When it comes to good television, there is possibly just one thing worse than a show getting canceled too soon. And that is a show not getting canceled soon enough. When a great series begins, it almost seems too good to be true. The writing is subtle and smart, the performances are seamless, and when an episode ends you can’t wait for the next one to begin.
But sometimes, perhaps more often than we would like to admit, a show goes stale. The first few seasons are gems, and then it becomes clear that the writers are scrambling to come up with storylines that can rival that of the pilot season. Before we know it, Fonzie is soaring through the air in a leather jacket and water skis, jumping over a shark…
We dare you to disagree with any shows on the list below:
This was actually based on an Israeli television show called Prisoners of War, and it started out with a bang. It was smart and quick, and the audience couldn’t see the curveballs that the writers were throwing at us. And of course, Mandy Patinkin, legend of the stage and screen, was part of the extremely capable cast. But after Brody died, so did this show. All of a sudden, it is no longer about what it was when it started, and characters are routinely acting in ways that they previously wouldn’t have. It seems as though everyone is searching for a good plotline but can’t find one.
9. House of Cards
This was adapted from a BBC miniseries, and probably should have lasted about as long. The first season was almost too good to be true: Could Frank and Claire really be this manipulative? Could their marriage be so deranged that it actually works? Could Washington really be like this? And then they hit us with arguably the best season opener of all time when Frank pushes Zoe Barnes in front of a train at the beginning of Season 2. But slowly, Frank moves from majority whip to vice president, to stealing the presidency and so forth, and the show’s interesting factor has become inversely proportional to Frank’s success. Now we have to look forward to a sixth and final season with just Claire in charge.
8. Orange Is the New Black
In the first season, Piper is a vulnerable white woman from Boston who has to fend for herself in prison. It is funny and quirky and dark at times. By season 3, she is running a black market operation and everyone is afraid of her? It ventured too far and too fast from the original gold that was mined from Piper Kerman’s memoir, from which it was adapted.
Luckily for everyone involved, season 7 will be the last for Olivia Pope and her gang. There is only so much back and forth an audience can take of Pope’s relationship with Fitz, and only so much we can suspend our disbelief when it comes to the inner workings (and constant assassinations) in Washington. Sure, D.C. has a lot more going on than meets the eye, but God help us all if it is running anything like an episode of this show.
This soap opera dressed as a day in the life of a corporate law firm had some potential at first. The pretty people had an intriguing situation before them, with college drop-out Mike Ross practicing law without a law degree. But when it comes down to it, the characters are basically cardboard cut-outs of generic stereotypes — in really nice suits. And the whole premise of the show — this law firm operating with a lawyer who isn’t a lawyer — isn’t even part of the story anymore since that character went to jail and the firm was destroyed. Concept complete.
5. The Blacklist
Who doesn’t love James Spader? This show was so scrumptious when it started: Spader, a felon on the FBI’s Most Wanted list using his inside knowledge of the underworld to help FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen catch the bad guys, one by one. Plus, is he her father or isn’t he? But every season has been the same, and then she got pregnant. But that didn’t really change anything. And they killed her off, but she isn’t really “dead.” It just goes on and on. Please stop.
4. Once Upon a Time
This started out with a really interesting and cute concept: fairy tale characters who end up in the real world and were robbed of their memories. But it’s been seven seasons, and the show is dragging on. It feels as if the writers are out of ideas. There doesn’t seem to be a reason to fear the villains anymore, plus everyone has gotten their happy endings! What’s a fairy tale if you don’t have that waiting for you?
3. Grey’s Anatomy
It is currently in its 14th season and at this point, it’s practically a joke how many of the characters have died. The most scandalous of them being, of course, McDreamy, or Dr. Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey. Plus, practically the entire original cast has vanished in search of fresher acting opportunities. Someone, please, put this show out of its misery.
13 seasons. We can start there. Who needs 13 (or more!) seasons? Also, how many people really need to die for this show to finally die itself? And if you have been watching relatively closely over the years, you might have noticed that the writers have the tiny little problem of inconsistency. Ever notice that something that happens or is said contradicts something from the past? Let it go. Please.
1. Law and Order: SVU
19 seasons. Approximately 420 episodes. Done. Done. Done. To make matters worse, the show has become unbearably predictable. Just a few minutes in and we know who done it. Also, the writers historically pull plotlines from headlines in the news, but they’ve gone off the deep-end here. They’re really scraping the barrel. And perhaps the biggest reason of them all: does anyone really like watching it since Christopher Meloni left?