This Buffy spin-off starred David Boreanaz as a private-eye vampire cursed to live his life with a soul, thereby morally incapable of embracing his inner demon, i.e. biting any human neck that came his way. Darker, harsher, and, at first, more episodic than Buffy, the show lasted five seasons until The WB rather unceremoniously cancelled it.
(The WB, 2000-2001)
Number of Episodes: 17
The show-within-a-show conceit can sometimes seem one-note, but in the case of Darren Star’s Grosse Pointe, a send-up of his own Beverly Hills, 90210, the teen-soap satire lampooned the absurdity of Hollywood without feeling stale. Add the perfect theme song (Tom Jones’ ”Sex Bomb”) and a Jason Priestley cameo, and you’ve got the kind of cult hit that’s just begging to be canceled prematurely. Which it was.
10. MAX HEADROOM (1987-1988)
Set in a grim video-age dystopia where TV networks have become so all-powerful that it’s illegal for viewers to turn off their sets, Matt Frewer plays both Edison Carter, intrepid investigative reporter for the top-rated Network 23, and Max, Carter’s computer-generated, stuttering alter ego. Despite an intense media blitz, ABC unplugged Max Headroom after only 14 episodes. But over the years a cult following has grown — Max even has his own web site on the Internet — and today the show’s proto-cyber atmospherics couldn’t seem fresher. ”The show spawned a look, with its white light through the smoke and bleak Orwellian future,” says Frewer. ”We laid the groundwork for things to come.” —Benjamin Svetkey
Back in 1992, we called Kyle Chandler a ”face to watch,” based on his performance in this World War II-era series. Friday Night Lights fans, were we right or what? We want to relive all that sepia-tinted glory.