The Ben Stiller Show: Everett Collection
Gillian Flynn
October 22, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Which failed show from the past would be a hit today?

Which failed TV series from the past do you think would become a hit today? — Stephen Izen
The wild fan base for Chappelle’s Show — and even Blue Collar TV — tells me maybe The Ben Stiller Show would now be properly embraced. The 1992-93 series, which launched the careers of Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk, and Andy Dick, won an Emmy but was canceled after 12 episodes. Today, I think an audience steeped in pop-culture satire and the surreality of shows like The Simpsons and South Park would dig skits like ”Manson.” That’d be a Lassie spoof in which Odenkirk plays a jabbering Charles Manson as the courageous family dog. We have proof other bits hold up: In 1992, Stiller did ”Cops in Salem, Mass.,” with Puritans busted at a witch-burning; in 2004, Blue Collar did the similar ”CSI: Greater Greensboro Tri-County Area.” Still works.

(Got a TV-related question for Gillian? Post it here.)

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