A large number of TV shows are easily recognizable by name, and many people can probably tell you basic plotlines for most of them. But when it comes to the numbers behind who actually watched all of these shows, things start to look a little different. For instance, far fewer people (on average) were watching The Simpsons and Everybody Loves Raymond in 1997 than NBC’s Union Square. Union what?

Though ratings are rarely the best way to determine a show’s specific impact on society at large, each year’s top-rated shows often lack a surprising number of much-talked-about series, and here are 7 shows whose fame was far more prevalent by word-of-mouth over eyes-on-screens. And I’m betting all the Marshmallows out there know where we’re starting off.

veronica mars
Veronica Mars
A show that was so seemingly popular that creator Rob Thomas’ Kickstarter for a follow-up film broke crowdfunding records at the time, Veronica Mars’ entire three-season run rarely attracted more than 3 million viewers per episode, which was extremely disappointing, even though it aired on UPN-turned-The CW. The poor ratings, combined with a not-so-cheery reaction to Season 3, caused The CW to can the show before audiences could find out if Kristen Bell’s titular character would head to the FBI, and a cult viewership was born.

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