10 Best TV Shows That Ended 20 Years Ago, Ranked By IMDb
2002 may not have been a memorable year for pop culture, but it had its fair share of milestones — at least in the film world. TV, on the other hand, has struggled to take off, especially with so many great TV shows ending organically or being canceled outright.
Curiously, children’s programming was the hardest hit in 2002, with many beloved cartoons ending their run. Young adult drama also suffered losses in 2002 and failed to regain dominance in the television world for some time. Ultimately, 2002 lost some great shows, but thankfully, thanks to the power of streaming, fans new and old can tune in again.
The Amanda Show (1999 – 2002) Stream on Paramount + – 6.8
The Amanda Show was born out of the success of Nickelodeon’s original comedy show, All that. After seeing Amanda Bynes succeed on this show, Dan Schneider created a brand new sketch variety show that Bynes would headline on her own.
The series featured a small cast but mostly involved Bynes acting in various skits. Some of the more iconic sketches included “Judge Trudy”, which featured the iconic dancing lobsters, and a dramatic sketch called “Moody’s Point”. 2002 was a different era, so fans can stream The Amanda Show on Paramount+ to see if it still holds up today.
Ally McBeal (1997 – 2002) Stream on Hulu – 6.9
Ally McBeal was one of the most successful legal comedies of its time, winning back-to-back Golden Globes and an Emmy Award the following year. Created by David E. Kelley, the series follows the titular character who joins a prestigious law firm where her ex-boyfriend also works.
The series was eventually canceled by Fox in its fifth season due to low ratings. It was also the only season of the show not to win a Golden Globe or Emmy Award. Still, the series has a devoted fanbase, which has led to rumors of a limited-series revival.
Felicity (1999 – 2002) – Stream on Hulu – 6.9
Before creating LostJJ Abrams created the college drama Congratulations, alongside Matt Reeves. Keri Russell played the lead role of Felicity Porter, a freshman at the fictional New York University. Although Felicity wants an education, the real reason she left home for New York was to follow her high school crush through college.
The series ran for four seasons, which allowed the show to follow the characters through the four years of American post-secondary education, and it continues to be one of the best television shows set in the university.
Jackass (2000 – 2002) – Stream on Amazon Prime – 7.3
Despite its popularity, it might come as a surprise to learn that MTV Donkey only lasted three seasons over two years at the start of the millennium. The comedy reality show featured nine friends who regularly engage in dangerous stunts and public pranks.
While the series was a huge hit for MTV and teenage audiences, it also faced serious controversy for the cast’s dangerous and inappropriate actions. The hit show eventually ended after three seasons in part due to MTV’s need to censor the show and the cast’s annoyance at the fact.
Dark Angel (2000 – 2002) – Currently not available for streaming – 7.4
Before Jessica Alba and Jensen Ackles were massive household names, they appeared opposite each other in the Fox sci-fi drama, Black Angel. Despite being created by movie masterminds James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee, the series only lasted two seasons after suffering a ratings slump.
Starring Alba in her breakout role, the series follows a genetically-enhanced super-soldier who escapes from his military installation and decides to live a normal life in a dystopian near-future Seattle. Unfortunately, the show is currently not available to stream, which is a shame for Alba and Ackles fans.
Roswell (1999 – 2002) – Stream on Tubi – 7.5
2002 saw the death of another young adult sci-fi show when Roswell ended its three-season run after switching networks. Based on a series of young adult books, the show centers on two unlikely friends whose friendship threatens to unravel a secret supernatural universe.
While Roswell had a devoted fanbase from the start, the writers failed to deliver the kinds of stories fans desperately wanted, largely because the fanbase was divided on issues. Despite this, the series was reimagined over a decade later as Roswell, New Mexico, for The CW.
Fear (2000 – 2002) – Currently not available for streaming – 8.1
Other than 90s kids horror shows, horror shows didn’t really have a place on television until MTV’s paranormal reality series, Fear, made its debut at the turn of the millennium. Inspired by a horror movie, Fear focuses on a group of contestants who are left in a haunted place and have dared to explore the place for two nights to see if it is actually haunted.
Despite extremely short seasons, the series was a resounding success. It quickly became MTV’s second most popular series at the time. However, the show was later canceled due to the high production cost of each episode.
Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999 – 2002) – Stream on HBO Max – 8.3
Courage the cowardly dog might be one of the scariest kids’ shows of all time. The cartoon centers on Courage, a beloved companion dog who lives with his elderly owners in the middle of “Nowhere”. Episodes often featured Courage and her owners in strange, supernatural adventures.
Despite its darker tone, the show has cultivated a devoted cult following that has helped the show launch a successful franchise. Although the creators tried to revive the series, no such deal was reached.
Invader Zim (2001 – 2002) – Stream on Paramount + – 8.4
In the 2000s, Nickelodeon set out to create content for its older demographic and therefore Invader Zim was born. The sci-fi animated black comedy follows an alien on a mission to conquer Earth and enslave the human race.
Despite critical and fan praise, Nickelodeon decided to cancel the series before the second season even ended. This prevented six episodes from airing until they were finally released on DVD. The series is now considered a cult classic and one of the best cartoons of the 2000s.
Firefly (2002) – Stream on Hulu – 9.0
Once a powerful television producer, Joss Whedon put his creativity to the test when he created the western space drama that became known as Firefly. Set in the year 2517, the series centers on a group of characters who live on a spaceship and take any job they can get in hopes of staying alive.
The series premiered in September 2002 and was canceled mid-season in December, meaning three episodes of the series never aired. Thus, the series joins the ranks of the infamous club “cancelled after one season”.
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