Shows That Should Have Been Only One Season  

Jacob Shelton
4.8k votes 1k voters 28.3k views 17 items

List Rules Vote up the shows that tanked after a single season.

Don’t you just love TV? Isn’t it great how your favorite show can act like a blanket made up of your best friends? And don’t you just love how a series will never end, and get exponentially worse as time goes on? So, about that last thing. You know you’ve seen a few shows that went on way too long and wondered what happened to make them get so bad. Some of the worst TV seasons ever have occurred because a good show suddenly soured, and ruined what was good about it in the first place.

Everyone has suffered through bad seasons of good tv shows, hoping the show will get better next year. How does this happen? What makes a show go wrong? It can be a lot of things. Writer turnover is a very real thing on long-running shows. Sometimes the person who created the series leaves and terrible shows with great first seasons are what happens when show running goes horribly wrong.

You can probably name at least three great TV shows with terrible final seasons just right off the top of your head. You may have even defended some of these shows that should've been one season to your friends. But you know, deep in your heart, there was no reason to watch seven seasons of well-dressed people complain about relationships while selling black tar heroin on Madison Avenue. Take a break from watching the 10th season of Drug Buddies to read about these shows with writers rooms that probably should've taken their cyanide capsules after Season 1.

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Highlander: The Series is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Shows That Should Have Been Only One Season
Photo:  Starz

Fun fact: Highlander was on for six seasons. You probably haven't seen one episode of this spin off of a movie about sword bros fighting each other to the death. The series began in syndication, which used to be a way to keep your show from having to worry about ratings because it had been paid for up front by paid cable companies, so it had carte blanche to do whatever it wanted as long as nerds kept tuning in and buying fake swords through mail order.

Over the course of the six years Highlander: The Series was on the air, so many willy-nilly changes were made to the mythos the Highlander film universe was irreparably changed for the worse. Or maybe the better? It's honestly hard to tell when your measuring stick is Highlander 2. How many stories could there really be about men with swords swording each other to the death? At least 119, apparently. 

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Orange Is the New Black is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Shows That Should Have Been Only One Season
Photo:  Netflix

If you've read the autobiography Netflix series Orange Is the New Black is based on, you know the first season took plenty of liberties with Piper's story, but that's adaptation for you. Arguably, Piper's story could be told in one season. Hell, she's given an out at the end of the the first run of 13 episodes, which is when the series jumps its first shark. Piper decides to stay in prison, making sure the show can carry on indefinitely rather than tell one spectacular story.  

To reiterate, a privileged white woman decides to stay in prison. At which point the show becomes a directionless compendium of anecdotes reducing the lives of its characters to trivial humor and exploitative pageantry. 

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The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Shows That Should Have Been Only One Season
Photo:  AMC

Woof. If every word written here were erased except for these words then everything would be fine.

The Walking Dead does not function as a multi-season television show. It works as a comic book thanks to the medium in which it exists, but as a show it's super boring. After the first six episodes, the show had essentially blown its wad and, by inventing fan favorite Daryl and keeping on Carol (who became a ninja or something), it turned itself into a normal show. The entire idea behind the comic book is that anything could happen, but when you're dealing with contractual obligations, and crew members that are (rightfully) looking for a long term gig, you just can't kill off your characters. This show should have been a mini-series. 

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The League is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Shows That Should Have Been Only One Season
Photo:  20th Century Fox

How was The League a thing? The first season of this show about friends playing fantasy football and being awful people is fine, but it didn't need to exist beyond its initial six episodes. It's great so many funny people were able to trick FX into giving them money for seven years, but that doesn't mean that it was an interesting (or even all that good) program. Still, it's hard to be mad at any program that gave Jason Mantzoukas a stage to act like a compete crazy person. 

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