Since the first regularly broadcast programs in the 1930's, thousands upon thousands of television shows have come and gone. It's not uncommon for a series to be canceled before its time. Very few, however, have been pulled after only one episode.
Whether the victims of poor timing, meddling executives, remarkably poor public reactions or plain old terrible ratings, these programs are noteworthy for their distinction as the shortest-lived shows on their respective networks.
Bal And Chain (1977)
He's Balkowski, a hard-drivin' undercover cop with an attitude. She's the ghost of his wife, bound by voodoo to the mummified clitoris he keeps on a chain around his neck. Together, they're a duo that no criminal can spot - until it's too late.
America's Top Screecher (2005)
Contestants begin screeching the moment the show goes live. The first two people to stop screeching find themselves in danger of going home.
Each gets to present a melodramatic video package depicting everyday issues (having children, not getting a dream job, knowing someone that died or is sick) as somehow special and deserving of a call-in vote to keep them on the show. During this segment, each contestant must continue screeching, drowning out the sappy music and inevitable "I'm just doing this so my kid can have a better life" platitudes.
The Thomas Phillips Show (1956)
Thomas Phillips, the country's most beloved compulsive television camera destroyer, sits down in front of a television camera with guests for discussion of a variety of topics. The first episode lasts just thirteen seconds, at which point the inevitable happens as Thomas is torn to pieces by a pack of wild studio wolves.
I Think My Kid Is A Fifth Grader (2010)
Parents from across the country are quizzed about their children's ages, interests, and emotional states. Correct answers are rewarded with thirty seconds of free time in which the parents can check their cell phones or ask the audience for updates on the Kardashians.
Breaking News Dance Party (2001)
Join Wolf Blitzer and three hundred of the hottest party-loving college students on the CNN rooftop Situation Pool as they react to the day's biggest stories with fresh beats and wild dance moves!
Now THAT'S What I Call A Career-Ending Injury! (1996)
A lighthearted roundup of devastating injuries from around the world of sports, mostly shown in super slow motion, then reversed in a humorously faster speed. Includes all your favorite canned sound effects such as guy screaming, wood snapping, coconuts knocking against one another, and baby crying.
Porky's III: The Series (1989)
This is simply Friday The Thirteenth: The Series with a new title hastily superimposed over the original. Hope you enjoy!
Anthony Bourdain's Humble, Non-Romanticized Travel Journal (2003)
Come watch star chef Anthony Bourdain frown at seedier aspects of the cities he visits and honestly appraise local cuisine in a matter-of-fact prose that is not more in love with itself than the culture it is describing.
Piggyback Confessions (1994)
You'll never believe what the average person will say to a complete stranger while on a piggyback ride through the streets of a lonely city. From the businesswoman that admits the ride isn't very comfortable to the mysterious man that points and shouts "follow that other guy on piggyback!", this hidden camera series is full of surprises.
NASA Engineer Cribz (2007)
Ever wondered what NASA's most glamorous engineers do with their chunk of the program's budget? Come on a guided tour of the most mind-boggling mansions that space dollars can buy. As the budget gets bigger, so does the pimpin' - and that's a scientific fact!
Celebrity Dreamland (2005)
Our hosts twirl about in a set full of bubbles, imagining that they are acting out the minutiae of a different celebrity's life each week. Follow along as they tremble in ecstasy, recounting their imaginary weight loss and beauty techniques, voicing their inner monologue as they pretend to shop and eat in public and have relationships in the ways that only true stars can.
Solved Mysteries (1997)
Dramatic re-enactments of people listening to mundane, scientific explanations for seemingly paranormal happenings. Hosted by Gilbert Gottfried.
What Kind Of Bird IS This? (1993)
Duff cannot figure out sort of bird she saw. It was over Central Park, going west (she thinks). It definitely had two wings, and she describes the bird as "fairly solid" on a scale of 1 to Translucent. If anyone has seen Duff's bird or is some sort of bird expert, please call in.
Why Burying Games On This Channel Instead Of Nationally Broadcasting Them Is A Good Thing (2006)
In the first episode, the NFL explains why their idea isn't shortsighted. Case in point: The NHL's decision to get more money by taking their games away from NBC and airing them on the mega-popular Versus Network, which will surely create more fans and revenue in the long run.
Stick around for the second half of the program, when the commissioner tries to literally force the universe to fit his ideas by tightly squeezing his arms around seemingly random patches of air for fifteen minutes.
Things I Can't Eat (1996)
Says host Gus James, "Shellfish are out. It's not that I'm allergic, they just seem super icky. They look like bugs. I don't like pudding because of the texture. Any sort of bread just makes the muscles below my jaw get puffy and sore. I refuse to drink any wine that I can see through. I like ravioli in concept, but the real thing just doesn't do it for me. I always scrape my teeth with the fork."
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.