Although we’re currently living in peak TV where the landscape includes over three hundred scripted shows, there are some television studio traditions that never die. One of these is continuing to renew shows long, long after they’ve lost their creative spark. Because not only is TV a storytelling medium, it’s also a money-making business.
However, the question remains: does the fact that a show continues to make a network money mean that it should continue on for more than six, seven and sometimes ten or more seasons? The easy answer is no and here’s why: shows usually lose their creative momentum after a long run and rarely, if ever, are able to get it back.
Now that the 2017-18 fall season is kicking into high gear, we decided to list six TV shows that have overstayed their welcome.
Once Upon a Time
Storybrooke was a fun place to visit in 2011, but by 2017 it had lost its luster. Once Upon A Time should have ended its run when with the season six finale. After six years, Once doesn’t have any more stories to tell. Even by season three, they were running out of characters from the fantasy world and started getting desperate by bringing in Grimm and other characters. Now, as we head into the season seven premiere, they’re doing a time jump. Whenever there’s a major jump in any series that means trouble. It shows that the writers didn’t have anything left in the present timeline so it’s time to do a massive jump for a “fresh start.” Instead, Once should have just ended with season six because honestly, I was surprised it even made it that far. It’s time to leave Storybrooke where it belongs, in a fantasy. —Savannah Brock
The Big Bang Theory
The Walking Dead
I stopped watching The Walking Dead in season five. I got tired of the circular storytelling, the repetitive drama, and the distinct lack of direction. There used to be a sense of moving toward something — an example is at the end of season one when the CDC explodes, Abraham’s quest to Washington, DC to discover a cure. All the while, Rick and Company survived. There were great tension-building scenes — the season two premiere in particular, when the group is trapped on the highway when a massive zombie horde walks by. Somewhere along the line, though, The Walking Dead got boring. And then it got needlessly violent. Characters can kill zombies in any number of creative ways, but when a villain smashes a main character’s head in so badly his eye pops out, a line has been crossed. Shock value does not a television show make, and the more The Walking Dead relies on it, the further it gets from being a tolerable drama. —Katey Stoetzel
For thirteen seasons we have lived in Seattle while losing and saving lives at Seattle Grace/Grey-Sloan Memorial. Now, as we head into season fourteen, one can only wonder what’s the point anymore? Of the characters from season one, only four are left standing. The two moments where Shonda Rhimes should have known it was the end was first in season ten when Cristina left and then in season eleven when Derek died. What is the point of Grey’s Anatomy if Meredith doesn’t have her two people? Who is there for her to randomly dance with or her person to cry to when life gets tough? Things are still dark and twisty, but not in a good way. It’s sad to say that Grey’s has run it’s course. Meredith and Alex are rarely happy and it’s annoying to watch the new characters try to fill the void that was left behind by the beloved original characters (RIP Lexie and George). Having been a fan for thirteen years, I’d rather say goodbye to Grey-Sloan now, then watch it explode like it literally did in the season thirteen finale. Let’s leave and walk out of the hospital on a high note, not when the ratings begin to flatline. —Savannah Brock
The fandom love is strong with Supernatural, but it’s safe to say that after twelve seasons (and a thirteenth right around the corner), several deaths, angels, demons, and the apocalypse, the once fledgling CW show has overstayed its welcome by several seasons. Once at the top of its game, Supernatural has lost its creative juice and its strong storytelling ability, which once put the show on the map, is diminished. Sure, there are certain levels of the show that are still entertaining, but there’s only so much brotherly conflict and character deaths people can take before it all becomes far too redundant.
As an example of the series’ fading shine is the promotion of Crowley to a main character in later seasons. Once a fearsome crossroads demon and later King of Hell, the show’s determination to give us a bromance between him and Dean, paired with the missed opportunities for the demon to kill the brothers Winchester given the propensity to find themselves in the same room, dropped his status from bad guy to friend. It made him less compelling and destroyed any malice that once made him fearsome. Moreover, how many times do we need to watch Sam and Dean die before it becomes permanent? As much as some may say that an episode of Supernatural is still better than an episode of some other show, this shouldn’t be the standard for a show that was once creative, intriguing, and immensely layered in its storytelling. —Mae Abdulbaki