Beloved American TV Shows That Started Out Bad But Became Great

The first season of a TV show sets the pace for the rest of the series. While some shows burn out after one or two seasons, others establish a long-term premise that lasts for years. But if a show has a rocky start, can it ever recover?

In the case of these beloved series, the answer is yes. Characters were retooled, and the overarching themes may have changed a bit, but the following shows received a second season so they could realize their full potential. Most aren’t so lucky. Here are 18 TV shows that sucked in the beginning, but got much, much better.

1. The Office

B.J. Novak, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Jenn Fischer sitting around a table in a conference room on 'The Office'

The Office | NBC

  • Number of seasons: 9
  • Worst season per Rotten Tomatoes: (no score yet)

Hold on — we know this sound blasphemous, but hear us out. The U.S. remake of The Office lasted a lot longer than its British source material, due to finding its own way. But at first, it pulled too much from Ricky Gervais’ dry U.K. version, which didn’t exactly translate to the NBC audience.

Fortunately, this was quickly remedied: Steve Carell’s Michael Scott became a bit more of a lovable doofus than a jerk (in keeping with the actor’s true nature), and the other characters fell into their respective places around him. The show struggled to get back on its feet after Carell left in Season 7, but the final ninth season saw everyone get their happy ending.

Next: Viewers weren’t happy with another procedural crime drama.

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