Apr 02 2010

Seven Shows That Peaked In Season One

Published by at 4:15 pm under Lists,Television


Looking back on my favorite shows over the years, I noticed a trait that many of them had in common: that their first season was their best.

Now, that’s not to say that many of these shows didn’t go on to be pretty great after that, but they never quite matched their initial impression. I’ve compiled a list of shows I feel meet that description below, and I should note that no, I don’t include one season wonders like Firefly or Freaks and Geeks. Also, to answer your question, EVERY season of Arrested Development is perfect.



I think sometimes we all forget that going into Lost, we all though it was just another “castaways on an island adventure.” Season one created new mystery after new mystery, and is perhaps quite literally the most addictive season of television ever created, almost unfairly so.

It’s hard to believe that the greatest mystery on Lost was once “what’s the in hatch?” but it goes to show how far the show has come since then. I think the show as a whole will be legendary for decades to come when it’s all over with, but each season since hasn’t quite lived up to the non-stop genius, suspense and madness that was season one.



Man, look at that picture. I feel like I’m looking at a carphone or a cassette player to see each of those characters look so dated. Premiering mere months after 9/11, 24 captured America’s attention with it’s real-time format and non-stop action. Season one’s straightforward plot (relatively speaking) which had Jack Bauer blackmailed into assassinating the president was one of the most gripping seasons of a show in history, and I will never forget the last ten minutes of the season to this day.

24 has had its ups and downs, but nothing has lived up to season one, eight years later. I blame the show’s format for forcing too many twists and turns and a constant upping of the ante as seasons stacked threats on top of threats in order to remain “exciting.”

The OC


I will say with my dying breath that season one of The OC might be some of the best television ever filmed. It was smart, funny and emotionally gripping, and it was something to look forward to each and every week like clockwork.

But from where it started to where it ended, The OC is something of a tragedy. As great as season one was, that’s how thoroughly awful season four was, and the show consistently sagged in the middle. I don’t really think it should have gone past one season, but good ratings will tend to alter things like that.



When Smallvile first debuted nearly a decade ago, it was a pretty revolutionary pop culture phenomenon. Seeing Clark Kent as an awkward teen put a human face on Superman that we’d never seen before. His adventures in his Kansas high school were funny, endearing and action-packed when the situation called for it, and it was a blast to watch Clark discover his powers one by one.

But ten years later, looking at where the show is now, it’s utterly ridiculous. Nearly every DC comics character ever created has made a cameo on the show, Kryptonite mutation has been beaten like a dead horse, and even show regulars like Lex Luthor don’t want to keep coming back. It’s time to let the boy (now clearly a man) fly, and let the show go.



I maintain that each and every season of Dexter manages to retain some sort of plot brilliance. I was skeptical all throughout season four, that this Trinity Killer plot would be a bore, but it resulted in one of the more satisfying season finales I’ve ever seen.

But the genius of the show has shown no brighter than in the first season where Dexter hunts the ice truck killer, learns his origin and of his relation to the man he’s pursuing. It was a brilliant arc worthy of some sort of Greek tragedy, and it put Dexter on the map, making it into the hit it is today.



I wasn’t as ga-ga over season one of Heroes as everyone else was, but I do have to state the obvious that it was way, way better than all subsequent seasons, which I honestly cannot believe are still going at this point. There was a clear villain (the mysterious Sylar), a clear mission (stop the exploding man) and the show never felt like it didn’t know where it was going.

But as it turned out, the season ended with a whimper, and the whole mantra of “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” turned out to bullshit, as it later became clear Claire could never actually die at all. Subsequent seasons devolved into absurd plots and random character tangents that could never match the fluidity of season one.

Prison Break


Prison Break has to be the most obvious show to mention on the list here, because it simply was never meant to run for more than one season, hence its goddamn title. The first season of the show was very smart, with Michael Scoffield’s plan to escape riveting to watch at every turn.

But once they escaped and Prison Break became Prison Broke, the show ceased to be anything remotely close to what it was, and it was relegated to shelving Scoffield’s brilliant plotting abilities, only bringing it out on rare occasions to fight some evil corporation that never did end up making any sense.

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116 responses so far

116 Responses to “Seven Shows That Peaked In Season One”

  1. NY not NYCon 02 Apr 2010 at 4:39 pm

    What about Firefly?

    Oh, sorry, still too soon?

  2. J5on 02 Apr 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I gotta agree with you, especially on heroes. I watched season 1 and was thinking to myself “Damn, that was actually really good.”

    Then I watched the entire season 2 & said “Yeah…..that’s enough of that.”

    I watched 1 episode of season 3 because my girlfriend wanted to see it as soon as I saw Mohinder get super powers the first thing I thought was “Awwww, they’re trying to make him relevant again.”

    lol, F that show.

  3. Madisonon 02 Apr 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Funny, the first show I thought of when I read the title of this article was…Heroes, of course.

  4. Samon 02 Apr 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I actually prefer seasons 3 and 5 of 24 over season 1. The rest of this list is spot on though.

  5. Joshon 02 Apr 2010 at 5:29 pm

    HE-ROES that’s like a big example.

    If Heroes season 1 finale had a bigger more adequate ending for the season and would of ended i would of been much happier buying a COMPLETE SERIES box set than the crap they released three seasons after…although Cold Snap was a brilliant episode…

  6. Lagrangeon 02 Apr 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Good idea for a list.

  7. Ellieon 02 Apr 2010 at 6:22 pm

    You should do the opposite list now; shows that peaked in their last season.
    Example: Avatar: The Last Airbender

  8. Snoowyon 02 Apr 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Season 1 of The OC was the first TV season I bought!

    Great list.

  9. joeon 02 Apr 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Firefly was only one, very short season. It isn’t on this list (as he states in the article) because it was only one season.

  10. Hectoron 02 Apr 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Ellie, season 2 is the best season of Avatar.

  11. skikeson 02 Apr 2010 at 9:33 pm

    True blood – did anyone see the season finale of season 2? The most anti-climatic episode in television history.

  12. Dresteron 02 Apr 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Scratch Dexter of your list

  13. JohnnyIgalooon 02 Apr 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I think you’re totally wrong with some of these. Season 5 of 24 was easily the best, it didnt have the really annoying Teri and Kim was bearable to watch. Also Seasons 4 & 5 of Lost are definately the best so far.

  14. Ryan Aon 02 Apr 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Big disagreement on 24. The first three seasons were like the Bourne movies. First one was awesome, second one was better, the third was the best. Don’t get the love fest with season 5 though, it’s not even close to the first three. Also the first season of Lost was the best, but when you combine the shortened seasons 4-5 and now 6, the story and characters and mysteries are far superior. Hell I like Jacob and the MiB more than i did Boone, Shannon, Eko, and Michael and they’ve been in what 3 episodes?

  15. Lt. Branniganon 03 Apr 2010 at 2:29 am

    I disagree about Smallville, season one was was X-Files lite with Clark and Chloe in place of Mulder and Scully, and dealing with the monster of the week. And was not really very good as a result. However I will admit the show peaked sometime after season 2 or 3.

  16. jayhawkon 03 Apr 2010 at 2:53 am

    Glad to see Prison Break on here. Season 2 wasn’t bad, but nothing special. Season 3 was entertaining, but completely unneccessary in the long run. I couldn’t even finish S4 because it was such a mess.

    Veronica Mars could have made the list

  17. Brandonon 03 Apr 2010 at 3:38 am

    Couldn’t disagree more about dexter. Season 4 was the best BY FAR. one of the best seasons I have ever seen of any show. John lithgow was simply brilliant as the trinity killer.

  18. Ellieon 03 Apr 2010 at 3:59 am


    Yeah, I think I’m just saying that because the very last episode was amazing.

  19. Kenon 03 Apr 2010 at 4:15 am

    This was a great list. I agreed with everything on it. Veronica Mars could have made it on the list. season 1 was great but the other seasons couldn’t match the mystery and suspense of season 1.

  20. Jonon 03 Apr 2010 at 4:33 am

    The only reason I can’t agree with this list was because all you did was choose every single popular drama series that’s currently airing right now. If you chose some that weren’t on in the past couple years it would have been more credible.

  21. Bobon 03 Apr 2010 at 4:36 am

    The best season of Dexter was season 4. Watching Dexter lose his temper and drag Trinity across the room with Dexter’s belt wrapped his neck and his family screaming was priceless. The last scene (no spoilers here) was excellent too.

  22. Daveon 03 Apr 2010 at 4:36 am

    Dark Angel

  23. Number9on 03 Apr 2010 at 4:50 am

    Dont forget Battlestar Galactica.
    Season 1 = AWESOME!

    Season 1+x = Estrogen infused, soap opera involving robots in bathtubs.

  24. Owlon 03 Apr 2010 at 4:58 am

    Twin Peaks

  25. robert paulsonon 03 Apr 2010 at 5:14 am

    Got to disagree with the Smallville part. It’s really a toss up between season 4 and 5. Just depends on what you wanted to see. Clark give up his dream of playing football having a normal life. Or season 5 and the his dad dying almost marrying Lana. Shit that season even had Braniac. The show has gone downhill after Lex left.

  26. Patrickon 03 Apr 2010 at 5:47 am

    You guys watch too much TV. I haven’t seen any of these shows. I watched Monk for several seasons and currently watch Psych and Community.

  27. Atul Kashon 03 Apr 2010 at 6:11 am

    No Kyle XY? I think it was one of the best shows ever.

  28. Emoryon 03 Apr 2010 at 6:53 am

    I feel like season 2 of Heroes undermined what I liked about season 1. I feel the same way about the few episodes I saw of season 2 of My Name is Earl. It was almost like they took what I liked about those shows… and kept everything else.

  29. Matton 03 Apr 2010 at 7:18 am

    You need to understand though, that the first season of a brand new show will always be the best if it’s really good.

    It’s the new thing, it’s interesting, you want to find out more about the characters, situations etc. Also, it’s something different.

    The first season also benefits from NOSTALGIA. That awesome feeling you get when you think back to how you felt when you first watched the pilot seasons of these shows.

    Season 1 ISN’T my favourite episode of 24, it’s up there sure, but I much prefered Season 2 and 5 over 1. They took the show to new heights of awesome. LOST as well, the show may be a bit confusing for some, but where they are now is incredible compared to where they were back in Season 1.

    It’s all got to do with the fact that Season 1 is always “NEW” and that makes people think fondly back to it when remembering.

  30. ummm okon 03 Apr 2010 at 8:28 am

    great list, considering roughly 99% of shows are at their best in the first season

  31. Matthewon 03 Apr 2010 at 11:24 am

    Great article! I agree totally, although Lost and Dexter are still great shows and I enjoy watching them. The first seasons were definitely the best on both counts. I’ve never watched the OC or 24, so I can’t comment on those. Heroes however has to be the biggest disappointment on television right now. The first season, although still not very good, at least caught my attention and seemed to have a consistent plot. Everything since then…I just don’t understand why anybody still watches this show. : /

  32. Janineon 03 Apr 2010 at 1:04 pm

    It’s interesting that you don’t mention Noobie Noobinson and the Double Boomskees. I guess it’s not that popular in the US, but the first Season is killer. You should check it out, free streaming (kinda like South Park), just click on my name.

    Funny how the only TV show on this list I got into is Dexter. :-)

  33. Charleson 03 Apr 2010 at 2:14 pm

    The thing about most of these shows is that the premise became more important than the plot and characters, none of which had to make sense, as long as a bunch of random stuff was thrown into a giant soup bowl and mixed together.

  34. Jeffon 03 Apr 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Twin Peaks, anyone?

  35. dave goossenon 03 Apr 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The king of them all is ‘Twin Peaks’ Even the writers didn’t know what to do when they were renewed for another season.

  36. Lauraon 03 Apr 2010 at 3:36 pm

    The first show that came to my mind was Alias. The first season was amazing, and I thought the second season did it justice. After that it kinda went downhill, even though I stayed with it. Today it is one of my favorite shows of all-time.

    Heroes also fell in to this category for me. Ahhh, season 1, you will be missed.

  37. Elleon 03 Apr 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree about Dexter. I’m so glad to see someone else write it. It’s not that the other seasons weren’t entertaining. It’s just that the first season is perfect. They do such a great job portraying a sociopath attempting to feign emotion whereas the other seasons he inexplicably develops actual emotion. A true sociopath would NEVER experience that. Still entertaining, but it made no sense. Also, the trinity killer finale, although also entertaining, was extremely contrived. The other seasons (especially the first) did a great job of making his encounters real and believable. Season 4 had so many plot holes and unanswered questions by the end it was ridiculous. Again, I enjoyed all seasons, but the 1st was by far the best.

  38. majorvolon 03 Apr 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Weeds could be a distant #8, in my opinion

  39. Vota Articoloon 03 Apr 2010 at 7:56 pm

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  40. [...] Seven Shows That Peaked In Season One [...]

  41. chelseaon 03 Apr 2010 at 10:11 pm

    i would add nip/tuck to this list and take off dexter and lost. of course you always think season one is the best. like someone said, it’s the nostalgia of the first time you saw it.

    for dexter, i would say that only season 3 was weak…. seasons 2 and 4 were just as good (if not better) than season 1.

    i don’t think OC lost anything until the middle of season 3.

    and lost season 2 is one of the best seasons of any show ever.

    of course, everyone’s opinion is different.

  42. Huffon 03 Apr 2010 at 10:37 pm

    You honestly think LOST peaked in season 1? Really? Have you been watching at all this season? Not only is this season the best season of LOST, but it maybe the single greatest season of any show ever!

  43. craigon 03 Apr 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Witchblade. Season 1 was awsome, season two was a total train wreck.

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  45. Davidon 04 Apr 2010 at 5:04 pm

    First show to come to my mind was “Alias”. I think the first season was the greatest single season of any show, ever. I disagree with “Lost” – first season was the best, until this season, which is phenomenal.


  46. wadon 04 Apr 2010 at 8:50 pm

    “assassinating the president”

    Who was just a senator back then.

  47. Frederickon 05 Apr 2010 at 12:50 am

    Season 1 of 24 is not the best, 5 by a long way!

    I would add deadwood but season 2 is fucking great as well.

  48. Philon 05 Apr 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Pretty interesting article. I would have to disagree with you on Smallville however. The season with Reeve was the best, in my opinion. Season one was simply relegated to kryptonite monster of the week. And I think 24 was Jack protecting the Senator, not him being framed into killing the pres. That may have been season 2? Oh well, good thoughts, nonetheless.

  49. [...] 7 TV shows that peaked in season 1 <Unreality> [...]

  50. ChristianHon 05 Apr 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I’m with you on everything except Dexter. I’ve never not loved a minute of that show.

  51. Jasonon 05 Apr 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Where is Terminator SC Chronicles…. Awesome first season barely comprehendable 2nd season+

    Great list though, agree with everything by LOST I’ve loved every season of that show

  52. John Won 06 Apr 2010 at 1:17 am

    When I think of Heroes I think of what might have been. What might have happened if the writers strike hadn’t derailed it (along with a lot of other shows).

  53. Samon 06 Apr 2010 at 5:22 am

    @ John W
    I don’t think the writers strike really hurt Heroes, I think it was a lack of good ideas. I think if it was a 10 part epic mini series it would have gone down in television history. Also, I think the departure of Bryan Fuller really hurt it. He left to go make the incredible Pushing Daisies and Heroes suffers then he returns towards the end of season 3 and it automatically gets better, Cold Snap anyone?

  54. [...] many of these shows didn’t go on to be pretty great after the first season, but they never quite matched their initial impression. 0AKPC_IDS += “34988,”;Popularity: unranked [?] Similar Posts:None Found You can follow any [...]

  55. gunnertecon 06 Apr 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Twin Peaks. Remarkable TV that we were lucky ever aired in the first place. There is no way that this gets green-lit today. No way, no how.

  56. Youforgotbreakingbadon 06 Apr 2010 at 7:32 pm

    You forgot Breaking Bad!!!!!!!!!!

  57. DemonWaterPoloon 06 Apr 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Season 1 of the OC is the best single season of television anywhere. For real, it still hurts to think about what could have been.

  58. Con 06 Apr 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I’ll jump on the bandwagon, 24 was solid with sporadic problems right through season 5. After that I stopped bothering. Lost was good until mid second season, then it fell apart. I mean for a show that’s supposed to be winding down why are they still introducing characters only to kill them off in the same show?

  59. jaromiron 07 Apr 2010 at 2:26 am

    Have to agree with what “chelsea” said just 3-4 posts ahead of mine.

    Season 2 and 4 of Dexter, IMO, better than 1.

    Also as far as “Smallville” goes, somewhere b/w season 5/6 IMO the show went completely down. (I think it was somewhere when Clark changed space/time to bring Lana back to life…..the whole thing was just retarded.).

  60. randomnameon 08 Apr 2010 at 7:35 am

    You’re an idiot.

    Season 5 of LOST was the best.

    The OP probably just watched the two first seasons or something and gave it up.

  61. iThinkon 09 Apr 2010 at 4:07 am

    Prison Break ftw. This show was pointless after They escaped, I didnt stick around to see the end.

  62. TheKidon 12 Apr 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Lost – Wrong, 1 and 2 were the most painful and it just kept getting better. Too much getting to know the characters and getting nowhere with the plot made me want to stab my eyes out. Peaked at 5.

    24, OC, Smallville havent watched them all.

    Dexter – is wrong, you could argue it peaked in every season.. 1 was awesome, but all the rest equally held up. I kind of think this article only has any validity if there is decent enough margin between the seasons.

    Heroes – I want to do bad things to Ali Larter.

    Prison Break – Valid, since it just seems like recycled trash.

    The biggest glaring omission that i could see is True Blood.. one of the best ever shows in s1, then failed hard in s2. With one of the word EVER endings i have ever seen in a season finale.

    A top 10 of best and worst season finales would be interesting.

  63. Goron 21 Apr 2010 at 1:43 am

    SCRUBS has to surely get in this list. you watch an episode from the first season and it’s contrast to the later seasons is huge. the episodes actually had a realistic and interesting story to tell without the forced and repetitive shitty humour. season 2 was ok, but definitely went on a steep curve downwards from season 3 onwards.

  64. BigBadBobon 22 Apr 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Let’s go back a ways – the first season of Dallas. Things (meaning bad things) happened to characters on the show. There was no “the lead character is in trouble at 25 after the hour, but he’ll be all right by the time the big hand reaches 12).

  65. olon 22 Apr 2010 at 6:11 pm

    what about twin peaks? i mean wow that wass like the most impressing soap EVER until you found out who the killer was. after that…well…mwah

  66. LPon 24 Apr 2010 at 1:50 am

    These were all obvious choices. And also dead wrong when it comes to Dexter. Fourth season is best, no contest. The first season is only better than second.

  67. Professor Farnsworthon 26 Apr 2010 at 4:20 am

    Alias should really be on that list. Season one was superb. Season 2 was good and season 3 was passable. I like to pretend that seasons 4 and 5 don’t exist. I don’t watch JJ Abrams shows anymore because that is his MO. Starts off with really great shows, loses interest after a couple of seasons and starts something new. He can’t finish a damn thing well. He should just stick with movies. Fits his attention span.

  68. TLXon 26 Apr 2010 at 8:32 am

    And out come the Lost fanboys to defend Lost after the first couple of seasons. Any coherent narrative went down the hatch with them. The 5th season being the WORST season, introducing the cliche time travel element into the story.

    Lost will never, ever be as good as the first season. sorry.

  69. Mikeon 28 Apr 2010 at 10:34 am

    Quite obviously missed the point of “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” It was so Sylar couldn’t get her power– didn’t have anything to do with her dying.

  70. Erikon 29 Apr 2010 at 2:42 am

    Yeah…Twin Peaks.

  71. Salomeon 29 Apr 2010 at 4:06 am

    THANK YOU FOR PUTTING DEXTER ON THE LIST! Seriously, I completely agree. Anyone posting here that they disagree has no tastes apparently. I haven’t seen Season 4, but Season 2 was absolute garbage and barely made any sense given the development of the characters in Season 1. Also Season 1 followed the book (how loyally, I don’t know) so it makes sense that it’s the best, since you know, it wasn’t just crapped out after it became successful and they figured they needed to keep going. I mean, the new seasons aren’t horrible, in fact they’re really good in comparison with other TV shows, but they’re no season 1.

  72. Reynaldoon 29 Apr 2010 at 5:19 am

    actually salome… ur the one without taste, u follow these rules so close that ur not open-minded….
    first… sorry for my english
    LOST is one of the best shows ive ever seen in a LONG TIME… every season of it
    Dexter…OMG dexter? U SURE? yeah its no season 1… season 2 ? SEASON 3? well… im sure u havent seen a lot of it…since season 2 ended because… in season 3 the series takes character development further from what the book does…

  73. Reynaldoon 29 Apr 2010 at 5:20 am

    AAAND i forgot… they based season 2 on the second book also… not as tight as the 1st season but they did based it on the book

  74. selenaon 30 Apr 2010 at 1:09 am

    # Matton 03 Apr 2010 at 7:18 am
    i disagree. i think the first season often *is* better, simply because that’s when writers still haven’t used up their original pool of nice story-ideas for the show.
    and from their viewpoint it makes perfect sense that they would not want to ‘save a few’ for later seasons. after all: fail to grab a big enough audience the first time around, and there will not *be* a second season.

  75. meon 01 May 2010 at 9:35 pm

    most of these comments were written by the same person!!!

  76. Josh Emersonon 03 May 2010 at 3:44 am

    I completely disagree with you on The OC. I loved Season Four. Marissa being gone was a very, very good thing. And Taylor Townsend was a great addition to the cast. Honestly, Season 4 at least ended the show on a high note I thought. Season 2 was pretty good and Season 3 was absolutely terrible.

    I also can’t agree on Dexter. This past season was brilliant.

  77. Mooon 03 May 2010 at 10:36 am

    Season 2 of Dexter was just as good as the first. And the 4th was probably the best.

    Otherwise I agree on all accounts.

  78. Felix Vasquez Jr.on 05 May 2010 at 8:17 am

    As an ex-Heroes fan it pains me to agree with you.

    And as a hardcore Superman fan I couldn’t agree more about Smallville. It’s an atrocious series.

  79. Joeon 15 May 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Sorry but you are seriously wrong about Dexter. If anything, Dexter’s second/fourth seasons were its best.
    I don’t know anyone that didn’t think Dexter’s last season wasn’t completely brilliant.

    But yeah you are definitely right about Lost/Heroes/Prison Break. Maybe about Smallville as well, but I can’t really remember that far back to comment on it.

  80. iamtheangel.comon 13 Jul 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Could not disagree more with 24, and I don’t know anyone who believes that either. Season 1 had way too much melodrama. The wife getting amnesia? COME ON.

    Most of the other ones I didn’t watch, but Heroes is sadly the epitome.

  81. Jadeon 16 Jul 2010 at 5:12 am


  82. Bruceon 26 Oct 2010 at 4:43 am

    Great list. I disagree with 24 but the rest are spot on (well I never watched the OC, so don’t know). I’ve tried to burn every other season beside season 1 of Heroes and Prison Break from my memory. They were all just bad dreams I had and never really existed.

  83. Edutiloson 08 Jan 2011 at 2:39 am

    Regarding Prison Break, I think that at least season 2 kinda made sense, plot-wise. We needed to see them running away from all the cops, because that part is just as hard (if not even harder) than escaping from the prison itself.

  84. Alexon 28 Apr 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Uhg, I loved smallville. The first 4 seasons were amazing, but after that….

    And i gree 100% about the OC.

  85. Matton 29 Jun 2011 at 4:54 am

    I loved season 2 of 24, or maybe just George Masons whole radiation death thing anyways.

    Heros is the king of this imo. The first season was epic and awsome – but it was just shite after that.

  86. Brianon 18 Aug 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thank goodness SOMEBODY appreciates Prison Break’s brilliance.

  87. Hooperon 26 Aug 2011 at 1:59 am

    I feel good about never having watched any of those shows.

  88. Tuckeron 15 Sep 2011 at 2:32 pm

    ‘Lost’ – I agree that the show was probably its most consistently compelling in the first season, but there was plenty to last for the remainder of the series that kept it engaging, despite a few lulls.

    ’24′ – Could not disagree more. Season 5 was easily the best season of the series, the very definition of a show willing to throw out all rules and take huge chances. Seasons 2 & 3 were both stronger than the first season. Seasons 6 & 8 were the only real disappointing ones.

    ‘The OC’ – Never got into the show. Can’t really comment on it.

    ‘Smallville’ – While there are a number of things to love about the first season of the series, it developed a pattern and formula they had to break free from in order for the series to fulfill its potential. As such, Season 2 represents probably the strongest season of the series and really encapsulated what the premise of the show was. As for later seasons, whether you agree with keeping the show on for so long or not, it eventually had to make the transition toward something more keyed into the DC Universe. As a result, while it’s a fairly different show in its last three seasons than the one that started, that didn’t make it any less effective at points in those last three seasons.

    ‘Dexter’ – I would agree that something about the freshness of the premise really made the first season of the series click better than others. Again, that doesn’t mean to diminish other great moments throughout the rest of the series.

    ‘Heroes’ – One of the hugest disappointments I’ve ever watched in television. This one I fully agree with. That first season was magical and count me as one who wasn’t let down by that season finale. I even rolled with the slower start to things in Season 2 and appreciated what they were going for. But it became clear mid-Season 2 and onward that they were lost. You can’t really get into a show that continually reinvents itself (and not in good ways) every few weeks, raising then abandoning plots and themes like chewing gum. I trudged through that mess for three seasons and finally threw in the towel after two or three weeks into Season 4. Stunning how much the show never recaptured what it had accomplished that first season.

    ‘Prison Break’ – Another show I never got into. From what I gather, though, it sounds like one season was all the show really needed.

  89. Daveon 21 Sep 2011 at 10:34 am

    “and I will never forget the last ten minutes of the season to this day.”

    Now that’s some fine writing.

  90. R.Pghon 21 Sep 2011 at 10:45 am

    Prison Break’s first season was one of the best forms of entertainment I’ve seen in a long time. Season 2+ blew monkey testicles. Pretty sure it was the tattoo with the escape plans that made it so awesome in the beginning….opps, I mean ‘spoiler alert’.

  91. A-Trainon 21 Sep 2011 at 10:59 am

    30 Rock, anyone? I’m a fan of seasons 2 – 4 (5 was kind of a mess), but that first season is close to perfect. They haven’t come close since.

  92. bfg666on 22 Sep 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Smallville: I didn’t watch the last seasons (the last I watched in its entirety was season 6), but I have to disagree. The first season was ridiculous and, while the whole show has barely anything to do with the comic version, I continued watching it and found it more and more enjoyable as seasons passed. Stopped watching it, though, because the progression of the main character from teen Clark to adult Superman took foooreeeeeverrrrr…
    Dexter: As it has already been stated here, season 4 is clearly the best – and the darkest. The show has slightly suffered from lack of novelty in season 2, but 3 & 4 were truly awesome. Also, season 3 finale was for me the most striking moment of TV since the death of Joyce Summers in Buffy. Funny that it also involved an ex-member of the Buffy casting…
    Heroes: I guess everyone agrees that season 2 was a mess, but season 3 was almost as good as season 1, and season 4, while flawed, was still enjoyable.
    Lost: I love the whole show, even the much criticized season 2. Each season is really worth it, but the show suffered from the fact that season 1 was kinda “too much, too soon”. Don’t get me wrong, I also love that first season, but I think that at that time, it was so different that they wanted to strike hard to raise and keep interest, so they gave us one hell of a ride that was and will be almost impossible to top.

  93. bfg666on 23 Sep 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Erratum: About Dexter, “season 3 finale” should read “season 4 finale,” of course.

  94. Laurenon 04 Nov 2011 at 12:51 am

    You forgot the main one DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES!! The first season was sublime but now it’s gone completely to shit I’m so glad it’s going away. That goes triple for Rescue Me that show hasn’t been the same since season 1.

  95. easyon 10 Nov 2011 at 7:23 am

    Smallville worked when the plot lines revolved around Lana,Clark and Lex. Lana and Clark,Kristin and TW, had chemistry that drew millions of people in. After season 3 the show went cartoony and
    lost it’s dramatic edge…it got hilarious at the end where you could not believe it was even the same show from 2001.

    Basically nobody watched the finale compared to the millions that watched in the first 3 seasons. The show really tanked after Lana (Kristin Kreuk)left the show. What was once a cool show turned into the same old stuff people have seen 1000 times before. And this time hardly anybody came back to watch how the series ended.

  96. Taniaon 24 Nov 2011 at 2:48 pm

    You forgot Supernatural!!!

  97. Amyon 29 Feb 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Damn. I KNEW Heroes would be on this list cuz someone told me it sucked after season 1. I am so drawn into that show on Netflix… but now I’m going to be pre-disappointed when I start watching season 2 lol

  98. Jakeon 01 Apr 2012 at 7:21 pm

    This list is so old but @TLX if you see this, I know of people who missed on the entire lost experience because they couldn’t get past season 1. You can’t just say season 1 is the best. It is all subjective. I loved the entire series, particularly season 4 but the season finale made me go like wait… you’ve got to be kidding me! I was not such a fan of the fifth one but again, I know of people who thought it was the best.

  99. Breauxon 02 Apr 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Season 2 of LOST was without a doubt among the best single seasons of television ever. The show didn’t peak until then. You’re a little premature saying it was Season 1. I mean, finding out whether or not “pushing the button” mattered was one of the biggest payoffs ever. Lest we forget Mr. Eko.

  100. Janiceon 09 Apr 2012 at 10:44 am

    I’ve got to add “Weeds” – nothing on that series ever topped the season 1 finale, the plots still made some sense, Mary-Louise Parker’s character was still a “suburban mom” living in the suburbs (the whole point of the show) and not something of a whore in super-short skirts (not that there’s anything wrong with that) who makes a series of decisions that go from bad to worse; and Elizabeth Perkins was icy and brilliant but they made her into the whipping post or scapegoat of the show, continually humiliating her long until it was no longer remotely funny and only uncomfortable. Both “nancy and “celia” lost any resemblance to their season 1 characters.

  101. Archie Leachon 21 Apr 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I honored to say that I’ve seen none of these shows.

  102. Adition 03 Jun 2012 at 6:04 pm

    i agree with Janice,first season Weeds had a point but now there i nothing holding it together

  103. Deezyon 04 Jun 2012 at 4:23 pm

    “…and I will never forget the last ten minutes of the season to this day.”

    You should stop trying to write words for a living.

  104. FishBiscuitson 03 Sep 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I agree with all of these (that I watched) – Lost, Heroes, Smallville. Though I also loved series 2 of Lost (that was on a par with season 1, I think) and 4/5 with the time-travelling nonsense. It was only 3/6 that sucked. I stopped watching Smallville after season 6 I think. They tried to milk too much out of it.

    In fact, it’s the same with a lot of American shows, ’cause they keep them going too long to milk money out of it, instead of thinking about telling the story. A lot of non-US shows I love (Misfits, Torchwood, IT Crowd, etc) tend to have a few series with few episodes in them, and I tend to love all of it instead of losing enthusiasm. Except Torchwood’s ‘Miracle Day’. Bleugh. Farscape is one of the few series that had lots of episodes and I loved every bit.

    I’d add Dark Angel to the list (it had promise in the first series, but the second turned into some story about a ‘magic cult’ thing). Charmed was okay in the first series too, because it was more about the sisters’ relationship and less about their relationships. Desperate Housewives too, it was fun at first but it turned into a stupid soap. Same with Ugly Betty.

  105. Liam Donaghyon 20 Sep 2012 at 6:35 pm

    It can’t be a coincidence that all of these shows were made in the past decade.

  106. James Nelsonon 25 Sep 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I’m amazed that the new Battlestar Galactica didn’t make this list in a big why, although some would say that it managed for two seasons, only because it the writers were still making it up as they went and the cracks hadn’t begun to show yet.

  107. James Nelsonon 25 Sep 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Damn, this board needs an edit button. That should have went, “made this list in a big way. . . “

  108. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully In All 57 Stateson 07 Oct 2012 at 4:10 am




    The first four YEARS were “the Kryptonite Mutant Menace of the Week”!!! Interesting ONLY to serious Superman fans (yes, me, too).

    It didn’t even start getting GOOD until they introduced Lois Lane.

    There’s a reason why everyone despised the “CLana” BS, too.

    Smallville got continually better until the middle of the final SEASON, then it tapered off with rather disappointing series climax/finale… Probably because they weren’t totally certain the 10th season would be its last, since it was supposed to end @9.

    I repeat:

  109. Iconon 01 Dec 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I’d add Battlestar Galactica to the list.

  110. Billon 18 Jan 2013 at 8:41 am

    so maybe i also like some of the other seasons in dexter and lost as much as the first seasons – but your lists and reviews are always great to read, im so glad i finally discovered this website!
    …and yeah – i totally agree about Battlestar

  111. Paul Wankumson 26 Feb 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned it yet. Possibly one of the finest seasons of television ever aired, never to be recaptured. Every following season I watched with an ever lessening sense of hope that the show would somehow come close to the magic of the 1st season. Finally, at season 6 I have given up.

  112. Joshon 09 Mar 2013 at 5:37 pm

    haha heroes was for sure a show that should have ended after first season, brilliant.

  113. sirgregoryon 11 Apr 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Thinking about sitcoms that got me hooked in the first season but never really kept that initial spark:
    My Name is Earl, Corner Gas, and The Big Bang Theory come to mind.

  114. Charleson 07 May 2013 at 1:14 pm

    The best season of 24 was the 5th season. Agree 100% with Lost and Heroes.

    Also even though many prefer it, I would put the first season of ALIAS as not only the best of that series, but the best of ANY spy/action series ever put on network TV.

  115. Roxtonon 19 Aug 2013 at 2:58 pm

    One show that had a great first season was Earth: Final Conflict. Killing off the main character in the first season, does not destroy some shows but this show got worse after Boone was killed off.

  116. Phillip Baueron 01 May 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I dont think Smallville season 1 was he best season it was too much of a monster of the week type of show. but it grew as it went along

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