There are no two ways about it—we absolutely love TV shows and movies. There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a fantasy world or someone else’s drama and hardships. A well-crafted storyline and believable characters are worth far more than their weight in gold. Alas! A good pilot episode or even a great first season don’t guarantee quality entertainment in the future…
Redditor u/DadIsMadAtMe started up a really interesting thread on r/AskReddit after asking cinephiles around the globe about the shows that they started watching but hated so much they couldn’t muster the patience to finish them. And, wow, do we relate to a lot of these opinions. Scroll down to see what popular shows went downhill and why.
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Bored Panda reached out to entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyle expert Mike Sington to get his opinion on TV shows jumping the shark, why the quality of writing falls off the cliff so often, and what a long-running series can mean for an actor’s career. Read on for our full interview with Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the first three seasons. Then, they brought new show runners in and they destroyed the show. The storytelling was insulting, there was no creativity, they immediately made our favorite characters so unlikable, events just happened for no real reason, and it just felt like these new writers had no prior knowledge of the show before working on it. I can only think about what this show could have been if these changes didn’t happen.
The end of the line for me was how they were painfully dragging out the whole Negan saga. I don’t remember what season it was but I just quit in the middle of it
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“One reason why there may be a noticeable drop in writing quality in long-running television series is due to the difficulty in maintaining a fresh and compelling storyline over an extended period. As a series continues, writers may struggle to come up with new ideas or may rely too heavily on previously successful storylines, leading to a sense of stagnation or repetition,” entertainment expert Mike, from LA, explained to Bored Panda why there’s a noticeable drop in quality in long-running TV shows.
“Another factor that may contribute to a decline in writing quality is changes in the creative team. As writers and showrunners leave or are replaced, the show’s tone and direction may shift, resulting in a departure from what made the show initially successful,” he said.
“To counteract these challenges, some television series employ a writers’ room, a team of writers who collaborate on the series’ storyline and character arcs. Additionally, having a clear endgame in mind can help ensure that the series maintains its creative momentum and avoids a drop in quality.”
Don’t hate me but Friends. Seen the first 5 episodes and absolutely hated it.
Greys anatomy. I checked out FOREVER ago.
I expect you don’t mind spoilers so I’m going with it lol, but season 18 (I think) had her finally leaving grey Sloan and she was about to leave for Boston and then her house suddenly burned down from a lightning strike and I couldn’t stop laughing, it was so absurdly overdramatic and unnecessary
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The entertainment expert shared a few examples of TV series that have remained consistently good, no matter how many seasons have been on the air. According to Mike, these include Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and The Crown. These are all “critically acclaimed shows that sustained their quality throughout their respective runs.”
“These shows all had a clear sense of direction and vision from their showrunners and writers, which allowed them to maintain their creative momentum over an extended period.”
Orange is the New Black. the first few seasons were good. They lost me after a while!
Piper annoyed the f*****g s**t out of me
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The Simpsons. It was my favorite show for years and it just keeps going and it’s not funny anymore. I do like to watch the first episode when they get Santa’s little helper around Christmas and I have a DVD with some early treehouse of horror episodes I watch around Halloween.
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Glee. The funny thing about this show is it originally started as a satire of the very thing it became.
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We were also interested to get the entertainment expert’s thoughts on how playing a single character on a long-running TV show can impact an actor and their career. Mike told Bored Panda that there are certain advantages and disadvantages to this. Here are some of the pros:
- “Consistent work: One of the most significant benefits of playing a character on a long-running series is the steady and reliable income it can provide. Actors who play a popular or iconic character on a successful show may have job security for many years.
- Increased exposure: Television shows that attract large audiences can raise an actor’s profile significantly. The exposure gained from appearing in a popular series can lead to more significant roles and opportunities in the future.
- Character development: Playing a single character for an extended period can allow an actor to explore and develop the character over time. As the character evolves, actors may have more opportunities to showcase their range and acting abilities.”
Handmaid’s Tale. The first season starts so strong but as the seasons go on the story refuses to move forward. It was just an endless cycle of failed escapes. Or when characters finally have the chance to escape they either change their mind or go back inside. It’s like the writers were too afraid to shake up the status quo. After a few seasons I just gave up.
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Big Bang Theory.
Hey, Big Bang was a great show! All 3 seasons!
OMFG, there’s 12 seasons?
OMFG, somehow Young Sheldon has been renewed for a 7th season?
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Riverdale. I think I lost it when it became fantasy/paranormal/cult horror? And I’ve heard that it ventures into time travel or something. Even typing this out confuses me so much lo
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However, there are some cons as well:
- “Typecasting: Actors who play a single character on a long-running series may become typecast, making it challenging to find other roles that are not similar to the character they are known for playing.
- Limited opportunities for other projects: A long-running series can take up a significant amount of an actor’s time, leaving little room for other acting projects. This can make it difficult for actors to take on other roles or participate in other productions.
- Lack of creative control: Actors who play a character on a television series do not have control over the writing or direction of the show. If the writing or direction changes in a way that they do not agree with, they may have limited ability to influence the outcome.”
In short, playing a single character on a long-running television series “can provide consistent work, increased exposure, and character development,” however, it has certain downsides, such as “typecasting, limited opportunities for other projects, and a lack of creative control.”
According to Mike, whether an actor should pursue working on a long-lasting series will ultimately depend on their career goals and priorities.
Wednesday. I don’t think im the target demographic though. Seemed like a corny CW show.
How to get away with murder. Very repetitive
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Everybody loves Raymond.
God what a manchild Raymond was. And the unnecessary hate on debra on all the subreddits. It just made me so furious.
If I ever wound up with a husband like Raymond I would just pack my bags and run for my life.
Whether we like to admit it or not, it’s not just good shows that we love watching. Many of us also enjoy the occasional hate-watching binge: putting on a show that we know is bad so we can unleash our inner film critic. Cue grumbling about weak storylines, inconsistent motivations, and one-dimensional characters.
Not only do we get to show the world (or, well, anyone in the same room as us) how we have far better taste than fans of show X, but we can also flex our creative muscles as we proclaim how we’d have done things completely differently—and far, far better. Schadenfreude is a powerful force, and we really do get pleasure from someone else’s misfortune. Say a writer’s script going downhill or watching actors going through the motions with no energy because it’s Season 39 and franchise Y won’t milk itself dry without them.
The fact of the matter is that creating a story is far more difficult than something sitting on the sidelines might think. Everyone who’s ever tried writing a short story, editing a book, or cobbling together a script will know that. It’s way easier to be a semi-decent critic than to be a barely-average writer. Especially for TV where there are so many other factors (from casting and filming to post-processing and marketing) to consider alongside the story.
13 reasons why. I’m not gonna lie when this show dropped I binged all of the first season in secrecy because I was so embarrassed that I was hooked lmao. But getting to the end of that season I was satisfied. Was not into whatever school shooter plot they were setting up for the rest so just called it quits after S1. Feel zero need to ever return.
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Emily in Paris. I’ve heard that show described as “French Twilight minus the vampires.”
I’m just glad they ended scrubs at season 8 and didn’t try to make a spin-off
However, the story itself is still incredibly important. The narrative, the events, the characters, the details, they all have to be believable and grounded in the world’s logic—even if it’s a fantasy, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic scenario. As we’ve written here on Bored Panda recently, the audience is willing to suspend its disbelief to enjoy a story… up to a certain point.
Yes, you can have dragons and magic and intergalactic space-faring aliens. But the story has to be believable within the context of the world you’re inviting the audience into.
Or, as writer and author Christopher Burke put it to us recently, “There can be a dragon. The dragon can swear, smoke cigars, and drink whiskey if it wants to. But if it starts talking about cigars and whiskey and gets basic facts (which are easily found) wrong, someone’s going to notice, and that will pull them out of the moment. The audience will willingly accept the big stuff or they wouldn’t watch the movie. It’s the small stuff that’s distracting, and sometimes you wonder if they could’ve avoided it.”
Westworld. Loved the first season. Then it started going downhill. Haven’t seen the latest season and I don’t plan on it.
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Good monster mystery show.
Awful preteen romance show.
how i met your mother.
After that final season, this is mine as well. A whole season spent on a wedding that was undone in ten minutes.
Characters spouting facts that are just plain wrong. Characters whose motivations flip-flop all over the place and change like the weather. Massive shifts in narrative tone. Storylines that become more and more complex and nonsensical, completely divorced from the show’s roots. Smart characters who become dumb whenever the plot demands it. Dumb characters who are overly dumb because the plot demands it…
…Expository dialogues. Stiff acting. Mary Sue characters that are pushed on the audience as though they’re the second coming of Jesus Christ. A lack of respect for the source material. Nonsensical dramas that don’t actually humanize the characters. Bad costumes and awful CGI. These are just some of the things that ruin our enjoyment of a show! Most of them can be solved with better writing and editing and the courage to stand up for better standards instead of pushing out what’s fast, cheap, and easy.
Game of Thrones.
It’s a tough show to watch, even if you like it. Besides killing everyone you love, it’s also really ra**y.
That 90s Show.
I liked That 70s Show. It was funny and it had its moments. But I watched the first couple episodes of That 90s Show and it just isn’t cutting it for me. It seems like the old characters show up just for cheap nostalgia points for the fans and Kitty/Red/the basement are only there to keep reminding the fans its a That 70s Show sequel. Even though Kitty and Red are blatantly the best part of the show. The kids in this show are just…not people I’m interested in at all. First, they look way more like kids than the original cast which I suppose is technically more accurate and should be a good thing, but instead it just feels weird being an adult watching them deal with sex and drugs. Second, the humor feels way more modern with kids who are just unbelievably caricatures. Third, Eric’s daughter is supposed to be a socially awkward nerd like he was but when you look at her you know instantly there is no way she would have had problems making friends and getting attention in school. Eric looked like a nerd. The characters in the original all looked their part and were written at least moderately believable. This feels like a lazy cash grab. Not interested.
Forced myself to get through most of the show because I didn’t realize how insufferable the main characters where going to be until I was already too far in…and even then I couldn’t finish it. Rory and Lorelei single-handedly ruined the show for me.
I know it’s supposed the be scandalous [criminal] porn for modern basic women but the first season wasn’t that bad. Then it all derailed and now it’s just the same thing: dude obsesses over woman, he somehow gets the girl, girl turns out to be not what he wanted, he finds a different one to obsess over, repeat. I gave up on season 3 when everyone was so [unalive] happy.
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For five years i was stranded on an island…
No wait, i was stranded on an island, and in hong kong, and then back to the island before i actually was in new york, but then i was rescued on the island again! It became an absolute mess lol
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after Ragnar died it was unwatchably boring
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Yes the series isn’t over (yet) but as a fan of the world just not interested after season 2
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Netflix’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I really liked the first season, barely made it through the second season, and refuse to watch the third
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Lost. Made it about 9 episodes and it seems JJ’s career has done nothing since to show me he’s capable of ending anything.
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Bojack, actually. The show was really good… so much so that I found that I was commiserating too much. I have depression and the show would negatively affect my mood so much that I ended up hating it. Can’t stand how it makes me feel, so I never finished it.
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every single season of AHS since Freak Show. always starts out strong and interesting. and then usually halfway through, Ryan Murphy consistently shows that he can’t finish a story and I realize what’s going to happen and just decide to quit. around Roanoke, I stopped even giving him a chance.
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I gave up on the entire Arrowverse about five years ago. It wasn’t even like a conscious decision. I was kind of getting behind in all my shows, and I eventually realized I was about a month or so behind on Arrow and Flash and Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, and I just didn’t care. So I just never bothered to watch any of them anymore.
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Shameless. Just an over the top soap opera towards the later seasons. Still haven’t finished the last 6 episodes and probably never will.
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The Umbrella Academy, sort of… first season was fire, second season 2 I started hating Allison, stopped paying attention, gave season 3 a chance, realized how abysmally terrible Allison’s character is, half assed my way through the rest of the season, really only paying attention to “important parts”.
The only saving Grace for season 2&3 are Aiden, who does an overly incredible job at portraying number 5.
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Girls, I just hated all the characters. No redeeming qualities.
Well, the main villain of the show was the writer’s strike. When they fired it up for season 3 it’s as if no one knew what had happened in the first 2 seasons. It had potential.
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Once Upon A Time
So effing glad I stopped at season two.
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Dexter. Trinity killer season was peak tv…but then Debs finding out about things and somehow allowing it to continue just felt weird. I stopped watching not long after that. Tried rewatching it all more recently and got to the exact same point before giving up for a second time! ha
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The end of the line for me was how they were painfully dragging out the whole Negan saga. I don’t remember what season it was but I just quit in the middle of it.
That’s right when I checked out as well. I was so done with the incredibly repetitive nature of the show at that point. Crew finds safe place, bad guys attack, find new safe place rinse and repeat over and over again
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Late, but Once Apon a Time. God the show was a masterpiece up until it wasn’t.
Everything Has A Price
The Good Doctor. Sorry just too many cheesy flashbacks.
I surprisingly made it 5 seasons in I think. I almost quit watching part way though season 1, because even though I really liked some aspects of the show, the characters and drama just pissed me off so much. I decided to keep going, and then I think episode 5 or 6 (?) got me hooked. It didn’t change how much I disliked most of the characters, and that kind of remained a trend throughout the show for me. Was absolutely captivated by the story and concept, absolutely hated the characters and drama. Clarke, her mom, and Octavia sunk the show imo. After season 5 I think I just thought to myself “you know, I enjoyed a lot of that, but I think I’ve seen all I need to see”
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Manifest. No character to root for. No character growth. Each person making the same dumb choice over and over.
The first season was good, but then random s**t just started happening in S2 and the characters had poor reactions and made dumb, unrealistic decisions. It’s possible I didn’t understand the season or plot, but I got lost quickly and made me not want to keep track
Suits. How they managed to put together 9 seasons of the same s**t over and over I’ll never understand becuase I quit in the middle of season 3.
exactly. it dawned on me that all it really was was people strutting in and out of each others’ offices having brief heated exchanges.
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Under the dome. I really like the book and the show started off pretty solid as I remember, but then it slowly got to where it was like “okay what’s the dumbest thing we can think up?”
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First season was incredible, second season was fine, after that it was awful. It became something so different than when it began that the show was unrecognizable so I stopped watching within a few episodes of when it became a generic Washington DC based show.
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Arrested Development after Netflix took over
Sons of Anarchy.
Man, I was so into this show! Then Clay starts beating up on Gemma and someone kidnaps Jax’s kid so now we have to go to Ireland?? It felt like when an 80’s sitcom would introduce a cute kid when the ratings were slipping and the show should just end.
The last two seasons of Killing Eve.
Season 1 is one of the most perfect seasons of any show I have ever seen. I am still convinced that there’s no way the rest of it was the same show.
Star Trek: Picard
I found it to be an absolute betrayal and slap in the face to the spirit of Star Trek and the character of Jean-Luc Picard.
I’ve been a Trekkie since I was a toddler. Seeing such a positive and enlightened group that was the United Federation of Planets be twisted into a racist and xenophobic organization for the sake of hammering home its themes was awful. Yes, Star Trek was always political and was always “woke” as they say now, but I think taking a society that’s progressed beyond all the awful s**t we have today and making them just as awful is saddening. It also doesn’t help that the writers engage in pushing stereotypes for this same purpose. Whether intentional on the writers’ part or not, I found that taking the black lead of the show, and making her addicted to drugs and living in poverty in a society that’s supposed to have no addiction or money – offensive and racist.
They took Picard, a strong willed, respectful, and good man who held true to his ethics and desire to do the right thing and made him completely unrecognizable.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, Star Trek: Picard genuinely upset me. All I saw while watching it was a series that I’ve held dear to my heart for most of my life being mangled and twisted into a corporate product designed to hit check boxes of what modern day audiences like in sci-fi shows. Which is dark, gritty, depressing, grimdark nonsense apparently.
Old Star Trek looked at our society and said “We can be better than this.” Modern Trek seems to blatantly say “No, we can’t.”
This is us.
This show was like a never-ending drama sledge hammer to my head. It never ended. I only made it though the first two seasons.
True Blood. I can’t exactly remember what happened, but sometime around when other faeries start showing up regularly (maybe end of Season 4?) I just suddenly couldn’t stand it anymore.
I think some of the central human characters were also gone by then, which might have made it harder to stick with as well.
Outlander and A Discovery of Witches. Both went downhill very quickly.
The office, I’m sorry but it was too boring
The vampire diaries. Lucifer is a great show though.
“I’m Barry Allen, the fastest man alive”
Proceeds to get that line disproven almost every season.
Locke & Key. About halfway through season 2 the whole “villains are demons posessing teenagers’ corpses” thing just got creepy, and made the show way less enjoyable. After reading about how the rest of it went, I didn’t miss much by quitting there.
Season 1 established a cool story and a great anti-hero. The remainder of the series is about the insufferable protagonist ruining his plans, and how an entire FBI agency bends over backwards to support her, no matter how often or how hard she betrays them.
There’s a season without her that I thought was actually good again but she returns and starts immediately making incredibly stupid mistakes again so I couldn’t continue.
Man in the High Castle.
I remember asking a friend that had already watched if the non-Nazi characters ever get better about making the least rational decisions. He said no, so I wrapped up whatever episode I was on and never came back to it.
The Crown. Sad because the cinematography was top notch. The story however, too much for my historical fiction loving a*s
I watched Xena: Warrior Princess pretty regularly and it was starting to get ridiculous. There was a moment where Xena uttered the line “No more living for you.” And that was it. I stopped watching and never watched another episode. Now whenever a show just pushes me to quit I refer to it as a “no more living for you” moment.
Oh man, I’m gonna get roasted for this, but Breaking bad.
Just couldn’t hold my interest for some reason.
I’ll still rewatch the early stuff. Up until the fire. Never past the fire.
Altered Carbon. The show has the an amazing first season, great story, acting, cinematography, sound design, special effects etc. Then the second season feels like they hired writers to just pump out more content. I’ve never seen a show so good turn so mediocre/boring/bad.
Prison break. Watched a few episodes into season 2 but it got boring.
Season 1-5: Sam and Dean search for their missing father, unravel the mystery of their mother’s death, and close the gates of hell.
Season 15: Sam and Dean need to kill god.
It feels like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that’s gone on for far too long lol
Billions. It was never high art but it got pretty brutal when they really leaned into the “celebrity” cameos.
Mr. Robot, just seemed to keep spinning its wheels and nothing ever happening (essentially the season before last “reset” progress quite literally). I heard the last season is good but that show just wore me down.
Iron Fist. Boy did that end up sucking hard.
Danny Rand is a boring character and I couldn’t give less f***s about the rich shareholder siblings with daddy issues.
Maybe hate is a strong word, but the Pentaverite is pretty rough. There are a few scenes that made me laugh. It makes me sad that Mike Myers hasn’t produced anything funny in a long time.
House of Cards.
That last season was cringe.
I thought the main characters in the book were insufferable enough, but somehow the show managed to more than one-up them in that department.
Money Heist. The main character, Tokyo was an insufferable b***h. Had to stop because of her. Literally the worst main character in history.
I got quite annoyed with the fact that every season Tommy needed to have a new girl to f**k.
Especially him the communist suffragette, why did they need to get together? Seemed really forced and annoying. I wish they had just had mutual respect eventually and not gone to romance.