After eight seasons, Dr. Greg House is finally hanging up his cane and doing a little softshoe right off our televisions. And if you’re anything like me, you heard that and said, “eight seasons? Only eight? Hasn’t it been on, like, eleven?”
That’s the thing. A television show can start out good, even great. And “House MD”—for a procedural drama—really was great when it started. But then it kept going. And going. And then Olivia Wilde happened. And then it kept going. And then apparently he drove a car through a house and didn’t get in as much trouble as one would think. While some excel, most ideas cannot sustain greatness, or even okayness, for that many years. Sure, they will continue to have their moments of brilliance here and there, but, for most, the magic is gone, and went away years, some half dozen cast changes and an add-a-kid ago. The second Fonzie is trying to adopt a child, it’s not your show anymore.
While lots of shows are on the air far longer than they deserve—and for some that includes “at all”—these are the shows that most recently really brought us joy, were truly must-see-TV, and then…just…kind of…petered…out. You may of course take to the comments with your own.
Should have ended: Sometime before JD and Carla kissed, or Elliot moved to a different hospital.
Should have ended: After Monica and Chandler’s wedding. And that’s being generous.
Should have ended: After Michael Scott left. It lost its luster before that, but Steve Carrell’s exit was their way out. Now it wallows in fine-ness every week.
Should have ended: After season three, when the entire cast changed.
Should have ended: Post-Lithgow.
Should have ended: Frankly, it was in trouble in Season 3, but it was saved by the awesomeness of Robert Downey, Jr. It for sure should have left when RDJ did, because Season 5 was a disaster. Such a disaster, that I’m clearly violating my “recent” rule, trying to keep this to the last four or five years, but had to include this because, as a huge fan of this show, its latter-day awfulness was so heartbreaking.
“How I Met Your Mother,” if it goes longer than next season
Should have ended: Next season. Do not do this to me, Bays and Thomas. Do not make me put you on this list.