Once Good TV Shows That Became Really Hard to Watch

There have been some terrible TV shows over the years that had flimsy premises. Those tend to get swiftly canceled. But what is even more heartbreaking is when you get drawn into a good TV show only for it to go off the rails.

Sometimes shows end up losing their key players, which changes the storylines or quality in writing. Other times, the shows have been kept on the air long after the premise was actually relevant. Either way, these shows had fans either drop off to the point where the shows had to be pulled or stuck around until they were finally put out of their misery.

So which good shows noticeably got worse? Here are 15 good TV shows that became really hard to watch.

1. Gilmore Girls

Lorelei and Rory sitting in a bedroom.
Gilmore Girls | The CW

The show has a cult following because the show had its own unique tone and built a whole world out of a small town in Connecticut. The mother and daughter relationship also was comforting to watch. But the show’s momentum suffered when showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino left the show before its last season.

Thanks to the dedicated love from fans, the show did come back with four episodes on Netflix and Sherman-Palladino returned. But it was still pretty tough to watch the characters struggle with some of the same problems so many years later.

Next: This comedy was plagued by problems.

2. Community

Characters wearing costumes at a party.
Community | NBC

The Dan Harmon comedy managed to get a dedicated fan base, but it was plagued by problems behind the scenes. Harmon feuded with Chevy Chas, which led to both of them leaving the shows at different times. There was a whole season without Harmon, which ruined its momentum.

The nail in the coffin for the comedy was when it moved from its network to a not as well-known streaming service.

Next: This show had too many mysteries that were never solved.

3. Lost

The cast of 'Lost' standing on a cliff together.
Lost | ABC

The fantasy show notoriously had an interesting set-up with characters getting stranded on a mysterious island after a plane crash. But it also dug itself into a hole that the creators seemingly didn’t know how to get out of.

The ending was one of the biggest letdowns for dedicated fans who held on for seasons in hopes to finally get some answers.

Next: This vampire show just got too weird by the end.

4. True Blood

A young girl being held hostage.
True Blood | HBO

The vampire show was mostly centered on the simple concept of a waitress falling for a vampire, then sort of getting into a love triangle. It’s actually an adaptation of a book series.

So it wasn’t completely the show’s fault once it started introducing more mystical creatures like fairies, although it seemed ridiculous. But what truly started getting fans disinterested was when the storyline started digging weirdly into religion.

Next: This show coined a phrase for tv shows going downhill.

5. Happy Days

Fonzie waterskiing on 'Happy Days'.
Happy Days | ABC

The sitcom notoriously became so bad to watch that it helped develop phrase around the phenomenon. In an episode, the Fonz got on water skis to literally jump the shark. The term “jumping the shark” was then used for future shows that basically lost their way.

Next: This show could also be described as a zombie.

6. The Walking Dead

Daryll and Rick holding weapons together.
The Walking Dead | AMC

The zombie show became a huge ratings king for television. But when your show becomes more about who is getting killed next instead of good storytelling, it gets hard to watch.

The Walking Dead is still pretty strong in ratings, but fans are starting to fall off because of this problem.

Next: This comedy was revived but the cast couldn’t shoot together.

7. Arrested Development

The Bluths in a police line up.
Arrested Development | Fox

The comedy was one of many shows that were pulled from its network to move to Netflix. The problem was when it returned, the cast had scheduling issues and couldn’t come together.

They worked around it by changing the format to having each episode focus on a different character. It was too different, even with the callbacks to previous seasons.

Next: This show was hindered by the writer’s strike.

8. Heroes

The cast of heroes standing next to one another surrounded by fog.
Heroes | NBC

The sci-fi show also dropped in quality among many other shows that were affected during the writer’s strike. The slow-burn storytelling and just flat-out crazy choices got blowback.

Creator Tim Kring ended up addressing it and voicing his plans to reboot the series.

Next: This show lasted way beyond its purpose.

9. Prison Break

Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell posing in front of a prison cell.
Prison Break | FOX

The show started off with a brother going to prison to break his brother out to escape a death sentence. Like many shows with a great premise, it was also captive to it. Once the characters did break out, the show was hindered by losing its purpose.

Next: This comedy was a victim of losing a beloved character.

10. The Office

Pam and Jim sitting together in 'The office'.
The Office | NBC

The comedy was able to survive despite multiple changes, which is kind of admirable. But if you were a fan of Michael Scott and not of his replacement, Andy Bernard, then you’ll probably agree with this.

Having the main antagonist/character move on was a pretty tough thing to weather and changed the dynamic.

Next: This medical show actually became a spinoff of itself.

11. Scrubs

The cast of Scrubs on a poster for the show depicting them on a raft in the ocean.
Scrubs | ABC

The medical comedy was able to make it a long time on television. By the ninth season, it was practically a spinoff of itself.

It took place in a completely different location and only had three of its seven main characters. It also focused more on the new characters who were students.

Next: This high school drama weirdly outlasted high school.

12. One Tree Hill

Lucas, Brooke, and Peyton at a party in 'One Tree Hill'.
One Tree Hill | The CW

The show started off as a high school drama. But the show lasted well beyond the high school years, so it had to adjust to that. They also lost their main characters when Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton walked away from the show.

Perhaps it should have called it quits long before its ninth season.

Next: The tv show has actually been revived.

13. Roseanne

The Connor family sitting together on a couch.
Roseanne | ABC

The sitcom started off by focusing on a working-class family that had some common problems. But eventually, the show went off the rails with Dan having a heart attack, replacing an actress that played a daughter, and the family becoming rich.

The show is now getting a second chance with its revival, so perhaps it can right some wrongs.

Next: This British Emmy darling went downhill after these changes.

14. Downton Abbey

Maggie Smith wearing a hat in 'Downtown Abbey'.
Downtown Abbey | PBS

The British miniseries started strong and was an Emmy darling. But when the main romantic storyline was ruined with Dan Stevens leaving the show, it went downhill fast.

The loss of other actors and its attempt to find a new compelling storyline was just too much for the series.

Next: This cartoon has gone on too long.

15. Family Guy

Brian and Stewie looking at each other on 'Family Guy'.
Family Guy  | Fox

The cartoon managed to escape cancellation multiple times. But at some point, it was just hitting the same jokes too much and lost its freshness.

The saving grace has been Stewie and Brian, who is probably the reason why it is still chugging along.

Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.

Read more: 10 TV Show Creators Who Jumped Ship During Production

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