Favorite short-lived TV shows

In three seasons or less…

To start with, there’s * Star Trek: TOS*

Then there was * Quark*, which I think was a mid-season filler or something. I recall thinking it was hysterically funny when I was ten.

Nowhere Man (which I never actually caught, but I hear it was very good)

Get a Life - I need this like the Iliad needs a hundred more verses about Agamemnon. Sadly, this wildly funny series lasted only two seasons, but they were two of the greatest seasons in the history of the television sitcom.

Forever Knight. My (now ex) boyfriend ** hated** this show, mostly because he couldn’t reconcile the idea of a vampire being a decent sort of, um, human being. I loved the show. I was on a vampire kick when it was running, but I think I mostly liked it because Geraint Wyn Davies is sooooooooo hot. Kind of fell on its butt during the third season, largely for the same reasons * Bewitched* fell on its butt after Dick York left the show.

  • The Prisoner* Not much I can say about this show. Very strange, very thought provoking, got an Iron Maiden song done about it.

I’m trying to recall any other really cool shows that should have lasted much longer than they did, but unfortunately didn’t have enough mainstream appeal to keep running beyond a couple-three seasons. Anybody care to help out here?

“Then there was Quark, which I think was a mid-season filler or something. I recall thinking it was hysterically funny when I was ten.”

I was just…just…literally no more than an hour ago…talking to Tark about this show. I remember it ran for 6 or 7 episodes and then…STOPPED, and I was incredibly irked. And apparently a 10-year-old geek-girl was their target audience. :smiley: I remember Richard Benjamin played an intergalactic garbageman or something like that.

Family Guy and The Critic. People can’t appreciate genius.

Crime Story

Michael Mann’s second entry into series television, after Miami Vice, was just too cool for words. Set in early 60’s Chicago, the Major Crime Unit went up against the mob. Fabulous music. Unfortunately, when it was syndicated on USA network a couple of years ago, the rights to the music hadn’t been renewed, and it sank like a stone in the ratings.

The second season, set in Las Vegas, wasn’t nearly as good, but oh man, that first season!

Quark - 9 eps
Max Headroom - 14 eps
The Good Life/Neighbors - 30 eps
The Tick - 8 eps
Adventures of Brisco County, Jr - 28 eps
Police Squad! - 6 eps
Sledge Hammer! - 41 eps
American Gothic - 22 eps
Brimstone - 13 eps
The Visitor - 13 eps
Dark Skies - 20 eps
Doctor! Doctor! - 40 eps
GvsE (Good vs Evil) - 20 eps
Twin Peaks - 29 eps
just to name a few :smiley:

It’s God, god, god…the devil and bob…

“God, the Devil, and Bob”- only a few episodes made about a deal made between the former two characters, about the innate good or evil of mankind. It was really funny. And God looked just like Jerry Garcia. <sniff> Why it had to go away, I don’t know.

Oh, and I’ll second “The Critic.” Great show, that.

I’ll third The Critic; I think its tie-ins with The Simpsons made for great television. I’ll cast a vote for Herman’s Head, even though I have a feeling the majority of Dopers will disagree with me on this one. I loved the internal dialogue in, well, Herman’s head. And there is one joke from that show that has me chuckling to this day whenever I meet a guy named Jay. To paraphrase:

Boss: Jay, you can’t just walk in here like that! If you do that again, I’ll have you arrested!

Jay: On what grounds?

Yeardly Smith’s character: Jay-walk-in.

:smiley: I love that joke.


Cupid and Sports Night, both intelligent, well written, good characters. Of course they didn’t make it.

I have to agree with The Critic. That show was so funny. Another couple that I liked that didn’t stick around were The NEWS, and My So Called Life.

American Hero. I believe that’s the tittle of it. It came out in the 80’s and was about a guy who got a suit from these aliens that essentially turned him into Super Man. Only, he was a jack ass who, although he mastered flying pretty well, never quite got the hang of landing. So you’d see him flying and coming in for a landing, then the next shot would be of the ground and him landing like an albatros and rolling for five feet. It was fun, and had a great theme song that I still remember (even if I can’t quite get the show’s name right).

Red Elvis, you’re talking about The Greatest American Hero.

Let me be the first to cast my vote for The Misfits of Science.

EZ Streets - Probably the finest televison drama I have ever seen. It had a fantastic cast : Ken Olin, Jason Gedricks, Joe Pantoliano and Rod Steiger. It had a heartbreaking story set in an unnamed decaying, corrupt city. It was created and mostrly written and directed by Paul Haggis who also created another favourite of mine, Due South.

It was cancelled just before the final episode was to be shown in the states (I saw the whole series here in South Africa though).

I’d say The New Fantasy Island. I thought the show was great!

What? No mention of the painfully short-lived Clerks cartoon? They only aired two stinkin’ episodes (even though six were ultimately made)… it made me laugh FAR more than anything else ever on TV.

Additionally, I remember one TV show called The Searcher, a parody of all the “lone goody-two-shoes vigilante tough-guy” shows (like Knight Rider). The premise of the show - the hero is a doofus who routinely gets blown up, smashed, squished, shot, hurt, mutilated,etc. - was hilarious, and the execution was perfect. This was a show where an airplane would randomly fall on the good guy’s head.

Has anyone else ever seen this? Or have I just suffered a dementia-induced delusion of entertainment?

When Cupid was canceled, I saw it as irrefutable proof that the ABC programming executives had the IQ of kumquats.

In my opinion, Earth 2 was a reasonably decent science-fiction TV show. Of course it didn’t last long, either. NBC killed that show after a season or so, but that brainless dreck called Seaquest DSV was kept. Aggh!

I remember a really funny sitcom about ten years ago starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters called Davis Rules. I was very disappointed when it was canceled after (I think) only two seasons.

Max Headroom was so far ahead of its time, and was simply one of the most interesting TV shows on the air in its day. Of course it was killed in its crib.

And people wonder why I watch so little network TV nowadays. There are only two sitcoms that I watch on a regular basis (The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, and two drama shows (The West Wing and Law and Order). That’s it.

So many of you have beaten me to the punch here.

I have a lot of these older, more obscure programs on tape. Somewhere. My sister got a VCR when they first came out (were $1,000), and sometimes taped things for me. And then I saved my money and bought my own VCR a little later. (Mid-80s, before they were a standard device in every household.) Yes, we were ahead of our time. So, most of these shows I have on tape. The entire run of the show, or at least a few episodes.

“Duck Factory”. One season. Pre-fame Jim Carrey.

“Wizards and Warriors”. One season. Starring Duncan Regehr (sp?) and “Taxi” & “Babylon 5” star Jeff Conaway. Hilarious spoof of all the fantasy shows. I have a few eps. on tape. Great show.

“Misfits of Science”. 'nuff said. “Due South”. 'nuff said. “Sledge Hammer”. 'nuff said, again. “Brisco County Jr.”

“VR5”. Oh my gosh. I loved that show. I still haven’t gotten over it being cancelled.

“Max Headroom” and “Doctor Doctor”. Anything with Matt Frewer is bound to have some merit.

“Davis Rules”. I LOVE Jonathan Winters. And I almost had a chance to see them film this show. Giovanni Ribisi’s (a child actor in the show) mom was in my pottery class. When she found out how much I loved the show, she said she’d get me invited to see them shoot an episode. If they got renewed. They didn’t. Bummer, man.

The very best short-lived but much-beloved show I’ve seen had to be Maximum Bob. It had great reviews and the ratings were pretty good, and it was supposed to be picked up as a series, but mysteriously disappeared. Thank Zook I had the foresight to tape all 6 (I think) episodes-I usually don’t luck out like that.

And Quark rocked!

“Action”, on Fox a couple years back. I don’t have cable, so I’ve never seen anything like it.

“Grand”, from around 1989.

“Salvage One”! Junk dealer Andy Griffith builds a spaceship and stuff that NASA left on the Moon! Really blew the mind of an 11-year-old boy in 1979. :slight_smile:

I really enjoyed “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” and “Strange Luck”, both of which were unfortunate enough to premiere in Fox’s Friday night death slot before “The X-Files”. I don’t know why that timeslot was so cursed, but it was.

“Popular” (The WB, of all things, 1999–2000). Brillliant, scathing parody of all those teen shows. Great camp humor, with pop-culture references that rivaled “The Simpsons” (everything from Castiglioni to Joan Crawford to “Battleship Potemkin” to the Louise Woodward case).

Sadly, it was VERY poorly promoted, so everyone thought it actually WAS one of the teen shows it was making fun of . . . Jeez, I wish they would rerun it, I’d love to tape it.