Why Does Everything I Love Die?

freaks-and-geeksOkay, so I may be being a tad overdramatic with that title, but it seems like over the years, far too many of the shows I’ve liked have ended with their first season. And I don’t just mean ‘shows that I thought had potential.’ The following shows all range from ‘extremely good’ to ‘some of my favourite shows of all time.’ And these are shows with strong cult followings, so I know the conclusion to be reached here isn’t that I’m some sort of television tasteual freak (yes that may have been a segue).

Freaks and Geeks may have only lasted eighteen episodes (several of which didn’t even air during the original run), but it remains to this day the best highschool dramedy ever made. Probably my second-favourite of the shows on this list.


Sticking with teenagers and drama, My So-Called Life dealt with numerous topics traditionally ignored on TV, and also produced the most realistic take on teenagers seen on television. MSCL also stands as an excellent portrait of mid-nineties culture. Canceled after one nineteen episode season.

The most recent show on this list, Moonlight was a vampire drama, taking cues from both Angel and Forever Knight. The show set up a unique vampire mythology, but the combination of the writer’s strike and the replacement of the showrunner resulted in some sub-par episodes to close out the season, and so it ended after just sixteen episodes.

The Lone Gunmen was a spinoff of the X-Files featuring… well, the Lone Gunmen. Very much in the same vein as X-Files, but with a more plausible, less-supernatural/science fictional bent. The show also ramped up the comedy to much higher levels than normally seen in its parent show. Lone Gunmen lasted thirteen episodes, though the cliffhanger was wrapped up in one of the final X-Files episodes.

Undeclared reunited several members of the Freaks and Geeks team, this time to make a full-on comedy set in a college dorm. Undeclared got one less episode than Freaks, clocking in at seventeen.

complete-savagesComplete Savages was a family sitcom, and like MSCL lasted nineteen episodes. Don’t let the ‘family’ part put you off, the show was extremely clever and witty, better than most of the popular comedies at the time.

Space: Above and Beyond lasted the longest of anything on this list, getting twenty-four episodes. As far as science fiction goes, S:AAB falls pretty close in tone to BSG, though with more conspiracy elements. This is also one of the only shows on this list that I actually saw during the original run of the show.

Following the show with the most episodes, we have the show with the least. Drive lasted only six episodes, only four of which even made it to air. The series focused on an illegal cross-country road race, and the mysterious people behind the race. How a show with Nathan Fillion driving a classic Challenger could be cancelled at all, yet alone so quickly is mindblowing.

Nathan works as a good segue into the final show on this list, and my favourite. Firefly was a science fiction western, and lasted fourteen episodes plus a theatrical feature film. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say anything else about this show, you know, considering I’m on the Internet here.

fireflySo, nine shows. That seems high, right? to have that many of my favourite shows only last one season? I’m sure you’re all waiting for some sort of conclusion to be drawn from this, but I don’t have one, really. Were they somehow too good for the general public to catch them? Bad timeslot? Insufficient advertising? I’m not sure.

Before I go, I should also mention that there are several shows I’m interested in watching which only lasted one season, such as the live-action version of The Tick, and Journeyman. I’m sure this list can do nothing but grow.


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~ by Jerk on November 27, 2008.

4 Responses to “Why Does Everything I Love Die?”

  1. This made me mourn. I sniffled. I really did. You’ve never seen The Tick? or just not every episode?

    I added some tags. I’m going to post about those eventually.

  2. Yeah, I wasn’t sure if I should tag or not, with so many shows in the post. And yeah, I’ve never seen the live-action Tick at all. I never got around to it when it was on, and it only lasted 9 episodes. Been meaning to buy the DVD for a while though.

  3. Insufficient advertising is a big problem to be looked at i think when it comes to why shows fail. Not having the network backup screws them every time. I always feel like “The Network” is totally removed from art, from humor or drama. They’re a machine that has no relation to good or bad, just numbers. So maybe it’s the audience thats to blame. No, it’s probably the audience.

  4. I think it’s both. If a show doesn’t start with good numbers, the Network will be less likely to put any effort into pimping.

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