Underrated Early 2000s TV Shows

 The early 2000s produced an array of fantastic TV shows of all genres and demographics, but it is safe to say that not all of them get the credit they deserve. Here is a list of those severely underrated and forgotten TV series you might be tempted to revisit.

1) In a Heartbeat (2000-2001)

This Canadian teen drama is the eldest in our family of underrated early 2000s TV shows, and it seems to be the most forgotten as well. Premiering in August of 2000 on the Family Channel in Canada and Disney Channel in the U.S., the show follows a group of average, high school students who also happen to be trained volunteer EMTs. The series was promptly cancelled after only lasting one season, and admittedly, even I forgot about it until recently (to be fair, I was only three years old when it started and ended). Still, it has all the medical drama of Grey’s Anatomy (okay, maybe not all, but it has a similar tone) and the teen angst of fellow Canadian classic Degrassi: The Next Generation—not to mention Degrassi cast member Lauren Collins stars in it as well!

 

 

2) So Little Time (2001-2002)

Another lost gem that only survived one season before the dreaded curse of cancellation. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s short-lived teen sitcom is often overshadowed by all the other pursuits of theirs that contributed to their billion-dollar empire. The twins play Riley (Mary-Kate) and Chloe (Ashley), two teenage twins (duh) in California whose parents have recently separated. While the jokes aren’t exactly comedy gold, it was exactly what an Olsen-twin fanatic like myself lived for, and it deserves as much recognition and praise as their movies like Holiday in the Sun and New York Minute are given.

 

 

3) 8 Simple Rules (2002-2005)

This personal favourite of mine, starring Kaley Cuoco in her pre-Big Bang Theory days, is about an overprotective father (John Ritter) panicking over the inevitable reality that his daughters (one played by Cuoco) are growing up into young women (hence the original title 8 Simple Rules…For Dating My Teenage Daughter). While I find the “Chase Away Your Teenage Daughters’ Boyfriends With A Shotgun” trope super played out and old-fashioned, this show was endearing and hilarious nonetheless. The premise abruptly shifted four episodes into the second season, though, when (spoiler alert) Ritter’s character, Paul, is unexpectedly killed off as Ritter himself actually passed away in real life; the two-part episode, titled “Goodbye,” can still make me cry to this day. After this tragedy, the show added two new main characters, Grandpa and Cousin CJ, focusing on the family’s attempts to cope with the death of their husband and father, until it ended in 2005 with its third and final season.

 

 

4) What I Like About You (2002-2006)

The longest running series on our list premiered on the WB in 2002, featuring Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes growing out of her Amanda Show and All That roots and entering a slightly more grown-up comedy. Bynes plays Holly, a sixteen-year-old prone to attracting chaos, who moves in with her adult sister Val (Jennie Garth) when their father moves to Japan for work. Despite its decent running length of four seasons, the show is likely misplaced in the public’s memory due to Bynes’ iconic body of work preceded by her upsetting public breakdown in 2012. People often remember her for her aforementioned Nickelodeon programs or her various lead roles in films like What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man and Hairspray, and as a result, What I Like About You gets left in the dust.

 

 

5) Radio Free Roscoe (2003-2006)

This criminally underrated Family Channel show that later aired on The N in the U.S. was the root-for-the-underdog, anarchist Canadian content we may not have been ready for. The four main characters Robbie, Lily, Ray and Travis would likely be remembered by their radio aliases, Question Mark, Shady Lane, Pronto and Smog. Fed up with their school’s radio station for its control over the student body and bias towards the popular kids, the friend group start their own pirate station, “Radio Free Roscoe,” so they can, to quote Question Mark in the opening sequence, “say what they want as loud as they want.” The show took on a more serious tone than more fondly remembered Canadian comedies like Life with Derek, which may be why it doesn’t immediately come to mind when we think of Family Channel classics.

 

6) Darcy’s Wild Life (2004-2006)

Not only is this the youngest show on our underrated list, but the actress who played Darcy, Sara Paxton, is under-appreciated as well. In the early aughts, Paxton had several significant roles in films like Sleepover, Aquamarine, Return to Halloweentown and Sydney White. However, despite her repertoire of movie roles, she is often overlooked in the batch of early 2000s teen girl icons, and as a result, so is her brief television career. The show follows Darcy as she adjusts to her new life in the countryside after she is forced to leave glamorous Malibu when her famous, actress mother decides to move them to the “middle of nowhere” in search of a more down-to-earth lifestyle. If you do remember this show, the first thing you think of will probably be the super catchy theme song:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRNsn-5wwEI

 

Now that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day—you’re welcome.

 

 

Edited by: Amanda Cloutier-Santos