canceled in 2014
Enlisted, from creator Kevin Biegel, who previously worked on sitcoms like Scrubs and Cougar Town, bared a similar mix of heart and comedy as these other series. The show centered on Sgt Pete Hill, who, after a tour in Afghanistan, is charged with leading a dysfunctional squad that includes his two younger brothers on a military base in Florida.
While Enlisted’s premise may not seem rife for comedy, it seamlessly blended zany hijinks with the tougher realities of being a soldier. Essentially, Enlisted was a workplace comedy, but in one of the most demanding professions in the world. Ultimately, the show struggled to gain a substantial audience, although it undoubtedly wasn’t helped by Fox airing its episodes out of order.
4 The Carmichael Show
3 Seasons, 32 Episodes — Canceled in 2017
In 2015, Jerrod Carmichael was one of the hottest up-and-coming standup comedians. So, like countless standups before him, he leaped at it when a network TV channel offered him the chance to make his own sitcom, The Carmichael Show. With director Nicholas Stoller teaming with Carmichael to create the series and a star-studded cast that included comedy masters like Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Loretta Devine, and David Alan Grier, it seemed poised for sustained success.
Across three seasons, The Carmichael Show used this stellar cast to sensitively talk about weighty subjects like gender, religion, race, and consent, all while keeping comedy at its core. Despite its top-notch writing and acting, NBC canceled the series prematurely after negotiations with the cast fell apart.
2 Seasons, 18 Episodes — Canceled in 2016
In a world of recycled and played-out sitcom premises, Galavant stood out from its competitors. The show told the story of Galavant, a knight on a quest to rescue his true love, Queen Madalena, stolen by the evil King Richard. While this plot is fairly conventional, Galavant was a musical comedy, making its execution far more unique and creative than it otherwise would’ve been.
Created and co-written by Dan Fogelman (This is Us, Tangled, Cars), Galavant used its original songs to skewer familiar fantasy genre tropes. Even with this hilarious take on a tired form, ABC canceled the series after two seasons and 18 episodes.
2 Freaks And Geeks
1 Season, 18 Episodes — Canceled in 2000
Before Judd Apatow and Paul Feig became two of the biggest feature comedy directors, they teamed up to create the TV show, Freaks and Geeks. This series portrays the lives of two different groups of high school teenagers in suburban Detroit in the 1980s. Besides its celebrated creators behind the camera, Freaks and Geeks also featured a top-notch cast that included Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini.
Freaks and Geeks is an empathetic and detailed examination of the often agonizing period of tumult that is high school. The show created an excellent blend of comedy and drama, offering an authentic look at the life of an American teen during the 80s.
1 Party Down
2 Seasons, 20 Episodes — Canceled in 2010 — Revival Forthcoming
Party Down follows a group of Los Angeles catering servers trying to muddle through their day job while waiting for their big Hollywood break. The cast of Party Down featured comedy legends like Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally, Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Jennifer Coolidge, and Adam Scott. It also boasted a recurring cast that included Kristen Bell and J. K. Simmons.
Unfortunately, Party Down’s ratings score didn’t match the high praise from critics. When Jane Lynch left the show for Gleeand Adam Scott for Parks and Rec, it couldn’t survive the loss of these key cast members. However, Starz announced a forthcoming series revival for Party Down in 2021.
NEXT: 10 Best Modern Sitcoms
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