TV shows that only had beginners luck

Some shows just put all their cards on the table too soon

multiple writers
17th August 2020
Image credit: IMDb,Ed Aqaquel,Gene Page/AMC - © 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC,Paola Kudacki - © Paola Kudacki/BBC America
Sometimes we really love the first season of a show, only to realise that it's the best that the series has to offer. After the initial concept, the show becomes less polished and worsens in quality. Our writers discuss the TV shows that they believe peaked in their first season.

Killing Eve

The first season of Killing Eve delivered engaging and funky storylines, fun characters, decent writing; I thought it was a thrilling drama, and raved about it to my friends. 

Credit: IMDb, 2019 BBC America

When the second season came I was excited. “Wow!” I naively thought. “The first series was great, there’s a lot of potential for the second - can’t wait to watch this dynamic cast of characters again.”

I clearly shouldn’t have raised my hopes so high. The ending slash ‘cliffhanger’ was laughably bad. The outcome of the duo’s kerfuffle in Rome was obvious, considering Killing Eve was bound for another season. It was watchable and somewhat entertaining, but definitely not to the remarkably high standard set by the first.

Killing Eve has become tired, predictable, and far too sentimental

Credit: IMDb, Parisa Taghizadeh/BBCAmerica - © Â2018 BBC America

With previous disappointment from the second season in mind, I was skeptical about the third, though decided to watch it anyway. We were in lockdown, and I didn’t exactly have anything better to do. At the opening of the first episode, characters and the plot seemed a little random, such as Villanelle’s engagement (which just seemed contrived).

When mixed into the stale atmosphere of the show, details which made Killing Eve so endearing to its audience - like the humour of supporting characters like Konstantin and Carolyn - simply lost their touch. To give the production team some credit, I suppose, the cinematography of this season remained as exemplary as the other two (and Jodie Comer’s outfits remained impeccable). But all in all, Killing Eve has become tired, predictable, and far too sentimental.

Maud Webster

Prison Break

The first season of Prison Break is some of the finest TV I've seen. Every episode grips you, every character is well developed, and everything is pretty much perfect. That show literally gripped me to my chair, holding my breath every two seconds in anticipation.

However, after the first season, it declines in quality. The second season isn't bad, but it didn't have the binge-worthy power that the first season had over me. I genuinely cannot remember the rest of the show, which is probably for the best. I literally can't tell you a single thing that happened after season two.

After the first season, a lot of the characters seem less relevant, and it just doesn't have the same stakes

Credit: IMDb

Honestly, the first season works well just by itself. It has a good arch- Michael Scofield deliberately gets imprisoned so he can escape with his brother, who is wrongly sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. The elaborate plan conceived by Michael, the hardships in prison and the people he meets along the way, who can help or hinder the plan, are all brilliantly written. However, after the first season, a lot of the characters seem less relevant, and it just doesn't have the same stakes. You literally cannot top a plot about an elaborate prison escape.

Spoilers here, but when I first watched the show I assumed that the first season would end in a failed escape. I thought he would keep going with plans until the end of the show, when he would finally escape with his brother, or his brother would die and he would have to escape from prison alone after trying to save him. However, it's resolved after the first season, and the rest becomes a hiding-from-the-cops chase from what I remember. It just kept going, and the show ran for far too long.

For me, this was forgettable, but the first season is ingrained into my brain as one of the best things I've ever watched.

Sophie Hicks

The Walking Dead

With only six episodes and an intriguing plot, The Walking Dead season one was easily a no-brainer when it came to a quality binge-watch. I was hooked from the first episode, with its 28 Days Later vibes as Rick Grimes awakens from a coma, only to find himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

Credit: AMC Film Holdings LLC, IMDb

As Rick’s storyline is intermingled with his wife, son and best friend, I needed to see when Rick was finally reunited with them, fighting plenty of “walkers” along the way. Rick’s journey became even more complex when it is revealed early on that Lori and Shane have been in a relationship after having left Rick for dead in the hospital. It’s this tension that drives the first season forward, especially when Rick becomes established as the leader of the Atlanta survivors over Shane, increasing the rivalry between the two. The first season was intense both from an emotional and a violent standpoint, making for gripping television.

It gets repetitive as the group fight and kill zombies, only to realise a bit too late that the zombies aren’t the real enemy

Then we got to season two. Although we got to learn more about the characters and the storyline involving the search for Sophia was interesting, this season didn’t hook me like its predecessor. This was probably because the group stayed on a farm for the majority of the season, making it pretty forgettable. Although the Governor made for a good villain in the third season, I think The Walking Dead was never able to grip me in the same way as the first season did. It gets repetitive as the group fight and kill zombies, only to realise a bit too late that the zombies aren’t the real enemy, but the human survivors.

Characters breezed in and out, the epidemic couldn’t be solved and “Coral” got more and more unbearable as the series went on.  

Kate Dunkerton


When I first started watching Heroes I was over the moon because I thought I'd found a brilliant show to sink my teeth into. Season one had it all: an awesome opening, a great cast of characters, and an interesting premise. It's no wonder why so many people raved about it when it came out. After finishing season one I was more than ready for the next season and was actually excited but when I watched it, all I felt was disappointed.

After the issues with season two, the show lost its spark

Credit: IMDb

And the sad thing is it wasn't really the show's fault. Season Two started great but just after it started airing, there was a writer's strike, and it's safe to say the show suffered as a result. The show's quality took a nosedive and the original storyline for season two was scrapped and had a conclusion that caused more problems than solutions. After this, the show didn't seem able to regain that spark and just became lackluster. It didn't help that the later seasons had an over-reliance on season one villain Sylar (Zachary Quinto) that caused the story to take yet another blow.

And don't get me started on Heroes: Reborn.

Featured image credit: IMDb,Ed Aqaquel,Gene Page/AMC - © 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC,Paola Kudacki - © Paola Kudacki/BBC America

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