8 TV Shows That Didn’t Become Popular Until Later

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For a television show to be successful, it must combine several elements: an interesting story, well-constructed characters, a unique point of view and a structure respectful of the genre, among others. This is how some of the best television series in history have been built. But there are plenty of series that featured all of these elements, and more, that consistently failed for different reasons. Indeed, there are many things that can jeopardize the success of a series, from a bad choice of time slot to cast changes, budget issues and, of course, not being liked by the public. Because of this, many shows end up being canceled after a few seasons, or even worse, they never even premiere. Sometimes even popularity is not enough to guarantee the continuity of a production: dozens of TV shows have been canceled regardless of their success, leaving thousands of fans perplexed.


However, many TV shows have had a chance to find their own path and become hits after starting off on the wrong foot. Such was the case of Brooklyn nine-nine, a series that took a while to solidify, only to be abruptly canceled by Fox after its fifth season. Luckily, NBC saved the day with a renewal, and the production turned out to be an absolute hit. As Brooklyn nine-nine, there are many shows that needed a few seasons to become popular. Here are 8.

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8/8 Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation aired from 1987 to 1994. This show, created by Gene Roddenberry, became the third in the franchise and featured performances by Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. Star Trek: The Next Generation follows a new group of galactic travelers led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who travel aboard the USS Enterprise-D exploring the universe in search of new life forms. It took a while for this series to stand out from its predecessors, but it eventually succeeded and became a hit with fans.

Related: 6 TV Shows That Started As One Thing And Became Something Different Over The Later Seasons

7/8 Agents of SHIELD

In September 2013, a familiar MCU organization received its own series. And so Agents of SHIELD created, with Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge. This show centers around SHIELD, the counter-terrorist organization that works alongside well-known superheroes, and it was the first series in the MCU. While this show from Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen got off to a strong start, the ratings quickly declined. Nonetheless, it eventually managed to bounce back and stay on air through 2020, earning a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes for its seventh season.

6/8 buffy the vampire slayer

Inspired by the 1992 film of the same name, buffy the vampire slayer is about Buffy, a young girl destined to fight vampires and other dark forces. While she wishes to lead a normal life like any other teenager, she ends up embracing this unique gift and using it to protect society. This 1997 series was also created by Joss Whedon and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar. Although this show remains an absolute hit and enjoys a large fanbase to this day, its first season failed to fully explore the potential of the series, taking some time to fully develop.

5/8 Arrow

October 2012 marked the premiere of Arrow, a series created by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, but adding their own interpretation of him. This is the first series of the Arrowverse and stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, a billionaire who, after being shipwrecked for several years on an island in the North China Sea, returns to Starling City and uses all his new found survival skills to fight crime under a secret identity armed with his bow and arrows. While expectations weren’t high for this CW production, it got better over the seasons and garnered rave reviews.

Related: Best Mockumentary-Style TV Shows, Ranked

4/8 The 100

Earth was destroyed by a nuclear war, and those who survived live in a space habitat called the Ark. 100 years after these incidents, the Ark’s life support systems begin to fail, so a team of young criminals are sent back to Earth in order to explore the place and see if there are any possibilities there. flip. The 100 is a television series created by Jason Rothenberg and inspired by the book of the same name by Kass Morgan. It ran for seven seasons, and although the premiere received mixed reviews, the series eventually began to improve in terms of popularity.

3/8 Parks and recreation

In 2009, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, two of the masterminds behind the American version of The Office, created Parks and recreation, a dummy sitcom that ran for seven seasons. Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope, assistant director of the Department of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana. Knope eventually teams up with Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), a local nurse, and they set out to turn an abandoned pit into a park for the community, a task that might not be as easy as it looks. While many viewers considered it to be a copy of Office and very predictable at the start, over the seasons it has established itself as a production in its own right.

2/8 Lucifer

Tom Ellis stars in this television series as Lucifer Morningstar, the devil, who has become bored with his own life and has decided to move to Los Angeles, open a nightclub, and work as a consultant for the Department of police. Lucifer, a Tom Kapinos production, is based on the character of the same name created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg for DC Comics, and aired from 2016 to 2021. In addition to Ellis, the show featured performances by Lauren German, Kevin Alejandro, DB Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Scarlett Estevez and Rachael Harris. Its first season was criticized for not standing out from other crime procedural series.

1/8 Office

The American version of Office is truly the most stunning entry on this list, as it went from a flop to one of the biggest comedy hits in history. This dummy sitcom was created by Greg Daniels after the original series, by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Office follows the employees of a stationery located in Scranton, and depicts their daily life in a documentary. And while that might sound boring, the employees of Dunder Mifflin are anything but, and they have to deal with their eccentric boss, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), on a daily basis. This show struggled to break into the mainstream, and in fact, its first season only consisted of six episodes. However, thanks to the efforts of its producers and cast, as well as the recognition Carell earned after starring in The 40 year old virgin, Office gained worldwide popularity, and even though it ended in 2013, it is still a hit to this day.

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