Entertainment

TV Shows That Progressively Got Worse  

Logan Rapp
24.6k votes 4.1k voters 303.4k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up the shows whose quality fizzled (or dropped off a cliff). Vote down the shows you think stayed strong, despite what critics say.

Many of our cultural phenomenons on television have one thing in common: a great first season. That season sets the tone for the rest of the show, and each subsequent season is all about trying to fulfill the promise of the first. Even though many shows remain popular, a number of them have diminishing returns and actually, the show gets worse. This list compiles a bunch of those series, and tries to identify the point in the show's history where things started going wrong. 

Whether it's a full-on jumping of the shark (either figuratively or literally), or just a sense that at some point the series just ran out of ideas, there are many ways that a show can run out of steam. Much of this is subjective, but a lot of these TV shows that got worse as time went on and always seemed like they, themselves didn't quite believe they would actually make another season or know what they would do if they got there. 

There are also some shows that got worse simply because they lost a main actor, or took on one too many notes from the network, succumbing to external forces they couldn't quite control. So take a look at the list and vote for the good shows you think went downhill the most!
1
Glee is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list TV Shows That Progressively Got Worse
Photo:  Glee/20th Television

When Glee premiered in 2009, it was a ratings juggernaut and cultural phenomenon. Critics' enthusiasm started to wane in season three, but tragedy is what ultimately changed the direction of this series, when one of the two then-series leads, Cory Monteith, died of an overdose.

Season five tried to work through it in its third episode, and then went on hiatus.  The show came back, but the magic was missing for many fans. All told, how well do you think the show carried on without Cory?

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2
Heroes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list TV Shows That Progressively Got Worse
Photo:  Heroes/NBC Universal
How well did Heroes deliver on the promise of their stellar first season? That depends on how you felt about the show answering every question with a question. And the construct of having character development run backwards so that Sylar can always be Sylar, and Hiro is always time-traveling. Like many characters in Heroes, maybe the show itself just couldn't handle all of their mighty powers. 

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Pretty Little Liars is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list TV Shows That Progressively Got Worse
Photo:  Pretty Little Liars/Warner Bros.
Who knew that the moment the mysterious "A" was revealed that the show would actually continue? Because then that "A" got killed (but not really), and then a new "A" started torturing the eponymous Liars, and audiences around season three questioned if the show was just doing crazy for crazy's sake. However, some viewers remained for the basic entertainment value. 

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True Blood is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list TV Shows That Progressively Got Worse
Photo:  True Blood/Warner Bros.

Another pulpy series, True Blood was already showing a bit of age when showrunner Alan Ball left the series after its fifth season. How many more times were we really going to watch Sookie be sought after by the same two vampires?

When the new showrunner came in, its critical acclaim took a dive, with viewers upset that it became more about action sequences than character development. 

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