An incredible sitcom about friends (and family) just hanging out, down the street. The show was always packed with laughs, had an incredible cast, and leaned on the 1970s setting in a hilarious way. That '70s Show was always reliable. That is, until two of the show’s central characters left at the end of its seventh season. Topher Grace (playing Eric Forman) and Ashton Kutcher (playing Michael Kelso) both decided it was time to pursue other projects. Sadly, once this happened, Season 8 had fans feeling just like Red in his Season 8 intro. It was like the equivalent of Zeppelin actually trying to go on without John Bonham. Yeah, that’s a '70s reference.
Another show that brought the giggles. Scrubs followed J.D, played by Zach Braff, and a slew of characters embodying what was Sacred Heart Hospital. This was an imaginative series that seemed to not take itself seriously while tugging on emotional heartstrings all at the same time. We stuck around Sacred Heart for 8 seasons. In Season 9, however, things changed in a big way. The characters we knew and loved became a backdrop to a new group of intern doctors, the hospital setting became a med school, and we were seeing everything through a new character’s set of eyes. It still had some familiarity in having old faces show up, but it just never really felt like home. And in this case, home = Sacred Heart Hospital.
Sensing a trend here? The Office is another example of a show that was at the top of its game, had the perfect ending for the characters we’d seen grow and been following since the beginning, but still tried to come back for more. Despite the Jim and Pam romance, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott was the heart of this show, and once his character rode off into the sunset, there was just something wrong about being in Dunder Mifflin for Seasons 8 and 9. Perhaps a Creed spinoff would’ve worked better?
Now the longest running show ever, our lovable family from Springfield has surely seen their fair share of up and downs. Arguably, Seasons 1 through 12 are considered its glory days, and thinking about it like that, 12 solid seasons is actually a pretty incredible feat. Now double that count, and you’re still not to the current season. With that many years on air, a show is bound to lose its audience, it’s luster, and even its innovation, so maybe it deserves somewhat of a break. But then again, this is really on them for going on this long. Yep, they really Doh’d themselves.
Another gem from FOX in the '90s. The X-Files was incredible writing, incredible casting, and all the conspiracy theory any paranoid American could ask for. It even got some episodes to not take themselves so seriously. For seven seasons, we believed that the truth was out there. And then, when Agent Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny) decided to leave the show, we kind of stopped caring a little bit. Sure, Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully was still there searching for Mulder after his abduction, but even she had had enough come Season 9, when both Mulder and Scully took a backseat and were replaced by two other detectives. For die-hards, it’s just not how we wanted this thing to end. Oh wait, it’s been revived and is on FOX again? Cool! Oh, it’s not that good, and Gillian already wants to be done? Damn. Some things are better left in the '90s, I suppose. Except Seinfeld. Please, bring back Seinfeld.
Here’s one that didn’t necessarily fall off due to its main character leaving the show. 24 would be nothing without Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer. Jack’s solid, but he still needs a team around him. The problem with 24 being around so long is that matching the show’s tense, thrilling story turns means taking some big swings. This also means the twists have to shock audiences. Every. Single. Time. And that’s not easy. So this forces a show to kill off characters you’ve become invested in. Some characters that are so good that the show is forced to conventionally bring them back from the dead. Seasons 1 through 4 were great TV. There were some shining moments in the rest of 24’s run, but as we’ve gathered, shows tend to have a heyday and Jack and crew’s best are the first four. That’s like 96 hours of entertainment. Or 5,760 minutes. Or 345,600 seconds…
Before the CW’s DC television universe, there was Smallville. A new take on Superman that starts before he dons the suit and cape. Yep, we’re talking about high school. Throw in a bunch of bad guys affected by meteor rocks, some nonsensical romance drama, decent special effects, and seeing how Lex Luthor and Clark go from friends to foes, and you've got a damn entertaining show. However, as time went on, Superman had to grow up. Literally, Tom Welling stopped looking like a high-schooler. We also began to spend more time in Metropolis than Smallville. And again, some of our favorite actors moved on from the show. I’m sorry, but when you lose Lex Luthor (played by Michael Rosenbaum), one of the most interesting aspects of the series, it gets tough to watch!