Television is one of the world's favorite entertainment pastimes, and every year dozens of networks try their best to win the viewer's hearts and their precious time. The competition gets fierce in the fall when all the major shows come back, and everyone is always looking for the next big hit. In time, however, those shows that we once loved or thought so well of begin to show signs of age and wear. Sure we enjoyed their adventures for the first few seasons, but all good things must come to an end ... some of them sooner than others.
Here's a look at some of the shows that have outstayed their welcome and should seriously think of retiring before their memory is more annoying than nostalgic.
"Heroes" was a hit new show in 2006, and it opened doors for new science fiction or fantasy-based television. It proved, like "Lost
," that there was a mainstream audience who could really be drawn into a fantastical story. With an ensemble cast of few big names, "Heroes" tied together several different people who learn that they have special abilities. Drawing on several comic book themes, most specifically that of Marvel's X-men, it seemed like the show was set up to be a long lasting favorite. Instead by the second season even the most diehard fans started to waver. Muddled storylines and random unpopular characters started to take away from the show, and the circular plots were getting boring. By the third season the show had dropped substantially in viewers, and the third season finale last year placed last in its timeslot. This was a big shock considering how the show started out, but even the fans are lukewarm about the future for "Heroes." If this season does not manage to pick up any attention, it may be breathing its very last. Honestly, by now it kind of deserves it if all the fans have to actually apologize for still watching it. "I'm sorry, I don't even know why I watch it anymore, I just do out of habit. Don't judge me!" We'll probably miss Sylar, but hey, he's Spock now.
Image © NBC Universal, Inc.
Oh, "Scrubs," looking back at your beginning is so painful to a former loyal viewer, because the show is now but a shadow of itself. In 2001 "Scrubs" premiered and it surprised people by being humorous but dramatic and poignant too. This was not just a kooky comedy about doctors, because there were serious stories interwoven into the plot along with the romantic entanglements, the friendships and rivalries. And it was always just a little more than we expected. And yet, and yet. Eventually the show started recycling stories and turning the characters into caricatures. The Todd hand slapping jokes were funny the first one hundred times, as were the will-they-won't-they of Elliot and JD, but by the 7th season it was all very tired. NBC prepared to cancel the show and while fans were sad, they were hoping the show would go out gracefully. Except then ABC took the show and made season 8. Way to make the most out of its dying gasps, ABC. Now it is preparing for season 9, hoping that even without the main characters - many of whom already are gone - it'll still attract some viewers. They're probably about to get a very rude awakening about how few fans are left of this once-great show. You couldn't just rest in peace, "Scrubs."
Image © American Broadcasting Companies, Inc
Don't look so surprised, "Entourage," and no we're not going to hug it out. While it was kind of cute to see a rising movie star and his three best friends screw around in LA, it got old around season three. This was around the time that the show hit a three-year low point, and it has only now started to pick up. Is it because the acting and writing has gotten better and therefore deserved a higher rating? No, it's mostly because it was attached to the true HBO hit "True Blood
." In the beginning the show was actually quite charming, with these four normal dudes getting thrown into the wild world of Hollywood and trying to sink or swim. Vince's struggle to get to fame was interesting, especially when he made rookie mistakes and E was learning how to be a manager. Ari was new and fresh and bold, but now it's just like the show tries to rely on Jeremy Piven
's outrageous charm to keep people watching. Oh, E is having girl troubles again, yawn. Drama feels old and keeps trying to make it to a better star list. Sigh. Vince is acting and sleeping around and basically hasn't changed since day one. Either show us something new "Entourage," or let it go. It may be fun to have random celeb guest stars every week, but there has to actually be a show to watch outside of that. Okay, fine, hug it out.
Image © Home Box Office
Look, this show is the youngest on the list and is only starting its third season, but think of this as an intervention. "Grey's Anatomy
" is one of the most consistently popular shows on ABC, and in recent years it has started to lose chunks of its fanbase. So while the spin-off "Private Practice" might have seemed originally like a great idea, especially since Kate Walsh
's Addison was so delightful and beloved, it turned out not to really win the fans over. Which is kind of the problem: if you can't even get the viewers who are ready and willing to come over right after "Grey's Anatomy," there's a problem. Maybe it's because the show always feels like a poor sister to its predecessor, or a copy of it. Maybe Addison used to be a stronger and more interesting character when she wasn't spending every waking moment looking for a mate. Maybe Taye Diggs
and Tim Daly
aren't McDreamy enough. In any case, the show already took a drop from the first to the second season, and it remains to be seen how they'll do in season three. The highest rated episode was the premiere, and it just went downhill from there. Can they somehow manage to pull this out of the dirt? Do they even want to? There's not that many fans left over to care, but sure, go ahead and try!
Image © American Broadcasting Inc.
A lot of respect has to be paid to "Law & Order" because it is a rather impressive show in terms of length. This year is the 20th season of the original show, and it has had a lot of ups and downs in that time. It has also inspired several spin-offs, one of which is more popular than the original "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
." The procedural popularity on television can be attributed to "Law & Order," but as the dwindling ratings can show, people may respect the show but they're losing interest. Unfortunately, other networks have learned to take the procedural and find new ways to make it more exciting and interesting, so the continuous style of "Law & Order" feels, well, old. Now it feels like they're just going through the motions, and so are the viewers. All good things must come to an end, but do we really need another twenty seasons before the court drama and wooden characters get too boring to stand? The whole franchise does not need to die; the spin-offs have managed to be fresh and new in some places. It just may be time for the original to bow out gracefully.
Image © NBC Universal, Inc.
Which shows do you think should be retired? Let us know in the comments!
Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
Follow Chelsea on twitter at http://twitter.com/mustbethursday