There’s nothing worse than when your favorite television show starts to decline. We can expect changes to a series when a major character dies, or when creators decide to take a jump in the timeline. But feeling dissatisfied after putting in hours and hours should be illegal.
Here at VH1, we take our TV shows very seriously — especially since binge-watching has became our favorite national pastime. With so many shows and such little time, consider this a handy guide to shows that started off as very promising, but sadly went South. Fast. (Ahem, True Blood.)
Check out our staff picks of the exact moment when our favorite shows jumped the shark. Warning: Agreeing to disagree may come in handy right about now.
True Blood (2008-14)When it started to suck: This show has gotten so bad I’m only watching the final season in hopes of seeing all the characters die the painful and gory deaths they deserve. What started out as a dumb but fun, trashy take on bloodsuckers started sucking more than just blood in season five with the whole ridiculous Vampire Civil War plotline. It’s like they saw the success of The Walking Dead and tried to refashion what was basically Melrose Place with fangs into an action drama series. This was then taken to new lows in season six with the ill-advised Vampire Guantanamo Bay analogy and the whole, weird “Bill is a vampire God” development. But ultimately, the most unbelievable thing in a series based on the supernatural was why anyone who had witnessed the vampire’s continual cruelty and disregard for human life would continue to be emotionally invested in them as characters. –Ben Smith
Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)When it started to suck: The show got different when Brenda (Shannen Doherty) left in season five, but maintained its insane level of melodrama well throughout its college years. This allowed its newly minted star Jennie Garth, who played Kelly, to stretch as an actress through her “temporary” coke addiction, “accidental” cult membership, and a bout of amnesia. It was season eight when Kelly called off her wedding to Brandon (Jason Priestley) that things just got bad. Then Kelly was all, “We should have gotten married!” The series then positioned the Donna (Tori Spelling) and David (Brian Austin Green) relationship as the emotional core, which no one cared about. Even Luke Perry’s frequent and weird “special guest star” cameos couldn’t save my favorite guilty pleasure. –Damian Bellino
The West Wing (1999-2006)When it started to suck: Once Aaron Sorkin stopped writing (after season four). His writing in the first four seasons made politics seem noble; it felt like good was possible in the world and that the characters were not only hell-bent on making a difference, they could actually do it. After he left, it turned into Days of Our Lives: DC Edition, and got super soapy and boring. –Tom Chirico
The Sopranos(1999-2007)When it started to suck: Many cable shows are based on the premise “He’s a morally complex character who commits crimes but he’s just like us.” Dexter? Breaking Bad? Of course the granddaddy of all of these shows is The Sopranos. He’s a New Jersey Mafia boss but… OK, you get the point. The only problem is, after three or four seasons following these morally questionable characters you start thinking to yourself “You know what? He ain’t like me. HE’S A F–KING MURDERING SOCIOPATH CRIMINAL!” And in general, murdering sociopath criminals are not that likeable. I’m not sure when I decided Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) was a dick, but it was somewhere in between him ordering the murder of his best friend’s son and choking to death the grieving father he blamed for the death of his race horse — bros before ho-rses? C’mon, Tony!. Or maybe it was when he killed his nephew Christopher (Michael Imperlioli). It was around then I stopped caring for Tony Soprano, and though I watched the show until the end, I wasn’t invested in his ultimate fate. –B.S.
Cheaters (2000- )When it started to suck: After the host Joey Greco got stabbed on camera by a crazy person who got caught cheating. They played it too safe after that, and it was just lame. –T.C.
American Idol (2002- )When it started to suck: Idol totally jumped the shark in 2010 when Paula Abdul was replaced with… Ellen DeGeneres (because nobody knows music like a talk show host/comedian)? Does anyone even remember who won that season? Oh, somebody named Lee DeWyze. From there the show has just been on a downward spiral with J.Lo and the celebrity death match: Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj, failing to provide the much needed life support to keep the public’s interest. On the other hand, as cool and “now” as The Voice and X Factor are, neither have produced a winner of the same caliber as Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. – Chuck Johnson
The O.C. (2003-07)When it started to suck: If you think things didn’t get weird after Marissa (Mischa Barton) died on The O.C., you’re just lying to yourself. Nothing was the same. Sure, they amped up Willa Holland’s role in season four, trying to fill that “pretty girl gone insane” gap, but nothing compares to the beauty, drama, and straight up cray of Marissa. RIP. –Charlotte Zoller
One Tree Hill (2003-12)When it started to suck: Season five, after everyone graduated high school and the show jumped four years into the future. Everyone struggles with “finding themselves,” and, of course, all wind up back in Tree Hill in forced, inorganic ways. To skim the surface, Nathan (James Lafferty) is depressed with an excessively long Moses beard and Brooke (Sofia Bush) walks away from her extremely successful NYC-based fashion line to be in the small town she grew up in — because that happens all of the time. The show got progressively worse, giving us fewer stories to care about. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the eventual addition of Clay (Robert Buckley), because he’s just beautiful. More of young, shirtless, and sweaty Nathan and Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and less boring plotlines, please. –Taylor Ferber
House (2004-12)When it started to suck: After eight seasons, this series became more of an equation than anything else. Every episode goes as follows: House’s team gets a crazy case. Guess #1: Lupus (it’s never Lupus). Of course, they’re wrong, so the team moves on to Guess #2, which is also wrong. Patient gets worse. Then House does something crazy behind everyone’s back. Guess #3. Yet again, the patient is getting worse. Next thing that happens is House stumbles upon some frivolous event and he suddenly has the answer. Roll credits. It really got bad after season four. –Ali Read
How I Met Your Mother (2005-14)When it started to suck: Oh goodness. Toward the end of season six, when they clearly had run out of ideas but stretched the show out over three more seasons (!!!). The rushed pace of the series finale proves there was no reason for such a lengthy run. –Rahsheeda Ali
The Office (2005-13)When it started to suck: Michael Gary Scott (Steve Carell) is arguably one of the best fictional characters to ever hit television. As the Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin, Scott managed the most dysfunctional but lovable motley crew of office workers that got through the monotony of daily tasks together in the most entertaining ways. But once Scott left the show, The Office hit a steady decline. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) made a solid effort as his replacement but no one can ever outshine a legend. –Diane Cho
Glee (2009- )When it started to suck: Season four after the original McKinley class was replaced with new characters that we really didn’t give a s–t about. And still don’t. At first, I loved how the show touched on issues like bullying, gay rights, and teen pregnancy, but when they ran out of ideas, they became too over the top. Eating disorders, cross dressers, etc. etc. Enough is enough. The series began with classics like “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Vogue,” and “Start Me Up,” but then these hits only came once in a blue moon in exchange for a Top 40 (what sounded like Kidz Bop) nightmare. Once Corey Monteith, there was no turning back. They never explained his death (so annoying), and he was the glue that held everyone together. RIP Corey and Glee. –T.F.
Boardwalk Empire (2010- )When it started to suck: After season two, when (spoiler alert) they killed off Michael Pitt’s character, James Darmody. The series’ de facto father-son relationship was crucial, and the plot arcs haven’t felt quite as dynamic since then. I’ll still be tuning in to the final season, but the show won’t have the same spark. –R.A.
New Girl (2011- )When it started to suck: Season three, episode one. Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) decided to give a real relationship a shot in the season two finale, after some supremely satisfying will they/won’t they tension and one amazing kiss. While there were bright moments in season three — Coach’s return, Nick’s birthday video for Jess, Michael Keaton — too much of the plot was focused on their relationship, and these two seemed to fight about fundamental issues like Nick’s slacker behavior and Jess’ desire to fix everything week after week. It hurt to watch them break up, but I’m hopeful taking a hiatus from more serious storylines will mean good things for everyone. –Emily Exton
Homeland (2011- )When it started to suck: Homeland started off as a great replacement for 24, with a layered female protagonist, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), who battled evil terrorists. The twist was that she was literally sleeping with the enemy (and was slightly coo-coo for cocoa puffs) BUT it worked, and made the series a must-see TV. That was until seasons two and three, when it was clear that her reformed-terrorist lover Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) had overstayed his welcome. But it wasn’t just him: Even his family’s storylines took precedence over more important things — we’re looking at you, Dana Brody! — like saving the world. Even after they finally (spoiler alert) killed off his character, it was too late. Showtime can keep the fourth season to themselves. –C.J.
Revenge (2011- )When it started to suck: Following the entertaining schemes of Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) was devilishly fun, until it wasn’t. Once it was revealed that Daniel (Joshua Bowman) was the one who shot her on their wedding night in the season three premiere, the rest of the season became convoluted and repetitive: Daniel started to hate her, the Graysons started to catch on to her true identity, Aiden (Barry Sloane) is killed… However, season three ended with a HUGE twist (spoiler alert): David Clarke (James Tupper) is actually alive (and might I add, sexy as hell) and kills Conrad (Henry Czerny). So, it looks like ABC has me for another season. For now. –T.F.
Scandal (2012- )When it started to suck: The middle of season three when the first lady, Mellie (Bellamy Young), started sleeping with the Vice President running mate, Andrew (Jon Tenney). To quote Biggie Smalls, “You’re Unbelievablllllllle.” Not even Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) bossy sexiness can save a ship sinking that fast. –Orlando Lima
[Photo Credit: FOX, ABC, HBO]