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One Series Wonders


schmojo
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In light of Lovecraft Country not being renewed, and Handmaid's Tale expanding far beyond the original source material, I'd like to make a thread celebrating those excellent single season shows that could otherwise get lost to time.

 

It's always annoying when you find out that a show has been renewed, or an actor has been re-signed, before you finish a series. It feels like a spoiler, and you know that they'll go for a less satisfying ending now that they've got more episodes to fill.

 

Also, let's not fuck around here. Some stories are short, self-contained, and don't require The Continuing Adventures of Oskar Schindler. Or we get outfaced by finding a show with five seasons to conquer.

 

Here's a classic to get started: Terriers. A fun noirish private dick adventure starring Donal Logue.

 

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What you got? What did I miss?

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Studio 60 got very Sorkin very fast, but you could see a 5 or 6 season arc play out toward the end when the writing was on the wall, and I wish it had a better chance to tell the story.

 

Damn you Tina Fey!

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As soon as I saw the thread title I rushed in to say Terriers, so glad it's the first one there.

 

If mini-series count then I remember John Adams on HBO being excellent.

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There was a tv series (or mini series) from the early 90’s which scared the hell out of me as kid but was a Perfectly contained story even though they left it open for a Follow up series with a semi cliffhanger which luckily they didn’t do - chimera. set in fertility clinic up near the borders that was actually a secret genetics lab where one of the experiments gets loose and starts terrorising the local countryside.

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I enjoyed I'm Not Okay With This last year.

I was not okay with it being cancelled.

 

36 minutes ago, Darwock said:

Chernobyl was quite good.


Seconded. Astonishing television.

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Update: this thread made me search YouTube for Studio 60 as a nostalgia burst, and sure enough Donald was referenced as a cynically implausible outcome to the political climate.

 

Those that don’t learn from history and all that.

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Actually, thinking back about kind-of-grounded military sci fi, Invasion: Earth was a pretty great little miniseries about 1990s NATO trying to fight a impossible war against an alien force.

 

Edit - The creator went on to come up with some nonsense called “Line of Duty”.

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As a cartoon example: Sym-Bionic Titan.

 

As an action spectacle about smashy stompy giant robots, I liked it more than Pacific Rim. At first the story and characters didn't seem very remarkable, but by the last few episodes the world building and backstory were getting more interesting and I was getting fond of the characters.

 

I'm not sure where it's available to watch now, but I watched it when it was on Amazon Prime in the UK about seven or eight years ago. (With some episodes out of order, and cropped and in the wrong aspect ratio. :hmm:)

 

It had a pretty active thread here when it was first broadcast:

 

(The rage image in that thread preview was posted when the series was cancelled!)

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Not Films or TV, but the rights to Fur Fighters, the best game on the Deamcast and subsequently remastered for PS2 and smart phone releases lie in development hell right now.

 

Give me that online petition.

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I vaguely remember enjoying a show called The One Game on ITV when I was a kid in the 80's.   It was based on an arg or something but I don't remember much about it.

 

I do, however, remember very vividly a show with a young David Morrissey called One Summer about a couple of runaways.  This was very good.

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World Of Pub. I loved this comedy set in a different themed pub each episode. Phil Cornwell, Peter Serafinovicz, and Kevin Eldon having a load of fun. This clip's not that representative because it's complete gross-out stuff, and it's about the only part of it that is IIRC. I don't like gross-out stuff unless it's done really very well, and this is pretty bloody good. I think the whole series is up on YouTube, FWIW.

 

 

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A lot of BBC TV adaptations are great.

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Alec Guinness was a classic.

 

Also Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell was a good recent one.

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The Terror, available on iPlayer, is excellent. Ok I'm cheating since it had a second series but that was unrelated. 

This first series is a slow-burn mix of taking some true events and then letting the writers imagination run wild to fill in the many blanks. Brilliant acting, especially from the lead Jared Harris. 

 

Chernobyl, as already mentioned, is one of the greats. As close to perfection as you can get in a drama. Brilliant acting, especially from the lead Jared Harris. 

 

The Lost Room also doesn't get enough credit. Staring that bloke from Six Feet Under who isn't Dexter, The Lost Room surely had some influence on the design of Remedy's Control. Random objects of power (a comb that lets you time travel), a weird motel room where reality doesn't quite make sense... It may not hold up as it's been a while since I've seen it, but I really enjoyed it. If it starred Jared Harris then I suspect it would have been much more popular. 

 

Good shout on Terriers. I was enjoying that one. 

 

And the grand daddy of them all - Band of Brothers. Nothing tops it in short-TV series. I don't think I'll ever see anything quite like it again. Ok you could argue The Pacific is part of the series, but you'd be wrong and that wasn't very good. BoB is masterful, so good it didn't even need Jared Harris. Although knowing BoB, he's probably in there somewhere being brilliant. 

 

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3 hours ago, papalazarou said:

There was a tv series (or mini series) from the early 90’s which scared the hell out of me as kid but was a Perfectly contained story even though they left it open for a Follow up series with a semi cliffhanger which luckily they didn’t do - chimera. set in fertility clinic up near the borders that was actually a secret genetics lab where one of the experiments gets loose and starts terrorising the local countryside.

 

This was so good!

 

I hated it as a kid but went on to read the book as I got older which is also great too. 

 

Poor Chad. 

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101577/

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/363523.Chimera

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1 hour ago, Gommy said:

Dark Crystal the recent series.

 

Dark Crystal was more of an ongoing production that inexplicably got chopped after one season. I can't believe that after all the investment in puppeteers and scenery, and the amazing end product that resulted, that they didn't want to make any more. Heartbreaking.

 

Godless on Netflix is pretty good, an enjoyable Western that doesn't outstay its welcome. I would have added Russian Doll as it's pretty much a perfectly self-contained thing but for some reason I think they're planning more of it.

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2 hours ago, Dark Soldier said:

Quarry is the ultimate. Absolutely stunning series, but I feel the writers knew it'd just be one season as it ended perfectly.

 

Yes, this. The books are also pretty good.

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2 hours ago, Gommy said:

Dark Skies the 90's show.


I was rewatching this and it hasn’t aged terribly well unfortunately, but that Tobe Hooper directed pilot has a great vibe to it.

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I suppose there's a difference between shows that get cancelled after 1 series, and shows that are only meant to be one series, and work perfectly without needing any more.

 

Chernobyl is probably the best example of the latter.

Imagine some TV executive commissioning a second season of Chernobyl?

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