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aka: Short Runner

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The polar opposite to Long-Runners are, as you may expect, media that was canned so quickly that few people remember them. They may have not even gotten a TV Tropes page until someone suddenly remembered it existed.

Quality of the media may vary. Some of them may have been mediocre or downright terrible. Or they could have suffered Seasonal Rot during the second season after having a great first season. Or the show might have cost too much for their network, or they might have been Screwed by the Network, ending in the middle of plot lines that were never resolved. It gets worse if the short-lived show never got reruns, sharply decreasing the likelihood that there are tapes to circulate; this is a little less of a problem with the creation of streaming media, but that has its own issues if something gets pulled or delisted from a service. The Other Wiki has an article on single-episode runs. No matter how much the media was advertised, many were Quietly Cancelled and sometimes forgotten.

One possible Trope Codifier for TV is the 1969 ABC sketch show Turn-On, which was considered awful and controversial — for its time, anywaynote . A number of ABC's affiliates dropped it at the first commercial break, and it was effectively canned before the premiere finished airing. Other affiliates either aired the entire show and then pulled it or didn't air it at all and replaced it with better programming, like a documentary on gun safety.

In the case of book series or other published media, many start off with a contracted run that ends when the contract is up or tapers off after it no longer draws in an audience or has very low readership. Shows may have lasted one season—two at most—and some of the more unfortunate ones don't even last one episode. Toys often don't sell well enough or get recalled, and companies move on to the next thing that might take off; Ghost of the Doll focuses on 80's and 90's toys aimed at girls, with several that often had short runs.

When a show has only a few episodes but is successful, that's British Brevity. When the show ends naturally with a few episodes, that's a Miniseries or 12-Episode Anime.

Supertrope of Second Season Downfall and One-Episode Wonder. Compare Short-Lived, Big Impact, which is where a show has a short run, but well-remembered; Too Good to Last; Cut Short; and Orphaned Series. See Failed Pilot Episode for an index on pilots that never went anywhere.

The podcast Canceled Too Soon specializes in covering short runner shows as well as other TV curiosities.

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    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 

    Game Shows 
  • You Don't Know Jack while a long runner when counting the games, the gameshow version only got six episodes.

  • Bad News Ballet only released ten books in the series, a victim of many short lived girl-focused book series of the 1980s and 1990s.


    Newspaper Comics 



    Theme Parks 


    Video Games 
  • The Virtual Boy; which lasted less than a year and received only about a dozen games in the US (if you include Japanese games, it almost reaches two dozen).
  • The Learning Voyage series of PC/Mac edutainment games by Davidson & Associates/Learningways, Inc. There were only two games in the series, released in 1998. Trademarks were filed in 1997 and abandoned in 1999. While it is still used in Classworks, it's not known by that name to those who play it; it's just "That game where you play as a shark and eat fish with words on them" or "That game where you dunk a clown by choosing fact or opinion".
  • BEMANI games each usually get sequels that include interface, songlist, and gameplay updates, with pop'n music having the most arcade versions of any game at 27, but two infamously only lasted one version each before being retired: Mambo A Go Go and pop'n stage; both games were released before the advent of the eAMUSEMENT network and online updates that keep versions fresh even as they age.note  To be fair, pop'n stage is a spinoff of pop'n music, but that it got a unique cabinet yet only used that cabinet for a single release cements it firmly into this trope.
  • Unlike other Love Live! mobile games, Love Live! School idol festival 2 MIRACLE LIVE! is very short lived. The original Japanese version launched on April 2023, and is expected to shut down on March 2024, just a month shy from its first anniversary. However, the Global version takes it to the extreme, as it had both its launch date and End-of-Service date announced on the same day, therefore it is only expected to last between February and May 2024.

  • Omoriboy: The comic began at the end of 2011 and continued into March of 2012.
  • Vampire Girl: The first season ran from 2011 to 2012 with only a total of seventeen strips... then the second season ran from 2022 to 2023 with an additional thirty-five strips.
  • Wishful Thinking: The Object Show curse prevails when the creator completely ghosted the comic after two chapters and an interlude.

    Web Videos 

    Web Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Short Runner