We all know that the capricious television landscape is littered with forgotten series and woebegotten endeavors—shows that were one and done yet left behind indelible marks on culture. They were like comets, which blazed brightly and disappeared without a trace.
These beloved series were yanked from our airwaves for a variety of reasons: bad marketing, an unlucky timeslot, network mismanagement—or maybe they were simply ahead of their time. Here’s a look back at 10 one-season-wonder television series that should have lasted so much longer.
Although the show was a groundbreaking sitcom that reflected everyday life in America postwar 1955, it lasted only one season. The series aired a total of 39 episodes. Star Jackie Gleason was the star of this sitcom, playing Ralph Kramden (Art Carney), and Trixie Randolph (Joyce Randolph). It Honeymooners originally existed as sketches on numerous variety shows, including Gleason’s own Jackie Gleason Show. CBS cancelled the famed sitcom after it suffered a consistent year-long decline in ratings. But the series has survived and gained popularity through decades of repetitions.
Geeks and Freaks (1999)
This ‘80s-era high school-set series became a launching pad for a who’s-who of comedy powerhouses. Seth Rogen was joined by James Franco and Jason Segel. Busy Philipps and a team of creatives including Judd Feig. The White LotusMike White is the creator. The single season of NBC’s Geeks and Freaks Today, the show is remembered as an innovative and groundbreaking program that seamlessly blended drama and comedy with sharp writing and outstanding performances. It was so original at that time, network executives were baffled and quickly dismissed it as a dead show.
It can be viewed on Pluto TV.
My Life So-Called (1994)
My Life So-Called, which premiered in 1994, was another ahead-of-its-time series that critics adored and audiences couldn’t figure out. Long before HomelandIt was Claire Danes’ breakout role. She won an Emmy nomination for Angela Chase, 15 years old, and was awarded a Golden Globe. Jared Leto was also a future star of the show. Star Trek: Discovery Wilson Cruz, the show’s lead. The show produced 19 episodes but has gathered a loyal following.
You can watch it at ABC.
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
The space-age epic was long before it was a success. Battlestar GalacticaIt began in 1978 as a small television series. After 24 episodes, it was cancelled. The series was sparked by Star WarsThe exorbitantly priced ABC series was hit by mania and faced a string of unfortunate events, including counter-programming from CBS. CBS moved its immensely popular ABC show to a new location.All in the Family It aired it in direct competition Battlestar Galactica). To save the show, fans launched an unsuccessful letter writing campaign. It was a positive thing that the show’s revival launched a popular franchise which produced the Syfy series 2012, although it has been canceled again. Chrome and Blood
Dana Carvey Show (1996)
As the title suggests, this 1996 sketch comedy show featured Dana Carvey as host. Saturday Night Live Wayne’s World star. The show featured an impressive line-up, with writers/cast members Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and bizarre skits that revolved around Carvey, the swirling dervish. The series ended after only eight episodes, perhaps because it was too subversive. It’s a television failure so legendary that it’s chronicled in the 2017 documentary Too Funny to Fail: A Life and Death for Dana Carvey.
High Fideliity (2020)
Hulu’s 2020 series High Fideliity, starring Zoë Kravitz, should have been a slam-dunk. The series was inspired by the 2000 John Cusack hit movie, which was based on Nick Hornby’s 1995 book. This Brooklyn-based TV show, with its passion for music and penchant to break the fourth wall was critical success. Hulu has declined to renew unfortunatelyHigh Confidence Much to the dismay of cast members and fans, there will be a second season. “At least Hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch,” Kravitz later wrote on social media. “Oh wait.”
You can watch it at Hulu.
FireflyThis is another sci-fi TV show with a single series. It spawned an additional franchise. Joss Whedon, (of Buffy the Vampire SlayerFame), Firefly starred Nathan Fillion in an epic story about navigating the ravages of a society that’s set 500 years in the future. After only eleven episodes, Fox’s series was cancelled. Later, DVDs were released and the film, 2005, emerged. Serenity, A series of novels and comics as well as podcasts.
Police Squad (1982)
Following the huge success of 1980’s comedy smash hit, they are now hot again Airplane!, The creative trio of Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams conceived this series of spoof police procedurals. Leslie Nielsen is the star of the satirical show. It also set the scene for three other smash hits: The Naked Gun series. After only four episodes, ABC cancelled the series. Later, the show gained an elitist following with several series. The Simpsons 30 Rock The unique combination of clever, fast-paced comedy and zany humor influenced me.
It’s available on DVD.
ABC Family (now Freeform), is a series that has cultivated a huge fanbase. BunheadsIt feels as if it lasts more than one season. The current catapultingMusic ManLead Sutton Foster, Broadway Star to Mainstream Name. The ballet-focused series took heavily from Gilmore Girls It was only a few cast members that appeared on each show. That’s probably because both shows were from the mind of Amy Sherman-Palladino, who later went on to create the Amazon hit The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
You can watch it at Hulu.
The cancellation Freaks, Geeks and Other StrangersJudd Ahatoo regrouped in this Fox comedy of half an hour, which was released on Fox in 2001. FreaksStar Seth Rogen joins the fun. The college life is a far cry from high school antics. UndeclaredJay Baruchel was the first to play a significant role. The show featured Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler as guests, and future boldfaced actors like Amy Poehler and Kevin Hart. The talent wasn’t enough, however: Fox sent Undeclared Only 17 episodes later, you’re out of the woods.
It’s available on YouTube.
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