I was reminded yesterday of a couple of old TV shows from my youth -- shows that never made it past a couple of seasons. These were the campy, the strange, and the just plain bad shows that were basically there to flesh out the networks' season opening weeks, and some didn't make it much past the pilot episode. In no particular order, some of the ones that I recall from my youth include (with links to their IMDB entries):
Automan (1983) - Desi Arnaz Jr. starred in this short-lived show about a cybernetic crime-fighter that could transform between a man and a car (and I think he could even change into a panther; actually, no, as EricS pointed out in his comment, that was 'Manimal'). Dumb, but you gotta love those 90-degree turns at speed.
Otherworld (1985) - IMDB describes this retarded show best when it says "Thrown into another dimension, a family must keep ahead of a tyrannical state's hunters while searching for a way home." My one clear memory is the two teenage kids defying the government and teaching the other native kids rock & roll. It was never clear what was worst: the acting, the plot, or the concept.
The Phoenix (1982) - In just 4 short episodes (that's all that was filmed), this show reached new depths of stupid. Plot summary: an archaeology expedition in Peru uncovers a casket with the body of a human-looking alien, Bennu, who must learn to live on Earth as a castaway who fights crimes and solves mysteries while avoiding US government agents who want to play "Alien Autopsy" with him. Who thinks up this stuff?
Ark II (1976-1979) - OK, this wasn't really a "lost & forgotten" show, but it just hangs on the fringe of my memory, so I thought I'd include it here. This Saturday morning live-action show was the adventures of three young scientists in the 25th century after the planet has basically been polluted to death. They had this bitchun' RV-slash-science lab (called "Ark II") that they travelled around in. The best part, however, was the jet-packs -- I swear they were real. :-) And they had a chimpanzee (what was it with chimps on TV in the '70's?). Oh, and the lead scientist's name was Noah. Get it...Noah...driving the Ark...sigh. There's a really nice fan page here (source of the photo to the right).
The Man from Atlantis (1977-1978) - The sheer power of Patrick Duffy's acting skills carried this lame show into its second season. Duffy played the part of Mark Harris, lone surviving Atlantian, complete with gills and webbed hands and feet. Lots of underwater swimming shots while Duffy fights crime and solves mysteries. Perhaps it would have lasted longer had they brought The Phoenix onto the show...hmm...
Quark (1978) - This was a half-hour live-action comedy about the misadventures of Adam Quark, the captain of a United Galactic Sanitation Patrol ship (i.e., a space garbage scow). I remember only thinking that this was a damn funny show. Given that I was 8 or 9 years old when I saw the 9 episodes that were filmed, it may not have been.
Q.E.D. (1982) - IMDB summarizes it best: "The tales of Quentin E. Deverill, an eccentric expatriate American professor who uses his unique skills to solve mysteries in Edwardian London." And it didn't last the season?!?
The Max Headroom Show (1985) - Basically, this show was about a future where the TV had to stay turned on ('off' knobs were illegal) and the main personality on the tube was this virtual/CGI being named Max Headroom (who turned out to be a real person, if I recall correctly). Usually just referred to as "Max Headroom," this show was hilarious -- I never understood why they took it off. Probably the same reason they dumped 'Greg the Bunny' (a recent fave...that will be on this list as well in 15 years or so).
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe (1980) - Two unlikely partners, an accountant-wanna-be-private-eye and a con artist, team up to fight crime and solve mysteries. It lasted a mere 14 episodes despite starring Jeff Goldblum and Ben Vereen (makes my head spin even thinking about that combination).
I'm sure you all remember more...what were your favorite shows that didn't make it?