Every year, television networks cancel many of their first-year shows. Most of these series subsequently fade into oblivion, forgotten by all but the most die-hard of fans. New programming quickly catches everyone else’s attention, consigning the short-lived failures to Wikipedia entries and DVD bargain bins.
But some shows live on long past their premature cancellations. How does a canceled show get to be a Firefly-level phenomenon instead of a The Messengers footnote, or a My So-Called Life instead of a That 80s Show? A couple of factors seem to be key.