17 TV Shows That Lasted Too Long - Rolling Stone
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17 TV Shows That Lasted Too Long

Walking away from a hit is hard. But seeing it pass its peak is worse

Ryan Kwanten and Anna Paquin as Jason and Sookie Stackhouse on True Blood

John P. Johnson

HBO's Eastbound and Down ended its four-season run last night, with critics arguing that the once-great show's final season was more "down" than anything. Sadly, Kenny Powers has a ton of company. Walking away from an established series may be hard, but watching it go on past its peak is tougher. Here are 17 shows that should have ended much (and in some cases much, much) sooner. Rob LeDonne

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‘Happy Days’

Happy Days coined the phrase "jumping the shark" for when a series hits a point where, creatively, it's all over. For Richie, Fonzie and the gang, that was during the fifth season premiere when the Fonz literally jumped over a shark while water skiing. Happy Days, a show originally grounded in nostalgia for the Eisenhower '50s, would go on for another five, superfluous seasons.

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When ER premiered on September 19, 1994, it focused on four up-and-comers – George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle and Juliana Margulies – and became a hit based on stellar writing and cast chemistry. But when the series concluded fifteen (!) years later, everything looked very different. Clooney and Co. were long gone, and for the final season, John Stamos was the lead male actor. Seriously. John Stamos.

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When Hereos premiered in September 2006, it was the instant hit that NBC desperately needed. The country was captivated by it's mysterious story, which boasted the famous tag line, "Save the cheerleader, save the world." Unfortunately, the only thing that needed saving was the plot, as the writers couldn't build a series around the insane original storyline.

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Bewitched suffered the same fate as The Office, ER and The X-Files – once a main character leaves, the series goes to shit. In one of the first cases, lead male character Darrin (Dick York) was replaced by Dick Sargent after its sixth season. Bewitched lost it's magic and never recovered.

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90210 – which shares virtually nothing in common with the original Beverly Hills, 90210, save half its name – was a lesson in what happens when tired writing and a dull cast come together. How it lasted five seasons is a mystery to even its most ardent fans.

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‘Desperate Housewives’

The chemistry between the five original housewives – Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Nicollette Sheridan – made this show superb. It was the writers who became desperate, however, when the show's storyline jumped ahead five years during the fifth season premiere.

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Speaking of Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy was behind another program that lasted too long. Nip/Tuck, a critical darling when it premiered in July 2003, lasted seven seasons but lost its luster after four. The line in the sand occurred when the action moved from Miami to Los Angeles, making its final two seasons virtually unwatchable.

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‘How I Met Your Mother’

This tongue-in-cheek video says it best: enough already! Episode after episode of the same shenanigans, the show is currently in it's ninth (and final) season – a wise decision any mother would approve of, indeed.

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