There are some TV shows that come out and they change the game. There is major hype before the premiere. Then after the show premieres, it seems like literally everyone is talking about how amazing the show is. It’s funny considering we went from knowing absolutely nothing about the show to being completely addicted to it in a few short weeks.
What can happen is that the TV shows will sustain their high, or even get better as the seasons roll on. However, what’s sadly probably more common is that a TV show starts out with a bang before it basically crashes and burns. It’s a sad thing to watch, but it happens. Often. After an amazing pilot or fantastic first season or two, everything else just flops. And we mean it when we say flops. Perhaps you didn’t even finish the show! Here are 17 TV shows that started out great, but went bad.
17. The O.C.
California here we come, right back where we started from. For many fans, they wished that The O.C. could have gone back to where it started from, namely season one. The show started off on a serious high and made every cast member (along with Peter Gallagher‘s eyebrows) household names. After the first season, the show sort of lost its way. Things become worse when Mischa Barton, who played Marissa Cooper, wanted off the show. And then there was that fourth season that no one really wants to acknowledge…
16. Desperate Housewives
If you were one of the early followers of Desperate Housewives, you will know that the first season was what all other seasons were judged by. Unfortunately, none of the other seasons could match it. The plot lines became more and more far-fetched. DH execs tried to add some fresh energy to the show by adding new characters and fast-forwarding through time, but we ended up losing what the show was actually about in the process — a bunch of housewives who had some juicy secrets.
Community had an incredible cast including Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong and Alison Brie. The concept about random people attending a community college was great, especially the way the show mixed in pop culture references. However, there were issues when the creator of the show, Dan Harmon, left. Then things didn’t seem as funny as they used to be. In season five, Chevy Chase became a guest star as opposed to a main character and things continued to take a nosedive.
Oh, Dexter, what happened? When the show first launched in 2006, people were gripped about how Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) could be a crime-solving blood analyst and a guy who commits murders. There was just so much to analyze! Which is why it was beloved by critics and fans alike and brought everyone together for conversation over this shocking show. However, part of what made the show great also lead to its demise. There was only so long we could go on watching and still believe that no one ever suspected Dexter of being a serial killer. Come on, guys. It’s not like Dexter was working with a bunch of four-year-olds, he worked in a damn police station… with his cop sister! (Also that plot line where she starts crushing on him?!?!)
13. That ’70s Show
As soon as a show’s original formula is messed with, it’s normally a bad sign. That ’70s Show had a terrific cast and hilarious writers. The show also earned major cred for appealing to people who weren’t even born in the ’70s and to those who lived through the decade of bell bottoms and hippie-dippy love. It had an impressive run considering it was on from 1998 to 2006, but even fans will admit that it went on a few seasons too long. When all of the original cast members started leaving or only had guest appearances, it just wasn’t the same.
12. The Office
There were people who were completely against the idea of an American version of the cult classic British show The Office. When the NBC version premiered in 2005, it proved a lot of people wrong thanks to the mockumentary format and the superb writing. Things were going great, the cast was growing on us and we were quoting jokes. And then Steve Carrell left. When we didn’t have Michael Scott, things weren’t the same. The jokes just didn’t seem to have that zip and everything at Dunder-Mifflin seemed a little stale.
House M.D., or House as literally everyone referred to it as, was another medical drama. Before it came out, you knew people were doing eye rolls for another doctor show that wasn’t needed. However, House was different. Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) was unconventional… to say the least. He didn’t do anything by the book, got in trouble for it, but still managed to save the day every time. And he did it all while battling his own demons. Unfortunately, that format was recycled for practically every single episode of the eight seasons. It got to a point where if you saw one episode, you had basically seen them all.
Heroes premiered in 2006 before we had at least ten different superhero movies and TV shows coming out every year. People still loved the concept about how “ordinary” people could have superpowers and they could work together to rid the world of evil. The problem is that the plot is really better for a movie franchise. In the TV show format, it was too slow-paced. It seemed like the same stuff was happening every week and nothing was never really solved.
Remember the hype surrounding Glee when it first came out? People actually figured out what glee clubs were, and they realized a cappella was actually cool. People began to sing everywhere, the show’s remixes went viral and no one could stop talking about Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). And then the show began to suffer like 99.999% of high school-based shows do. The original cast started to grow up and go to college and we got other characters and new stories. The truth was no one really cared about the newbies as much. Everyone would have been cool if the OG cast was in high school for eight years.
Weeds received praise from critics and fans for being a groundbreaking show because it was a dark comedy-drama about a mom, Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), who started selling marijuana to support her family after her husband died. That story line was enough to draw people in, but the issue was there really wasn’t anything else to say. The show basically went up in smoke because the first few seasons happened, then showrunners decided to get Nancy deeply invested in the crime world — which didn’t feel the premise of the original show and somehow wasn’t really that interesting, either.
7. Prison Break
Prison Break was one of those TV shows that captured our collective attention and lost it just as quickly. The show revolved around “a desperate man in a desperate situation,” Wentworth Miller as Michael Scofield. He wanted out of prison and we initially wanted to see him get out. But, we didn’t want to hear him moaning about it all the time. It started to feel a bit like Pinky and the Brain but with humans. After an alright supposed series finale, the show announced that it was getting a revival, eight years later. By that point, people had lost interest with Michael and weren’t too concerned whether he was behind bars or not.
6. True Blood
When True Blood premiered in 2008, it had all of the hype Game of Thrones has now. Remember that this was when vampires were the hottest thing around — and True Blood had lots of sexy, naked vampires. That alone was enough to get people watching, but the plot about waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) reading minds was what kept us invested. A few seasons in, the supernatural stuff was taken a bit too far and it left people craving a simpler time for vampires.
5. One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill came out when there were a lot of epic teen shows going on. It still earned plenty of viewers thanks to two hot half-brothers, Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan Scott (James Lafferty). The basketball dramz was a bit boring, but we overlooked it because of the relationship drama. Things got to a point when we couldn’t ignore the baffling plots any longer. It started with the jumps through time, characters not returning and that crazy episode where the dog ate the heart transplant.
4. True Detective
When the first season of True Detective premiered, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing someone talk about the show. It was so suspenseful and it managed to be a success despite people having no idea what Matthew McConaughey was saying most of the time. Whenever a mystery show has a season finale, there is always a concern about what they’re going to do next. For True Detective, they decided to go in a completely different direction and bring in a new cast. Unfortunately, no one really cared once that happened.
3. Gossip Girl
Remember what we said about how shows get into trouble when they have students go from high school to college? That was definitely one of the things that let Gossip Girl down — and the focus on Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen). It was in the halls at the Constance Billard School for Girls that GG thrived. Outside of that, it seemed a little lame and like they had nothing better to worry about. Thankfully the clothes and Chuck Bass helped save the later seasons, though Chuck’s been ruined for us now forever.
Many will say that the series finale of Lost is what really ruined the great show, but if we’re being honest, that was really just the final nail in the coffin. The show was struggling before that. It’s too bad because it started off SO good. People had to watch Lost the second it premiered. They couldn’t wait until after it recorded so they could skip the commercials; it had to be live. They had to see what was going to happen on the island ASAP. There were so many theories and mysteries happening… and a lot of them never went anywhere. Part of us wishes the people of the internet would have written the later seasons. They had ideas.
1. Grey’s Anatomy
Can you believe that Grey’s Anatomy has been on since 2005? That is a very long time for a TV show. You might actually be surprised it’s still on if you were one of the fans who gave up watching around 2010. There have been a lot of great medical dramas, but Grey’s Anatomy captured everyone’s attention when it first premiered thanks to creator Shonda Rhimes. However, cast issues, random plot lines and the same old thing being dug up made the show lose its original uniqueness and now with season 14 airing, everyone’s kind of wondering how this show is still on air.