The Best Single Season Canceled Shows
Let’s face it, the success of a TV show depends solely on one thing – the number of its viewers. It can be something as brilliant as Breaking Bad, but if it doesn’t capture the attention of a wider audience as soon as possible, it will simply get shut down. This harsh fate has befell numerous shows over the years, and quite often unjustly. Here is a list of some TV shows that would have been grand if only they weren’t canceled after season one.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Terriers
Let’s start with a rarely talked about show – Terriers. This show was promising a lot with its two strong leading actors, Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James and proven producers Ted Griffin and Shawn Ryan. The show had a great script and the acting was praised by both critics and the audience. However, it never made it past the first season because the number of viewers was too low. The fact that FX didn’t even give it a chance is truly heartbreaking.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Firefly
The next one is the fan-favorite Firefly. Almost no TV series has ever gotten such a cult following after just one season and then years of silence. In order to please the fans, a tie-in movie was released a couple of years after the cancellation, but that’s it. Firefly’s plot follows the adventures of a small renegade space ship and its crew, which struggle to survive in a vast universe filled with danger. The show featured Nathan Fillion, also now known for his portrayal of a cheeky novel author (and crime-solver) Castle, but even that wasn’t enough to make the show last.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Freaks and Geeks
Then comes another show fans gladly remember, called Freaks and Geeks. The show followed the school days and growing up of a group of youngsters in America. The show featured what would now be considered an ensemble cast since it introduced, among others, James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, and John Francis Daley (who is now best known as Sweets on the TV show Bones). This comedy was quite well received by the viewers, but obviously not well enough to be prolonged.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: The Lone Gunmen
An X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen is yet another title that unjustly met its end quite prematurely. The show followed three conspiracy theorists, Fox Mulder’s occasional helping hands, on their quests against government secrets. There was no reason why the show would fail, considering the great influence of the aforementioned cult show X-Files that gave birth to it, and yet it plummeted to the ground like Icarus after just one season.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Brimstone
Then comes Brimstone, an incredibly original TV show about a dead cop working for the devil in order to bring back 113 souls who managed to escape back to Earth. With such a premise even reminiscent of the quite successful Constantine, how could it fail, right? Well, it did. The undead policeman who captured runaway souls by shooting them in the eyes was not generating enough viewer traffic to pass the bar. Even the exquisite acting of John Glover as the Devil didn’t really help.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Rubicon
AMC’s Rubicon was a TV show that promised a lot. Created by Jason Horwitch, the show was meant to focus on conspiracy theories similar in style to those of 70s films like All the President’s Men and The Parallax View. The protagonist, Will Travers, is an employee at the American Policy Institute, troubled by a personal tragedy where his family died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Due to his isolation from the rest of the company, he manages to find certain patterns that eventually lead him to a conspiracy. The show took on a different approach after the original creator left, but it still had great potential. It seems we’ll never know, though.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: Undeclared
Somewhat of a successor to the acclaimed Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared was the brainchild of Judd Apatow, best known for his slapstick comedy movies like 40-Year-Old Virgin and Pineapple Express, among others. The show revolves around a group of friends going to college with different episodes focusing on different characters, exploring them all equally. As is the case with Freaks and Geeks, this show also didn’t make it past season one. Apatow, however, successfully made his transition to film and carried a couple of his favorite actors with him.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: The Black Donnellys
The Black Donnellys was yet another highly-promising TV show that came out at a similar time as The Departed. The plot focused on four Irish-American brothers trying to make a name for themselves in the world of crime. The fact that the show was created by Paul Haggis, the man behind successful movies such as Million Dollar Baby and Crash, still didn’t help the series pass into the second season. Even the presence of the dashing Olivia Wilde simply had no effect on low viewership.
The Best Single Season Canceled Shows: My So-Called Life
Finally, there’s the matter of My So-Called Life. This coming-of-age high-school drama had a lot going for it, given that it followed the proven teenage drama formula. The critics praised its depiction of adolescence and generally clever writing. Furthermore, the show introduced to the screen some future stars like Claire Danes (known for her leading role in Homeland) and Jared Leto. With all that being said, the show never lived to see season two.
There is actually a sea of these series that simply disappeared after season one, but there simply isn’t enough room to mention them all. Networks (especially today) have a nasty habit of judging a show based on the reception it gets after just one season. They rarely let the show spread its wings, show what it’s capable of, and this trend will probably continue in the future. All we can do is support the shows we love and cross our fingers that they don’t get canceled right away.
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