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One And Done, Do The Networks Get It Right?


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#1 of 30 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 03:42 AM

I was thinking about a lot of the one season shows many of us clamor for when we post in this forum and I began to wonder about how many of these shows the networks whiffed on when they were aired. My own conclusion surprisingly was not too many. I found that of the 1000+ shows that the networks have aired over the years, there were really only a handful that they gave up on prematurely IMO. Truthfully, despite the extensive lists we sometimes put on here of short run shows we would like to see released on DVD, many of these are quite awful shows, no-one watched them, and they deserved cancellation.Here's a short list of my own from the 60's, 70's and 80's of shows that actually were given the shaft after one year IMO:

 

60's - He&She, Love On A Rooftop, THE Cat

 

70's - Gemini Man, When Things Were Rotten

 

80's - It's Your Move, Open All Night, Police Squad, Best Of The West, Bret Maverick

 

Feel free to add your own. The point being, even if every person on the forum contributed a handful more to this list, it would still pale in comparison to the total number of one season shows cancelled throughout that 30 year period. For every When Things Were Rotten, there are hundreds of OK Crackerby's. For every St. Elsewhere that got saved from the one season scrapheap by a letter writing campaign, there are oodles of shows like The Hathaways

 

So the final question becomes, if the shows were so bad, why are always bringing them up on here saying we want them released so bad. I can't speak for everybody but I think it's either for nostalgia sake such as remembering these wretched shows from our childhood, or maybe it's that collector mentality (guilty as charged) that some of us have telling us that we "have to have everything". It also could be the thrill we collectors experience by chasing something super rare, no matter what it is.

 

Bottom line - I hate to say it, but the major networks get it right most of the time IMO.



#2 of 30 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted October 28 2013 - 04:31 AM

I'd add Ellery Queen to the 1970s list. Beautifully done in period with really amazing mystery scenarios that are tough to crack even for experienced genre buffs and truly entertaining performances, this was a tragic loss.

 

I'd add The Judy Garland Show from the 1960s except after having read the superb book Rainbow's End about the production of the series, poor Judy would never have lasted through another television season.

 

You stopped with the 1980s, but I think more recent decades have seen more worthy shows get the shaft early due to the high production costs and lackluster ratings. I'm thinking especially of Moonlight on CBS, a vampire show that was one season too early. The summer after it was canceled, True Blood premiered on HBO and set off the vampire craze that many other networks jumped on. But Moonlight was a really special series.



#3 of 30 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted October 28 2013 - 05:06 AM

There were a few LOST wannabees that came on as that show was ending: MOONLIGHT, FLASHFORWARD, and INVASION come to mind. All of those series have DVD sets that were put out due to popular demand. The one that didn't get a DVD release was JOURNEYMAN. That one that deserves a home video release. I know it's available on Hulu, but it's not quite the same.

 

All of these shows also had a fairly good-sized cult following that could have been nurtured by the networks instead of being dumped.

 

Harry


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#4 of 30 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted October 28 2013 - 06:32 AM

"Police Squad" I don't think could have been sustained as a series.   It's one thing to do a couple movies with that kind of humor, but 24 plus TV episodes in a year? It would have gotten very tiresome and repetitive in pretty short order I think.

 

My top two one season shows would be first, "Ellery Queen" which was so much better concept wise than the show that harkens back to it, "Murder She Wrote".   Had it lasted we would have only had three years tops due to Jim Hutton's premature death in the late 70s but it deserved more than one.

 

I would also include "Honey West" where Anne Francis gave us a truly groundbreaking character.

 

"Battlestar Galactica" I am of course passionate about and it should have lasted more than one season and ABC's decision for cancelling it was ridiculous.  *However*, the discovery of a Glen Larson memo on what might have happened had the show been renewed soured my enthusiasm considerably with the indicators that he was going to kill off Anne Lockhart's Sheba, the best addition to the cast in the course of the season and change the personalities of Apollo and Starbuck.   Reading that memo actually made me feel better that the last episode produced was a terrific one "The Hand Of God" which has served as a launching point for all kinds of creative fanfic in the years since. The network didn't get it right, but they might have spared fans something that would have been worse than say, the second season of "Space 1999" (which other than Catherine Schell was poor compared to its first season).

 

I recently enjoyed going through "The Lieutenant" but whether it could have sustained a second season set totally in Vietnam which was where the character now was after the last episode, I doubt it.



#5 of 30 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted October 28 2013 - 07:09 AM

Good topic. I think that my list is a bit longer than yours but giving it some thought, here's what I think belongs on there. This is based on seeing a good portion of all of these shows within the last few years. 

 

1960s: Bus Stop, East Side West Side, He and She, Occasional Wife, Love on a Rooftop, Way Out, Coronet Blue, Saints and Sinners, Breaking Point, Espionage, For the People, The Great Adventure, Blue Light, Hey Landlord, Hawk, Good Morning World, My Friend Tony, T.H.E. Cat

 

Not great but above average and certainly as good as other shows that lasted longer: The New Breed, 87th Precinct, Target: The Corruptors, The Reporter, The Dakotas, Sam Benedict, The Richard Boone Show, My Living Doll, Wendy and Me, The Man Who Never Was, Garrison's Gorillas, Accidental Family, The Debbie Reynolds Show

 

1970s: The Young Lawyers, The Immortal, The Good Life, Bridget Loves Bernie, A Touch of Grace, Toma, Adam's Rib, The Don Rickles Show, Sons and Daughters, Lucas Tanner, Rich Man Poor Man Book 2, Doctors Hospital, Medical Story, Most Wanted, The Andros Targets, Sirota's Court, The Nancy Walker Show, What Really Happened to the Class of '65, Good Time Harry

 

Not great but above average and certainly as good as other shows that lasted longer: Dan August, Temperatures Rising, The Paul Lynde Show, Thicker Than Water, Assignment Vienna, Love Story, Calucci's Department, Three For The Road, Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected

 

Will take a look at the next couple of decades later.



#6 of 30 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted October 28 2013 - 09:03 AM

About Police Squad...

 

Reno 911 proves that "premise won't last" wrong...sorta.

 

Brooklyn 99 might last. I think the key with 99 is how Andre keeps the "plays it straight" down pat and lets everyone else prank. Still needs more episodes to get a groove...but adequate so far.



#7 of 30 OFFLINE   Scott511

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Posted October 28 2013 - 09:06 AM

I swear back when Police Squad aired it was always supposed to be a "limited series", can't remember if that was in TV Guide or I read it somewhere else. Surely there still has to be some documentation somewhere about that.. Of course had it been highly rated, "limited series" or not I'm sure ABC would have tried to make a deal for more to be produced.

 

Ellery Queen was a darn good show, I remember being disappointed when it did not return.



#8 of 30 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 11:22 AM

There were a few LOST wannabees that came on as that show was ending: MOONLIGHT, FLASHFORWARD, and INVASION come to mind. All of those series have DVD sets that were put out due to popular demand. The one that didn't get a DVD release was JOURNEYMAN. That one that deserves a home video release. I know it's available on Hulu, but it's not quite the same.

 

All of these shows also had a fairly good-sized cult following that could have been nurtured by the networks instead of being dumped.

 

Harry

Journeyman was released this year overseas. Great show.



#9 of 30 OFFLINE   Ejanss

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Posted October 28 2013 - 11:57 AM

Networks (at least, back in the named decades when they cared) know what's a "cannon-fodder" slot and what isn't.  Nobody's going to be stupid enough to counterprogram "Agents of SHIELD", although CBS and NBC can't just go blank.

(The back TV-trivia recesses of my mind can rattle off several doomed shows NBC sent into the valley of death on '78-'80 Thursday nights against The Waltons and Mork & Mindy...)

 

For my own experience, I couldn't STAND to watch The Cosby Show in 1987.

I caught every episode--of what there was aired--of ABC's "Our World", which most of happy 80's America didn't even know existed at the time.

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#10 of 30 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 12:46 PM

I whiffed on My World And Welcome To It. That should have been on my original list.



#11 of 30 OFFLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted October 28 2013 - 03:03 PM

Journeyman was released this year overseas. Great show.

Yep.

 

R2 release. Just picked it up myself.

 

As for the thread topic? Ask a Firefly fan if the networks get it right with one and done series.

 

Many times, they do. But not always.Especially Fox from 1999-2004. They killed a lot of good shows due to bad programming decisions.

 

The Writer's Strike also killed a lot of shows that could have stood a chance. Journeyman was one, IIRC, and Life On Mars was another. Of course, after that ending, it seems like it was a mercy killing.



#12 of 30 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 03:45 PM

Yep.

 

R2 release. Just picked it up myself.

 

As for the thread topic? Ask a Firefly fan if the networks get it right with one and done series.

 

Many times, they do. But not always.Especially Fox from 1999-2004. They killed a lot of good shows due to bad programming decisions.

 

The Writer's Strike also killed a lot of shows that could have stood a chance. Journeyman was one, IIRC, and Life On Mars was another. Of course, after that ending, it seems like it was a mercy killing.

It's funny you mention Life On Mars when referring to Journeyman. I loved that show as well. I remember during the writers strike, many of we Journeyman fans thought that it would be renewed. I will give credit to NBC though that they very quickly came up with a wrap up episode. How often does that happen? A wrap up show for a one season newly cancelled show. Never!



#13 of 30 OFFLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted October 28 2013 - 03:50 PM

It's funny you mention Life On Mars when referring to Journeyman. I loved that show as well. I remember during the writers strike, many of we Journeyman fans thought that it would be renewed. I will give credit to NBC though that they very quickly came up with a wrap up episode. How often does that happen? A wrap up show for a one season newly cancelled show. Never!

 

I liked Life on Mars US because I saw it first.

 

Well, I liked it up until the last 15 lame minutes that retroactively ruined the rest of the show. That's one time a wrap-up episode was a bad thing.

 

Then I saw the original BBC Life on Mars. Perfect ending, perfect show. And Ashes To Ashes was almost as goood.



#14 of 30 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted October 28 2013 - 05:20 PM

I'll list a few that were probably just ratings disasters that I enjoyed and wished had done better in terms of viewership, episodes aired and media releases.

 

Smith - A crime show from the perspective of the criminals.  The cast included Ray Liotta, Simon Baker, Amy Smart, Virginia Madsen, and Jonny Lee Miller.  CBS canceled it after 4 (??) episodes aired.  I really enjoyed the switch in perspective offered by the show.

 

The Ex-List - A romantic comedy about a woman (Elizabeth Reaser) who is told by a psychic that one of her former lovers will be her husband and subsequently begins re-visiting those relationships.  I thought it had a quirky fun sensibility, but viewers disagreed and it was done after a handful of episodes had aired.

 

Better Off Ted - It lasted two short seasons and the first season did get a DVD release; so there is that - but I really wish this had lasted longer.  Its lampooning of corporate culture was so spot on at times.  Where I used to work, we had an incentive system that was just pegged by this series.  I really miss this show.

 

The Class - A pretty fun comedy that lasted only one season.  The show featured a large ensemble cast that enabled it to cover a lot of topics.  Cast members included: Jon Bernthal, Andrea Anders, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jason Ritter.

 

- Walter.


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#15 of 30 OFFLINE   jperez

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Posted October 28 2013 - 05:48 PM

60's:

Empire

Man in a Suitcase

Channing

Long Hot Summer

It's a Man's World

The Wide Country

Stoney Burke

 

Empire, in particular, had the makings of a great long lived modern western, with Richard Egan, Ryan O"Neal, Charles Bronson...



#16 of 30 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted October 28 2013 - 06:13 PM

Dark Shadows 1991

 

The Time Tunnel 1966

 

BSG already mentioned

 

Galactica 1980 which most fans hate

 

Life with Lucy 1986 which most Lucy fans hate   



#17 of 30 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted October 28 2013 - 07:45 PM

Galactica 1980 should never have been given one episode.

 

Of course there's another entity with the name Galactica made later that also deserved less than that.



#18 of 30 OFFLINE   Neil Brock

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Posted October 28 2013 - 08:45 PM

Forgot about Gidget. Good show.



#19 of 30 OFFLINE   MattPriceTime

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Posted October 28 2013 - 08:47 PM

Network tv always has and always will cannibalize a lot of it's material. If it's not #1, no one should be surprised if it goes away. A lot of cable shows would never last as long had they been on network tv. It's a sad truth that it just out there. A lot of new shows each season will always be cancelled, regardless of how large their audiene is if it's not the top dog or what the network wants. Which can very, some networks do/had given shows more leeway, and some quite frankly don't give any.

 

However i highly disagee that a term like "no one watched it" is pretty much just internet jargon garbage. As someone who's job it is to be able to measure what my own and competitors entertainment does, it is highly ridiculous to not look at things in the bigger picture. The only metrics we have to measure success is money and longevity. Opinions don't mean much of anything to success because every joe has one.And yes the includes the original station. They had to make a business decision and yes sometimes popular things aren't popular enough to survive. If we were to say only successful things aren't hated, we can never say anything is successful because every hit has haters. If we go in the reverse and say that things that are hated by more people than liked aren't successful, we'd be in denial when things that are clearly a minority yet bring home millions each year.

 

For money without financials it's hard sometimes to know the money lines, but the truth is the end product right now in entertainment is home sales and streaming contracts. Where the actual line there is pretty low. And in fact with MOD lines, the line to get to profit is directly made on the price floor. Making just about any one season show stand a good chance to be considered successful. Since it appears being not that high up in ratings in one and done season on tv is still more than enough to be successful decades later.

 

And the other metric of course is longevity. Unless you are one of those repressed people who think growing up, means your tastes get smaller and smaller (which really seems to be an internet problem), people don't forget what they liked. If people are still talking about it years later, that's pretty much a sign it did something right. Hell i'd use some of those one and done shows as an example of exactly how to be a success. If your show hasn't been seen regurally on tv on decades and facebook and twitter light up when it comes to DVD, that's damn amazing.

 

All in all, the entertainment world grows every single day. More things are trying to cement their legacies and stay relevant, and they are all scales of this. While X may be a lot less popular than Y, it's all the easy both X and Y can still be successful. And besides anything that was that unsuccessful in it's original run, wouldn't even be mentioned in 2013 if it was.


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#20 of 30 OFFLINE   Frank Soyke

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Posted October 28 2013 - 08:51 PM

There were a few LOST wannabees that came on as that show was ending: MOONLIGHT, FLASHFORWARD, and INVASION come to mind. All of those series have DVD sets that were put out due to popular demand. The one that didn't get a DVD release was JOURNEYMAN. That one that deserves a home video release. I know it's available on Hulu, but it's not quite the same.

 

All of these shows also had a fairly good-sized cult following that could have been nurtured by the networks instead of being dumped.

 

Harry

It's funny but a lot of these "one and shouldn't be done" shows come from the past decade. I'll piggyback on your list. The Event was a quality show with an interesting premise and personally I believe cancelling Alcatraz after one season was a travesty. There was also another show following the lives of a bunch of ex bank robbery hostages that was pretty good. I just bring to mind the name of that series.






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