View Poll Results: Which show had the best freshman season?
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Freshmen seasons in American action 'toons
Freshmen seasons in cartoons are like losing your virginity: you grope around awkwardly, hoping everything is put where it should be, and that the other party (in this case, the viewers) likes it enough to let you do it again. You explore, seeing, what works, and what doesn't: either way, you get valuable experience for next time, which is good, since very rarely is the first time one’s best performance.
With the smashing success of Spectacular Spider-Man’s ongoing first season, I’ve gotten to thinking about the first seasons of other American action shows. Gargoyles, Weisman’s previous effort, had an excellent five-part pilot, while the remaining eight episodes were merely good: Deadly Force aside—and for very particular reasons—none of the other episodes seem to get mentioned much. Legion of Super-Heroes first season had a decent first half, and an excellent second half, which, in my opinion, would not be topped in the show’s second season. Both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited had freshmen seasons which were comparatively weak, considering the caliber of the people behind them, their familiarity with the material, and their previous work. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) mixed a seasonal arc based on the comic books with less-successful one-shots aimed at introducing original villains, and ended on a rare freshman season cliffhanger; while the first few episodes are decent at best, in my opinion, it didn’t fully gain steam until the second Shredder fight (The Shredder Strikes Back) and didn’t establish itself as totally awesome until Return to New York, where Leonardo totally decapitates the Shredder, only to have his body get up and retrieve his head. X-Men: Evolution’s, on the other hand, is eminently forgettable, and the series’ worst. Spectacular Spider-Man, while still in progress, is marked by incredibly speedy world-building and confidence rare for a first season—the main reason why I’m writing the thread now is in order to prevent it from getting all the votes.
What stuff should a show’s first season attempt, and what should it stay clear from? Which show has the gutsiest? Which had the best pilot? Which shows were one-season wonders? Which show took the longest to find its feet, and which took the least? Discuss here.