Every once in a while, there are great shows that come out of the gate running. Other times, a show needs to get through a rough first season to hit its stride. Sadly, many of these shows are built on a short term premise and they only last a season or two before they become filler and barely resemble anything about the original idea. The following TV series peaked early and somehow stumbled along to be quite terrible.
5 – Alias
The first season and a half of Alias makes for great television. Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) believes she is working for the CIA and decides to tell her fiance about her life as a spy. Soon after she tells him, he is murdered. She later finds out that she’s been working for an evil spy organization called SD-6. In the first season, she acts as a double agent and goes on missions for her handlers, but is playing them at the same time. In a great mid-season 2 episode, she brings down the entire SD-6 operation.
Unfortunately, after this episode, the show loses steam quickly. It becomes focused on prophecies, betrayals, numerous fake deaths and Sydney’s entire family being involved in international espionage. Somehow this series lasted 5 seasons, which was 3 seasons too long.
4 – The Office
Let’s face it, the first season of the US Office sucked. It tried to be the British version in tone and subtlety and it failed. Then season 2 happened. Nearly every episode packed in the laughs. It fired on all cylinders. Dwight was at his best and hadn’t worn out his welcome and the Jim and Pam courtship was just starting to blossom. For me the show was at its best during Vegas Night, the 2nd season finale. Jim finally makes a move on Pam and we, the audience, are left hanging.
For me, the show should be more about Jim and Pam and not Michael Scott or Dwight or Andy. Now, in it’s 9th and final season, The Office has ceased to be funny. It doesn’t even have the awkwardness of earlier seasons. Everything about the show has become forced. The show was good in seasons 3 and 4, but never reclaimed the magic of season 2.
3 – Lost
With Lost, there is little room for fence sitters. I dare anyone to watch the first season and not be completely wrapped up in it. I think the first season is one of the greatest seasons ever made. There was so much promise, so much potential, so many great characters. We all thought that there was a grand plan and groundbreaking answers to all of the questions the show posed. We all wondered what was in the hatch…
Then seasons 2 and 3 happened. What did we get? Tailies, the button, the others, crappy flashbacks and no answers. It’s a known fact that 87% of Lost fans gave up watching in the middle of season 2. I am a fan of seasons 5 and 6, but even their high quality never made up for the ridiculous plots and meandering after season 1.
2 – Prison Break
If you haven’t seen the first season of this show, it may be time to start it now. Now, before you move onto season 2, I advise you to stop. Accept the first season of Prison Break as a stand alone miniseries. This show manages to keep you watching episode after episode. The premise of this series is ridiculous but gripping. Michael Scofield has tattooed his body with the blueprints for the prison where his brother is being held on death row. He spends the first season making connections and planning their escape and it is brilliant.
But here’s the problem. The show is called Prison Break. Where is it supposed to go once they escape? In season 2, the gang is on the run. Season 3 tries to recapture the magic by putting them in a prison in Panama. It doesn’t work. Season 4 turns into a mess of government betrayals and conspiracies. As is standard in confused shows like this, we find out that the main character’s entire family is involved in the conspiracy.
1 – Heroes
Remember when this show started? It was a good time full of mystery, superpowers and Hiro. Similar to Lost, there was so much potential during the first season. It seemed, at the time, that there was a design and reason for everyone’s awakening powers. At the end of the season, there was a big showdown with Sylar. The show botched the end of this great season by not really killing Sylar and having Nathan fly off with nuclear Peter.
During season 2, the writers strike happened. It was a short season and felt entirely rushed. It involved a messy time-travel plot and a biological plague. It didn’t work. After that, we once again see the entire Patrelli family involved in an end of the world plot. Oh, and in season 4 they fight carnies. Poor Heroes.