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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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