Given the oversaturated nature of modern television, it’s only natural that at least some quality programming gets left in the dust. The good news is that many of these overlooked shows are still available to stream, giving viewers a chance to see what they might have missed the first time around. The bad news is that those same viewers will be left hanging after they finish the first season. (Equally bad for some viewers are the worst TV series finales of all time.)
Why would a potentially great show get canceled after just one season? Some might wonder. The answer usually boils down to low ratings. Every now and then, however, a different variable comes into play. Take the drama series “Higher Ground,” for example, which debuted on Fox Family in 2000. While not a ratings smash, its cancellation was also the result of a network acquisition.
Nevertheless, low ratings remain the most common and recurring factor behind the cancellation of a TV series, even a beloved one. Prematurely knee-capped, these shows arguably went out at the peak of their powers. That gives audiences one solid season of programming to get through.
To determine the best TV shows that were canceled after one season, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience ratings from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. TV shows that ran for only one season before cancellation were ranked based on average audience review scores on IMDb as of July 2022. In the case of a tie, the show with more audience votes was rated higher. We did not include series that were designed to only be one season long. Only series with at least 1,000 votes were considered for inclusion. Data on the number of audience reviews and cast information also came from IMDb. (By way of contrast, here are the longest-running prime time shows in history.)
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