10 TV Shows That Outstayed Their Welcome

They started off strong then hung around too long – Rob Sheffield on classic TV shows that should've quit while they were ahead

It's hard to walk away from a successful show; for every Breaking Bad or Seinfeld that goes out on top, many more stick around too long trying to milk it dry. Some of the greatest shows – even a few that made our mammoth "100 Greatest TV Shows" list – have hung around for an extra season or 12. Like these 10 series, for example.


True Blood
2008-14

Strange how everybody loved this Southern-gothic vampire-sex fantasy for a few years there—then it started turning into self-parodic leprechaun porn.


How I Met Your Mother
2005-14

Whatever genius decided TV shows need a nice tidy resolution to wrap up the story should be forced to sit through the final weeks of this great sitcom, which turned sour as soon as we finally met the mother. Exhibit A in the case against Finale Culture.


Roseanne
1988-97

And speaking of finales. After so many years at the top, Roseanne torpedoed itself with its catastrophic ninth season, where she seemed to be trashing her show's legacy on purpose—her family won the lottery! But it was all a dream! It left a permanent cloud hanging over the show's posthumous rep.


The X-Files
1993-Present

It was Mulder and Scully who first divided fans into "shippers" and "non-shippers." Unfortunately, the non-shippers were right because after these two got together, the show got sillier than the Loch Ness Monster in a tutu.


The Office
2005-13

Michael Scott's farewell would have made a great finale. (“They say on your deathbed you never wish you spent more time at the office, but I will. Gotta be better than a deathbed.”) Sadly, the last two seasons bombed without him, defrauding the Jim-and-Pam marriage by turning it into the TV cliché it never was before.


Weeds
2005-12

Those first few years were so promising: Mary Louise Parker as a widow who becomes a pot dealer. But like a lot of ideas that involve pot, Weeds dragged on forever until the original spark was lost in the clouds.


Beverly Hills 90210
1990-2000

You know how it goes with high school dramas – everything starts to suck when they go to college. The 90210 gang looked like they might beat the jinx for a while – but then they got out of college. And then came the reboot.


Two and a Half Men
2003-15

You wouldn't say it was exactly brilliant at top strength – but without Charlie Sheen it was barely even half a sitcom.


Sabrina the Teenage Witch
1996-2003

For the first couple seasons, the Melissa Joan Hart witch-fest was one of the best and most honest teen shows in history, with TV's coolest gay cat. Then they made Sabrina get serious and turned her into a role model. Isn't that always the way?



Entourage
2004-11

The HBO L.A. bromance dragged on long enough to turn into a douche Golden Girls. A clever idea beaten to a pulp, then sloppily pasted back together and beaten to a slightly soggier pulp.