Top 10 shows cancelled after 1 season

25-Jun-12 8:30 PM by
Filed under Television; 5 comments.

YouTube artist Brian Picchi is best known for his Apple II software reviews, but occasionally he branches out to bring his witty critique to other media. He most recently turned his focus to his personal top ten shows cancelled after (or during) the first season:

To summarize the 12-minute video, here are the shows that made Picchi's cut, starting at #1:

  1. Firefly (2002)
  2. Awake (2012)
  3. Planet of the Apes (1974)
  4. Voyagers! (1982)
  5. Crusoe (2008)
  6. Top Cat (1961)
  7. The Dana Carvey Show (1996)
  8. Nightmare Cafe (1992)
  9. Freaks and Geeks (1999)
  10. The Tick (2001)

Due to the short lives of many of these shows, I'm unsurprised I haven't seen most of them. Of those I have, Top Cat is such a classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon that I didn't even realize it had been cancelled; before it was, 30 episodes were created, more than the typical 22-episode season of a live-action show. The death of The Tick, I did not lament, given its significant inferiority to its animated predecessor.

But both Ticks share a credit in common with the #1 show: Ben Edlund, creator of The Tick, wrote several episodes of Firefly. When Picchi had made it that far down his list without mentioning Joss Whedon's cult hit, I was worried I would have to unsubscribe from this YouTube hack's channel. Fortunately, he redeemed himself, even teasing that we never should've doubted him.

Still, where is Police Squad? The show that the transition from serious to comedic actor that Leslie Nielsen began in Airplane! lasted a mere six episodes yet is comedy gold.

And, given Picchi's penchant for sci-fi and underdogs, I'm surprised he didn't mention Defying Gravity, which starred Office Space's Ron Livingston and ran for only 13 episodes. I watched the first few episodes via iTunes and was unimpressed, but I know Apple II user Eric Shepherd was rooting for it, so I figured it was just me.

Of course, any such list barely scratches the surface of shows killed before their time (Journeyman, anyone?) and will always be subjective and incomplete. Fortunately, the story needn't always end: many shows continue their narrative in novels, comic books, and video games. And for those that don't, there are many spiritual successors. Check out these awesome books to replace your favorite cancelled TV shows.

5 Responses to “Top 10 shows cancelled after 1 season”

  1. GeneD5 adds:

    There are probably more good genre TV shows that were short-lived than those that survived into multiple seasons.

    Among my favorites are Space: Above and Beyond, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., The Middleman, Pushing Daisies, Q.E.D., Wonderfalls, and New Amsterdam.

    Often, writers, actors, and ideas reappear in later, more successful shows, but it's important to enjoy support what you like while it's on the air!

  2. Brian adds:

    Networks seem to be getting really nasty about not giving shows a chance these days. It was fun putting together this list, many from my childhood, but it's also fun reading everyone else's favorite 1 season shows, most of which I've never seen. I've never seen any of the shows you mentioned, but others have mentioned them on my channel as well and I'll definitely need to check them out. Thank you for the post.

  3. Ken Gagne adds:

    Dude — you've never seen Police Squad?

    You're fired.

  4. GeneD5 adds:

    Another phenomenon that helped build audiences for the genre TV shows of the 1960s through 1980s was syndication. With fewer, less niche-based channels, it was still possible for fans to have a common frame of reference of the original "Star Trek," "Battlestar Galactica," and other short-lived shows that some of us caught only in reruns years later.

    With networks less patient and high-budget, high-profile shows like "Game of Thrones" getting all the critical and viewer attention, it's harder than ever for a clever idea to make it to the small screen, let alone stick around long enough to be recognized.

  5. peterw adds:

    Wow, I really have trouble believing there was only one season of Top Cat! Although as you pointed out, I guess 30 episodes is a pretty decent effort for a "short" run!

    I still can't pick up a yo-yo without thinking of the classic TC line, "Spook, the lights!" – and wanting to try it!