Don’t you just love TV? Isn’t it great how your favorite show can act like a blanket made up of your best friends? And don’t you just love how a series will never end, and get exponentially worse as time goes on? So, about that last thing. You know you’ve seen a few shows that went on way too long and wondered what happened to make them get so bad. Some of the worst TV seasons ever have occurred because a good show suddenly soured, and ruined what was good about it in the first place.
Everyone has suffered through bad seasons of good tv shows, hoping the show will get better next year. How does this happen? What makes a show go wrong? It can be a lot of things. Writer turnover is a very real thing on long-running shows. Sometimes the person who created the series leaves and terrible shows with great first seasons are what happens when show running goes horribly wrong.
You can probably name at least three great TV shows with terrible final seasons just right off the top of your head. You may have even defended some of these shows that should've been one season to your friends. But you know, deep in your heart, there was no reason to watch seven seasons of well-dressed people complain about relationships while selling black tar heroin on Madison Avenue. Take a break from watching the 10th season of Drug Buddies to read about these shows with writers rooms that probably should've taken their cyanide capsules after Season 1.
The first season of Heroes approached the concept of superheroes in a really interesting way. It basically put you inside an X-Men comic, but instead of starting in Xavier's school you were hanging out with someone who hadn't yet realized they had powers. The season works as a complete narrative where the characters either choose to accept the responsibilities of their powers or turn into baddies and then there's an epic face off. Great. How do you follow that up? How about with a second season that flashes back to 1977 where you find out about some guys who work in a government facility. Yeah... no thanks.
Heroes should have cut its losses and had one great season, but instead they trudged on for three more seasons (one of them truncated by the writer's strike), and a reboot that wasn't so great. Heroes would have been excellent as a mini-series, or even a low budget action film. It's a shame that there aren't any producers at NBC with time travel powers.
Sorry about breaking the fourth wall here, but it's time to get serious. Many examples written about here (with some exception) have been discussed with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The items exist in part to make you type up a furious Facebook comment that will never be read.
In the case of Twin Peaks, would anyone disagree the series should have ended with season one? The second season is universally considered garbage (save for the finale), and it drags its feet through a series of terrible mysteries and worse dialogue in the wake of its original story being solved too quickly. The first season is so good it makes people lie about enjoying the second.
Lost would have been an amazing one and done series. Think about it: a twenty-something episode mystery where Jack has to figure out why a plane full of super hot people crashed on an island with a smoke monster, and you would never had to have dealt with any of that metaphysical mumbo jumbo that took up the fifth and sixth seasons. Does one season sound like it's too long for you? What if Lost were just a two hour made-for-TV movie that begins and ends with the plane crash? Is your head exploding right now?
When it comes down to it the mystery of Lost wasn't worth sitting through for six years. It's rare that any long-term series can hold its original aura for so long, but Lost immediately fell apart in Season 2, and how the show was allowed to go on past its initial season is the real mystery.
Has there ever been a show that squeezed so much out of one joke as Eastbound & Down? Maybe Alan Partridge, but even that character has gone through so many iterations and formats, you could argue it was never the same series twice. Back to Eastbound & Down; the first season of the series never wastes a moment, and uses each character to maximum emotional and comedic effect. It's truly astounding.
By the time the second season was in production, everyone must have known what kind of show they were making, and rather than provide the nuanced character study of a nightmare person that was the first season, the show became yet another pageant of man-babies screaming at the world while providing catchphrases for the worst kinds of people.