Great TV shows must come to an end. I’m only suggesting this because it’s so sad to see amazing television become a drag. Some shows start off strong, like a majestic stallion riding in the wind – and then it gets tired, strained and eventually so delusional that it falls off a cliff and dies…
So that may be melodramatic, but I’m just paralleling what can happen to prolonged plot-lines. It’s the curse of the sequel – many of these fail the greatness of the predecessor. It’s because the original story is the peak in the main character’s life. Then all of a sudden, the sequel is supposed to top the most important thing that happened, and this is hard to do. So writers exaggerate situations to the point of incredulity, and we are unable to escape into the wonderful world of entertainment because we’re too busy thinking about how bad this story has become. Here are some examples:
TV shows that should’ve ended earlier
- “Lost” – This is the archetypical example. The end result did not live up to expectations.
- “Smallville” – It was too early to move to Metropolis.
- “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – It’s still my favorite show of all time. I considered it done after the move to the UPN network.
- “The X-Files” – I haven’t seen it all, but I’m sure it didn’t need two feature films.
- “Weeds” – It became a different show once the “ticky-tacky” theme song disappeared.
- “How I Met Your Mother” – Have we met the mom yet? I stopped watching.
The list goes on because drawn-out endings are so common in entertainment. It happens because producers want to keep viewers watching as long as possible to milk all the money. On the other hand, when newbie shows with potential don’t get viewers, they are cancelled prematurely. To some, this is a sadder story, but perhaps these shows were just saved from impending doom of the drag.
- “Arrested Development” – fans should be happy to know it’s coming back in 2013 for 9-10 episode arch and a feature film.
- “Freaks and Geeks” – maybe it ended too soon. Luckily, it launched the careers of Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and James Franco, and whatever these stars create makes up for it.
- “Firefly” – so glad it came back with a feature film.
So what’s the solution to the dying show problem? Just like all great stories, writers should know from the beginning how to end the story. That way, they can carefully develop the plot into perfection. Sure, there are certain television shows that don’t need to end, such as Law & Order, NCIS, CSI and the like. Because these plot-lines are contained in one episode, these shows keep on entertaining people. It’s shows with stories that develop over seasons that need the gracious axe.