Friday, June 29, 2007

One Season Wonders

As I watched the final episode of my favorite new show of this TV season, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" the other night, I was feeling- once again robbed of a great television show. I feel like someone out there who has a lot of control took away a show with great actors and amazing writers and yet they let another season of something lame with Donald Trump as the lead get renewed. Studio 60 was well done, interesting, funny and smart. You couldn't wait for the next show. My only consolation is that they let the final episodes air rather then shelving them. So as the summer reruns began, we had something to look forward to on Thursday nights. And it ended in a multipart season ending story. Well done. But it got me thinking of other great shows- shows that deserved a second chance, a second season, a better time slot. Here is a list of my all time favorite one season wonders. I have added a couple of two season wonders in for good measure- as well as a couple of my husbands favorites. Here they are in no particular order....

Freaks & Geeks 1999 Who couldn't love this show which takes place during the 1980's. This is the same time I was in middle and high school and I remember the "freaks" and the "geeks". There were a lot of cultural references to the 80's but the themes were valid today...only now we have "Emos" and "Preps" or something like that! Plus it had the great John Francis Daley as Sam.

Homefront 1991-1993 3 seasons
Ok- this had three seasons. But I loved it- I think I should probably do a new post with three season shows I loved...and then 4 season shows I loved...I think I see a trend. Anyway, this show was about a small American town right after WWII ends and all of the relationships that are changed due to the war and how the war affects the whole town. Notably, the whole reason I adored the show was because I had a small crush on one of the lead actors, a young Kyle Chandler, who you would later see in that "Cat see into the future after reading the newspaper" show "Early Edition", and more recently, the new hit show "Friday Night Lights." And if you watch Grey's Anatomy- you might remember him as the Bomb Squad guy who was killed after Meredith did whatever dramatic thing she did when she did not she has almost died a lot. In fact, he came back this season in her "near death experience scene."

My So-Called Life 1994
Here you got to see a young Claire Danes and she breaks into her career. This was a well done show- but I do remember that it was pretty depressing. I was a new mom then and thinking, "Why is she so bummed out all the time? She has her whole life ahead of her."

Jack and Bobby 2004
I LOVED this show. I was so sad when it was canceled. The premise was that these were two brothers, Jack (older) and Bobby (younger) are growing up and one of them will become president. The show flips back and forth from the present day "future" where its clearly a documentary on the life of a president who has been assassinated. You spend the whole show trying to figure out which kid becomes president. Once they knew they were being canceled, they made a long season finale that wrapped everything up nice and neat in hopes of one day selling a DVD boxset of the one and only season. I don't think they made the DVD.

Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002) I actually never saw this show- but it was on everyone's top ten lists and since I LOVE Andy Richter- I am certain I would have loved it.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 2006 This is the show by the creators of West Wing which inspired this blog post. This post which has nothing to do with Adoption, Ethiopia, or HIV. I am going to have to create a whole new tagline for "Entertainment". Which by the way is a great thing to have at the end of a long day involving the above three things. I loved this series. I love the actors in it- I love seeing Mathew Perry doing his "Non- Chandler" acting- which he does VERY well. And I also enjoy watching him as Chandler for the record.

The Comeback 2005 OK. I watched this show last summer when I had first brought the boys home from Ethiopia. It was a hard summer, but one of the things I looked forward to was watching this show. It is so darn funny. Its one of those shows where you are watching the main character and just cringing. In one scene I am laughing so hard- side splitting, really- and then you see Lisa Kudrow's Character doing something and you are sitting there crying- you are literally laughing and crying at the same time. Its Brilliant! Someone on the IMDB said that its much smarter than Sex and the City- another HBO show- and its really true. It works like "The Office" because its a dramatized reality show. Beautiful.

Gidget 1965 This show was on MTV when MTV was a baby. I was about 13 or 14 then and LOVED the show. I named my cat Gidget- because back then when you loved a show you named your pets after we just name our children after Television...Phoebe.

The Mole 2001 I liked this reality show a lot- it was really funny and I enjoyed always trying to figure out who the Mole was. I never knew- they were very good at hiding the fact that they were the mole. When it was down to the last 3 people, it was so intense- the idea that there are 3 of you- and one of you is lying to your face. It is a lot like the real world, really- there are always moles out there...right guys? It's what keeps you on your toes. Plus I like Anderson Cooper, and he now does all that newsy stuff on CNN!

Sports Night 1998-2000 2 seasons OK! Who out there saw this show and can't say it was one of the best shows ever on TV??? I know it lasted one season longer than most on this list- but it was an amazing funny and brilliant show with an incredible cast. Is this one on DVD? If it, don't walk, to your nearest video store and grab it. But you will be as sad as me when the second season ends and there are no more....

The Honeymooners 1955 'Nuff said.

Ned and Stacy 1995 2 seasons I enjoyed this had Debra Messing before Will and Grace and Thomas Hayden Church from Wings. It was funny. I liked the cast a lot and it left after two seasons...of course Will and Grace came along and the rest is history.

The Bonnie Hunt Show 1995
This show was on for one season- it was funny- Bonnie Hunt is so talented...but then she came back with a new show, "Life with Bonnie" which aired for 2 seasons..they were basically the same story idea and some of the same characters. Well done. Bonnie Hunt is amazing.

The Monkees 1966
2 seasons The Monkees, Like Gidget, was on when I was a teenager. I remember trying to tape every episode on VCR and somewhere in my mothers basement is an old box of VHS tapes with Monkees episodes. This was the perfect show for my teenage brain. Clever and funny and predictable. Same plot line every show, but you wanted it that way. And I loved the music!

Do you have any One Season Wonders to add to my list???


Laura said...

I loved My So Called Life. It was SO well done. I also loved The Comeback. Great show. So sad to see it go! I am sure I can think of a score of one season wonders and will write more when I can think of them.... I just had to comment on these two gems.

Anita and Family said...

You and I must have the same taste in TV! My husband and I were big Sports Night fans! It was canceled but then we got into West Wing because it had the same vibe (fast talking and all). It was canceled (too smart for general audiences, we're told!) and we followed that team over to Studio 60. We loved that show this season! So bummed it's gone! My hubby and I also have the Mole down as best reality/game show--why'd they have to go and make it into "celebrity mole" and ruin the whole thing?! Fun post.


kemery said...

Just commenting because I never comment :)

We loved Sports Night, I loved My So Called Life, but we had a hard time getting into Studio 60 this year. Maybe because there were a lot of new shows that were touted as the new slick thing and we got into keeping up on our favorites (some being purely guilty pleasures, admittedly) and although I would think about Studio 60 and sort of wonder what happened, it wouldn't make me choose the DVR of that over another...if I missed a week, I'd be lost. So when having to clear space on the DVR, we'd often axe Studio 60 in favor of something else. I wonder if it's just because we didn't have the time, or because we have too little recording space on the DVR. (note to self: upgrade DVR package)

Loved reading your list. :)

Stacy said...

I have pretty similar taste as yours as well! I loved Studio 60 and am so disappointed it didn't get more time - but I was so glad to see them air the remaining episodes, as I thought they were some of the best.

I'd forgotten about Homefront, but did watch that. Of course Sports Night was incredible. And The Mole was fanatasic! Of course anything with Bonnie Hunt is fanastic, and I remember watching Ned and Stacey - long before anyone else knew who Debra Messing was!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Missy said...

i loved studio 60! i'm just happy they showed the rest of the season. i really wanted to know what happened!
I also like, Related, Reunion, that show with Sela Ward??? Can't remember the name?????

MetricGirl said...

love love love Freaks & Geeks, and Sports Night. Both are available on DVD by the way. :)

Brianna Heldt said...

totally not related to this post but i didn't see a link where i could email you...

i know you live in the denver area and we're traveling there this week. i was wanting to know what a good ethiopian restaurant would be, to eat at. thanks!!!

M Morris said...

I know you wrote this ages ago, but wanted to add my One Season Wonder. DH and I LOVED Pepper Dennis last year and couldn't believe it didn't become a hit. It was cute and funny and everything we loved.