Top 10 Underrated One Season Wonders
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Top 10 Underrated One Season Wonders

Sometimes great shows don't make it past a season. These are 10 of the best.

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Top 10 Underrated One Season Wonders
Coyote Chronicle

Good television shows get cancelled early sometimes. It's inevitable. If you're a tv nerd like me, you've been burned before, but that doesn't stop you from continuing to watch shows that you know probably won't last. If I love a show, it's pretty much a kiss of death for the poor thing. Here I'm going to count down my Top 10 favorite television shows that should have lasted longer than a season (I'm excluding Tru Calling and Pushing Daisies which are two of my absolute favorites. Tru Calling had a full first season but was abruptly taken off the air in season 2 when the last of only 6! episodes was replaced by a The Simple Life RERUN. I'm still SO BITTER. The writer's strike in 2009 made it so that Pushing Daisies "2 seasons" were really only 22 total. Neither had a fair chance but were technically more than a season).

10. Daybreak (2006)


So the trailer pretty much explains everything, but here's some background. Taye Diggs plays a detective who is framed for the murder of the assistant D.A. He is forced to go on the run while trying to figure out who is framing him. The catch is that every morning he starts the day over again. It's Groundhog Day, but with the added pressure of being on the lam for a murder that he didn't commit. Though he relives each day, any injuries or knowledge roll over into the next day. Adam Baldwin from Firefly and Chuck costars. Around this time in television, a lot of producers and the networks tried to recreate the lightning-in-a-bottle formula that catapulted Lost to phenomenon status. This was one of the shows that tried, and failed, to tell a story in a different way that was popularized by Lost.

9. Traveler (2007)


This list is going to have a lot of shows that are very similar stylistically. Traveler is about a group of three college buddies who start the series by pulling a prank in a museum. Two of the friends, played by Matt Bomer and Logan Marshall-Green, roller blade through the museum as the third friend, Will Traveler, videotapes it. As soon as they are clear from the building, they get a call from Will asking if they made it out. When they say yes, he apologizes, and then the building explodes. There is footage of them racing through the museum, so they become number one suspects to the FBI and Traveler disappears. They have to figure out what happened and to do that they have to find Will. I honestly don't remember too much about the show because it's not on dvd, but I do remember that I loved it and it kept me in suspense. Viola Davis also costars as a detective in one of her earlier roles.

8. Reunion (2005)


Reunion is about a group of six friends who graduate high school in 1986. Each episode is a different year leading up to their 20th reunion. One of the six has been murdered at the time of the reunion and the other five are suspects. The show flashes between the year in the past and 2005 during the murder investigation. Each episode is conveniently titled by year, starting with 1986 in the pilot. Perhaps the biggest bummer on this list, the show got cancelled after 13 episodes, so it ended in 1998, aka the last 7 years were never shown and the killer was never revealed. Fans were so upset that the creator said in an interview who they intended the killer to be, but it was a wholly unsatisfying end to an entertaining show. Will Estes, Chyler Leigh, and Dave Annabelle starred as three of the six friends.

7. Awake (2012)


In Awake, Jason Isaacs plays a detective who gets in a car crash with his wife and son. While he survives the crash, his wife and son aren't so fortunate. When he is "awake," his wife survived and his son died, but whenever he goes to "sleep," his son is alive and his wife is the one who died. In each reality, the detective has a different therapist and a different partner at work, but the cases he works in both realities seem to help with the other. He keeps a different colored wristband on his wrist to differentiate between the two realities and starts to believe the car crash wasn't an accident. The show only lasted 13 episodes so the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but it is on Netflix, so I definitely recommend watching!

6. Persons Unknown (2010)


In Persons Unknown, seven strangers get kidnapped and brought to an empty town. Though they can technically walk around freely, the perimeters are securely monitored and there are cameras everywhere, 1984 style. These strangers have to live with, and survive each other as they try to escape. Suspicions arise and no one is sure who they can trust. Why were they brought to the town? This is Chadwick Boseman's first major role and Alan Ruck is also one of the seven strangers. I will say that the last five minutes of the series surprised me and made me want more. Persons Unknown is also on Netflix.

5. Forever (2014)


Forever follows Henry Morgan, a medical examiner who is excellent at figuring out causes of death in his victims. He is so good at his job because he's immortal. Even though he's immortal, he has died many times; he just happens to wake back up. Every time he dies, he wakes up in the Hudson River. A detective named Jo Martinez meets Henry while trying to solve a train crash case that Henry happened to die during. Like many other procedurals with a twist (a la Castle, Psych, Lucifer), Henry becomes Jo's partner and helps her solve murders using his many years of medical expertise. This was an entertaining, fun, and sometimes tear jerking show that ended on a cliffhanger that fans would have liked to see resolved.

4. Flashforward (2009)


The most Lost inspired show on the list. I was SO ready for this to be the "new Lost" and it fell short with viewership even though I thought it was awesome. For a little over 2 minutes the entire world blacked out. Obviously, this leads to complications when people are operating vehicles, etc. As if that weren't bad enough, during the blackout, everyone saw their futures on a specific day in the future. Some of the futures make absolutely no sense to the people who are going to live them, and some didn't see anything at all. How did the blackout happen? If you knew your future and it was undesirable, would you try to change it? Two former Losties, Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger are in Flashforward, plus John Cho, Joseph Fiennes, Zachary Knighton, and the late Lee Thompson Young.

3. Harper's Island (2009)


Considering And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is one of my favorite books ever, I knew immediately I would love this show. The concept is the same. A group of people are on an island and they get killed off one by one. This is the precursor to Scream Queens. A couple decide they are going to get married on the small island on which the groom spent his childhood. His childhood best friend, Abby, is going back to the island for the first time since leaving. When they were children her mother and more were killed by a serial killer. Now that they are back on the island, the wedding party and guests start to be murdered again, but they all thought the serial killer was dead. Who survives? Who's the killer? This show was a limited run, so it wrapped up well, but I would've liked to see it become an anthology like American Horror Story or Scream Queens. Oh and each episode is titled after an onomatopoetic word made by the sound of the death in that episode (Kablam, Bang, and Splash are examples). Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Jim Beaver, Matt Barr, and Brandon Jay McLaren star.

2. Wonderfalls (2004)


Bryan Fuller is the king of writing lovely, underrated shows that get cancelled wayyyyyy too soon. Sadly, only four episodes of this show aired on television. Wonderfalls is about Jaye Tyler, a young woman who works in a Niagra Falls gift shop. One day, the tchotchke's that are sold in the gift shop start talking to her. In every episode a new souvenir tells her to do things and usually what they tell her to do is helpful in some way. She has to balance the fact that she thinks she's crazy for talking to inanimate objects with the fact that everything usually works out. She also tries her best to keep her secret from her parents, brother, best friend, and boyfriend. This show reminds me a lot of Joan of Arcadia and also has the same sense of wonder as Fuller's followup, Pushing Daisies. Caroline Dhavernas is a lovely lead, Tracie Thoms is excellent as her best friend, and Lee Pace (pre-Pushing Daisies) is adorable as her brother. The finale is particularly great, showing that it definitely had a lot more potential for future seasons. Wonderfalls is available on dvd.

1. Enlisted (2014)


Enlisted is a fresh, heart-warming comedy about 3 brothers in the outcast unit on a military base. Pete, the oldest brother, returns from Afghanistan and is put in charge of the unit that needs the most work. He is an overachiever, so he is reluctant to do so. His brothers, slacker Derrick, and naive but sweet Randy, are in the unit Pete takes over. The show covers their day to day life as the 3 brothers try to get along professionally and as they bond with the rest of their outcasted group. Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell, and Parker Young play off each other so well and they are an endearing group of siblings. This show is funny. Prank War is one of my favorite episodes of television period and Parker Young especially brings the comedy. Even though it's a comedy, it also deftly tackles subjects like PTSD and it has some quiet moments that work just as well as the comedy does. Fox aired the episodes out of order, so some storylines seemed backwards, but the show is on dvd and I highly recommend watching them (in order!). Enlisted had a lot of untapped potential and I wish we had gotten more of it.

If you haven't seen some of these shows (highly probable since most are long gone), I definitely recommend them. For every show that lasts many seasons past its prime, there are the little shows that could that were great and ended far too soon.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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