Sunday, February 3, 2013
Good TV shows that lasted just one or two seasons
It’s much better to go out being remembered as a high-quality TV show than one that faded and died.
British television often airs limited-run TV series, designed to last two or three seasons. But in the U.S., producers prefer shows that go on indefinitely.
Shows like “MASH,” “Miami Vice,” “The X-Files” and “House” would have been better served by having fewer seasons. Their legacies were tarnished by the diminished quality of the later seasons.
AMC recently announced plans to bring back “The Killing,” which had a very satisfying two-season run. The presumed finale answered the big question, “Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” Now it’s got to start up with some new mystery for season three.
It could work. But why bother? Few people remember what happened on “Twin Peaks” after the Laura Palmer murder was solved. Ratings for “The Killing” are only going to slide because the novelty and appeal of the show have ebbed.
NBC’s “Smash” is coming back for a second season soon. But the first-season finale seemed like a good place to end it.
And ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B---- In Apartment 23” was just canceled midway through its second season. It’s probably better that it was. The producers had taken the premise about as far as they could and it was starting to feel strained. The first season was edgier. “Don’t Trust the B” will be remembered as a short-lived cult TV show.
List of good TV shows that lasted two seasons or less:
The Prisoner (U.K., 1967-68)
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (ABC, 1974-75)
Police Squad! (ABC, 1982)
Dark Shadows (NBC, 1991)
The Ben Stiller Show (Fox, 1992-93)
The Dana Carvey Show (ABC, 1996)
Brimstone (Fox, 1998-99)
Cupid (ABC, 1998-99)
Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999-2000)
Undeclared (Fox, 2001-02)
Firefly (Fox, 2002)
Robbery Homicide Division (CBS, 2002-03)
Karen Sisco (ABC, 2003)
Miss Match (NBC, 2003)
Blade: The Series (Spike, 2006)
New Amsterdam (Fox, 2008)
Cupid (ABC, 2009)
FlashForward (ABC, 2009-10)
The Gates (ABC, 2010)
The Event (NBC, 2010-11)
No Ordinary Family (ABC, 2010-11)
Awake (NBC, 2012)
The River (ABC, 2012)
666 Park Avenue (ABC, 2012)
Harry O (ABC, 1974-76)
Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990-91)
The Office (U.K., 2001-03)
Life On Mars (U.K., 2006-07)
Reaper (CW, 2007-09)
Dollhouse (Fox, 2009-10)
Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (ABC, 2012-13)
Note: This list is highly subjective since it only includes shows that I’ve watched and personally enjoyed.
Photos: Krysten Ritter as Chloe on “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23” (top), poster from the AMC show “The Killing.”