Top five TV shows canceled before their time

5. Dead Like Me

Number of episodes: 29

Ever wonder what it would be like if the Grim Reaper was an 18-year-old college dropout? Even an oddly specific question like that has an answer, and “Dead Like Me” was it. Despite its grim premise, the show explored the concept of death in an accessible way and managed to make people laugh at the same time. It’s hard for mainstream shows to explore such lofty themes in a way that doesn’t turn people off. Although “Dead Like Me” often bordered on the edge of depressing, its ability to truly delve into a serious topic while keeping audiences entertained was commendable.

4. Freaks and Geeks

Number of episodes: 18

“Freaks and Geeks” took the tired genre of the typical high school sitcom and turned it on its head. The show used many of the same clichés found in many shows of the genre, but the show’s focus on creating believable characters is what really set it apart. The show also helped kick-start the careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jason Segel. Plus, with Executive Producer Judd Apatow at the helm, it was truly a shame we were only graced with 18 episodes.

3. Firefly

Number of episodes: 14

“Firefly” was a strangely intriguing mix of Star Wars and Clint Eastwood, but the show never really stood a chance. Because of its unique storyline, it was going to take some work to win over a large audience, but with its fantastic cast and a bit more time, it could have been huge. Infamously mistreated by Fox, the show was not allowed to air its pilot episode and was only permitted to air its short 14 episodes out of order. Although “Firefly” was able to wrap up much of its story in the movie “Serenity,” it would have been nice if the show had been given a fair chance.

2. Pushing Daisies

Number of episodes: 22

In the network television world, “Pushing Daisies” is not the type of show that gets made. In an age where reality television and a million and one “different” crime dramas reign supreme, “Pushing Daisies” was a step in a refreshingly new direction. A modern day fairy tale about a pie maker who could bring people back to life with a single touch, main character Ned chose to revive his childhood sweetheart. The catch was, she would be forever lost if he ever touched her. The show’s charmingly unique use of language and charismatic leads helped make “Pushing Daises” a unique ride that deserved to stick around a bit longer.

1. Arrested Development

Number of episodes: 53

“Arrested Development” was one of the greatest TV comedies ever written, standing out with other classic sitcoms like Seinfeld. Combining the absurd antics of the Bluth Family with clever writing and acting, “Arrested Development” was comedy gold. Unfortunately for “Arrested Development,” it never really found its audience and consistently low ratings led to its eventual cancellation. However, thanks to DVDs and Netflix, “Arrested Development” has maintained its cult-like following. It has even been confirmed by various cast members that a script for a movie is indeed “in the works” – whether or not it actually happens remains to be seen.

Reach the reporter at tkuipers@asu.edu