Sodas ‘N’ Popcorn’s List of 10 TV Shows (We Once Loved) That Overstayed Their Welcome.

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10. ‘Two and a Half Men’

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How many seasons it’s run: 11

How many seasons it probably should have run: 8

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: Charlie Sheen was the show, for better or for worse. The show was Charlie Sheen, we can make an entire nursery rhyme out of that. Ashton Kutcher was funny on “That ’70s Show,” but he’s only Not Charlie on “Two and a Half Men.” Bringing in Amber Tamblyn hasn’t hurt, but it hasn’t helped. “Two and a Half Men” was about Charlie Harper, Alan Harper and Jake Harper. Charlie is gone. Jake is mostly gone. And most of the young viewers are gone. Now the show is just Chuck Lorre trying to prove he can do it without Charlie Sheen.

That darn Jewish ego.

9. ‘Criminal Minds’

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How many seasons it’s run: 9

How many seasons it probably should have run: 2

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: Joe Mantegna is a good actor, but truth remains that Mandy Patinkin gave the show clout. When “Criminal Minds” premiered, the idea of a team of agents tracking serial killers was fresh. Now we have “Hannibal,” “True Detective,” “The Following” and something new every week. There’s nothing “Criminal Minds” does that other shows don’t do and better. Plus, every year CBS keeps “Criminal Mind” around is another chance for an ugly contract negotiation with one of the show’s actresses. “Criminal Minds” is still a hit on Wednesdays. It could go on forever. Who knew there were so many serial killers active in the US? 

8. Downton Abbey’

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How many seasons it’s run: 4

How many seasons it probably should have run: 2

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: Everyone loved season one, and then… well, it’s all downhill from here. By season four, we’ve seen intriguing story lines dumped with little fanfare (Interracial relationship? Oh, that’s over), characters functioning as plot devices (we wanted to love you, Matthew), and now, retreads of old story lines (Bates get pulled into a murderous plot! Again!). Beloved characters have been sidelined with silly stories (Thomas hates Branson all of a sudden!) and, while season three hammered us with bad news, this one sputtered to a bland conclusion. We’ve loved you, “Downton Abbey,” but maybe it’s time to stop before we have to soldier through another World War with you.

7. True Blood

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How many seasons it’s run: 7

How many seasons it probably should have run: 2

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: There was a time not long ago – before Game of Thrones looked down on all other HBO programming from its perch atop the Iron Throne built from spectacular ratings and meme-inducing deaths – when True Blood was the reason for having internet subscription.

However, after the first season, that feeling of genuinely wanting to follow the hot, blood-drenched (and undoubtedly tacky) romantic misadventures of vampires and humans commingling in and around Bon Temps quickly began to wane. That’s when things started getting overly complicated; the series’ writers began tossing in every supernatural character and spooky contrivance they could think of (werewolves, mediums and werepanthers?) and the already tenuous connection between character and storyline became increasingly halfhearted as characters became paired with one another seemingly at random. Thankfully, with the announcement that season 7 will be the shows last, we can all breathe easy. Finally.

6. Californication

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How many seasons its run: 7

How many seasons it probably should have run: 2

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: This is probably the most obvious show on the list, given that you’d have an easier time finding a hair on Bruce Willis’s gloriously bald head than a group of people who would readily admit they still watch the show.

And yet, there’s still something about the booze-soaked, lamely misanthropic ramblings of David Duchovny’s sporadically inspired writer Hank Moody that compels us to (passively) tune in year after year. Perhaps it’s because the show airs during the cold, wintry period between New Year’s and Game of Thrones that allows Californication to maintain a place on our Torrents download list (em, disclaimer- I’m not one of ya’ll).To be honest, though, it’s probably the likability of its lead and (even more likely) Duchovny’s past glories (X-Files forever!) that keep us hoping the misadventures of Mr. Moody will find that balance of raunch, humor and sentimentality that it sometimes captured in its first two seasons. Since then, the storylines have gotten increasingly repetitive and progressively more cartoonish. Still, we’re holding out hope the show may one day manage to justify its continued existence and become the comedy that revels in its naughtiness while still having something worthwhile to say about its characters.

5. Glee’

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How many seasons it’s run: 5

How many seasons it probably should have run: 3

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: The entire point of “Glee” was to show how a teacher took this rag-tag group of misfits and turned them into something amazing and powerful, showing them about who they were and who they had the power to be. It was about this group of kids coming together and supporting one another and making it through high school. We aren’t going to tell you that every episode through the first three seasons was brilliant (some here might say one season was too many for the show), but through three seasons it was still about these kids in high school. At the end of the third season many of the kids graduated. They won the national tournament and graduated. It was the perfect moment to end the show. Instead, season four saw a whole lot of new folks come in while the show still attempted to give time to the kids who were now off pursuing the rest of their lives. The new group of kids was never allowed to come into their own with the audience hoping to still see the old members come back, and even when the the old folks did return, they didn’t have anything really interesting to do.

4. Supernatural

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How many seasons it’s run: 9

How many seasons it probably should have run: 1.5

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: Despite the fact that series creator Eric Kripke developed it to be a five-year storyline, Supernatural fittingly lived on, and, for a season or two, seemed to be daring viewers to salt and burn its bones, lest it continue to come back and haunt The CW’s airwaves with terrible storylines like the Leviathans and Sam sharing the same headspace as his old underworld cellmate Lucifer. Thankfully, this past season seemed to show the brothers Winchester getting some of their previous mojo back – no small feat when you’ve been going for eight seasons – with a refocused storyline that also added a new dimension to the narrative (i.e., The Men of Letters and the search for the demon and angel tablets). Meanwhile, the season ended on a cliffhanger that may bring the series’ key characters together again. So, with the possibility of Dean, Sam, Castiel and even Bobby hunting together while dealing with a heavenly apocalypse, odds are Supernatural may have finally gotten its second wind. Is it any wonder we never stopped watching?

3. How I Met Your Mother

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How many seasons it’s run: 9

How many seasons it probably should have run: 5 if we meet the Mother at the end, 6 or 7 if we got to meet her before the end

Why it’s overstayed its welcome: Because the show’s creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, have taken the title far too literally, dragging out various character arcs long past the point of interest out of fear of letting us get to know Ted’s future wife too soon. Even in this final season, when we’ve gotten to see the Mother in the past, present and future (but only with Ted in the future), they’ve been reluctant to use her, even though Cristin Milioti is easily the best thing about the show at this point, and in some weeks is the only good thing about the show. If Bays and Thomas were determined to hold out the Mother for the end of the things (and/or only show her occasionally near the end, as they’ve done here), they should have wrapped things up years ago, before all the characters became far too cartoonish for their own good. Had they introduced the character at the end of, say, season 5 — and been able to find someone as good as Milioti back then — and actually made her a regular part of the ensemble, they probably could have squeezed a few more good years out of the show. Right now, we’re just hanging on to see how it ends — and confirm that it’s actually ending, like a comedy series should end! and that the Greta Gerwig-led “How I Met Your Dad” isn’t part of an elaborate plot to keep the original “HIMYM” going.

2. Smallville

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How many seasons it’s run: 10

How many seasons it probably should have run: 4

Why it Overstayed It’s Welcome: Yes, even though Smallville has been off the air since 2011, it’s still amazing to think that a series about a teenaged Clark Kent on the road to becoming Superman managed to last 10 seasons. That reason alone is enough to make this list. But what’s more is that, through all of the cast and creative personnel changes, the shift in focus from teen-angsty romance mixed with the unrelenting burden of destiny, to some more adult (if not necessarily mature) takes on the same themes, somehow, Tom Welling & Co. made us want to stick with it. But what kept us tuning in? After about season 4, the reasons for sticking with the show seemed to be less about the present and more about the promise of what may be just around the corner – i.e., special guest stars from the DC Universe roster, including geek-worthy appearances by Smallville versions of The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and even Doomsday, as well as the hope that one day we’d see Clark don the big red ‘S’ and soar over Metropolis (and maybe Smallville for continuity’s sake).

 1.      The Simpsons

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How many seasons it’s run: 9

How many seasons it probably should have run: We’re sorry, we weren’t born when it began.

Why it Overstayed It’s Welcome: The show that helped establish the FOX television brand is now something of a footnote for the network –and simply painful to watch, and despite rumors to the contrary, will seemingly will  NEVER be shuffled off to the great animated beyond. The Simpsons may not be as culturally relevant or as flat-out funny as it once was (I did like the Simpsons Oscar selfie though)but Matt Groening’s creation has fallen from a short animated segment on The Tracy Ullman Show to a TV nightmare joke, and now into a slightly intolerable reminder of the kind of scathing commentary and hilarious comedy that can be accomplished within a television medium once thought appropriate only for children.

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It’s worth noting that even though Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa don’t quite pack the satirical punch they once did, there’re still times when The Simpsons manages to knock one out of the park – especially if there is a social issue worth tackling. Besides, even if you don’t watch the series regularly anymore, there is still the annual lure of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror – which, incidentally, this season will be XXIV, making this Halloween tradition older than most private University graduates.

 

It’s a wrap people!  This is just a small sampling of the shows that’ve have lost some of their luster after being on TV for what seems like ages and somehow continue(d) to hold a place in the collective hearts of their audience. Let us know what shows keep you tuning in to year after year, even though you watch them alone, hoping no one finds out, so you won’t be forced to conjure up some defense of the program and your viewing habits.