TV series are slowly winding down to the end of their seasons for the summer pause. Some of them will return, and others will be relegated to vaults in the basements of productions companies to surface when the actors and directors reunite at anniversaries.
When a show is riveting, audiences will hope for many seasons of episodes before it meets this kind of end. It is not always the case though. Sometimes a series comes to a natural conclusion, such was the case with Breaking Bad, which made it to five seasons before coming to an end.
Then there are shows which have lasted far longer than they deserved to, having lost the edge that they once had and being churned out in the hope of regaining former heights of fame and glory.
Shows that make it past 10 seasons obviously have something going for them, even if you yourself do not agree with it. They have episodes that everyone loves, they have episodes that bore the pants off even the most loyal viewers, and every so often they have episodes that surprise us with their unexpected twists to the long-standing formula.
Regardless of our opinions of any of the following series, someone making the big decisions at the networks has allowed for them to come back for new seasons.
Woody Harrelson first made a name for himself in the bar where everybody knew his name. At the time, there were very few complaints from people about this series lasting for 11 seasons. With standout characters such as Sam Malone, Woody, Norm!, Cliff, Carla, and many more, it made people laugh for 11 full seasons and 275 episodes.
It got off to a slow start after its premiere on September 30, 1982, and was almost cancelled. In a short space of time, things picked up, it was syndicated worldwide, and to this day there are countries around the world playing reruns of classic episodes that never seem to get any older.
Not only was it popular with the fans, but it was also picked up many awards, including 28 Emmies. And of course when it was over, it was not over, because Frasier Crane got his own tv show: Frasier.
9 Grey's Anatomy
An 11th season has been announced and secures Grey's Anatomy position on this list, with favorite Patrick Dempsey confirming he will come back to reprise his role. This hospital drama has witnessed the comings and goings of many characters, most famously Katherine Heigl, who did not leave the show amicably.
Oftentimes the "goings" have been extremely dramatic on screen, with airplane crashes, hospital floods and jumping in front of buses to save people's lives. Sometimes it ends with a cliffhanger, sometimes it ends with good feelings, but either way people keep coming back to view it.
Grey's has won awards throughout its residency on ABC, with Katherine Heigl being the only one to win an Emmy. Its ratings have fluctuated throughout the season, and the final episode of the 10th season raked in 8.61 million viewers, giving it its highest rating in three years. It is quite probably this that has allowed it to return for at least one more season.
It is rare to see a spinoff show do as well as its original, but that is what happened with Frasier. As previously mentioned, the character Frasier Crane was swiped from Cheers, set up in Seattle, and given his own onscreen radio show where he dispensed his verbose philosophies on matters related to psychiatry.
Joined by his eccentric and hilarious brother Niles, his father Martin, the English live-in physical therapist Daphne and his radio producer Roz, this show lasted for a 11 seasons, the same as its forerunner.
For a while there, Kelsey Grammer became the highest paid actor in the US for his portrayal of the conservative doctor. Not only that, he was the longest-running character on prime time television, thanks to 11 seasons of Frasier coupled with 203 appearances on Cheers.
When Dr Green, Susan Lewis, Nurse Hathaway and Dr. Benton showed up on our screens in 1994, ER became an instant classic as far as hospital dramas are concerned. The show lasted a whopping 15 seasons and saw all kinds of emergency room incidents that threatened both the casualties and staff alike.
Michael Crichton (of Jurassic park authorship fame), along with Steven Spielberg, produced the pilot episode for TV instead of film, as was originally planned. Good thing they did, because it had some longevity and earned 23 Emmy Awards throughout its run. We sat on the edge of our seats, laughed at some of the lunacy and cried at the loss of some of the great characters who came and went. And of course it launched the career of George Clooney to superstar status. Need we say more?
6 Two And A Half Men
CBS just announced that its long running sitcom Two And A Half Men will cease to exist after the end of the 11th season. This hit tv show has been making people laugh since Charlie Sheen first donned the hat of a character that, let's be honest, is quite similar to his actual self. After the unfortunate demise of both his personal life and onscreen character, the responsibility fell to Ashton Kutcher to keep the show alive and continue to offer Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) a place to live.
With its never ending sexual innuendos and immature humor it is difficult not to laugh at this show, or the comedic characters replete with their unique dysfunctions. Perhaps CBS has a spinoff in mind. Any one of these oddballs could make an interesting show of their own.
5 Family Guy
Family Guy is just rounding up season 12 and continues to bring in millions of viewers, which is great for a show that was canceled in its second season on Fox. Competing against the likes of Frasier and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, it did not look good for the show in the beginning. In fact it took a hiatus of a few years before Cartoon Network bought the rights to air reruns, and slowly built the popularity back to a point that the first new episodes were played in 2005.
Now viewers can watch as this show gets more ridiculous, more insulting, and pushes the boundaries of broadcast decency every day. Created by Seth MacFarlane and first released in 1999, it has become a cult classic and has parodied all manner of other entertainment properties in its time. Most famously, it parodied the original Star Wars movie trilogy, beginning with its episode Blue Harvest. It is likely that the show will have a while to go yet, which means that nobody is safe from its over-the-top portrayals of politicians and celebrities who decide to get in their way.
4 Law & Order
When Law & Order was finally canceled in 2010, it was the longest running American crime drama on TV and had wowed audiences since its premiere in 1990. When introduced, it worked with a completely new formula, splitting the show's run into distinct portions. It would begin with a half hour investigation by the police involved in a criminal case. The second half of the show was then dedicated to the legal proceedings that would lead to the trial, and often conviction, of the supposed criminal.
The show was filmed on location in New York and featured the odd cameo appearance from local celebrities such as mayor Rudy Giuliani. It also led to spinoffs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent. Law & Order: Trial by Jury and Law & Order: LA. None of them enjoyed the ratings success that the original had, and all are done and dusted as of 2014.
Running from 1955 to 1975, Gunsmoke long held the reign as the longest running scripted television series in the US, until Law & Order caught up with it. In its twenty seasons and 635 episodes, it took viewers on epic adventures around the American West at the time of its settlement.
Matt Dillon (not the actor) was the main character in the show, a lawman played by actor James Arness on TV and William Conrad on radio. Throughout the years he had different sidekicks in his work, Chester & Festus Haggen being the most notable. Then there was Burt Reynolds as the blacksmith Quint Asper, a role that he played from 1962-1965.
2 Power Rangers
Power Rangers has gone through a number of incarnations with different production companies in the years since the first series launched in 1993. Of the twenty different seasons there have been 17 themes, the current one being Power Rangers Super Megaforce. It has received some criticism for targeting a young audience with violent content, but obviously this has done nothing to affect production.
The show is adapted from the Japanese show Super Sentai and uses footage from it. The content has been revised and edited from the Japanese version to incorporate more of an American culture and it also has to meet American television standards.
1 The Simpsons
Homer Simpson and family have not aged one bit in the 25 years that they have been on Fox, tirelessly and selflessly entertaining the masses with their shenanigans. Its creator Matt Groening gave each of the family members names corresponding to his own family's, replacing Matt for Bart.
Its success is undisputed. It is the longest-running American sitcom, longest-running American animation and in 2009 it beat out Gunsmoke as the longest running American scripted primetime television show. Never one to shy away from controversy, the show has picked its fair share of fights with the public. Many believe that Bart is a bad role model for children and others believe that the quality of the humor has dropped considerably since the early days. Regardless of the criticism, the show continues to rake in viewers and as far as we can see, there is no end in sight.
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