Finally. It’s finally over. AMC announced last week that The Walking Dead‘s 11th season would be its final one, freeing us all from its shackles. It’s such a shame. Season 1 was such a strong start for the show. Seasons 2 and 3 had a pretty steep downhill, and by Season 4 it was pretty much unwatchable. If you’re looking for that next awful thing to ruin your Sunday evenings with, check out the following shows that started out pretty good and eventually became the actual worst.
10. The Big Bang Theory
This one is kind of sad, because the first two seasons of The Big Bang Theory were actually pretty enjoyable. Originally the conceit was to make a show about nerds for nerds, and it did that quite well in the first 2 seasons. However, when the show exploded in popularity, Chuck Lorre dumbed it down significantly to appeal to wider audiences, giving us nine seasons of laughing at people for loving Doctor Who or playing Dungeons and Dragons. Wow, very fun. The Big Bang Theory is this far down the list because the finale episode is actually excellent. Jim Parsons delivers a quite moving monologue and the show just ends, in a very Seinfeld-esque manner. If you were ever a fan, I highly recommend you watch the finale.
9. The Flash
The Flash had never been my favorite superhero as a kid, but being that I had enjoyed the first two seasons of Arrow so much (we’ll get to that, don’t worry) I decided to give it a try. Grant Gustin absolutely nailed it as Barry Allen, and the supporting cast, specifically Tom Cavanaugh, surpassed expectations from a CW show. Unfortunately, around halfway through season 3, the writing quality of the show had declined so much from its early days I had to stop watching. At least I got to see King Shark, I guess.
8. How I Met Your Mother
I did a recent rewatch of How I Met Your Mother, thinking “surely this doesn’t get as bad as I remember from 2013.” Well, it does. The finale itself was so infamously bad that the Blu-ray contains an alternate ending that makes the story only slightly better. The show hits some very high highs in seasons 2-5, but putting the entirety of season 9 over the span of one weekend was a huge mistake. The whole final season is paced so badly it’s impossible to keep a timeline straight in your head.
The first five seasons of Supernatural are actually pretty great, CW drama non-withstanding. Showrunner Eric Kripke (who is now running Amazon’s The Boys) dedicated a lot of resources to bringing American monsters, myths and legends to life in a modern context. He wrapped up the show with a well thought-out finale at the end of season 5, and that’s where you should stop watching the show. Fans screamed and screamed until it was brought back for another season against Kripke’s wishes, and now it’s 10 seasons later. They find out a nerdy teenager is God in a later season so… yeah.
Save the cheerleader, save the world. The first season of Heroes was absolutely magnificent, showcasing a realistic version of the “what if everyone suddenly had superpowers” conceit. Zachary Quinto’s performance as the villain, Sylar, really helped cement the first season of Heroes as something you could point to and show that TV could have production values just as good as a movie. In season 2, Hiro was transported to feudal Japan and well… it all went downhill from there. Season 4 of Heroes is downright unwatchable.
5. American Horror Story
American Horror Story is an anthology, so each season begins a new disconnected story featuring much of the same cast as totally different characters. Season 1, Murder House was off to a great start, but went off the rails a little by the end. No matter; season 2, Asylum started off very strong as well. Some of the most horrifying intrigue I’ve ever seen on TV, in fact. But then it turned out at the end of the season it was … aliens. But surely, season 3, Coven, would deliver an even experience all the way across the arc? Nope, even with the combined might of Angela Basset, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange pulling off Oscar-worthy performances, Coven still became a convoluted mess by the end. And then the same thing happened with Freak Show, and Hotel, and then I stopped watching. If Lady Gaga couldn’t save this show, nothing can. Special shoutout to AHS for starting strong and becoming terrible 11 times.
4. Arrested Development
Arrested Development kicked off in 2003 as one of the most acclaimed and influential comedies of all time but was cut short at 3 seasons because of a premature cancellation by Fox. Arrested Development is easily one of the most intelligently written sitcoms of all time, and perhaps the most quotable as well. When Netflix revived the series in 2013, it was revived as something… else. None of the actors could make their schedules fit, so each one was filmed separately and then cut together as if they were in the same room. Season 5 was actually filmed in one place, but it barely helped. While better than season 4, it pulled the plug once and for all on Arrested Development being anything but shameful to its first three seasons. They made a huge mistake.
Arrow was the first and most critical piece of the Arrowverse, DC’s connected TV universe, which now includes The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Vixen, Batwoman, Freedom Fighters, and Superman & Lois. But when it first began in 2012, Arrow was a massive hit. This, finally, was the superhero show we had all been waiting for. Before Netflix’s Daredevil, there was Arrow; an emotional, hard-hitting, well-written, movie-quality show that stood up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For two seasons, at least. Arrow became a massive hit online, but unfortunately Arrow fell victim to the same mistake that brought down Supernatural – the showrunners asked the fans what they wanted to happen, going so far as to make Tumblr polls to ask about what ships people wanted. Arrow collapsed completely at the end of season 3 and became a nightmare of complicated character shifts and strange ships for another 5 seasons.
Dexter began in 2006 as a very loose adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, in which a serial killer who works as a forensic scientist for the Miami Metro homicide department kills other serial killers. The concept itself was interesting enough to hook people, but the combination of the new take on a police procedural drama with the award-winning acting of Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter kept people watching. After four amazing seasons, Dexter began a nosedive when showrunner Clyde Phillips retired. It was gradual – seasons 5, 6 and 7 were all a bit worse than the preceding one, but longtime fans stuck around. Season 8 was, at the risk of sounding dramatic, unforgivably bad. The finale consisted of Dexter tossing his sister’s body out to sea, leaving his infant son with his serial killer girlfriend and sending them to Argentina, driving his boat into a hurricane to fake his death, and becoming a lumberjack in Canada. Yeah. The night that finale aired I sat in my room in the dark for three hours.
1. Game of Thrones
“Be careful. I know a killer when I see one.”
Got any other shows that eventually became awful? Still hanging around in r/freefolk? Let us know in the comments below!