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Old 10-24-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
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Question Biggest "Second Season Downfalls" for a TV series

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...SeasonDownfall

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The vast majority of television shows don't make it very far. Networks order dozens of new series every year, launch the most promising ones in the fall... and almost immediately begin cancelling ones that don't live up to expectations, replacing them with the shows that didn't make the first string of launches, in the hope of eventually getting a schedule of hits. This is the root of Too Good to Last: the network model simply isn't generous to shows that don't get off to a healthy start.

But for all the dozens of shows that fail in their first year, there are a few that survive this initial culling, complete their first season, and are renewed for a second. Smooth sailing from now on, right?

Well...not always. Sometimes nobody expected the show to make it, and so the writers and producers pulled out all the stops in the first year, leaving nothing to work with for the next season. Sometimes a show with a novel concept inspires imitators that either pull off the gimmick more skillfully, or are so ubiquitious that viewers become bored with both the original and the knockoffs. Sometimes Executive Meddling is to blame, especially if the second season coincides with a change in network leadership. Sometimes there's no clear cause at all; the show simply ran out of steam, and Seasonal Rot kicked in early. In any case, there are a lot of shows that make it through a successful first season, only to fall victim to a Sophomore Slump and get canceled by the end of a disappointing second season. In the end, these shows are Short Runners.

Compare Jumping the Shark. Contrast Long Runners.

This topic kind of goes w/ this past thread:
TV shows that burned hot, then burned out almost as fast
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:21 AM   #2
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Question Other TV Shows That Were Ruined by 2nd Season Retools

Basically, the reversal of "growing a beard":
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...g/LiveActionTV

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Andromeda executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe was constantly fighting with the Tribune suits, and he was ultimately fired halfway through Season 2. The plot of the show changed drastically at this point; Dylan's attempts to create a new Commonwealth were rushed to completion so he could be at odds with them instead.

The John Larroquette Show started off as a quirky off-beat comedy focusing on the main character's 12 Step recovery from alcoholism. Network executives forced the producers to eliminate the 12 Step material after the first season, which took much of the original unique and edgy flavor away from the show. From there it turned into another "single people with relationship problems" type of show, the exact sitcom stereotype the series was trying to stray from. John Hemingway also lost his cool, brooding, intellectual demeanor in the process. Larroquette himself despaired when they moved his character, who worked as a night-shift bus station manager, out of his rat-trap boarding house to a nice apartment that he obviously couldn't afford with a couch facing the cameras. The Hooker with a Heart of Gold character had to find another career, too.

Lois and Clark suffered from two instances of executive meddling:
The first instance was between seasons one and two, when ABC forced the writers to retool the show. They added more action (the show was about Lois and Clark, not so much about Superman), more sex (because men are pervs), less Cat Grant (despite being a nymphomaniac gossip columnist, they'd rather sex everyone else up than have an extraneous character in a show that was becoming less and less about the Daily Planet), and they switched Jimmy Olsen out for a younger actor (some fans think it was because the first guy looked too much like the lead; it was likely both). The second instance was their insistence on removing focus from the relationship. Clark couldn't reveal his Secret Identity. They could only kinda sorta hint that she already knew. When he proposed to her, they gave them a whole arc devoted to their wedding. The executives made them switch Lois out for an (evil?) clone at the last minute. They finally got married towards the end, and found a foundling. And the Execs canceled it because it had "run its course." It would not have "run its course" if not for the fake-out wedding, after which they lost a large amount of their viewership.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Retool

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...e/LiveActionTV

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...s/LiveActionTV

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeasonalRot

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...SeasonDownfall
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:01 AM   #3
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GLEE

Great first season...admittedly pretty messy at points, but overall very good. But Season 2 was a disaster and it only got worse from there.
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:19 AM   #4
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It's a bit premature, but Last Man Standing looks to be heading that route w/ changing Kristen's actress (all of the comments that I've read thus far, universally dislike Amanda Fuller in the role when compared to Alexandra Krosney), to Tim Allen seemingly wanting to turn this show into a modern day (heavy-handed) All in the Family (after the first season was for all intents and purposes, Home Improvement if Tim Taylor had all girls for kids), w/ his character being Archie Bunker.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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I thought the American Version of Men Behaving Badly was a decent show but, Ron Eldard and Justine Bateman left after the first season and were replaced by Ken Marino and Jenica Bergere the show tanked from there.
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmoJoe
GLEE

Great first season...admittedly pretty messy at points, but overall very good. But Season 2 was a disaster and it only got worse from there.

Desperate Housewives followed the same path. Interesting strong first season, a lackluster second season and then went downhill. At least unlike Glee, Marc Cherry decided to end DH.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
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Buck Rogers Holy Shark Jump Batman!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:34 AM   #8
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whatever charm after mash had in season was gone in season 2 after the network messed with it
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:36 AM   #9
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i meant whatever charm it had in season 1
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:25 PM   #10
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Season 2 had way less enjoyable episodes. I can count on my hand the number of the ones from that time I actually liked.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:35 AM   #11
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I can't believe no one's mentioned Mork & Mindy. That show is the EPITOME of a second season downfall.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UMFaninMD
Desperate Housewives followed the same path. Interesting strong first season, a lackluster second season and then went downhill. At least unlike Glee, Marc Cherry decided to end DH.
It took Marc Cherry long enough though.

Not that it was ever a great series, but I believe the second season of HEROES was it's downfall.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover79
I can't believe no one's mentioned Mork & Mindy. That show is the EPITOME of a second season downfall.

http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2007/09/retoolers.html

Quote:
That reminds me that these guys -- whose shows were usually evil but phenomenally successful -- could write a book on how to re-tool a sitcom: almost every show they were ever involved with was substantially re-tooled in the middle of its run, sometimes several times. Like their mentor Garry Marshall, they didn't do the whole artistic-integrity thing and would basically do anything to keep a show on the air, whether it was bowing to network demands, playing up any character who became popular, or changing the setting. Let's look at some of the shows produced by Miller-Boyett or some variant thereof (Miller-Milkis, Miller-Milkis-Boyett -- basically, Miller, a former assistant to Billy Wilder, was the constant factor in all this):

- Happy Days: one of the most famous and successful (commercially anyway) re-toolings ever. Then it was re-tooled several times to adjust for the departure of Ron Howard and the departure/return of Joanie and Chachi.

- Laverne and Shirley: they moved the whole show from Milwaukee (Miller was from Milwaukee and it was presumably his idea to set these shows there) to Hollywood, then did it for a year without Shirley (or Lenny).

- Mork and Mindy: Completely overhauled in its second season.

- Angie: this was one of the few older-demographic comedies this team did (Bosom Buddies, which underwent a mild second-season re-tool, was another). Since all their shows were attempts to cash in on the success of something else, I suspect that this was done in response to the launch of ABC/Paramount's Taxi, which briefly made it OK for the network to do smart adult comedies. Then Taxi's ratings tanked and they abandoned that pretty quickly. Anyway, despite a successful first season, Angie had a new setting and had dropped some characters by the time the second season started.

- Perfect Strangers: early on, Larry and Balki were working for a mean shop owner played by Ernie Sabella. In the third season, they were working a big glamorous Chicago paper. Apparently the producers had decided that people didn't want to see the characters working a depressing dead-end job like Laverne and Shirley; this was the '80s and audiences wanted successful people.

- The Hogan Family: one of the most notorious and publicized re-toolings of the '80s, started as a show with Valerie Harper and wound up as a show about Sandy Duncan.

- Going Places: a show I never saw, but which according to the linked article had the characters change jobs/settings in the middle of its short run.

- Family Matters: the focus of the Time article that started this post; it starts off as a Perfect Strangers spinoff and suddenly it's a show about Urkel, whom the producers embraced just as they once embraced the Fonz.

Just about the only show on that list that didn't get heavily re-tooled was Full House, and even that got changed a lot before it first aired (change of premise, and an unused pilot with a different actor).

I don't have much to say to sum up, except that Tom Miller and co. are a test case for what producers can accomplish if they don't really care what their shows were originally supposed to be about. If they throw the whole integrity and plausibility notion aside and just rejigger every show to emphasize whatever the public likes at a given point, they can actually be pretty darn successful. Frightening, but successful.

Last edited by TMC : 11-08-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #14
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Perfect Strangers moved from Twinkie's store to the newspaper in its third season, not its second.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #15
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I liked Last Man Standing last year, and I hate 98% of all modern comedies. After the first episode, I'm giving it one more and if it doesn't get a lot better, I'm done.
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