Some relationships reach a point where you realize “This is the person I’m going to be with forever.” While other times you realize, “If I don’t end this relationship soon, it’s going to be three years and I’m going to be bald and unhappy…oh wait, it’s already been three years.” Sometimes you realize that things just won’t get any better, and simply need to come to an end. As most of us know, this has been the case with some classic and well known television shows. Similarly to an ex-love, they didn’t know when to quit it with their annoyance! There are many reasons for a show’s lack of knowledge to stop while they’re ahead, but a few main ones include an actor leaving, decline in ratings, or a stab to the heart of creativity. With that being said, here is a list of five shows that, despite being great when aired, they may have stayed on too long.
October 2, 2001 – March 17, 2010
A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fl… Wait, I mean… Scrubs was a comedy – drama about doctor’s lives inside and outside Sacred Heart Hospital. The show followed main character, J.D., played by Zach Braff, from being an intern to becoming a doctor. It balanced wild and wacky comedy, with very melodramatic and thought provoking moments. Scrubs was an instant ratings success for NBC and turned Zach Braff into a star. Initially, the show ran for seven seasons on NBC, then moved to ABC for Season 8. At the time, the final episode of Season 8 which was titled “My Finale”, was thought to be the end. As J.D. leaves Sacred Heart Hospital, he daydreams about what his life might be while Peter Gabriel’s “The Book of Love” plays in the background. It was a great ending, and would have signified a great finale. However, ABC decided that they wanted the series to continue, so a ninth season of 13 episodes was ordered. This is the point that made Scrubs stay on the air too long. When the show returned, the idea was to introduce a bunch of new characters with the old, like J.D. returning in kind of supporting roles. The actual finale didn’t feel like much of a finale, Zach Braff had made his last appearance in episode 9 that season, and therefore, was not in the final episode. From the point of view of the network, it makes a lot of sense to want to continue the popular series. ABC had just purchased the show and probably wanted more than one season to air. Bill Lawrence on the other hand, always considered the ninth season to be a new show. The ninth season certainly has its moments but just felt like it was dragging on and avoiding the inevitable. No, I don’t want no Scrubs.
4) The Office
March 24, 2005 – May 16, 2013
Anyone surprised this one comes so early in the list? The hit sitcom The Office was a mockumentary remake of the British comedy The Office starring, Ricky Gervais. The U.S. version of the series starred the ever talented Steve Carell as Michael G. Scott, the idiotic yet, loveable boss at Dunder Mifflin paper supply. The problem was the fact that Steve Carell only had signed on to do seven seasons. Unlucky enough for viewers at home, that was all the witty comedian could take, so he left. However, the creators decided to continue the series and made Ed Helms character, Andy Bernard, the boss. The rest of the cast was very funny and talented, but Michael Scott was the heart of that series and without him, it slowly died. The series ran for two more seasons, but wasn’t the same. It did have its moments as the finale was excellent and very satisfying. Several long standing story-lines were wrapped up, like Dwight and Angela getting married, Pam and Jim go to Austin and Creed is arrested. Both critics and fans agreed that the finale gave a proper ending to the series. Plus, it featured a highly praised cameo by Steve Carell. Thank you, Mr. Carell.
March 3, 1985 – May 14, 1989
Before Pam and Jim, before Ross and Rachel, and even before Sam and Diana there was David and Maddie, the original “Will they? Won’t they?” couple. The show was a huge success for ABC and is credited as being the first comedy – drama. It reinvented the career of Cybil Sheppard and introduced the world to Bruce Willis, who the network was actually against hiring. The premise of the show was that David and Maddie ran a detective agency called Blue Moon, but the real story was that there was a massive amount of sexual tension between the two characters. The show began to decline in ratings after a season three episode, where David and Maddie …you know… go one on one. Basically, the two characters got together and lost the spark. There were attempts to rekindle it but those attempts all failed. Also, behind the scenes, Cybil Sheppard and the creator/head writer, Glen Gordon Caron, had a difficult working relationship which led to his departure from the show. Soon after, Bruce Willis became a huge star with Die Hard and wanted to move on from the series, causing it to struggle through its last season.
2) Happy Days
January 15, 1974 – September 24, 1984
Happy Days was one of the biggest and most successful sitcoms to ever air. The show depicted a family’s life in the 1950’s and can be credited with creating one of the coolest iconic characters in the history of television in, Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli. The series ran for 11 seasons and also spawned successful spin offs with Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy. The series also helped a young Ron Howard breakthrough into Hollywood. Happy Days is not without its infamous moments. The term, “Jumping the Shark” was coined as a result of the Season 5 premiere episode. In the episode titled, “Hollywood” the series jumped the shark when they had the Fonz literally jump over a shark on water skies! This was in contrast to the earlier seasons that revolved around a relatable family. Basically, when a show is suffering, in an attempt to drive up ratings, the show will do some type of out of the norm “stunt” to garner more viewers. However, this sometimes backfires, causing a larger decline in ratings. The series continued on after that, needless to say, but I’m going to anyway, they weren’t all happy days.
1) That 70’s Show
August 23, 1998 – May 18, 2006
Much like Happy Days, That 70’s show was a sitcom that depicted the life of a teenage boy, Eric Forman and his friends and family in the 1970’s. The series was very successful and had an outstanding cast that made huge stars out of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace. The series is remembered for its retro opening theme, adult themes of the 70’s, and the infamous “circle”. The issues began when the “teenagers” stopped looking like teenagers. Next, Topher Grace, who played Eric Forman decided to leave the series after Season 7. Although the series was full of great characters like Hyde, Kelso, Fez, Red and Kitty, the heart and possibly soul of the whole series was the character of Eric Forman. They decided to continue the series without him, but it just wasn’t the same. This is number one because there was a huge decline in the quality of the show between Season 1 and Season 7, then without Forman in Season 8. The show introduced a new character named Randy and brought back legendary comedian, Tommy Chong to reprise his role as Leo. However, the series couldn’t regain the spark it once had, so they had to make the hard decision to pull the plug. Eric Forman did return for the last few moments of the finale in a heart warming scene on the hood of Eric’s Vista Cruiser, with him and Donna reuniting with what brought everyone together in the first place… laughter.
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