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10 ’90s TV Shows That Were Too Weird for Their Time


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The rise of cable and FOX in the 1990s meant a new era of experimentation in television, but not all experiments work out. Here are 10 shows that may have been too weird for their time.

10. Profit

Short-lived Fox series Profit starred Adrian Pasdar as a corporate climber from an abusive family. It was way too morally complex for the 1996 audience and only lasted 8 episodes.

9. The Ben Stiller Show

Ben Stiller’s 1992 sketch show pushed a ton of envelopes that the TV audience just wasn’t comfortable with at the time.

8. Cop Rock

Steven Bochco’s musical police drama got a lot of jeers when it debuted in 1990, but now with shows like Glee and Nashville it doesn’t seem so weird.

7. Nowhere Man

Bruce Greenwood played a photographer who has his entire identity erased in this conspiracy-heavy FOX drama.

6. The Idiot Box

Produced by Alex Winter (Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), this absurd MTV sketch show only had six episodes made.

5. Lois & Clark

Superhero TV shows are big business again with Arrow, Gotham, and many others getting solid ratings. But none of them would exist without the 1993 live-action Superman series.

4. American Gothic

Produced by Sam Raimi, this 1995 series nailed the small-town horror thing, but CBS for some reason aired it out of order and it didn’t find an audience.

3. Young Americans

This 2000 WB show was supposed to premiere in 1999, so it made the list. Ostensibly a Dawson’s Creek spin-off, it was a remarkably class-conscious teen drama that got canned after 8 episodes.

2. Freaks & Geeks

Judd Apatow’s brilliant take on suburbia laid the groundwork for the entire generation of comedy that followed it.

1. Twin Peaks

Well, duh – David Lynch’s surreal murder mystery was so ahead of its time that it’s actually coming back 25 years later.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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