The 90s brought us some of the most iconic television shows of all-time: Friends, Seinfeld, ER, The West Wing, just to name a few. But what about those shows that barely got off the ground and were cancelled before we really got a chance to enjoy them? Sitcoms were always at risk to being cancelled because there were just so many of them going all the time, and audiences could be finicky as to what they liked.
These eight 90s sitcoms were cancelled before we really got a chance to decide if they were worth watching long term.
1. If Not For You
This show centered around two people who fall in love with each other, the catch was that both characters were involved with other people when this is taking place. The show introduced us to several actors who would go on to have great careers: Debra Jo Rupp, Sandra Oh, Reno Wilson, and Peter Krause. The only reason this show was actually cancelled is because it didn’t fit in well with what CBS was trying to do with its programming at the time. Many believe it would have lasted a long time on a different network, and in a different time slot.
2. George and Leo
This show only lasted 22 episodes, mainly due to low ratings. The ratings were surprising because of the actors who they had starring in the show. Judd Hirsch and Bob Newhart had previously had a ton of success, and it was assumed that their star power would drive viewers to watch the show. The whole premise of the show centered on the fact that the main characters become in-laws after their respective children get married. It might have been cancelled early, but it was reasonably entertaining TV.
3. All-American Girl
All-American Girl starred stand-up comedian Margaret Cho as a young teenager rebelling against her conservative family. The show was cancelled after only a single season, even though the network did want to bring it back for a second. Unfortunately there were a lot of complaints made against the show because of the way that it portrayed the Korean-American family. Most of these complaints came from Americans of Asian decent, because Cho was the only actor of Korean descent on the show.
4. 704 Hauser
This attempted spin-off of All in the Family only lasted five episodes. The whole concept was that a black family, the Cuberbatchs’, moved into Archie Bunker’s old home at 704 Hauser Street. It didn’t seem to have any original content as the first episode made multiple references to All in the Family, and even had an appearance from one of the former characters. It was essentially a remake of the original, but they swapped in a black family instead. Viewers were not fooled.
You may remember these next four, and wonder why they disappeared so quickly.
5. Bakersfield P.D.
As we know, sitcoms surrounding police departments can actually make a big impact as far as ratings. Bakersfield P.D. had a short run because it tried to do something that hadn’t been done before, shoot the show using natural lighting, and they chose not to run a laugh track over the sitcom. After Fox cancelled it, a cable channel, Trio, ran reruns of it on their “Brilliant But Cancelled” time slots. Fans of the show were left wondering “what could have been?”
6. Stark Raving Mad
No one really understands why this show didn’t get a second season. It centered around a horror novelist with a love for practical jokes, and his editor, played by Neil Patrick Harris, who happens to have a wide variety of debilitating phobias. The show had immediate success and even won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Comedy Series, but was soon after announced to be cancelled. It was in the top 20 for ratings, and no one really knows why it didn’t get another season.
7. Boston Common
The show initially did really well, then inexplicably the ratings just fell off a cliff. The show was ranked 8th in rating during its first season, but was moved to Sunday nights for the second season. That move caused the show to drop from 8th to 52nd in ratings, and the rest is history. Essentially it got pushed because it was competing with Seinfeld and Friends, a deadly combo for the time period.
8. Madman of the People
Madman of the People holds the distinction of being one of the most popular shows to ever face cancellation. This was another show that was sacrificed to make more room for Seinfeld, as well as the hit drama ER. When it comes to prime-time slots on Thursday night, it was hard to compete with the shows of the era, most of which have cemented themselves in pop-culture history.
Share if you wish any of these shows had gone on longer than they actually did.