A lot of different factors can go into a list of television shows that stayed past their welcome. It’s easy to look at any new Fall season and pick the shows that aren’t going to make it to a second season. It’s easy to remember some of the worst TV shows that ever aired that nobody liked, or admitting to liking despite their success, like ‘The Jerry Springer Show.’ It’s also easy to remember those shows that were great all the way through, but then delivered disappointing final episodes like ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Seinfeld.’
We’re not including any of those kinds of shows on the list. To qualify for this list, a show had to have ratings success or at least a dedicated following. These are the shows that you couldn’t miss when they first started, tried to catch during their waning middle years and was left asking, “Is that even still on?” when you heard it was coming to an end. The shows on this list were all slow-burns. Maybe you can identify the moments that the programs on this list “jumped the shark” but nothing on the list can be described as crash-and-burn. It’s more like crash and slowly rot to death before help arrives.
What causes a show to slowly fail? In the instances of these shows, it is usually because something was taken away. It could have been one of the stars, or maybe the original writing team. In other cases, something was added, a new character or a new setting, that just never resonated with the audience. Would it have been better if these shows wrapped it up a season or two early? Probably.
11 The Brady Bunch
10 WCW Monday Nitro
9 Saved By the Bell
8 The Real World
5 The Facts of Life
4 Grey’s Anatomy
2 Two and a Half Men
“12 years ago your wife kicked you out and you and your dumb son moved in with your brother.”
“He wasn’t dumb in the beginning.”
“Turned out it was funnier.”
“Your brother let you stay there eight and a half years rent-free even though you claimed he never liked you.”
“You’re not the only one to point out the illogical.”
1 The Office
Seriously, what happened here? ‘Cheers’ gave way to ‘Seinfeld’ and then ‘Seinfeld’ gave way to ‘The Office.’ Why did this show go out with a whimper instead of a bang? The show just could never gain traction after the seventh season, when Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell left the show to pursue a movie career that had already taken off. Despite the best efforts of Will Ferrell, James Spader and Ed Helms all giving it their best show, the spark was gone when Scott uttered one more “That’s what she said” and got on a plane. Carell returned for the final episode, the marriage between Rainn Wilson and Angela Kinsey’s characters, but even he’s not a good enough actor to get beyond the look on his face that said the show should have gone out on top a couple of years earlier instead of now being known for overstaying its welcome. This may be the biggest case of a show that could have been remember as an all-time classic that now simply won't.
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