Most Television Shows Should Only Be One Season

Maybe two.

You know what would have been a great TV show? “Homeland” if it ended after the first season. Just: fade to black, never find out if Brody detonated or not, the end! It would have been a nice echo of the last episode of “The Sopranos,” which is probably the last show that should have been allowed to have many seasons. Instead, we have a dead Brody, Carrie has a baby, and did you know that Homeland is still on television? Yeah, we’re about to hit Season 6 and renewal for 7 and 8 is around the corner.

“True Detective” should never have made a second season. This is an indisputable fact. “UnREAL” could have stopped after Season 1 just fine, and then we wouldn’t have had to be worried about how crazy Season 2 got. (Also, I know it’s a podcast but there’s no way Serial is ever going to live up to the hot mess that is the Hae Min Lee murder: a perfect crime for a true crime series because it happened in the ’90s when we knew a lot but still not enough. You used to be able to get away with murder, you know, and that was the inflection point, I’m convinced. Another post for another day.)

Last month, all anyone watched or talked about was the Netflix Original series, “Stranger Things,” which was creepy and thrilling and had a sometimes distractingly rich plot, but it had a pretty tidy resolution (except for Barb). That is, until the end when that kid vomited up a slug, which is a) gross, and b) annoying, because now we have to talk about our dumb theories until 2017!!!!!!! Netflix is already teasing us:

Oh my GOD. We haven’t even elected the next president and you want me to read into the titles of the next eight episodes?? I hope that the reason for this nonsense is “We Have To Film All The Episodes Right This Second Before The Puberty Hits,” but even so, give us some room to breathe. Just this week we have new fall television starting! You’re like an ex that won’t go away, just give me some space please and then we’ll hook up again next year when I forget how much of an emotional rollercoaster you were the first time. And what’s better than a one-season romance? One season of television. “That’s a miniseries,” you might be thinking, but you’d be wrong. A television show has hope, you genuinely think this one has the potential to go on and on for many years until the original writers have moved on and all the kids have gone to college and you’re ready to feel something again. Think about some of the greatest cult favorite shows, cut down in their prime:

“Pulling” (two seasons)

“Freaks and Geeks” (one season)

“Deadwood” (three seasons, fine)

“Twin Peaks” (two seasons)

“My So-Called Life” (one season)

“Flight of the Conchords” (two seasons)

“Party Down” (two seasons)

“Shannon’s Deal” (Balk told me to add this one, one and a half seasons)

“Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23” (I also added this one for Balk)

“Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip” (debatable, one season)

They’re the cursed twenty-seven year old rock stars who die before their time. They were brilliant but had serious problems. We think? They were weird, and maybe too odd. But also so special. Somehow they weren’t right for this world, and your sneaking suspicion is it’s the world’s fault. But mainly we’ll remember them for how great they were. We’ll only ever truly appreciate (and then performatively overappreciate) them now that they’re gone. I know what I said earlier about miniseries, but “Black Mirror” is excellent television. Can you tell I love short stories? More people should aim to make this kind of television. I’m looking at you, Lena Dunham. One to two seasons. Three, max. Thank you and have a nice day.

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