10 Amazing TV Shows With Surprisingly Weak First Seasons

If you could survive the introductory episodes, you'll be rewarded with an awesome show.

It seems sort of unfair, with the number of shows that have potential and are cancelled after only one season, that lackluster first seasons are even given a second chance to grow and develop. But we can€™t be too upset, because once these tv shows got past their freshman jitters, they become some of the most popular programs in recent memory. Sometimes there were casting issues, where actors needed to either join or leave the show for it to become a success. Other times it was the formatting that wasn't drawing in audiences the way it needed to. But most of the time it was simply a matter of small tweaks and changes, and the characters needing a handful of episodes to find what worked for them and to settle into their roles on the show. Here are ten shows that didn€™t exactly start on a high note, but dramatically improved in quality after their first year. Just to clarify: we're not saying that these shows were necessarily bad during their first season. In fact, compared to a lot of dreck that gets vomited onto cable television year after year, they're actually pretty decent. But considering how universally loved and praised they are now, a lot of people forget that these shows started off as ugly little ducklings and matured into beautiful swans.

10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy started as a loose remake of the 1993 film with Kristy Swanson, which is sort of fun but is universally considered to be a pretty bad movie. So it makes sense that the first season would start close to that original idea of the ditzy blonde cheerleader who fights vampires, and then as the show went on it would evolve into something more mature and complex. But there's no escaping the fact that Buffy's first season feels very much like it's trying to find itself, and in the meantime is simplistic and slightly awkward. Low production values and odd design plans don't do the young show any favors, while the vampire makeup looks decidedly amateurish with teeth that make the actors sound like they're wearing a retainer. It was a fun show with a lot of potential in those days, but it was hardly the paragon of genre television that would launch Joss Whedon's career. Not at that point, anyway. As things settled into the second and third season, the storytelling became more refined and the writers began to experiment creatively in a way that would separate Buffy from all the other shows on television at the time.

Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.