Defining a cult show isn’t that easy. Generally, the shows we call cult hits are all critically acclaimed with less than stellar ratings. But popular shows can have cult followings as well: I once offended a friend when I told him I didn’t like Two and a Half Men. He loved the show. He thought it was hilarious (when Charlie Sheen was still on), and did not appreciate that I talked poorly of it. While my friend loved the popular sitcom, the show could never be called a cult hit.
For a TV show to be a cult hit, its fan base needs to be extremely passionate. Perhaps the reason that more popular shows aren’t in the cult cannon is because not many people talk poorly of the show, so there isn’t a need to speak passionately about it. Shows like Battlestar Galactica and Twin Peaks were cult hits because their fan base was loyal and tried desperately to increase viewership.
The following list is dealing only with cult hits of the sitcom variety, but here are six sitcoms whose cult followers are quick to defend and champion the show’s greatness:
Archer airs on FX, which helps its cult status, since there isn't a huge fan base to start with. The show follows a spy named Sterling Archer who desires to be Bond but better. The show is in the midst of its fourth season, and the show's fans are enjoying the ride.
2. Party Down
Party Down followed a group of aspiring actors and actresses who worked for a catering company to make ends meet. The odd humor was hilarious, but not enough to keep the show on the air. It only aired for two seasons on Starz, from 2009 to 2010.
3. Freaks and Geeks
The show aired from 1999 to 2000, and it was well received. It has grown in stature with age. Plus, look at all the star power there! These actors and actresses have moved on to bigger (if not always better) things.
Now in it's fourth season (without original showrunner Dan Harmon), the show seems to be declining in quality, but it's first three seasons created hashtags (#sixseasonsandamovie) and provided more jokes and meta humor than all other sitcoms combined.
5. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It's Always Sunny is like Seinfeld on crack. The show somehow made it okay for viewers to watch (and somehow root for) five people with few redeeming qualities. The show is on its eight season, pretty impressive for a show whose pilot was rumored to have been shot for under $100.
6. Arrested Development
The cult hit of all cult hits. Arrested Development fans are so passionate that the series is coming back via Netflix for a fourth season (the original three season aired from 2003 to 2006). The original three seasons were groundbreaking and like nothing we'd seen in a sitcom before,but only time will tell whether the next season will deliver.