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Long-Running TV Series That People Need To Stop Watching

Updated April 21, 2019 56.7k votes 9.4k voters 159.1k views15 items

List RulesVote up the shows that you wish someone would take out to pasture.

There are few things worse than when your favorite show gets canceled before its time. However, what really rubs salt in that wound are the long-running television series that should be canceled — shows people need to stop watching — yet somehow manage to continue on indefinitely.

Some of the longest running sitcoms fall back on tired cliches, and get progressively worse as they limp on. Police procedural shows also risk descending into mediocrity, as a number of cop series have been around for a mindbogglingly long amount of time. However, all of the most egregious examples of shows that should be canceled immediately are cartoons, since a lack of on-screen human actors allows them to continue on ad infinitum. The truth is often hard to swallow, but ignoring the facts is even worse; there are some television shows that need to stop, even if you have fond memories of watching them 10 years ago. 

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    Grey's Anatomy is basically a soap opera. In the first 14 seasons, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) has discovered not one, but two secret sisters, she conceived her third child with McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) while he was on his deathbed (and those kids are hardly ever seen), plus McDreamy died. The guy who was essentially the number two character dies in Season 11, along with a whole lot of other fan favorites. There have been over 20 deaths of characters who were at least somewhat integral to the show, so chances are your favorite character isn't even part of the series anymore. 

    • Actors: Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens, Kevin McKidd, Jesse Williams
    • Premiered: March 27, 2005

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    In 2018, Homeland began its seventh season, yet it's been dead in the water for some time. Ever since Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) survived longer than he should have (beyond the first season), the show has given viewers nothing but diminishing returns. 

     Robert Rorke of the New York Post ravaged the third season of the show, saying "Seldom in the history of cable TV has a series imploded as quickly as Showtime's Homeland... The show, in the middle of its third season, is now impossible to take seriously." Whether it was Season 1 or Season 3 where things went bad, the show is at least four seasons past its prime. 

    • Actors: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Maury Sterling, Linus Roache, Costa Ronin
    • Premiered: October 2, 2011

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    By the time The Walking Dead put its eighth season in the ground, long-time fans were running away. The Season 8 premiere pulled the lowest ratings for a premiere since Season 3. To make matters worse, Season 3 actually saw an increase in ratings, as its premiere had more viewers than the previous two seasons' premieres. Generally, when shows start spawning other shows (Fear the Walking Dead in this case), it's a pretty good indication that the main event has gone on long enough. 

    • Actors: Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos
    • Premiered: October 31, 2010

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    At the end of Season 1, The Middle had run its course. Despite this, the series continued, and enjoys heavy syndication. Its viewership is declining, with Season eight marking its lowest average audience numbers yet, but still it persists. Patricia Heaton plays the overworked mother Frankie, who's basically just a nicer version of Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond. The real kicker, though, is her husband Mike (Neil Flynn). The actor was absolutely adored by Scrubs fans for his hilarious performance as the Janitor, yet in the next sitcom he chose to work on, he is supremely boring. While coastal fans gave up years ago, Middle America still loves the show, so it may limp along forever.

    • Actors: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer
    • Premiered: September 30, 2009

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