There’s nothing Hollywood loves more than a good comeback story, the type of dramatic death-defying drama that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Sometimes, the drama happens offscreen, so secret and subtle that we’d almost never know how close our favorite television shows came to being lost forever.

It’s tougher for TV shows to stick it out after a disappointing debut. It’s much easier for a movie—already filmed, already cut together and sent out to the movie theaters to take its chances—to gain traction after a slow start. TV, with its longer format and more intense time commitment from talent and crew, has a lot more to prove in its initial run, which is why even great shows are sometimes weeded out in favor of more guaranteed hits.

But, sometimes, a TV show is given another chance, whether by its home network keeping the faith, another swooping in to the rescue, or physical media sales or belated streaming success convincing the powers that be that the people demand more. For this list, we’ve collected ten of the most universally beloved television shows that were almost (and in some cases, actually were) cut way too short, and the improbable success stories that kept them on the air long enough for the rest of us to see how great they are.

10 TV Show Flops That Turned Out to Be Huge Hits

Universally beloved TV shows aren't always universally beloved from episode one.

Gallery Credit: Emma Stefansky

READ MORE: The 15 Strangest Movies Based on TV Shows

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Huge Hits That Initially Flopped in Theaters

These movies prove that sometimes word-of-mouth hype or a couple decades of reclamation can turn a flop into a runaway hit.

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