Cult TV

I just spent the last week and a half enjoying the new NewsRadio DVD set, and listening to the commentaries I was reminded of how often the show was “on the bubble,” i.e., very close to being cancelled. Yet at the time, when I was in college, I also remember how devoted the show’s small fan base was. The most timely analogy is Arrested Development, also a critically acclaimed show with a small but devoted following (albeit with the added advantage of an Emmy). People always talk about cult movies, but there have been many television shows that, with total disregard for “traditional” TV conventions and in spite of poor ratings and any kind of respect from its network, developed such hardcore followings.

My favorites, that I rememeber, in no particular order:

NewsRadio. Possibly the funniest ensemble cast this side of AD.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Get a Life
The Ben Stiller Show
Freaks and Geeks
The Tick
(live action)
Mr. Show

What’s yours?

P.S. Firefly

Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Doctor Who
The Prisoner
Family Guy
The Young Ones
The Tick

I’m not sure how “revolutionary” it looks in retrospect, but with the combination of critical respect and network indifference (and the fact that I do love it so) I think WKRP in Cincinnati qualifies.

Add to the OP’s excellent list:

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
Late Night With Conan O’Brien
The State / Viva Variety
The Office (British and American versions)

Popular. Just bought the DVDs. In just one episode, I caught references to Machiavelli, Joan Crawford, Mary Poppins, Devo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and a shot-by-shot parody of the Odessa Steps scene from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. No wonder it only lasted two seasons!

This would have been my sitcom choice. A combination of traditional sitcom humor with continuing storylines (Andy vs Mother Carlson for example) and more serious themes.

Star Trek:TOS surely qualifies!

To the OP’s list of short-lived gems, I would add Grosse Pointe and Undeclared. Both brilliant shows, on the level of Freaks and Geeks and The Tick.

In addition to several shows already named, I love Twin Peaks.

The Pretender - god I miss that show.

Wow! These ARE mine! My Newsradio DVDs came about 10 minutes ago and I’m so excited to watch them tonight.

I’ll add to this list:

*Mr. Bean * (I even named my cat after him)
Family Guy
The Young Ones
Arrested Development
The Critic
Kids in the Hall

Trying not to repeat my favourites which have deservedly been mentioned many times already, I’ll add:

Worzel Gummidge / Worzel Gummidge Down Under
The Ernie Kovacs Show
Tenacious D
On the Air
Max Headroom
The New Statesman
Little Britain

A perennial favorite in these types of threads:

Sports Night.
[insert obligatory affirmation of lust for Natalie here]

My So-Called Life

and what about The Monkees?