What makes a TV show a “cult favorite”? A lot of times when you’re talking about cult favorites, you think of movies, but either way, the definition is the same. A film (or TV show) that has acquired a devoted but specific group of fans.
Yup, that sounds about right. But is it the writing? The cast? Is it a favorite by association, because you’ve seen previous works (ahem *cough cough* Joss Whedon *cough*)?
I’m not entirely sure what makes each one so special, except that they are all different, and each posses their own thing that makes them a favorite.
So, now I’m going to thank Entertainment Weekly for providing me with another list, because we all know how much I LOVE lists, on the 25 Greatest Cult TV Shows Ever. I’m only going to comment on the shows I’ve seen, and you can view the entire list and all comments over at EW.
25. Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990) – CBS
24. Sports Night (1998-2000) – ABC
23. The Venture Brothers (2003-Present) – Cartoon Network
22. Get a Life (1990-1992) – FOX
21. Police Squad (1982) – ABC
20. The Ben Stiller Show (1990-1993) – MTV, FOX
19. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999) – Comedy Central, Sci-fi
18. The Comeback (2005) – HBO
17. Chuck (2007-Present) – NBC – I started with a few episodes of this, and decided initially that it wasn’t worth my time because it coincided with other TV shows on at the same time. And my DVR could only do so much recording at one time. Maybe I’ll have to give this one another look, especially since it’s still on TV.
16. The Wire (2002-2008) – HBO – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one. I’ve spent many nights walking by this one in Blockbuster, but never thought to pick it up. Hmmm…. I think I may have to update my list of things to watch.
15. Pushing Daisies (2007-2009) – ABC – I absolutely fell in love with this show from episode one. It was really a shame that ABC decided to axe this one. I mean, come on! Who didn’t ADORE Kristen Chenoweth?
14. Profit (1996) – FOX
13. Veronica Mars (2004-2007) – UPN, The CW – I was a little surprised to see this one fall in the #13 spot. I guess I was hoping that it would rank a little higher. But I am definitely impressed that it’s a cult favorite. I love it. I’m hoping for a movie. There aren’t any fans like VMars fans. Dedicated and loyal to the end.
12. The Tick (1994-1997) – FOX
11. Supernatural (2005-Present) – The WB, The CW – This was another one I didn’t have time to watch. But I’ve heard so many great things. Plus, it has that kid from the Gilmore Girls.
10. Farscape (1999-2003) – Sci-fi
9. The X-Files (1993-2002) – FOX – The movie killed the series. It was a great show, and the first movie was good. But after that, total crap.
8. My So-Called Life (1994-1995) – ABC – I actually remember watching this on MTV from time to time on Sundays. It was pretty good, but to be perfectly honest, sometimes Angela’s depressing, teenager with angst was just too much to watch for too long.
7. Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009) – Sci-fi – I promise, I WILL get around to watching this. I must.
6. Firefly (2002) – FOX – A introduced me to this show. I’d heard about it for a long time, and never really thought much about it. And then I watched. And I fell in love. And there’s a great crossover with Wash going over to Dollhouse. When Joss loves someone, he puts them in EVERYTHING he can.
5. Twin Peaks (1990-1991) – ABC
4. The Prisoner (1967-1968) – ITV
3. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) – NBC – I rented this one. Didn’t really get into it. A few bonuses were that it starred Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother and Seth Rogan.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) – The WB, UPN – My all-time favorite show, EVER! It jumped networks. It spawned a spinoff. And now there’s talk about another movie. There’s comic books and toys, and prop replicas and books and commentaries. It just doesn’t get much better than this.
1. Doctor Who (1963-Present) – BBC – I’ve seen it here and there on the BBC. Actually, it’s really a great thing that it’s been on since the 60’s. And they’ve gone through several cast changes, but that should be expected. Definitely a good choice for the number one spot. And also, it is the longest running show on the entire list. That alone gives it credibility.
It’s funny. Looking over the completed list and seeing which networks have cult classics and which do not. ABC seems to be the leader in the cult favorite TV shows. And I wonder if that’s because they are doing that on purpose. Canceling shows before they really have a chance to get their stride. Or is it just because the shows weren’t really going to ever go anywhere.
Either way, so far, I DID notice that Joss Whedon has not one but TWO shows on that list. Both Firefly AND Buffy are considered cult favorites. And can you argue? I’m a little surprised that Angel didn’t round out that trend. And I wonder if Dollhouse will make it to cult favorite status. I know I already love it.
What are some of your favorite cult TV shows?