True Blood And 5 Other TV Shows That Should Have Ended Sooner

True Blood season 7 will be the final run for the HBO series based on author Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, and for this guy, it couldn’t come soon enough — not because I’ll be watching, mind you, but because the show has needed to have a stake driven through its heart since season 2.

The first season was filled with great atmosphere, intrigue, and mystery. The characters were likable, and it had that Breaking Bad kind of quality where you needed to see the next episode immediately.

After a satisfying finale, I had high hopes for season 2, but was shocked and appalled to find that, by the last episode of that season, it had become unwatchable.

(The first few episodes of season 3 only confirmed that suspicion.)

The artistic failure of True Blood got me thinking: what other TV shows stayed way too long at the dance? My observations below:

5. The Andy Griffith Show

Barney Fife (Don Knotts) belonged on this show. When he left, he took Sheriff Andy Taylor’s spirit with him. You could tell Griffith, the series star, wanted nothing to do with continuing the show, but he did — for three more seasons. Unfunny, depressing seasons, at that. By the time Mayberry RFD spun off from the eighth season of the show — which remained successful ratings-wise right up to the end — the fine folks of Mayberry were just a shell of their former selves.

4. Dexter

The fourth season of Showtime’s hit series Dexter is absolute perfection. John Lithgow’s villain is creepy and unnerving right up until the end. You can’t wait for Dex to get him on the table. Then when he finally does — no spoiler alert necessary, the show went four more seasons after this — he’s still got one more game-changing, nasty surprise for our hero. Fast forward to season eight: the villains are mere shadows of Lithgow, and Dex has gone from the most brilliant, cunning serial killer to a lovestruck moron, who makes one bad move after another. For the first four seasons, Dexter is smarter than his audience. By the end, we’ve outgrown him.

3. Two And A Half Men

Minus Charlie Sheen, this show has gone straight down the toilet. We can’t blame the producers for ditching him. After all, he was out of his mind. But Ashton Kutcher is no replacement.

2. Awkward

The first two seasons of Awkward were mildly amusing in spite of how annoying some of the characters could be. By the third season, whatever charm any of them had, had long since left the building. Now they’re just a bunch of pretentious, out-of-touch-with-reality morons that represent everything you hate about teenagers.

1. Friends

Friends is a favorite of mine up until a point. The first five seasons — absolute gold. Everything after that, however, takes a gradual turn for the worst. I think it was because the show’s producers were getting too wrapped up in story. Part of what made Seinfeld viable right up until the end was that it was still a show with ridiculous plots. It kept trying to make you laugh without any concern for the fate of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer. When they did try to do something “final” with the characters — in the last episode — it fell flat. For me, the last four seasons of Friends, while they have their moments, definitely have that same feeling of trying too hard instead of going with what worked the previous five.

Do you think True Blood is past its prime? And what other TV shows would you have included on this list? For that matter, which ones don’t belong?

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