That’s Still On? TV Shows That Lasted Too Long
Sometimes it’s best to leave while you’re at the top of your game, but then again, walking away from a hit television show is hard. Instead of calling it quits on a high note like “Seinfeld,” these shows took too long to go off of the air.
When “ER” first debuted in 1994, it was lauded for its stellar writing and the on-screen chemistry of the ensemble cast. The show helped turn George Clooney into a household name, on top of launching a wealth of other careers. But after 15 years on the air, a lot of other cast members had left “ER.” John Stamos ended up as the lead male character during the final season and it just wasn’t the same.
“ER” isn’t the only medical drama with an ensemble cast that doesn’t seem to know when to pull the plug. Shonda Rhimes first had a hit on her hands when “Grey’s Anatomy” debuted. The show followed surgical interns and residents on their quest to becoming seasoned doctors while trying to juggle their personal lives. “Grey’s Anatomy” started off as a mid-season replacement and by the second season, the show had really hit its stride. But 11 seasons in, the show hardly looks recognizable. You know it’s time to call it quits when Meredith Grey and Christina Yang break up.
When “Single Ladies” first started, what was going on behind the scenes was more interesting than the show itself. LisaRaye McCoy and Stacey Dash couldn’t get along and by the end of the first season, Dash was out. The show lagged on for a couple more seasons and VH1 decided to axe the show after three seasons. But BET breathed new life into “Single Ladies” and announced that the fourth season will air on its Centric channel.
The producers of “The Office” brought the show to America and it was an even bigger hit than the original U.K. version. Steve Carrell was spot on as boss Michael Scott and the show and its ensemble cast enjoyed a successful run on the air. But by the seventh season, the show was on the decline. Even Carrell saw the writing on the wall and left after seven seasons. We finally said goodbye to the crew at Dunder Mifflin after nine seasons.
Those with a running knowledge of pop culture know the term “jumping the shark.” It refers to the point when a TV show hits the wall creatively speaking and it’s all down hill from there. The phrase originated from the show “Happy Days” and their moment came in the fifth season premiere when Fonzie literally jumped a shark while water skiing. The show would last another five before it aired its last episode.
Martin Lawrence was one of the biggest stand-up comedians of the 90’s and his sitcom “Martin” was an instant hit. It teamed him up with his “House Party” co-star Tisha Campbell and she played his levelheaded girlfriend, the perfect balance to his zany character. But the chemistry between the two stars turned ugly when Campbell accused the comedian of sexual harassment and refused to appear on camera with him. The show tried to go on but it just wasn’t the same because it lacked the chemistry between its two stars.
Fans loved to watch “Roseanne” because they were a poor working class family with more than enough love, snappy comments and snarky comebacks to go around. The Connors instantly won over America’s heart but after nine seasons, it looked as if Roseanne and company would never take their final bow. The show became even more outlandish when the family won the lotto. Thankfully the series ended after nine seasons.
“True Blood” is a perfect example of a show that starts out hot but quickly fizzled out. Back when it debuted in 2008, it was the hottest thing on HBO and television. But after watching season after season of one creature after another fall for Sookie and her magical powers, the show became nothing like the book it was based on. Thankfully, HBO executives decided that “True Blood’s” seventh season was going to be its last and the show went off of the air last summer.
When “Heroes” first debuted, it captivated the world with its tagline, “Save the cheerleader, save the word.” Audiences couldn’t get enough of the ordinary everyday citizens with sudden super powers, but eventually the writers were faced with a problem. They couldn’t get the plot to live up to the hype of the tagline and build a strong enough series around the original story. What started off as a bang eventually petered out.
When her husband suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack, Nancy Botwin was a stay-at-home mom of two boys that was suddenly left trying to hold the pieces together. She resorted to selling marijuana to keep her family in their upper middleclass California neighborhood. The show, led by the award-winning actress Mary Louise Parker, was an instant hit. But it started to drag when Nancy and the family went on the move. They tooled around on the west coast before making their way to New York City and Connecticut, with a stop in Michigan in between. After eight seasons, we said goodbye to the Botwins once and for all.
“Desperate Housewives” was the perfect hour-long comedy to curl up on the couch and watch on a Sunday night. The show followed five housewives on Wisteria Lane and although the plot was sometimes barely believable at best, fans couldn’t get enough of the show. Until it stayed past its prime. When the writers sped up the storyline and jumped five years ahead, you could smell the desperation through the television screen. We finally said goodbye to Wisteria Lane after eight seasons.
“The X-Files” was one of the biggest shows of the 90’s. Viewers couldn’t get enough of Mulder and Scully running across the country investigating paranormal activities. But David Duchovny finally had enough and left the show after seven seasons. Instead of taking the hint, “The X-Files” carried on and the ratings were at its lowest. Finally the plug was pulled and the show took its final bow after nine seasons.
David Duchovny knew when to walk away from “The X-Files,” but he didn’t know when to call it quits with “Californication.” When the show started it was considered edgy and cool but as the seasons wore on, the premise became stale. It was hard to believe Duchovny as the affable womanizing Hank Moody because even though he got older, the ages of the women he slept with stayed the same. The show aired its seventh and final season in 2014.
Before he gave us “Glee,” Ryan Murphy was the brains behind “Nip/Tuck.” When it first aired, the show garnered a lot of attention and acclaim and it was great for the first four seasons. But unfortunately the show was on air for seven seasons. The show jumped the shark when the action went from Miami to Los Angeles. FX finally pulled the plug and the show ended with its 100th episode.