The 5 Best Short-Lived TV Comedies of All-Time

Every Human Being and most people have found out that Community will finally make its glorious return to NBC on March 15.

Comedy nerds, like myself, can finally exhale knowing that one of the best comedies will be returning soon.

But no promises have been made about whether Community will be returning next season, which still means it could land on the Arrested Development List of beloved TV shows that were cancelled way too soon.

Which brings me to this list:

Today, I am ranking the 5 best short-lived comedies of all-time.


Obviously these shows are being ranked on how funny and creative they are. They also get bonus points for how easily and accessible they are to watch. What’s the point of me telling you how awesome Eastbound and Down is if you won’t watch it because you don’t have HBO and you don’t feel like paying 60 bucks for the DVDs? (Side Note: I do highly recommend Eastbound and Down. It’s hilarious as long as you’re into the crude humor.)

All of the shows in this list you can find on Netflix and Hulu, as long as you have a subscription.

Also, I think it is important to note that most of these shows are still on TV now, so they may – TV gods willing – last for a while and ultimately not be considered “short lived.” But all are awesome shows,  and even the ones still airing new episodes haven’t been on for very long, so it shouldn’t take too long to catch up with them.

5. Party Down

See…told you I was a comedy nerd.

This show stars Adam Scott (who you may know from Parks and Rec or Step Brothers), Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, and Martin Star (Bill from Freaks and Geeks). It is about Henry Pollard, (Scott) a failed actor who works at Party Down catering company with other struggling actors, writers, and their boss Ron Donald (Marino).

Party Down was cancelled after two seasons after Adam Scott left for to Parks and Rec, which as worked out great for him and Parks.

Despite the extremely short run – it’s only 20 episodes long – the show is well worth the ride. The good news for fans is there is a great possibility for a movie to come out.


4. Archer

H. Jon Benjamin provides the voice for Sterling Archer, an alcoholic, womanizing, secret agent for International Secret Intelligence Service, which is a fictional spy agency run by his mother, Mallory Archer. Benjamin does an excellent job portraying Archer; his cocky, narcissistic tone fits perfectly with Sterling’s character.

This a very mature show, and it’s not for the kids. It is only 31 episodes long and you can still find it on FX if you need to catch up on the series. You can also find previous episodes on Netflix and Hulu.

Now you will understand why your friend is yelling “Danger Zone!” in dramatic situations


3. Community

Community will be back and everything feels right in the world.

This is probably the smartest comedy on TV.  The show’s jokes rely mostly on meta humor and pop culture references, a style of humor that I really enjoy.

Community is about a diverse study group at Greendale Community College, sort of like a 21st century Breakfast Club, but imagine if Principal Vernon was probably gay, and attracted to Bender.

One of the things that I like the most about Community is there isn’t really a main central character that every episode has to revolve around. Not that I have a problem with shows like that, but a show like Community where the focus is on more people than one character is a nice change of pace.

Community isn’t a “play it now” on Netflix so you might be better off watching it on Hulu.

The Dungeons and Dragons episode is amazing, it was so emotional, but very funny. You would never see anything like that on a show like Two and a Half Men.


2. Parks and Recreation

If I wrote this list last year, I would of have had Community over Parks, but Parks took the crown as TV’s funniest show during the Community hiatus.  Parks is constantly funny and features a terrific cast of Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and Chris Pratt, all of whom are amazing. Even new editions like Adam Scott and Rob Lowe have fit perfectly into the show.

You can find the show on Netflix and Hulu. Also, if you begin watching it the first season isn’t very good. Just power through it, as the show gets much, much, much better.

Oh, and you can’t talk about Parks and Recreation without mentioning the best character on TV, the one, the only, Ron Fucking Swanson.


1. Arrested Development

C’mon what else could it be?

I can’t think of one bad episode of Arrested Development. There probably isn’t one. The writing, narration, and acting was amazing. The show was able to take what seemed at first to be small, non-significant moments of an episode and turn them into huge laughs in the end.

Ron Howard’s narration was so great that it once led to a discussion with my brother on if we would rather have Ron Howard or Michael C. Hall, from Dexter, narrative our life. After much discussion we went with Howard.

The show saved Jason Bateman’s career, and provided the internet with about 42% of its GIF’s.

You can find every episode on Netflix and Hulu.


That’s my list, tell me your opinions in the comment on whether if you think I left a show out or ranked a show too high.



  1. Sports Night. Was probably before your time, but get the DVDs. Great show.

  2. I always considered short-lived tv shows, to be shows cancelled only after a few episodes/seasons. Arrested development and Party Down totally fit the bill, but Archer, Community, and Parks and Rec are still debuting new episodes. Archer has even been renewed for a fourth season, with the fates of the other 2 still up in the air though

  3.  You need to watch the six episodes of Police Squad!

  4. If 20 episodes qualifies as short-lived, then I would have thought that Fawlty Towers (12 episodes) would be a shoe-in.

  5. Do not know if it was “short lived” enough, but I always liked “Sports Night”…..kinda surprised it got canceled.  I agree with Jerod Morris…..also liked “Police Squad”–good call Mark.

  6. Arrested, Community and Archer are three of my favs.  I am in the minority who finds Parks boring and a rip off of the office.  Something tells me you’ve never seen the 14 episodes of Spaced, unless it would def be on your list.  Also, Xavier Renegade Angel.

  7. These aren’t short-lived.

  8. Sledgehammer and Ned and Stacy come to mind.

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