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One-Season Wonders

Firefly Photo: Fox

I could write a whole piece on this topic, but I’m lazy, so here’s esteemed former Newark Star-Ledger TV critic Alan Sepinwall, now at, offering his list of the the best one-season wonder TV shows.  He doesn’t put “Terriers” on there only because it’s too fresh a kill — he was one of the major proponents of “Terriers” among TV critics — but “Freaks and Geeks” is at the top, “Firefly” is on there, too, and “Undeclared,” and more.

You might have your own, but, remember, the shows have to have lasted only one season or less, so “Arrested Development” doesn’t count.

Click here to read Sepinwall’s nominees.

Feel free to nominate your own in the comments here, too.

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  1. Lucy says:

    I’m happy to see The Middleman included in the list. That poor show. I still can’t believe it was on ABC Family of all channels.

    And I definitely third Clone High.

  2. Scott says:

    Better Off Ted always made me laugh…because I’m stupid.
    Yeah, yeah it was on two seasons…too few that is!
    Damn you ABC!

  3. Robert says:

    I second Krod Mandoon, loved that show. I also would add Sit Down, Shut up… although fox broke up the episodes into two seasons, they were all originally considered one season.

    Oh, and Plant Of The Apes.

  4. Galadriel says:

    I can’t believe no one mentioned ROAR!!!!! Heath Ledger. Vera Farmiga. Along with several other talented actors and great historical fantasy-adventure stories. I’m quite sure it qualifies as 1996 or later… but maybe I’m wrong? Anyway, if you missed Roar, get the DVDs and discover something wonderful!!! We miss you, Heath.

  5. john says:

    One hit wonder doesn’t mean that the artist only had one song, or one album, it means they only had one hit.

    So calling a cancelled-after-less-than-two-seasons show a one-season-wonder isn’t logical.

  6. I know it technically got two seasons, but since season two was cut short and beaten with a stick by ABC, and they were forced to wrap up story arks awkwardly at the end of season one to accommodate a lack of support, I think Twin Peaks deserves a nod.

  7. Brizon says:

    Krod Mandoon and the flaming sword of fire. or Secret Girlfriend, maybe. Krod Mandoon was very funny and i was kinda sad to see it go. Secret Girlfriend kind of grew on you as well.

  8. courtney says:

    Firefly – I miss that gorram show…

  9. Rick says:

    I certainly can’t argue with Freaks & Geeks being at the top of the pile.

    Second on my list would be Sons & Daughters, an ABC sitcom from 2006 that was just a few years ahead of its time. After all, it was quite successful when it came back in 2009… as Modern Family.

  10. Deltus says:

    I really became quite taken with Journeyman a few years back on NBC. It was really starting to hit it’s stride, and they cancelled it. I was angry.

  11. Mike says:

    Knights of Prosperity.
    Andy Barker, P.I.

    and if you count just a pilot, my number one:

  12. Sally says:

    I’d vote for Nightmare Cafe, but that one didn’t even last a whole season.

  13. mcdannie says:

    I loved Wonderfalls too so I was a bit bummed out to see him automatically rule it out even if he did acknowledge it was one where people would argue otherwise. I’m curious when he stopped though, the four episodes that made it to air, the two-ish episodes I imagine they’d send to reviewers, or if he made it through the whole series on DVD and somehow still disliked it.

    I’d argue that given the number of episodes Pushing Daisies was effectively canceled after what would have been one season were it not for the writer’s strike.

  14. DMack says:

    Had to be sure Clone High was mentioned already. Good lookin’ out, Jeska.

  15. Mariah says:

    WONDERFALLS!!! One of the best one season series out there. It was so lovely and imaginative. Pushing Daisies filled the Brian Fuller hole in my heart after it ended but alas, it also was gone too soon.

  16. Lisa G says:

    It aired before Alan Sepinwall’s time frame, and it only had 7 episodes, but I still consider Isaac Asimov’s “Probe” to be one of the best programs to ever air on American television.

    And although it claims two seasons in the British way of marking a “season,” since it had only 14 episodes + 1 TV movie, I’d bend the rules to include “Max Headroom” on this list.

    And what the hell. For a sci-fi trifecta, let’s add last year’s over-hyped and under-appreciated “FlashForward”. Loved that show.

  17. Sawyer says:

    Is it too early to put Rubicon on the list?

  18. Eric says:

    I’m glad to see the original Cupid on the list. I may be the only one who ever saw this, but I would add the show Keen Eddie. It was about an American cop who followed a criminal to England and stayed on to work with the police there. Thin premise but a well executed fish out of water drama-comedy.

    Also Louis CK’s HBO show Lucky Louie was gone far too soon.

  19. kerry says:

    Does 4 aired eps count as a “season”? If so, I nominate PROFIT.

  20. ml says:

    Good to see Nothing Sacred mentioned. I enjoyed it quite a bit back in the day, and amazed it was ever allowed to grace network tv.

  21. Jeska says:

    Two words: Clone High.

  22. Jack says:

    The live action version of The Tick is probably my favorite past what you already mentioned. Also enjoyed The Black Donnellys quite a bit