Four Legendary Sitcoms That Jumped the Shark in Season Two

‘Mork & Mindy’ went to shazbot after its inaugural season
Four Legendary Sitcoms That Jumped the Shark in Season Two

Sitcoms tend to get better in their second season. If Season One is all about working out the kinks, Season Two is when it all starts to come together. Seinfeld was like this, and so was The Simpsons

But occasionally, a show experiences second-album syndrome and can’t recapture the magic from its gangbusters first season. Here are four such sitcoms that shined brightly in Season One, only to fall off dramatically in Season Two…

Mork & Mindy

After Robin Williams’ bizarre alien Mork appeared on an episode of Happy Days, ABC decided to give the gibberish-spouting weirdo his own sitcom (despite the fact that that Happy Days episode was only a dream). The result was Mork & Mindy, in which Mork moved in with a woman named Mindy (Pam Dawber). A fantastic showcase for Williams’ brand of improvisational silliness, the show was an immediate hit as a fish-out-of-water story where Mork tried to conform to Earth culture.

But despite being the third biggest show of the 1978-1979 television season, Mork & Mindy was retooled for Season Two with a new supporting cast and a shift in focus to a love story between its two leads. That season, it fell to 27th place in the ratings, before sinking much further in Seasons Three (49th place) and Four (60th place). After that, Mork went back to Ork with absolute shazbot to show for his efforts (please refer to this handy online dictionary of Orkan words to properly get this reference).

Hogan’s Heroes

It’s still hard to believe that the story of American soldiers stuck in a Nazi POW camp could be the premise for a sitcom, but it very much was. Hogan’s Heroes premiered in 1965 — just 20 years after the end of World War II — and was a runaway success, finishing the 1965-1966 TV season as the country’s ninth biggest show. Americans loved the cartoonish skewering of Nazis, but the joke wore off quickly. In Season Two, the show fell to 17th place in the ratings, and in Seasons Three through Six, it never broke the top 30 again.

Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty was a breakout hit when it debuted in 2006, but fell off precipitously soon thereafter — both in the ratings and with critics. Most fans say the show’s sophomore slump, from which it never recovered, came from repetitive storylines and increasingly ridiculous situations about Betty in the fashion world. 


Season One of the high school musical comedy-drama was undeniably charming. Such charm, however, had diminishing returns. Beginning in Season Two, the focus shifted from the teachers to the students, and original songs were introduced into the mix (boo!). The ratings more or less evaporated from there. Ever since, the show has been associated with tragedy after tragedy, making everything about it the exact opposite of its title.

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