10 Best TV Shows That Only Got One Season

These shows have stood the test of time despite ending too soon.

Freaks And Geeks

Breaking Bad is often hailed as the greatest show on television (especially after seeing Game of Thrones end with such a whimper last year). However, Breaking Bad had a slow start and didn't gain its reputation as a masterpiece until later. Because of a writer's strike, the first season only had seven episodes, which didn't give the show much chance to flesh out the characters or build up major story arcs. Imagine if Breaking Bad wasn't green-lit for a second season. Viewers would have never known what they would have missed out on.

Sadly, some of the best series of all time were cancelled almost immediately. The most common reason why a show is cancelled is because the ratings aren't up to scratch. However, there are other factors including money, studio interference, or a scandal.

Sometimes, the fanbase is so powerful, it can resurrect cancelled shows for a renewed season (or seasons). Some shows that came back from the dead include Futurama, Family Guy, Arrested Development, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Sadly, the shows on this list never had that luxury despite the outpouring from fans.

It's frustrating when a series concludes in the middle of a storyline. But what's even worse is when an a show is axed right out the gate.

10. Police Squad

Freaks And Geeks
Paramount Television

For decades, Leslie Nielsen was known for his dramatic roles in film and television. But after playing Dr. Rumack in the spoof, Airplane!, he gained a reputation for his impeccable comic timing and deadpan delivery. Realising Nielsen's comic talent, the creators of Airplane!, the Zucker Brothers, cast him as Detective Frank Drebin in the tv series, Police Squad. The show had the same parody style as Airplane but mainly lampooned cop dramas.

The producers of Police Squad insisted that the show needed a laughter track, which was standard practice for any comedy series at the time. However, the creators believed the series could only work without canned laughter. Sadly, Police Squad tanked. Without a laughter track, viewers didn't understand the show's comedy style. After only six episodes, it was cancelled.

Knowing the concept had potential, Police Squad was reworked into the film, The Naked Gun, which spawned two sequels. Most of the jokes from the show were reused for the trilogy.

In hindsight, it feels ridiculous that viewers didn't "get" the comedy style of the show. You'd assume if Police Squad was released today, it would have been a hit. However, there is another parody series that flopped but came out more recently...


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Supervillains Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85