Thanks to the emergence of popular fantasy and supernatural shows in the 1990s (i.e. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and Twin Peaks), viewers got a chance to explore very atypical scenarios and storylines. Shows surrounding mythological tales, historical figures and fictional monster surged in ratings, leading networks to try to develop the same winning formula.
However, for every Highlander and Xena: Warrior Princess, there were dozens of shows that simply fell flat. Whether due to poor script writing, ridiculous premises, or C-list actors and actresses, some fantasy series from the 2000s were just not good enough. Even if a series did carry with it a strong fan base, if the networks were not satisfied with the ratings, the series would be eliminated regardless if it concluded its storylines properly or not.
In this article, we will review some of the shows from the 2000s that just weren’t that memorable. You know, the type of shows that you can vaguely remember but maybe you just weren’t that interested in. Alternatively, they may be shows that you hold close to your heart but may have slipped your mind over the years.
Whether you loved them or hated them, here at the 20 Forgettable 2000s Fantasy Shows Only Superfans Remember.
20 Ghost Whisperer
Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt proved to be one of the few child stars to develop into an adult actress successfully. After starring in popular drama Party of Five, her fame skyrocketed with back-to-back big screen hits I Know What You Did Last Summer and Can’t Hardly Wait.
Despite being quite popular ons the big screen, she continued her work on television over the years. However, she did not land another major TV role until the premiere of the supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer. The series followed Melinda Gordon, an antique shop employee with the ability to communicate with the dead. She utilized her gift to help ghosts with “unresolved business” to complete their tasks on Earth so that they can find peace in the afterlife.
The series starred Aisha Tyler (Criminal Minds, Archer) for the first season until she was written off. Additional cast members included David Conrad, and, in later seasons, Camryn Manheim, Jay Mohr, and Jamie Kennedy.
The show’s audience gradually faded off, despite its popularity on CBS. By the fifth season, executives decided that it best to end the series. They announced the show would not be picked up for a sixth season in 2010 due to the waning viewership and rising costs of production.
19 Joan of Arcadia
The famous historical figure and Roman Catholic saint Joan of Arc found new fame when her history was remolded in the CBS series Joan of Arcadia. Although she was no longer a French heroine of the Hundred Years' War, the figure took the form of a teenager named Joan Girardi (played by Amber Tamblyn).
In the series, Joan began hearing and speaking to God after she made a promise to him if he spared the life of her brother who was in a car crash.
Thanks to their deal, God appeared to her in various forms and tasked her to do his bidding. Despite the tasks seeming very small and trivial, they eventually led to more significant conclusions in the end.
Critics and viewers alike praised the show for its warm-hearted nature and content. The series even incorporated the very popular Joan Osborne hit "One of Us" as its theme song.
However, after two seasons, CBS canceled the series citing low viewership as the issue. Fans rallied to try to save the series by reaching out to CBS to voice their love for the show and its wholesome appeal. Unfortunately, there was not enough support to save the series. Joan of Arcadia ended on April 22, 2005, after the conclusion of its second season.
The idea of people selling their soul to the Devil to fulfill their deepest wishes appeared in literature, TV, and movies for years. However, for the series Reaper, this classic tale gets reimagined slightly.
After his parents made such a deal to save his father’s life, Sam Oliver discovered her was promised to the Devil when he turned 21. Pressured into his service, he was made to work as a “reaper” on his behalf, seeking out evil souls that had returned to Earth and retrieving them.
Airing back in 2007, Reaper debuted on The CW with actor Bret Harrison playing Oliver and Ray Wise as the Devil. Though the series received a warm reception both at its debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego and its original airing, the series did not maintain its viewership. The original season received 18 episodes, but only 13 were ordered for season 2. After additional timeslot changes, the series came to an end in 2009.
Attempts were made to bring the series back in syndication, however, rumors of several actors - including Harrison - not returning ended these talks. Since then, the series ran in its entirety on FEARnet with a cast reunion being involved. Though a Kickstarter campaign to revive the series was mentioned, no further actions have been taken to bring the series back.
The TV series Witchblade hoped to cash in on the undeniably strong following of the comic book series of the same name. Based around an NYPD detective that discovered and utilized an ancient weapon to fight supernatural enemies, the series worked perfectly for the action-focused TNT network.
When Witchblade premiered in 2001, actress Yancy Butler helmed the series portraying Detective Sara "Pez" Pezzini. With her solid history of action movies, Butler fully embodied the character, with fans loving her portrayal of the “tough as nails” character.
The series soon established a loyal following throughout its initial series. Though the series tended to veer away from the established stories and plots from the original comic book series, viewers continued to tune in thanks to its great cast and (at the time) impressive special effects.
Despite its dedicated following, however, the series began to lose its audience starting with season 2.
A major plot twist in the season 1 finale turned many viewers off from the series. In addition, Butler went through many personal issues during filming including entering rehab for her addiction. Given the many factors working against the series, TNT decided to cancel the show after the conclusion of its second season.
Taking a different approach to the typical vampire storyline, Moonlight starred Hawaii Five-0‘s Alex O’Loughin as a vampire detective in Los Angeles. Having been turned by his wife 50 years ago, he worked to keep his true identity a secret. Since many of the cases he encounters involved creatures of the night, he utilized his supernatural abilities to protect humans around him.
The cast included Sophia Myles, Jason Dohring, and Shannyn Sossamon filling out the leading roles. The series debuted to rather poor reviews from critics. However, fans became quite invested in the show, and it soon developed a cult following. As the poor reviews continued to pour in, fans became desperate to ensure the series would get a second season.
According to NY Daily News, in 2008, Moonlight fans “coordinated with the American Red Cross for a series of charity blood drives, and the show's star, Alex O'Loughlin… stepped up to become a national spokesman for the charity.” Blood drives were coordinated in 33 states, bringing national attention to the good cause and the desperation of the fans.
Unfortunately, the campaign was not enough. After a failed attempt to sell the series to another network, the show was permanently canceled in 2008.
15 Legend of the Seeker
The epic fantasy novels of author Terry Goodkind included took his readers on a journey that lasted over twenty novels. His series The Sword of Truth followed the epic journey of characters Richard Rahl, Kahlan Amnell, Nicci, and Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander. These fantastical tales served as the inspiration for the retelling of his stories in the TV series Legend of the Seeker.
Loosely based on the first novel of the series, Wizard's First Rule, viewers followed old and new adventures within Goodkind’s mythical world. The series starred Craig Horner as Richard Cypher, Bridget Regan as Kahlan Amnell, Bruce Spence as Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander and Craig Parker as Darken Rahl in both seasons.
The inspiration for the TV adaptation came from American filmmaker and producer Sam Raimi. Though he initially intended to create a big screen adaptation, he later decided on the TV series based on a conversation with Goodkind.
Although the series deviated quite a bit from the original series, viewers still tuned in to the series that premiered in 2008. After two years on the air, ABC Studios decided not to renew the series for a third season. Despite the launch of the fan campaign "Save Our Seeker," executives could not be convinced to give the show another chance.
14 Tru Calling
Actress Eliza Dushku became a favorite actress of fandom back in the late 1990s. After starring as Faith in the cult series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her character even crossed over to Angel for a few episodes. Given the popularity of the character, Dushku was offered the chance to continue the role on her own spinoff series. However, she declined the request.
Leaving WB, she wound up at Fox, in the lead role in the fantasy drama Tru Calling. She portrayed medical school student Tru Davies, who discovered she had the power to communicate with the lifeless while working in the city morgue. Using her skills, she relived the last day of the deceased and tried to find a way to prevent his or her passing in the first place. The first season of the show included stars Shawn Reaves, A.J. Cook, Matt Bomer, and Zach Galifianakis.
Hoping to cash in on the actress’s popularity, Fox heavily promoted the show and its debut back in 2003. However, with actor departures and declining ratings, even Dushku’s star power couldn’t save the show. The show ended with only six episodes in the second season, leaving several storylines and cliffhangers unresolved.
Long before the debut of Wonder Woman in the DC Comics universe, the first female comic book character to carry her own title was Sheena.
Debuting in Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in 1937, the orphaned young girl grew up in the jungle, eventually becoming a fierce warrior. Along with her ability to communicate with wild animals, Sheena possessed the skills to be a formidable opponent against any enemies that threatened her jungle home.
Although the character previously appeared in TV series in the '50s, show creators Douglas Schwartz and Steven L. Sears felt compelled to bring the character back to tv with a modern twist. As one of the creators of the hit series Baywatch, Schwartz tapped into the familiar cast to find his lead: alum Gena Lee Nolin. Along with fellow Baywatch alum John Allen Nelson also cast in the series, the series began to take share with significant changes to the character.
This iteration of Sheena included the new power of being able to turn into any jungle animal.
In addition, Sheena was able to speak in full sentences, unlike her previous depictions onscreen (and with a perfect American accent, no less). Despite the attempts at “improving” the character, the series only aired from 2000 – 2002.
12 Blade: The Series
After the critical and financial success of Blade in 1998, Marvel Studios hope to bank on the movie’s popularity in television as well. The newly revised Spike TV approved to have Blade: The Series produced for its network. The series would take place after the events of Blade: Trinity and would expand on the storyline.
The most notable change for the show was the recasting of the lead.
Though actor Wesley Snipes portrayed the title character onscreen, his part was recast for the series. Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones, known as a member of '90s rap group Onyx, made his debut as a lead actor in a television series. Upon its debut, the series had 2.5 million viewers and became “the highest premiere in network history for an original series.” Despite not having the star power of Snipes, the tv show still managed to attract seasoned and new fans to the Marvel Comics series. However, as the season progressed, viewership dropped drastically with the series simply not capturing the same excitement as the trilogy.
By September of that year, the final episode of season 1 aired which would also serve as the series finale. Spike TV decided not to pick the show up again and canceled the series after just one season.
11 The Dresden Files
Jim Butcher’s fantasy series The Dresden Files carried with it a strong following since its debut back in 2000. The novels delved into a world where magic is real, and creatures such as vampires, werewolves, and other mythical monsters actually existed. With such an exciting premise, the Sci Fi Channel could not say no to bringing the series to its network. With actor Nicholas Cage as one of the executive producers, The Dresden Files series debuted with much anticipation.
Arrow star Paul Blackthorne played the lead role of reluctant hero Harry Dresden as he served as “consulting wizard” for any strange cases that the local police ever ran across. However, even before its debut, the series ran into several delays in its production.
With significant changes to the storyline, characters and initial pilot, the series did not look well organized from the start.
After its debut, some loyal fans of the series found issues with the tv show not following the plot of the original books. In the end, the series simply didn’t keep its audience interested. The show lasted only one season with just 12 episodes airing. Butcher announced the cancellation of the series on his website and expressed his gratitude for the episodes that did air.
The British supernatural series Hex may have been doomed to fail since its early marketing campaign began. Before the series’ premiere, executives hoped to profit from the popularity of the American series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. By toting their own series as “the British version of Buffy,” creator hoped to tap into the same viewership as the previous show.
The series itself also focused on a young teenage girl that discovers she was connections with mythical powers and abilities. In the story, Cassie gained skills that would help her take on demons. However, she eventually fell in love with the leader of the demons, Azazeal, which rightfully complicated her mission. Oh, and did we mention her fate was to bear his child, which would become the Anti-Christ? Yeah, that’s a lot.
The demonic leader was played by none other than X-Men star Michael Fassbender.
After debuting in 2004, the series gained a loyal fan base throughout its entire run. However, despite the good reviews and dedicated fans, the series could not maintain adequate growth in its viewership and had to end after its second series. Several of its stars went on to have great careers in American entertainment, including Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries) and Colin Salmon (Resident Evil, Arrow).
9 Blood Ties
The series Blood Ties brought a different background to the typical “human falls for a vampire” dynamic. As an officer with the Toronto Police Service, Vicki Nelson discovered that her eyesight began to weaken. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, she was forced to leave her job and settled for work as a private investigator. During her transition, she encountered 470-year-old Henry Fitzroy who happened to be a vampire. The two partner up to help solve crimes together. Along the way, their relationship gets more complicated, and feelings start to develop between the two.
Based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff, the series premiered in 2007 on City and Space in Canada and the US on Lifetime.
Though the series showed some promise in its premise, audiences did not find the series very appealing.
The Hollywood Reporter stated that “Even as we check our disbelief at the door, this whole premise is fairly preposterous. We have a futuristic vampire fable mixed with a complex romantic entanglement as Vicki navigates the treacherous waters of vampire love and zombie pursuit. Count Dracula would be turning over in his grave, if he had one.”
Ouch. After 22 episodes for the first season, Lifetime passed on renewal in 2008.
8 Birds of Prey
Long before the announcement of the upcoming Birds of Prey film, DC Comics fans got a taste of the team back in 2002. The TV series included classic character Huntress, Barbara Gordon, Dinah Redmond (though an altered version of Black Canary), Alfred Pennyworth, and Harley Quinn.
Set in an alternate version of the DC Universe, the series seemed destined to become a hit.
The main cast included actresses Ashley Scott, Dina Meyer, and Rachel Skarsten. Criminal Minds alum Shemar Moore even starred on the series as Detective Jesse Reese. Although the series was not based around major characters such as Batman or Catwoman, they both made cameo appearances in the series just to tempt the viewers. If that were not enough, the series included Star Wars actor Mark Hamill in the series pilot voicing the character of Joker.
This should have been one heck of a series! Sadly, it fell short of expectations, and soon the ratings plummeted. The series went from having one of the strongest premieres on the network to barely keeping the audience’s attention by the end of the series. After just one season of 13 episodes, the WB decided the Birds of Prey did not meet their standards and brought an end to their run.
7 Guinevere Jones
The tales of King Arthur and Lady Guinevere has appeared on the big screen many times over the years. From animated classics to live action adaptations, audiences have come to love the tales of Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table. In 2002, however, the series Guinevere Jones brought the legends of the past to the modern day world.
The series featured the teenager Guinevere Jones discovering she was, in fact, the reincarnation of Queen Guinevere of Camelot. In addition, Merlin appeared to help train her to become a defender of the innocent. Just your typical high schooler dealing with parents, teenage pressures, and evil. Nothing new. Through each episode, viewers watched as Guinevere balanced both mystical and real-life situations.
The cast included Tamara Hope as the lead role and Ted Hamilton as Merlin. Also, eagle-eyed viewers may have also caught a glimpse of a familiar face from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor actor Chris Hemsworth played a minor role on the series as King Arthur himself.
However, despite the twist on the classic characters, the series did not maintain a reliable viewership. After two seasons and 26 episodes, the show concluded in December 2002.
The John Updike novel The Witches of Eastwick received a considerable bump in popularity when the onscreen adaption of the film released in 1987. Starring Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer, the movie went onto become a classic and garnered critical praise for their portrayal. The film even received numerous nominations from the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards.
With the movie becoming such a beloved part of pop culture, it is no wonder that ABC executives hoped to recapture that same magic on TV. For this adaptation, a new cast was selected to bring the story to life. This new cast included Lindsay Price playing Joanna Frankel, Jamie Ray Newman as Katherine "Kat" Gardener, and Rebecca Romijn as Roxanne "Roxie" Torcoletti. Observant fans will even recall that both Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Punisher) and Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) also started as main characters in the ensemble.
Although the initial pilot of the series did fairly well in its premiere, viewership staggered off over the following weeks. In fact, the ratings were so poor that ABC decided not to air the final two episodes of the season. Between harsh reviews and little interest in the show overall, the series was canceled after its initial season.
Very similar to the plot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Demons revolved around the story of a teenager with extraordinary powers just hoping to live an ordinary life.
London teenager Luke Rutherford discovered he was the descendant of Van Helsing and the last of the bloodline. His godfather Rupert Galvin, an American demon hunter, broke the news to him, advising he is tasked with fighting the demons of the worlds and protecting humanity. Though reluctant to take on such responsibilities, Luke fulfilled his destiny while maintaining his normal life in school.
Produced by the same company that made Hex, Demons aired as a six-part miniseries in 2009. Despite its lukewarm reviews, the series completed its first season with hopes of continuing on-air. Unfortunately, the network disagreed and made plans to cancel any future projects.
The series was put in further danger when Philip Glenister (who played the central role of Rupert) quit the show.
Creators were desperate to save the show and tried one last tactic: reaching out for help across the pond. According to The Guardian, producers attempted to create a deal with either the Sci Fi Channel or Sony to become the US distributor of the show. Sadly, neither deal panned out, and the show was canceled.
4 Vampire High
Buffy the Vampire Slayer made famous the dynamic of vampires and high school. Although touted as a slayer of these creatures, her everyday life was depicted as a balance between fighting evil and the dreadful days as a teenager.
The Canadian series Vampire High also decided to try its hand at such a balance but with its own spin on the situation. The series followed the lives of a group of teenage vampires that were forced into attending boarding school with humans in order to become more civilized. Audiences saw the teenagers go through the typical up and downs of adolescent life on top of living as vampires. Series regulars included Jeff Roop, Meghan Ory, Karen Cliché, Ilona Elkin, and Paul Hopkins.
The series did not capture the popularity of the American series Buffy, but the show did maintain a consistent fan base.
The show premiered on YTV in September 2001 to decidedly mixed reviews. Sadly, the show fell short of the magic of Buffy and simply was perceived as a cheap a cheap imitation. Afters its underwhelming American debut on WB, YTV decided it was time to put an end to the antics of Vampire High. The series concluded after 26 episodes in May 2002.
The legend of the character Tarzan dates back decades to his first appearance in the 1910s in the novel Tarzan of the Apes. Since then, his depiction has been the subject matter for various tv shows, movies, and animated series. Although most depictions show the jungle-raised human in his natural habitat, the 2003 series Tarzan decided to move him to the concrete jungle of New York City.
In this WB adaptation, Tarzan is actually John Clayton (played by future Vikings star Travis Fimmel), wealthy heir to Greystoke Industries that had been lost in the African jungle for over 20 years. His greedy uncle found him and held him hostage to prevent him from inheriting the family business. After meeting Detective Jane Porter (played by The Walking Dead and Colony star Sarah Wayne Callies) during his escape, he accompanied her on her cases and helped her solve crimes.
Yeah, this really sounded like a winner - okay, not really.
Apparently, viewers felt the same. The show lasted only eight episodes before the WB pulled the plug. Even show creator found the series to be ridiculous and commented that “Tarzan was a hell ride in every way, and we only did eight before they wisely put us out of our misery.” It seems best to leave Tarzan in the jungle where he belongs.
The mythological tales from Greek and Roman history usually depict the gods sitting on high in Mount Olympus watching over humanity. In several cases, they intruded on humans, whether to was to make more children, toy with their lives, or punish them for their misdeeds. However, in the case of the mythological comedy Valentine, the gods have one goal in mind: to bring love back into the world.
Following the lives of the Valentine family, the show followed mythological characters such as Aphrodite, Eros, Phoebe, and Hercules, who took human forms and worked to match soulmates on Earth. Though initially promoted as Valentine, Inc., the series updated the title in time for the series premiered in 2008. Unfortunately, the series premiered to only a handful of viewers. In its initial debut, the series was viewed by only 1.146 million viewers. Unfortunately, those would be the best numbers the series would have for its entire run. By episode 8, the viewership for the series plummeted to only 0.467 million. There is no coming back from ratings that bad.
The first four episodes of the series aired in 2008 with production taking a break for several months. The final four episodes concluded in the summer of 2009 and marked the end of the series altogether.
1 Dead Last
If there were an award for "most ridiculous premise", the comedy Dead Last would certainly be a contender. The series was about a rock band that comes across a magical amulet that granted them the ability to commune with the lifeless. With these powers, they are (begrudgingly) forced into helping these spirits resolve any unfinished business that they have on Earth so that they may move on to the afterlife guilt free. Of course, they are the only ones that were able to see the spirits, so most people just wrote them off as being insane.
The comedy starred Sara Downing (Roswell) as Jane Cahill, Tyler Labine (Reaper, Deadbeat) as Scotty Sallback, and Kett Turton (Gypsy 83) as Vaughn Parrish. Ironically, the show’s title could easily be associated with its TV rankings during its original airing. In fact, the ratings for the show were so bad, it did not air a complete season. The first four episodes aired with the fifth being preempted due to the September 11th terrorist attacks. When it returned, only two additional episodes aired before the series was canceled indefinitely.
The series never broadcast in its entirety on the WB but had since aired all 13 episodes on the Canadian network YTV and the Trouble channel in the UK.
What's your favorite forgotten 2000s fantasy show? Let us know in the comments!