There are many forms of entertainment, but television is one of the most popular. Watching TV has been a popular pastime ever since the television was created in 1927. Programs can often bring families together or can even give people an escape from reality while they binge-watch their new favorite show. People used to have to pay for cable to watch their favorite shows, but now, watching TV is easier than ever with the mass amount of streaming services that have become available, such as Hulu and Netflix.
Some of the best shows are even exclusive to streaming services such as these. Even YouTube has expanded to include TV shows that come in a variety of genres. Needless to say, there is now a seemingly endless amount of programming that will entertain anybody and everybody.
Much like movies, there are a wide variety of TV shows and genres to pick from. TV networks seem to come out with a variety of different shows each year including sitcoms. While a network might release a few different sitcoms each year, a lot of them seem to flop and be forever forgotten by viewers. Other sitcoms stick around for several years resulting in many seasons worth of laughs.
Some of these shows have stuck around longer than they probably should have, but others were so terrible that they were canceled after only one season.
Here are the 15 Sitcoms That Became Massive Hits (And 15 That Completely Flopped).
30 Massive Hit: The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory may have not launched any of the main actors acting careers, but the show certainly boosted them into the spotlight. The Big Bang Theory came on the air in 2007 thanks to creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The show centers around a group of geeky and socially awkward friends who hang out with a waitress named Penny.
The show has become incredibly popular during its twelve seasons on the air, with many celebrities making cameos on the show.
The Big Bang Theory became so popular that it even received a spinoff about a young Sheldon Cooper.
29 Flopped: Caveman
The Cavemen were a popular marketing image used by the auto insurance company GEICO starting in 2004. While people don’t see a lot of the Cavemen anymore, they used to be incredibly popular. ABC thought they were so popular that they should launch a sitcom featuring the GEICO Cavemen.
The show was a massive failure with viewers and critics and was therefore canceled after one season. Thirteen episodes were created for the first season; however, only six of them aired in the U.S. Caveman was such a flop that it didn’t even get a DVD release to try and make some money back.
28 Massive Hit: Friends
Friends was a massive win for NBC and ran for ten years from 1994 to 2004. The show just follows the lives of six friends living in Manhattan, but many people loved the idea of the show.
Friends was, and still is, adored by fans and critics. The show even landed the #24 spot on the Writers Guild of America West’s 101 Best Written TV Series. The sitcom did a lot for all of the actors involved in the series, but is often considered a turning point for Jennifer Aniston’s career.
27 Flopped: Ferris Bueller
John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick was a hit back in 1986. Fans still love the movie to this day and even launched a “Ferris Fest” in Chicago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie. While the film was successful, the TV series was not.
The show titled Ferris Bueller followed Ferris and his friends’ everyday life at high school. What made the first movie fun was that Ferris wasn’t in school, but NBC apparently didn’t get that since they picked up the series in the ‘90s. The show didn’t bring back any of the original cast members and ended after one season.
26 Massive Hit: That ‘70s Show
When That ‘70s Show first came on the air, there was no guarantee that the show would succeed. The show starred primarily new young actors, with little to no acting experience. That ‘70s Show was even the very first acting job for Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, and Laura Prepon. Thankfully, the risk paid off for Fox and became a massive hit.
The series lasted for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006. Besides, Kutcher, Grace, and Prepon, the show also starred Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, and Wilmer Valderrama. The cast did a phenomenal job for a total of 200 episodes, and then went on to have even more enriching careers in Hollywood.
25 Flopped: That ‘80s Show
While That ‘70s Show was a massive hit, the success could not be repeated for That ‘80s Show. Even when Fox was still broadcasting new episodes of That ‘70s Show, they created a show about the ‘80s in 2002.
The show isn’t a direct sequel to the first show and the only way it connects to That ‘70s Show is that the main character, Corey Howard, is supposed to be Eric Forman’s cousin.
The show was created because of the popularity of That ‘70s Show, but people just weren’t interested in another show about a different decade.
24 Massive Hit: The Office
The original The Office debuted on the BBC in 2001 and only stuck around for two seasons and a Christmas special. The concept for the show, however, was adapted eight different times for countries across the world.
One of the more popular versions of The Office came in 2005. The show starred Steve Carell as Michael Scott and John Krasinski as Jim Halpert. These two men have probably had the biggest career after the show ended, but the entire cast made a memorable group of characters that kept fans laughing for nine seasons.
23 Flopped: George
George Foreman may be known for his impressive boxing career or even the famous George Foreman Grill, but he also got his own TV show in the ‘90s. The show ran for ten episodes, only nine of which actually ended up on the air. The show starred Foreman as a retired boxer who took care of troubled kids after school.
While Foreman’s show may have flopped, there is no doubt denying he was an impressive boxer especially since he won a gold medal in the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics.
22 Massive Hit: How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother was a romantic comedy that aired on CBS from 2005 to 2014. The show centered around Ted Mosby, who would narrate the adventures that led up to him meeting his wife.
Apart from Ted, played by Josh Radnor, the series had several other memorable characters played by Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, and Alyson Hannigan. While the majority of the series was met with critical acclaim, the final two seasons are often criticized for the way it wrapped up the show. A spinoff titled How I Met Your Dad or How I Met Your Father have been in development before, but the spinoff has had some trouble taking off.
21 Flopped: 1600 Penn
NBC has had some hits over the years, but 1600 Penn was not one of them. The series was about a dysfunctional family who lived in the White House with their father.
Bill Pullman played the President of the United States starring alongside with Josh Gad, Jenna Elfman, and Martha MacIsaac. The show ultimately didn’t do well with critics who slammed the show for having too many sitcom stereotypes and being a failed parody attempt of The West Wing. The show was canceled after one season and people aren’t really begging NBC to bring it back.
20 Massive Hit: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
There has always been an abundance of cop dramas on TV, but not as many cop sitcoms. Brooklyn Nine-Nine stars the singer of the comedy band The Lonely Island Andy Samberg, as well as Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, and Stephanie Beatriz.
In May, Fox decided to cancel the show, but the very next day, NBC picked it up and renewed it for a sixth season.
So far, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has won two Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for several other awards.
19 Flopped: Dads
The show Dads was created by Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and premiered on Fox in 2013. Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi starred as two video game developers whose fathers move in with them. Not only was the show canceled after only one season, but it also got ripped apart by critics.
The series became known for depending on offensive gags to get laughs and having an array of unlikable characters. Along with Green and Ribisi, Brenda Song and Vanessa Lachey had recurring roles on the show.
18 Massive Hit: Modern Family
Modern Family is about three different families living in Los Angeles. Much like The Office, Modern Family was created as a mockumentary type sitcom. The series was created in 2009 and is still running on ABC. The show has won an impressive 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, which is partly because of the incredible cast.
Actors such as Ed O’Neil, Sofía Vergara, Ty Burrell, and Eric Stonestreet are some of the many talented people in the cast. While the series has been a massive hit so far, there are rumors that the show could be ending after season 10.
17 Flopped: My Big Fat Greek Life
It isn’t every day that a romantic comedy will spawn its own TV show, but it certainly happens. My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out in 2002 and starred Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
The movie revolved around the struggles that Vardalos’ character Toula had by marrying someone who wasn’t Greek. The TV series took place after the first film and starred Vardalos, but Corbett did not return. At first, the series had incredible ratings, but by the second episode, people had started to tune out, which led to CBS canceling the show.
16 Massive Hit: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was created by Rob McElhenney in 2005 and is currently still running on FXX. The comedy is about five friends who run an Irish Bar in Philadelphia. McElhenney stars in the show alongside fellow comedians Charlie Day, Danny Devito, Kaitlin Olson, and Glenn Howerton. The show began with low ratings, which is why FX forced the show to add a big name actor.
Devito was added to the cast and they haven’t looked back since. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has received critical acclaim since the beginning, and now thirteen seasons later, it has become one of the longest-running live action comedies ever.
15 Flopped: Joey
Many fans were disappointed to see Friends go off the air in 2004. While most of the cast moved on to other acting roles, one friend stuck around to try and get more laughs for NBC.
After Friends ended, Matt LeBlanc played Joey Tribbiani in the spinoff show titled Joey.
The show saw Joey move on with his life and try to make it big in Hollywood as an actor. The show couldn’t live up to the success that NBC saw with the first series and it was ultimately canceled after two seasons.
14 Massive Hit: Arrested Development
Arrested Development has been bringing on the laughs ever since the first episode aired in 2003. The show originally ran for three seasons on Fox but was then later picked up by Netflix. Netflix released season four in 2013 and the first half of season five this year.
The show truly has an ensemble cast, including actors Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, and Will Arnett. Tony Hale and David Cross also have the fan-favorite roles of Buster Bluth and Tobias Fünke. The entire series can be found on Netflix.
13 Flopped: Bad Judge
While shows like Judge Judy or The People’s Court may be hilarious already, NBC set out to make an actual sitcom about a judge in 2014.
Kate Walsh stars as Judge Rebecca Wright, who works at the Los Angeles County Circuit Court by day, but is a party animal by night. NBC canceled the show before the season had even gotten halfway through, although the rest of the series came on the air as planned. Most people gave the show negative reviews, mainly criticizing Walsh’s performance and the fact that the show just wasn’t funny.
12 Massive Hit: Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation, or simply Parks and Rec., was a massive hit for a couple different reasons. Not only was the show a sitcom, but it doubled as political satire and a mockumentary.
The show ran for a total of seven seasons, but for many people, that wasn’t enough. Parks and Rec. had an incredible cast and memorable characters that only got more hilarious as the series continued. This show most notably included Chris Pratt who has recently blown up in Hollywood, starring in many massive summer blockbusters.
11 Flopped: Mulaney
John Mulaney is no doubt a funny guy. He is a stand-up comedian and even wrote on Saturday Night Live; however, the sitcom he created in 2014 couldn’t grab people’s attention. The show starred Mulaney himself as a comedian in New York. However, people were concerned about the show before it even came on the air.
The show had an obvious resemblance to Seinfeld and concerns were solidified when the show premiered. With Mulaney doing poorly with critics and with not a lot of people tuning in, the show was canceled after only one season.
10 Massive Hit: Community
Community’s premise centers on Jeff Winger, who is a lawyer who lied about having a bachelor’s degree and is forced to attend a community college. Community lasted for six seasons, five of which aired on NBC and the last on Yahoo! Screen.
The show became a massive hit not just because of the impressive writing team, but because of its cast.
Veteran comedian Chevy Chase stars in the show alongside actors like Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, and Donald Glover. The show also succeeded by parodying several television and movie clichés.
9 Flopped: Rob
Some actors have a certain time in the spotlight before they fall out of it completely. Fans have seen this happen with Adam Sandler, despite his attempt to stay relevant, and also with his friend and co-worker Rob Schneider.
Schneider attempted to make a sitcom back in 2012 simply titled Rob and CBS actually picked it up. The show focused on Rob, a former bachelor who works as a landscape architect with OCD and who recently got married. Rob was canceled after eight episodes once the show was flooded with horrible reviews pointing out the show’s use of Mexican stereotypes and the weak supporting cast.
8 Massive Hit: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Before Will Smith was a massive Hollywood star, he starred in a show on NBC called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show was a huge hit and spawned a total of six seasons and 148 episodes. Will Smith starred as a fictionalized version of himself who goes to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air after he gets into one little fight and his mom gets scared. We all know how the rest of the story goes.
Besides Smith, the show is known for the talented cast members, the unique story, and the wide range of celebrity cameos.
7 Flopped: AfterMASH
After the show M*A*S*H ended, CBS came out with AfterMASH. Adequately titled, AfterMASH centered around Colonel Potter, Sergeant Klinger, and Father Mulch who end up in a veteran’s hospital after the Korean War ended.
While M*A*S*H did quite well for the eleven seasons it was on the air, AfterMASH only lasted two seasons before getting canceled. AfterMASH just couldn’t capture what made the first show great, but that didn’t stop CBS from trying again. The TV network would try again in 1984 with WALTER, but thankfully that show didn’t even get picked up.
6 Massive Hit: The Middle
The Middle was just an average show about a lower middle-class family, yet it still became a massive hit. The series was created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, who previously worked on shows like Roseanne and Murphy Brown.
The show was praised for accurately capturing the lives of a middle-class family while still delivering a hilarious story and unique characters. The Middle lasted for nine seasons before going off the air this year. While the show might be over, a spinoff revolving around Eden Sher’s character Sue Heck is currently in the works.
5 Flopped: Angel From Hell
Those who don’t remember the sitcom Angel From Hell will be forgiven since the show wasn’t really anything to write home about. In the show Angel From Hell, Jane Lynch stars as a guardian angel for a girl named Allison, who was played by Maggie Lawson.
The show came after Lynch starred in the massively popular Glee, yet Angel From Hell didn’t get as big of a fan base.
The show was canceled by CBS after only five episodes at the beginning of 2016. While CBS didn’t initially air the remaining eight episodes, the rest of the season was released starting in July 2016.
4 Massive Hit: Two and a Half Men
Even though Two and a Half Men often got mixed reviews, it was still a massive hit for CBS. The show ran for twelve seasons before going off the air, but the show started with Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen, and a young Angus T. Jones.
There was a lot of drama surrounding the show, especially after Sheen’s crazed antics, but the show continued never the less. After a feud with show co-creator Chuck Lorre, Sheen was replaced on the show with Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher stayed on for the rest of the series until the show ended in 2015.
3 Flopped: I Hate My Teenage Daughter
Another one of Fox’s TV shows that flopped was called I Hate My Teenage Daughter. The show was about a pair of moms, played by Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran, who began to notice that their daughters were turning into the kind of teenagers who had bullied them in high school.
The show began its thirteen episode run in November 2011 and ended it in May 2012. After Fox decided to cancel the show, the remaining six episodes were never released in the U.S., but based on viewership, nobody was really watching anyway.
2 Massive Hit: Seinfeld
Created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the show Seinfeld began in 1989 and lasted for nine seasons. The show was about a fictionalized version of Jerry Seinfeld who lived in New York and spent time with his friends. The show is often called one of the greatest sitcoms ever made and even landed the #2 spot on the Writers Guild of America West’s 101 Best Written TV Series.
Many shows have since tried to copy Seinfeld’s success, but none have been as original as this NBC hit.
1 Flopped: My Mother the Car
As strange as it sounds, My Mother the Car was an actual sitcom back in the ‘60s. The show follows David Crabtree, who purchases a car that happens to be a reincarnation of his mother who passed away.
The show aired on NBC and starred Dick Van Dyke’s little brother Jerry, but even the Van Dyke gene couldn’t save the show. My Mother the Car was as strange as it was horrible, and not very many people cared for the show. NBC decided to cancel the program after just one season.
Are there any other sitcoms that should have made the list? Sound off in the comments!
2018-10-07 04:10:06 – Christopher Fiduccia