Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time starts up again this weekend and sees the already absorbing show most definitely kicking things up a notch (learn more about it in our Josh Dallas interview) that has seen the show become one of ABC’s biggest guns in America.

To honour the start of the show’s sophomore series on Channel 5 this Sunday, we’ve had a look at some other American shows that have been able to not only make their second series as good as the first, but make them even better.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy, the eponymous slayer of vampires

While the first series was unsure of itself and slightly stuttering, it was the second that truly let Buffy go off the leash and spread its supernatural wings.

It addressed all the issues that the first series had and massively improved on what was already making the show such a delight. The dialogue got snappier, the characters got more interesting and the action itself got better and more intense.

With the introduction of a brilliant set of bad guys in Spike and later Angelus and a truly heart-breaking finale, the second series still stands as possibly the best of Buffy’s seven seasons.

Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Many say that the show doesn’t really begin until Walter White shaves his head at the end of the first series and while the first series made for compelling viewing, it was the second series that really saw Breaking Bad move from a very good series to an utterly mind blowing one.

Darker and more mature than before, the second series of the show had Walt descent into hell really begin. From the nail-biting opener where the two must plot how to take down a drug lord to the heart breaking a tragic love Jesse finds to the introduction of Saul Goodman, it’s this second series of the show that demonstrated exactly how good Vince Gilligan’s show could be.

That it only went on to become bigger and better from there is a credit to the show’s incredible writers.

Community

Community's Greendale Gang

While the first series of the show established Community as one of brightest lights in the world of the American sitcom, it wasn’t until the second series of the college based comedy that it became the apple of everybody’s eye.

If the first series played it fairly safe, then the second let its entire batch of crazy out and embraced both itself and its audience in a beautiful way. With perhaps still two of the best seasonal specials ever and a collection of episodes that include the gang dealing with a runaway space simulator, a paintball match that gets wildly out of control and a dive into table top gaming, it made Community the cream of the network comedy crop.

Archer

Archer on another drunken bender

Archer made an incredible debut with its first salvo of episodes, but it was the second series of the show that made it perhaps the most outrageously funny show on television as well as perhaps the most unhinged comedy of recent years.

Over the course of its second series, the show had utterly deranged and side-splitting plots, including a murderous rampage caused by cancer medication, the introduction of a psychotic cyborg and had more Burt Reynolds references than you can shake a stick at. In short, it was a work of utter genius.

Alias

Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber in Alias

J.J Abram’s spy drama was a bunch of fun in the first series, but it was in the second that it ratcheted up the pace and making this into a nation hopping spectacular that barely gives you time to stop for breath.

From the introductions of the Rambaldi artefacts to Syndey’s mother coming in to the show and bringing all sorts of chaos in her wake, J.J Abrams and co made Alias one of the most gripping and thrilling dramas on TV, without ever losing the charm that got into our good graces to start with.

True Blood

True Blood's Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer

With the lengthy and protracted set up that was the first series of the HBO vampire drama out of the way, the second series could fully delve into the universe it had created and make something truly special.

With the show delving into the idea of immortal Greek priestesses and a crazed anti-vampire cult, it was able to paint not only a far more interesting picture, but a far fun one. The show managed to balance out the romantic, comedic and dramatic elements of the show perfectly throughout these second dozen episodes.

The show is still to this day in the shadow of this second series and was the main reason why some fans stuck with the show through the uninspiring third and fourth seasons of the show.

 

While not all shows can have the same success replicating the magic second time around (I’m looking at you Lost and The Walking Dead!), when a show can make its sophomoric set of stories an even greater success than its first, then you know you’ve backed the right horse.

Got any favourite second series’ you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section.


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  1. by Shayne 13th Apr 2013 10:00

    The photo you're showing with Breaking Bad is for the Season 3 opener, No Mas. Probably not the best choice for an article that focuses on Season 2.

  2. by richard 13th Apr 2013 17:46

    breaking bad was already amazing in its first season. the second season was just as good. but then the show started to decline in season 3. just my opiniion. but the first season is my favorite. and i think this most recent season was pretty lackluster.