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TV series that peaked early and went downhill...


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Old 25-09-2013, 23:51
Matt D
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I created a thread about this on another forum, and it'll be interesting to see what the views are like here...

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Having the final seasons of Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Burn Notice all at the same time got me thinking about the quite clear difference in quality between them.

Breaking Bad is still awesome now, on its very last season, whereas I think that its a good few years since Dexter and Burn Notice were in their prime.

Dexter had a great first couple of seasons, an OK third, a great fourth, and then went downhill after that (albeit there were some good moments like Isaac in season seven)... leading to the shambles of an eighth and final season with that bloody terrible finale...

Burn Notice was very good the first few seasons (not the same level as quality cable drama, but well made and enjoyable), but again, it went downhill... (although not as badly as Dexter).


So...what other TV series (current or past) used to be great, and ended up not so great? Maybe they peaked in their very first season, maybe they peaked after a few?


The two most obvious ones I can think of are Heroes and Prison Break.

Heroes, of course, is probably the most spectacular example of this. A brilliant and acclaimed first season... followed by a few years of utter, utter crap.

Prison Break may not have been quite as extreme as Heroes, but is still something that started with a great first season and then went downhill. Season one? Excellent. Season two? Saved by Agent Mahone (the always awesome William Fichtner), but other than that, not so great. Seasons three onwards? Awful...


Lost could be argued to be another going by what some people say, although personally I ditched it after the first part of season three so don't know what it ended up like.

The X Files is one of these too, I think. Peaked after a few seasons, and then went downhill, with an ever more convoluted main story arc combined with what were often average (or downright crap) MOTW episodes. Strung out for far too long, it limped on for nine seasons. I tried re-watching it recently, and actually gave up way before the end as it simply was far too much of a chore to watch.
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Old 26-09-2013, 00:15
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There could be a reasonable argument to list Desperate Housewives here, although it didn't fizzle out really. The last couple of seasons were good, but the spark wore off after about season three or four.

There are also fans who hold out that West Wing went downhill after Sorkin left, although I disagree on that.
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Old 26-09-2013, 00:34
ritch
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No way you could include Lost in this! The worse you could say is the last season disappointed, but it was the sixth! Lost was high quality stuff for 5 seasons (some say 6 lol), there was no drop off imo, it was more a case of not being to some peoples tastes. Its a question of, did the show actually become crap or do I just not like it? With Heroes and Prison Break the decline was just obvious, you cant really argue the point. with Lost you got a pretty fair argument that there was no decline and an awesome finish.

sheesh, rant over
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Old 26-09-2013, 01:08
FrankieFixer
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I bailed out on Lost early on at the smoke in the jungle, which signalled things were about to get idiotic.
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Old 26-09-2013, 01:15
gcmac
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I loved lost from start to finish and never considered dropping it so wouldn't agree with that one. A lot of shows have dips normally after a couple of seasons but then can pick themselves back up again. I feel CSI has gone on for so long that I gave up on that about season 10 once Grissom and a few others had left, it wasn't the same any more.
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Old 26-09-2013, 01:27
Ed Sizzers
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Friends.

Breaking Bad.
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Old 26-09-2013, 01:47
KingOli
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Agree about Dexter though I thought season 7 was actually quite good.

I think your being a bit harsh on Burn Notice, I think its quality was fairly even over its whole run. Its always been fairly ridiculous but good fun, I think final season was my favourite cause I thought the villains were more interesting and less 2 dimensional than some from past seasons.
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Old 26-09-2013, 08:03
ritch
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I bailed out on Lost early on at the smoke in the jungle, which signalled things were about to get idiotic.
That doesnt mean it went downhill, which is what the thread is about. What you say here basically means you had no interest in Lost which is fair enough but not on subject. it like me saying I didnt like Walt in breakign bad so I stopped watching.
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Old 26-09-2013, 08:37
blueisthecolour
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Personally, I'd agree with Lost and Prison break.

I absolutely loved the first 2 season of Lost, I was disappointed with the 3rd but though the ending saved it and thought the 4th season was pretty awful. I watched something like the first 4 episodes of season 5 and then gave up. Whether it was a case of the 'quality' dropping, or whether it changed to become a show I didn't like, for me it started off great and then turned bad.

With Prison Break I just found the whole thing pointless *spoiler alert* once they'd actually gotten out of prison. So I didn't care about season 2 from the start.

I think that Homeland could potentially be another one. Season 2 wasn't anywhere near as good for me as season 1.
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Old 26-09-2013, 09:19
RebelScum
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Prison Break, after season 2
Buffy, after season 5
Babylon5, after season 4
Dexter, after season 4 (but season 7 was great)
Dallas
South Park, lost its spark about 3/4 seasons ago
Family Guy, after season 3
24, after season 5
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Old 26-09-2013, 09:27
LOSG
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Personally, I'd agree with Lost and Prison break.

I absolutely loved the first 2 season of Lost, I was disappointed with the 3rd but though the ending saved it and thought the 4th season was pretty awful. I watched something like the first 4 episodes of season 5 and then gave up. Whether it was a case of the 'quality' dropping, or whether it changed to become a show I didn't like, for me it started off great and then turned bad.
A lot of shows suffered at the time because of the writers strike, Season 4 of lost was certainly not as good as the rest, but season 5 (with the time travelling) was just fantastic.

With Prison Break I just found the whole thing pointless *spoiler alert* once they'd actually gotten out of prison. So I didn't care about season 2 from the start.
Season 2 was the best season of Prison Break with the introduction of Alexander Mahone who was the best character in the program.

Season 3 however was the worst series of TV I've ever watched and made absolutely no sense.
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Old 26-09-2013, 10:46
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Would 'The Simpsons' count as 'early'? I mean, it was fantastic for ten years, which is a long time, but out of twenty five that's peaking early - after all, it's been poor (to unwatchable) for longer now than it was brilliant.
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Old 26-09-2013, 10:50
ritch
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I I thought season 4 of Lost was one of the best personally, it was where they started to be more focused from the all over the place season 3, they had the gumption to tell the execs they wanted an end date from around this time, this probably saved the show from becoming a joke. The boat stuff in S4 was great and introduction of some of the best characters. It was really a step up, not a decline. I guess opinions vary but it cant be said that the quality declined, it didn't. Whereas prison break, heroes and Dexter clearly declined. The only time in Lost where I had that feeling "this could become a joke", was the temple and Claire stuff in S6, but it kind of recovered and the finale was decent, if nothing else the characters stories were resolved.

Yeah hoping Homeland doesn't go the same way, I liked season 2 because they still had ideas, hoping they will have enough to stretch another season. Any more after the next season you have to wonder. Brody is a big part, so if he goes at some point you have to wonder if it will survive.
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Old 26-09-2013, 10:56
ritch
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A lot of shows suffered at the time because of the writers strike, Season 4 of lost was certainly not as good as the rest, but season 5 (with the time travelling) was just fantastic.



Season 2 was the best season of Prison Break with the introduction of Alexander Mahone who was the best character in the program.

Season 3 however was the worst series of TV I've ever watched and made absolutely no sense.
I think the writers strike helped Lost if anything.

I remeber really liking season 2 of prison break with Mahone tracking them down, he was a great creepy, unpredictable character, they really messed him up in the following seasons. Around halfway through season 2 I thought it was getting silly, so it seemed to be falling apart around that time but was entertaining enough to finish. Season 3 was terrible and season 4 was a different show, it made no sense and the characters completely changed in a way that made no sense at all, totally unrecognisable from season 1+2.

I might actally watch season 1 and 2 again just to see where is started going down hill. season 3 and 4 dont exist in my mind.
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Old 26-09-2013, 11:36
Smokeychan1
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I think that Homeland could potentially be another one. Season 2 wasn't anywhere near as good for me as season 1.
And season one second half wasn't anywhere near as promising as season one first half. I'm only still in it for the wonderful Mandy Patinkin, who steals every scene he is in (but misses out to his younger peers when the awards are doled out ).
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Old 26-09-2013, 11:41
pac_girl
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Dexter - was still too hit and miss after the writers strike.

Lost - got too contrived.

Ugly Betty - her butterfly transition needed to happen sooner, kind of seemed strung out.

Desperate housewives - too many external disasters, secrets that impacted them rather than a few and sticking with the character downfalls and rises would have been better IMO. Like Bree's slide downhill into alcoholism and slappering - more could have focused on their characters and the situations created because of their characters rather than randomly introducing a baby swap, a murderer, a boyfriend with an agenda from something that has never been mentioned before etc. another car accident/incident etc

Downton Abbey - I forgot it was on 10 min's in on the last episode, seems a bit stale.

Oh and agree with Homeland (season 2 just didn't seem as good as 1) and Prison Break.
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Old 26-09-2013, 11:45
Hamlet77
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This is hard one cos the US TV system is so hard on failure or even not being as successful as they are expected to be.

Plenty of shows have been around too long, probably cos their success, Friends is probably the prime example it just stuck around too darn long.

X-Files again just got silly.
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Old 26-09-2013, 11:55
mediarat
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Almost every TV show ever made.

Breaking Bad suffered in first half of S5 but has bounced back in these last batch.
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:02
Irma Bunt
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Moonlighting was a prime example. Two fabulous series, then a nosedive and eventually crash and burn.

Frasier dipped after Season 7, when its two best writers - Christopher Lloyd and Joe Kennan - left to work on another show. But it returned to greatness in its 11th and final season when they came back as showrunners.
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:15
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Revenge could also go this way, next season will be a test.

Bad Girls - just got silly after season 3, and definitely should have been put to rest long before the terrible season 5 onward.

Torchwood
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:25
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Don't know how anyone can say Breaking Bad, its been pure class the whole way through and consistantly got better and better though from when Gus Fring turned up to when he died was the meat of the whole show and the best part of all teh seasons.

Lost i bailed out during season 2, couldn't help but lose interest in it, got fed up with all the questions and so few answers.

Prison Break for sure is the prime example, as mentioned once they were out of prison there was nothing else, the last season was a complete joke and the Central American jail season was one big waste of time.
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:25
suncity
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Kind of have to say Lost...
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:48
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And season one second half wasn't anywhere near as promising as season one first half. I'm only still in it for the wonderful Mandy Patinkin, who steals every scene he is in (but misses out to his younger peers when the awards are doled out ).
He's brilliant as Saul. So world weary. But I also think the cast in general are superb, and I'm a big fan of Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.

Mandy also has/had a stunning singing voice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysu-C4OQ_Xw
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Old 26-09-2013, 12:49
be more pacific
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The US version of The Office was brilliantly uncomfortable (just like the original) for the first three seasons. Then it became far too mawkish with the colleagues becoming some sort of 'family unit' who go on implausible adventures together.

By the end, even Dwight and Jim were best buddies. Oh, f*** off!
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Old 26-09-2013, 13:17
TheFridge
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Our Shamless was quality for the first 4-5 seasons and went downhill quite quick after when a lot of the better characters left.
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