These TV Shows Stayed On The Air For WAY Too Long

Television is like any other business. As long as people are watching a television show, a network is going to keep pumping out new seasons. We never asked for The Simpsons to run for 30 years, but as long people keep watching it, Fox will keep renewing it. As frustrating as it is for your favorite show to get canceled after one season, it’s more frustrating when your favorite show is ruined by those one or two extra seasons that were made for nothing more than a cash grab by the studio. These are those shows.

Let’s Be Honest About Friends

Getty Images
Getty Images

No one is denying that Friends is one of the greatest sitcoms of all-time. We’re just saying the race might not even be close if the show ended after nine seasons instead of ten. Did anyone really enjoy the plot line where Joey dates Rachel? Everyone knew she’d end up Ross in the end!

Also, the show just wasn’t funny that final season. The characters were loud and not nearly as nuanced and complex as they felt for nine seasons prior. Some shows know exactly when to end. The producers ofFriends just didn’t know when to call it quits.

How Is Grey’s Anatomy Still On The Air?

Grey’s Anatomy aired its first episode on ABC in 2005. In 2018 the show is still running strong, pulling in over ten million viewers a week. The longevity of the might be incredible but the storylines almost two decades in are also incredibly bad.

The real question is; when should Grey’s Anatomy have ended? One popular spot is season five after TR Knight and Katherine Heigl left. Both played beloved main characters, and the void they left was never filled. At the very least, Sandra Oh’s departure after season ten should have been the nail in the coffin, not an IV in the arm!

Family Guy Is Death-Proof, Since Rising From The Grave

FOX via Getty Images
FOX via Getty Images

It was the fans who convinced Fox to give Family Guy a second chance when the network canceled the show after four seasons. Since then, the show as been a staple on Sunday nights alongside The Simpsons (which we’ll get to soon) and Bob’s Burgers.

Oddly enough, series creator Seth MacFarlane once said the show should have ended after the seventh season. Now entering its 17th season, he might disagree with the show still being on, but we doubt he’s complaining about the paycheck.

The Walking Dead Has Outstayed Its Welcome

AMC
AMC

We don’t know what the best season to end The Walking Dead would have been, but we know the show’s most recent season was filled with nothing but shallow violence. The show has always been uneven, but at one point there was a beating heart that kept us invested in the characters.

With the introduction of Negan that heart was stopped. Even before Negan came onto the show, though, the plot had turned into a question of who was going to die when; not the journey they characters were supposed to be going on.

How Many Days Were Too Many For Jack Bauer On 24?

FOX via Getty Images
FOX via Getty Images

The show 24 ran for eight seasons, a movie, and a mini-series with Keifer Sutherland as CTU agent Jack Bauer. When Sutherland was finally done with the role, Fox rebooted the show for one last failed season with another actor. Let’s put it this way, there were a lot of wasted days that 24 didn’t need.

Maybe if the plot had changed between seasons we wouldn’t include the show on this list. After the first season, however, the plot never changed: Jack Bauer would get tasked with saving the world, torture someone, be betrayed, and then get chased by the government for some reason. We just saved you nine seasons.

How I Met Your Mother Was Only Supposed To Last Five Seasons

CBS
CBS

In some cases, it’s pretty obvious when a show was supposed to end. The creators of How I Met Your Mother have said in interviews the original plan was to end the show after five seasons. They even planned who the mother was going to be, and it wasn’t Tracy.

Of course, the ultimate ending was always going to be the same. Ted would get permission from his kids to ask out Robin one last time. If Robin had never married Barney and the show ended when it was supposed to, perhaps the serious finale would not have been met with such negativity from the fans.

The Office Became A Copy Of Itself After Six Seasons

NBC
NBC

After Pam and Jim got married during the sixth season of The Office the show ran out of ideas. The entire series was based around the “will they, won’t they” aspect of their relationship. When the finally “did” the show struggled to find any humor besides the antics of Steve Carell’s characters.

Being one of the biggest shows on NBC at the time, the network pushed the show through a ninth season, even after Carell left. There was a plot line about a camera man falling in love with Pam, among other low points. At the very least we can thank the later seasons for introducing us to Ellie Kemper!

Smallville Made A Big Mistake Running For Ten Seasons

WB/CW
WB/CW

In the comics, Clark Kent becomes Superman when the boy from Krypton becomes a man and moves from Small to Metropolis. In the origin series Smallville, the move happened in season five, but the character transition didn’t occur until the series finale.

The reason for the five year delay was the writer’s, "no tight, no flights" policy for the show. The decision to hold on off showing the world Superman caused a backlash from fans, many of who stuck around just for the big moment. They have more patience than us!

Scrubs Had A Perfect Series Finale, Then Came Back For A Ninth Season

NBC/ABC
NBC/ABC

Scrubs tried to play off its ninth and final season as a spin off with some of the same characters. The season eight series finale, after all, tied up all lose ends in one emotionally satisfying package. The truth is the show’s creator, Bill Lawrence, agreed to do a ninth season to keep nearly 200 people employed.

While Lawrence’s intentions were undeniably noble, the “final” season of Scrubs just wasn’t any good. JD, the show’s main narrator, was replaced with a younger character, who was also female. The show failed to find a new comedic rhythm or renewed dramatic depth.

The Big Bang Theory Is Finally Ending After 12 Seasons

CBS
CBS

Just like The Office, The Big Bang Theory’s main story was always the “will they, won’t they” relationship between Penny and Leonard. When the characters got married, that storyline ended along with the show’s creativity. Aside from the jokes feeling forced in 2018, every character has hit the end of their story.

Wolowitz got married and started a family. Leonard married Penny. Sheldon got over his physical limitations with Amy. Stuart made the leap from kind-of-funny-side-character to annoying main character. And of of course, Koothrapali never became anything more than a stereotype. Did we miss anything?

Supernatural Needs To Be Slayed

WB/CW
WB/CW

Do you know what Supernatural and How I Met Your Mother have in common? Both were only supposed to run for five years. Now Supernatural is in year 13, nearly a decade since its expiration date. So why is it still on the air?

The show’s creator, Eric Kripke, has said he always planned to tell a five-year story. When he finished telling that story, he left the show. The network, however, couldn’t let one of their highest rated programs end at the same time too. There are rumblings the show is actually starting to be interesting again, but we find that hard to believe.

The Kids Are Grown Up In Modern Family

ABC
ABC

When Modern Family debuted it felt like a ground breaking show about three generations of the same family learning to navigate modern life. Now that there’s only one child remaining on the show, there’s no story left to tell. We don’t know when this show should have ended, but it’s a crime it hasn’t yet.

For further proof, look at the show’s lack of awards in recent years. Back in 2009, it was nominated for just about every Emmy possible. In 2017, it got two nominations; one for Ty Burrell and another for sound mixing… so yeah.

ER Needed To End When George Clooney Left

Fotos International/Getty Images
Fotos International/Getty Images

ER was must-see TV when it debuted in 1994. Focusing on the trials and tribulations of a small crew of doctors, the program was an instant hit. Then George Clooney, one of the original four cast members, left and became a movie star.

The show didn’t end, though. It ran for 15 seasons. For the fateful last one, John Stamos was the lead actor, a lame duck collecting a paycheck while NBC milked the show for every last penny they could get out of it.

Pretty Little Liars Got A Bad Makeover After Season Two

ABC Family/Free Form
ABC Family/Free Form

Did you realize Pretty Little Liars ran for seven seasons? If not, that’s probably because you stopped watching after season two. We wish we had also. Once the identity of "A" was revealed, there was no interesting direction left for the show to take.

Heck, the show didn’t even try to come up with something new. A new "A" popped up every season after the second because, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!" Well, maybe they should have tried to fix this one. Or just quit while they were ahead.

Scandal Got Caught Up In Its "Complexities"

ABC
ABC

Scandal was never a great show. It was pulpy and a fun escape hit from Shonda Rhimes that felt comfortable. It was perfect “water cooler” talk (if you even remember what that is.) As all shows of this nature do, Scandal eventually went off the rails and introduced Black-Ops organization B-613 into the fold.

Oh yeah, and everyone started sleeping with everyone between getting murdered or being the murderer. There was a lot of dramatic yelling also, but we’re not sure what any of it meant.

There’s Debate As To When Glee Should Have Ended

FOX via Getty Images
FOX via Getty Images

Glee aired on Fox for six seasons, overcoming the tragic death of star Cory Montieth along the way. Somewhere during its run, however, it lost its path. This isn’t uncommon with a Ryan Murphy show (Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story, etc…) but Glee, for a very brief moment in time, felt different.

Popular belief is that Glee should have taken its bow when the main cast started “going off to college.” Still, one critic says the show should have been cancelled after two episodes, proudly saying that is exactly when the show sank.

Gossip Girl Ran Out Of Secrets After Season Four

Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage
Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage

Gossip Girl is yet another show that stretched its high school premise into the college years with very little success. Many people argue the show lost steam when Dan Humphrey was revealed as “Gossip Girl” but the hard truth is the show stopped making sense long before that.

For the first four years of the show, the characters complained about how they wanted to get out of the city for college. They also all hated each other. So what happened? Of course ALL the main characters stay in New York for their higher education and continue to hang out. Makes total sense.

American Horror Story Was Interesting Until It Wasn’t

FX Networks
FX Networks

For us, American Horror stopped being interesting somewhere during “Coven.” The season about witches was fun for about half a season, then lost track of its plot and stopped making sense entirely. The next season saw the show fall into old horror movie madness at a circus.

Spoiler alert, “Freak Show” had less narrative intelligence or tangible things to say than Coven. It basically amounted to scenes designed to be scary, but dramatically disjointed. The show never recovered, although we hear decent things about “Apocalypse.”

That ’70s Show Stretched Four Years Into Eight Seasons

Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage
Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage

Okay, we admit that when you’re in high school, four years probably feels like eight. That’s still no excuse for That ’70s Show to literally turn four years into eight, though. Especially when the show’s two most popular characters left long before the series finale.

Topher Grace left to play Venom in Spider-Man 3 while Ashton Kutcher left to do Ashton Kutcher things. The show kept going, however, and replaced Eric (Grace) with Randy, a new love interest and overall unfunny character for Donna to fall for. Oh yeah, and Jackie started dating Fez for reasons beyond our understanding.

Dexter Gave Its “Hero” A Happy Ending

Showtime
Showtime

For eight years fans watched Dexter wondering how the serial killer with a code was going to pay for his sins. About five seasons into the run, they only kept watching because they were emotionally invested. For most, as soon as Rita died, the show did too.

Still, as the show careened towards its end, fans told themselves there was a payoff at the end of the road. Then the title character ran away and was seen with a beard chopping wood. Dexter was given a happy ending, leaving fans with frowns for sticking around for the last few seasons.