12 TV Shows That Went On For Way Too Long
Sometimes even our favorite shows overstay their welcome by a few too many seasons.
We’ve all lived this experience–the thrill of a beloved TV show getting renewed for a new season only to have that new season peter out less than half way through. Worse yet, when the seasons keep getting made, dragging the lifeless corpse of a once great show out in front of audiences over and over again, just to really salt the wound.
TV shows overstaying their welcome and going from amazing to amazingly-awful seemingly in the blink of an eye is a problem so prevalent that we’ve rounded up 12 examples of the phenomena–from zombie thrillers to workplace comedies. It would seem no genre is safe from the curse of jumping the shark.
Is there something on this list that you would keep on the air indefinitely if you could? Or another show that you believe stuck around for way too long? Let us know in the comments below.
1. The Office
While there were some funny moments in the late seasons of the office with new characters like Robert California, it’s hard to deny the fact the show really took a turn after the departure of Michael Scott–and probably could have called it quits at that point and been better for it.
2. Arrested Development
The original run of Arrested Development was famously cut short after just three seasons, prompting a hilarious “save our Bluths” running gag in the show itself, so it’s not surprising that fans were eager for the revival when it finally happened on Netflix several years later. But it turned out, sometimes the things you love most are the ones you need to let go.
3. Happy Days
Credit where credit is due, Happy Days not only lasted way too long, it originated the phrase “jumping the shark” to exemplify doing just that. In an episode of the show, the Fonz literally jumped over a shark on water skis.
This fan favorite CW show had plenty of ups and downs after series creator and original showrunner Eric Kripke left after Season 5. These peaks and valleys were dragged out for 10 seasons, where the show visibly struggled to figure out ways to up the ante after the apocalypse was done over and over again.
The last season of Scrubs is infamous for its total pivot from medical comedy to, uh, medical school comedy which saw the departures of multiple characters. We really could have gone without it and just closed up shop several seasons earlier to end on a high note.
As a whole, Dexter’s eight seasons were all over the place. Fans often cite Season 4 as the best because of John Lithgow, but almost nobody liked Season 8, which ended with a big dud.
7. The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead had its ups (Seasons 3 and 4) and downs (Season 2). But the show’s quality has been in steady decline ever since the infamous season finale cliffhanger in which they chose not to reveal who Negan killed. Most of the characters you loved aren’t even on the show anymore because, let’s face it, a decade is a really long time for an actor to spend on one series.
8. The Simpsons
There was a time when The Simpsons was the very definition of counterculture. Now, 30-something seasons in, the show has become the antithesis of cool. When was the last time anybody asked you whether you caught the new Simpsons episode? This show should have ended 20 years ago.
9. 13 Reasons Why
A show about discovering why a suicide victim killed herself is bound to reach a natural end point. 13 Reasons Why did, and then overshot it by about three additional seasons.
Homeland had a phenomenal first season, and then seven more after that. The show simply never managed to recapture the tension of its central relationship/conflict.
11. Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy jumped the shark long before the show went off the air. Was it the moment when two patients arrived in the emergency room impaled on the same metal pole, and the doctors had to choose which one to save, like a bad joke? Yes, yes it was.
Granted, there is something charming about the constantly escalating absurdity of Riverdale, a show where teenagers run moonshining rings, go to prison, catch serial killers, and dance burlesque all while still attending high school. But the charm gets harder and harder to find as it overstays its welcome a little more each season.