Every season, there are plenty of bad television shows that deserve to be scrapped. But a few abruptly canceled shows were actually good– and they should have run at least until they had the chance to jump the shark! Here are the best TV shows that were canceled after only one season:
The Honeymooners (1955-56). Amazingly, this classic show only aired for one season, but if it’s seems longer than that it’s because the characters were frequently featured in sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show. But the original 39 Honeymooners episodes, about a loudmouth New York bus driver, his wife, and their best friend neighbors, are considered classics.
My World and Welcome To It (1969-70). William Windham stared in this short lived series about a New York magazine writer-cartoonist, his wife Ellen and his daughter, Lydia. The show was based on the work of James Thurber and it was quite different from other shows of the era, featuring daydream fantasy sequences with cartoon backgrounds. My World and Welcome To It was years ahead of it’s time, earning two Emmy awards in the process, but was reportedly canceled so NBC could make room on their schedule for The Red Skelton Show. Good news for Red, but a real shame for this unique show. You can see a rare promo clip for My World and Welcome To It here .
My So Called Life (1994-95). Only 19 episodes of this drama series about teen angst aired on ABC- all of them gems. MSCL had the misfortune of an impossible time slot, competing against shows like Friends and Mad About You, so during its original run it suffered low ratings (the show later resurfaced on MTV, giving the 19 episodes a new fan base). But another factor in the show’s cancellation was the star of the show, actress Claire Danes, who was reportedly ready to move on to make movies. Still, fans would have loved just one more season. The show’s loose ends were never tied up, and My So Called Life was a quality show that deserved a proper finish.
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). This cult classic, set in the early 1980’s, was the story of teen siblings, Lindsay and Sam Weir, and their freaky and geeky friends. The show had clever writing and boasted an awesome 80’s soundtrack (Joan Jett, Van Halen), but it was unceremoniously snatched away from fans after only 12 episodes (6 more episodes later aired after fan protest). Freaks and Geeks received accolades after the fact, even making a couple of “Greatest TV Shows” lists, but it was too little too late.
What About Brian (2006-2007). Technically this show ran for 2 seasons, but because it was a mid-season replacement, the first season consisted of just a handful of episodes. In total, only 24 episodes of the series aired. What About Brian starred Barry Watson as a single 30-something guy and his close-knit pool of mostly married and engaged friends. The first season featured smart writing, interesting characters and it had a sweet time slot- it came on immediately following ABC’s The Bachelor. Unfortunately, in season 2 the show changed things up a bit- it featured a dull storyline about a cupcake business and a bloated cast of new, sexy characters (Tiffani Thiessen, Stacy Keibler) that fans didn’t really care about. Still, the ingredients were there- Brian could have been saved if the writers had only looked back to Season 1 for inspiration.
Firefly (2002). Talk about a cult following! The post- series success of this short-lived futuristic (as in 500 years in the future) sci-fi series was driven by the fans. When Fox cried “cancel” after only one (short) season, fans tried to convince another network to pick up the series. When that failed, they spearheaded the show’s DVD release and even raised thousands of dollars to have copies of the series available for military personnel. The fan pressure eventually resulted in a feature film, Serenity, made of the series and fans even created a fan-made sequel. All this after only 14 episodes! Clearly this show should have stayed on the air, if for no reason but for the passionate fans.