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The Best Family Crime Drama Series That Only Lasted One Season, According To Fans

Television can be an unforgiving place for creators. For every "Breaking Bad" or "The Sopranos," there are dozens of other examples of series that could never make it past the first season, despite winning fanfare and critical praise. From "Freaks and Geeks" to "Firefly," some shows never make it past their initial seasons, being axed because of low ratings, timing, studio changes, or any number of other reasons.

Luckily, time has been kind to many of these shows, with streaming platforms and physical media providing them a new way to live on instead of dying in the dark and disappearing from memory. Fans can still make their love of these series known today and keep them in the popular conversation alongside much larger and more current programs from every genre. Among these one-season wonders is a crime family drama series that has sparked conversation and been labeled by some fans as the best one-season drama centered on a criminal family, a premise that has given rise to other popular shows like "The Sopranos" and "Animal Kingdom." 

The Black Donnellys follows four Irish brothers

In 2007, Paul Haggis had become a sought-after screenwriter and director in Hollywood following his direction of the box office hit and best picture-winner "Crash," released in 2005 (via IMDb). Following "Crash," Haggis dabbled in writing on various projects for Clint Eastwood ("Flags of Our Fathers," "Letters From Iwo Jima") and the "James Bond" series ("Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace"). But Haggis' true follow-up came in the form of "The Black Donnellys," a New York-set show that marked Haggis' return to television after years since working on series such as "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Due South."

Created with "Crash" co-writer Bobby Moresco, "The Black Donnellys" follows four Irish brothers who find themselves navigating the criminal underworld of New York. Jonathan Tucker led the series, and it also marked an early role for Olivia Wilde. Unfortunately, it was dropped in its first season, leaving only 13 episodes for fans to binge when it was eventually released on DVD (via IMDb).

"Watched it as it aired. The acting was solid. Great writing. And only a few episodes aired. I was sooo WTF when it cancelled. I still tell people about this show," Reddit user u/BearTheBoroBlower wrote in a thread on the best one-season shows. Another commenter, u/joeyvesh13, compared the series to "The Sopranos" and called its cancellation "upsetting." 

"Ugh, I'm still salty. I rewatched this recently, and I'm just so confused as to why it got cancelled," u/greenweights added. While fans may never know how the story would have concluded if it had continued past the first season, at least they can take comfort in the fact that they're not mourning the abrupt ending of "The Black Donnellys" alone.