We all have certain TV shows that we love more than any other. Some of these go on to become classic shows that span several seasons, while others are staggeringly canceled after a single season. Some of these canceled shows have been retroactively praised and considered to be classic shows that definitely warranted a longer run. In fact, you might actually be surprised by just how many great shows out there have only actually had one season.
Usually, this is down to factors such as low ratings, but can even be a case of bureaucracy within the studios. The most disappointing thing is that the majority of these shows never have the chance to come to a satisfactory conclusion as a result. Check out some of the best ever TV shows that were only allowed a single season to flex their muscles on the air. We miss you guys!
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
Many of the biggest names in mainstream Hollywood comedy got their big break on this show. Created by Paul Feig, who would go onto direct Bridesmaids, and the remake of Ghostbusters, the show was an honest and hilarious depiction of high school life. Think a more grunge or rock version of John Hughes, but with a cast including Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini. The verisimilitude here is what makes the show so great, and the characters are all so authentic. Executive produced by comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow, we can’t believe that this show would only run for a single season.
Considered the poster child for shows canceled before their time, Firefly is a space-western created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer guru Joss Whedon. This cult franchise has one of the most devoted fanbases in television, and for good reason – it’s utterly brilliant. Nathan Fillion’s anti-hero Mal Reynolds is captain of a ship named Serenity, which he and his crew use to smuggle in the farthest reaches of space. The show could have been so much more if only Fox had allowed Whedon more time to explore this world. It seems harsh considering all the great work Whedon did for the studio – Buffy, and Angel. But, at least he had the chance to offer some closure with the 2005 spinoff movie Serenity.
My So-Called Life (1994-1995)
The show that is credited with launching Clare Danes to superstardom, this underrated gem represented perhaps the pinnacle of teen TV drama. The likes of Dawson’s Creek and The O.C. owe a massive debt to this show which follows a young schoolgirl coming of age in a small town in Pittsburgh. Though it only ran for a single season, the show managed to cover a lot of really important and relevant themes, such as homophobia, addiction, and school violence. It is one of the most influential shows of the ‘90s, and we can’t believe the network pulled the plug so soon. Go back and watch it, you won’t be disappointed – oh, and eyes peeled for a young Jared Leto!
Okay, there are plenty of other shows as well that were canceled before their time, but these three represent the pinnacle for us. They are some of the best and most influential TV shows ever made, and could easily have spanned several seasons. While their premature cancellation has given them something of a cult status, there is no doubting just how great these shows are, and how much they have had an impact on modern television.