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Old 12-17-2019, 12:46 PM   #1
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TV TV Guide: "16 One-Season Wonders from the 2010s that Deserved Better"

16 One-Season Wonders that Deserved Better
by Megan Vick and Kaitlin Thomas
Dec. 14, 2019

"Pretty Wild" (E!, 2010)

There are few titles that sum up their shows up so accurately. "Pretty Wild" could have been the next "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" for the same reason that it was canceled — Alexis Neiers' legal battles.

The reality show was supposed to be another "Laguna Beach" rip-off, this one about Beverly Hills socialites, but it became 100 times more interesting when Neiers was arrested on the second day of filming for her involvement in the Bling Ring — a group of people who broke into and robbed the homes of Audrina Patridge, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and more.

A sudden pivot turned the show into a docuseries of Neiers' legal battles and her bizarre home life. However, when Neiers was actually sentenced to six months in jail for her crimes, it made it hard for the show to go on. She's doing much better now, having gotten sober and reformed her life, but damn, that show was epic.

"Terriers" (FX, 2010)

We've accepted that "Terriers", FX's criminally under-watched series about two small-time private investigators — one a recovering alcoholic, the other a former thief — is a perfect one-season show.

But we've only accepted that because FX canceled the Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James-fronted series after one amazing but little-watched season. Think about what could have been had Hank and Britt been allowed to continue their amateur detective business. Think about the stories creator Ted Griffin could have told about them as they attempted to stay on the straight and narrow while taking down the man.

More importantly, think about how many henleys could have been sold because of how great Britt looked in them. At least we'll always have the show's delightful opening theme?

"Pan Am" (ABC, 2011)

The posters and ads for "Pan Am", ABC's 2011 dramedy about the pilots and flight attendants of the former iconic airline, seemed to be everywhere leading up to the show's premiere, but for some reason viewers didn't show up for the Christina Ricci-centered period piece.

OK, so "Pan Am" didn't have the depth of "Mad Men", which was at the peak of its popularity at the time, but it was still a good show that was actually quite visually stunning.

ABC had better luck with the similarly themed "Astronaut Wives Club", a limited series that aired in 2015, but we still wonder what hijinks Maggie (Ricci) and her co-workers (including a then-unknown Margot Robbie!) could have gotten up to if they had more than one chance at flight.

"Terra Nova" (Fox, 2011)

This might seem like a joke entry considering how critics panned "Terra Nova" at its first outing, but Fox's ambitious future sci-fi drama was actually a lot of fun to watch.

Sure, the science didn't make complete sense, but it was an entertaining blend of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fun. Also, there were dinosaurs. There are not enough dinosaurs in this age of endless television! But in all honesty, the thing about "Terra Nova" was that it was brave, and we can't remember the last time broadcast TV took as big of a swing as this show.

It deserved a second season just for having the balls to be what it was, which as a great popcorn flick in the form of weekly episodic television.

"Awake" (NBC, 2012)

Some ideas are admittedly better as movies than TV shows, which might have been the case for NBC's short-lived 2012 drama "Awake". The series starred Jason Isaacs as Michael Britten, a man who loses his wife and son in a car accident (though the accident part comes into question over the course of the season).

He begins living two lives: there is one in which he falls asleep and wakes up to find that his wife is alive, but then when he goes to sleep again, he wakes up in a world where his son survived instead. He sees a therapist in both worlds who insist that particular version of reality is the real one, and Michael must determine which one is actually telling the truth.

It was a mind-bending show, which may have been difficult for people to process when they just wanted to unwind after work, but it was smart, compelling, and well-acted. Making the cancellation hurt even worse is the fact we never really found out what caused Michael's dreamy predicament or why someone would want to torture him so badly.

"Bunheads" (ABC Family, 2012)

To be perfectly honest, "Bunheads", Amy Sherman-Palladino's first post-Gilmore Girls series, is just "Gilmore Girls in Malibu" with ballet. Even the transition music from scene to scene is basically the same!

However, that doesn't make "Bunheads" any less delightful. Not only did the show introduce us to a bright young cast of talent, including Julia Goldani Telles, Emma Dumont, and Bailey Buntain (now Bailey De Young), but it also helped break Sutton Foster out of Broadway-only stardom and into the mainstream.

We grew attached to the girls at the ballet school very quickly, but what hurt the most is that Michelle (Foster) had finally found her footing in her new role as a teacher when ABC Family (now Freeform) decided to end the show. We miss the sassy comedy, but we miss the show-stopping end credit dance sequences even more.

"Enlisted" (Fox, 2014)

If one thing is to be gathered from this list, it is that Fox still cancels really good shows way too soon, as "Enlisted" was another cancellation party foul.

Imagine having a cast that includes Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell, and Parker Young showing off their hilarious, charming talents, and then calling it quits after one short season. People, they also wore uniforms in this show! Come on, Fox!

Besides the eye-candy factor, though, "Enlisted" is also one of the most underrated comedies of the past decade. It's possible it could have survived if it had been given the benefit of delayed-viewing ratings like today's shows, which also count streaming and DVR numbers.

"Selfie" (ABC, 2014)

"Selfie" suffered from a terrible marketing campaign and a shallow pilot that didn't completely dismantle that marketing campaign. However, the Karen Gillan-starring, Pygmalion-inspired comedy quickly found its footing and became one of the best TV rom-coms ever.

We could have lived in a world where Gillan and John Cho played out a love story for the ages, but instead, the initial bad press (and poor title) turned viewers off, and as a result we never got the chance to see what this delightful show might have been had it been allowed to grow.

In our hearts, Eliza and Henry lived happily ever after, kissing in the rain whenever they desired, and making us swoon on a weekly basis into forever.

"The Grinder" (Fox, 2015)

"The Grinder" got a bad rap early on because it felt like a parody of a comedy, but the show's self-awareness was actually its greatest strength. It starred Rob Lowe as Dean Sanderson, an actor most famous for playing a lawyer on a TV show (a fictional The Grinder) that gets canceled, forcing Dean back home to work with his brother (Fred Savage) and father (William Devane), who are actually lawyers.

Dean desperately tries to reconnect with his estranged family while using his expertise in TV law to buoy the family law firm. It sounds absurd, but "The Grinder" was actually a heartwarming family comedy that could have been one of the greats if it had been allowed to live.

"Crashing" (Channel 4 / Netflix, 2016)

The world fell in love with Phoebe Waller-Bridge in "Fleabag", but they could have met her in "Crashing", the short-lived comedy she wrote for Channel 4 that now lives on Netflix.

The show tells the story of a group of friends who decide to take up residence in an abandoned hospital to save some money on rent. It has all the hallmark pervy but heartwarming humor that Waller-Bridge is now Emmy-famous for, but it includes a larger ensemble cast that you'll be equally enamored by.

Plus, as Waller-Bridge emerges as one of the defining writers of this generation, it is important to be familiar with all of her work.

"Pitch" (Fox, 2016)

This is the first of two Mark-Paul Gosselaar shows that deserved better from Fox on this list. "Pitch" was the story of Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), the first female pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

It was an intriguing concept, backed up by excellent performances and a compelling look at what would happen if a woman entered what has been a man's world without drowning the drama in sports talk. The problem is that Fox leaned too hard into marketing the show toward baseball fans instead of the much more likely female demographic, and then it scheduled it in the Thursday at 9 p.m. time slot in hopes of stealing viewers from ABC during "Scandal's" fall hiatus that year.

When the viewers didn't switch over, "Pitch" couldn't come up with the advertiser dollars to make the show's historic, but pricey, deal with MLB worth it and the fervent, if small, fan base will now forever be left wondering if Baker ever made it back to the mound after her game-ending injury in the finale.

"Quarry" (Cinemax, 2016)

Following the success of "Banshee", Cinemax continued its push into the world of top-notch programming with the violent, Vietnam-era crime drama "Quarry".

The series starred Logan Marshall-Green as a disgraced Marine caught up in a web of crime after returning home to a town and a country that no longer wanted him. His twitchy unraveling as a gun for hire made for an entertaining, if gloomy, drama carefully constructed to paint a portrait of a world that had turned and left its men to face problems on their own.

Soundtracked to some of the best music of the '60s and '70s, the show was an impressive addition to the Cinemax lineup, and it's a shame the pay cable network abandoned the show after a season to return to its action origins. Who knows what Cinemax would look like today if "Quarry" had been allowed to continue.

"Sweet/Vicious" (MTV, 2016)

"Sweet/Vicious" centered on two college students — Jules (Eliza Bennett) and Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) — who decide to take a vigilante stance against sexual abusers on their college campus. It was a smart, poignant, empowering series... and just about a year ahead of its time.

"Sweet/Vicious" premiered on MTV less than a year before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke and the #MeToo movement galvanized Hollywood. It also arrived as MTV went through an identity crisis and decided to ditch scripted programming in favor of nostalgia bait and reality shows. The move left "Sweet/Vicious" scrounging for a home after one acclaimed season, but it was unable to find a network brave enough to put it on the air.

And that's a shame, because it's exactly the type of show we need in this era.

"Champions" (NBC, 2018)

NBC had a real gem on its hands with "Champions", but unfortunately it couldn't find a loyal audience in the spring of 2018.

It could have been that people weren't interested in a Mindy Kaling-produced comedy that didn't regularly feature Mindy Kaling, but that was a misjudgment that didn't allow for "Champions" to show off how cute it really was, even without its executive producer in front of the camera every episode.

Little did they know that Josie Totah had plenty of charisma, charm, and wit to carry this show. It wasn't the best comedy right off the bat, but it really grew into something special, and it potentially could have been a groundbreaking show if NBC had given it more time to grow.

"Everything Sucks!" (Netflix, 2018)

"Everything Sucks!" hit home for anyone who had to face puberty in the '90s. The smart coming-of-age dramedy accurately captured the awkward intensity of first crushes and figuring out who you are. It also had a kick-ass soundtrack to boot, though those expensive Oasis licenses might have something to do with why Netflix decided to pull the plug on this endearing show after just one season.

Even though we only had 10 episodes to get to know Kate (Peyton Kennedy) and her friends, the attachment we had to them was real. The cancellation spawned the #IAmKateMessner hashtag, where LGBTQ folks shared their coming-out stories in support of the main character and her story that was cut down before it really could take off.

Unfortunately, it seems like we will never know what happened next, but Kate lives on in our hearts.

"The Passage" (Fox, 2019)

Unfortunately for "The Passage", NBC's "Manifest" grabbed all the conspiracy-theory hungry viewers in the fall last year, which left little room in viewing schedules for "The Passage's" vampire-zombie take.

Even though the series was based on Justin Cronin's best-selling book trilogy of the same name, not all of the book readers were here for the show's different take on the adaptation, and a poor viewer count dissuaded Fox from picking it up for another season.
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Old 12-19-2019, 06:02 PM   #2
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The only 2 I remembered are Pan Am and Terra Nova. They could have lasted longer.
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Old 02-11-2020, 03:19 AM   #3
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These are the 1 season shows from the 2010's I remember watching (not from the list). Not all were good and I didn't finish some of their seasons.


The Defenders (CBS)
Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC)
The Gates (ABC)
The Good Guys (FOX)
Look: The Series (Showtime)
Past Life (FOX)
The Whole Truth (ABC)


Beavis and Butt-Head Revival (MTV)
Breaking In (FOX)
The Cape (NBC)
Charlie's Angels (ABC)
Ringer (The CW)


666 Park Avenue (ABC)
Alcatraz (FOX)
Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC)
Last Resort (ABC)
The River (ABC)


Camp (NBC)
The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Cult (The CW)
Dads (FOX)
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)
Whodunnit? (ABC)


Bad Teacher (CBS)
Cristela (ABC)
Forever (ABC)
Gang Related (FOX)


The Whispers (ABC)


Damien (A&E)
The Family (ABC)
Frequency (The CW)
Mad TV Revival (The CW)
Rush Hour (CBS)
Vinyl (HBO)


24: Legacy (FOX)
Chicago Justice (NBC)
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC)
The Mist (Spike)
Time After Time (ABC)
Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS)


Deception (2018)
The Kids Are Alright (ABC)
Nightflyers (Syfy)


Grand Hotel (ABC)
The Red Line (CBS)
Whiskey Cavalier (ABC)
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