(17 episodes; Sept. 25, 2001 – March 12, 2002; Fox)
Judd Apatow’s follow-up to Freaks and Geeks focused on a group of college freshmen in the early 2000s. Freaks’ Seth Rogen was among the main cast, and guests and regulars included Seth Rogen, Busy Phillips, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Ben Stiller, Jenna Fisher and Felicia Day.
9. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
(22 episodes; Sept. 18, 2006 – June 28, 2007; NBC)
From the first cold open and Judd Hirsch’s on-air Network moment to Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) taking control, Aaron Sorkin’s snappy dialogue and scrappy idealism seemed to find the perfect outlet in a drama about a sketch comedy show. But the ratings never materialized, and NBC stuck with the comedy show about a comedy show—30 Rock—instead.
8. Veronica Mars
(64 episodes; Sept. 22, 2004 – May 22, 2007; UPN, The CW)
Paste’s James South wrote at the end of the show’s first season, “Kristen Bell uncannily portrays Veronica as simultaneously smart, vulnerable, tough and injured. The remaining cast is uniformly good, but Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls (Duncan’s best friend and Lilly’s former boyfriend) deserves special mention for the combination of cockiness and hurt he brings to his character. It’s a thematically compelling, stylistically coherent and fully realized TV show.”
7. Pushing Daisies
(22 episodes; Oct. 3, 2007 – June 13, 2009; ABC)
When this quirky drama was canceled, Paste’s Jeremy Medina wrote: “The fact that I hadn’t ever really seen anything like Pushing Daisies should have been my first clue it was headed toward the graveyard. In this day and age—where crime shows, hospital dramas and reality TV dominate the Nielsen’s top tier—there isn’t much room on network television for anything outside of the status quo. Pushing Daisies was just too inventive, too ingenious, and just too damn cute to survive in these turbulent TV times. So it goes.”
6. My So Called Life
(19 episodes; Aug. 25, 1994 – Jan. 26, 1995; ABC)
The nervous hair-flip, semi-requited love and existential confusion of Claire Danes’ Angela Chase made the world less-lonely for the sort of artsy grunge-era high school kids who would go on to rule the world—or at least work at indie magazines.