Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cult television series most frequently have science fiction, fantasy, or horror plotlines, although there certainly are exceptions to this rule. Animated series that are geared toward adults, such as Japanese anime and the occasional American series, also often reach cult status. Some programs are originally based on comic book characters, so many followers of the comics may watch and collect episodes of the TV series if the adaptation is considered to be good. Cult series also frequently have "darker" plotlines than most television shows. "Lighter" shows can also be considered to be cult television, although they frequently feature social commentary and humor. Many cult shows were not hits in their original runs, and quite a few well-loved shows had only a season (or less) worth of material.
Since the late 1990's, cult shows have increasingly been available on DVD, leading to many formerly niche programs (such as Family Guy and Freaks and Geeks) becoming cultural touchstones as new people discover them. Cartoon Network's adult oriented "Adult Swim" progamming block shows cult television quite often. Before the DVD, cult shows were often much harder to obtain and spread.
A list of programs that achieved cult television status might include:
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