Pulling the Plug: 5 Shows That Are Wearing Out Their Welcome

Pulling the Plug: 5 Shows That Are Wearing Out Their Welcome

As we slowly (but surely) approach Thanksgiving, networks are pulling out all the stops on shows both old and new, hoping to score some seriously impressive numbers for the all-important November sweeps.

This is a time when new shows can catch their stride and start showing legitimate signs of improvement, and veteran ones can introduce new wrinkles to keep viewers interested. At least, that's what they're supposed to do.

Unfortunately, shows with big, built-in audiences don't really see the need in shaking things up every year, as their huge ratings remain more or less the same regardless.[1]

We at Blursto would like to shine a light on these slackers. Here are five (massively successful) shows that are a little long in the tooth and might want to consider an endgame strategy.

Quick Note: These shows got those big, built-in audiences for a reason: THEY WERE GOOD (except Rules of Engagement). This column is written out of love for what they used to be, and the despair that's accompanied their downfall.

1). How I Met Your Mother

Young HIMYM. Better, more interesting times.

When we first met Ted Mosby and the gang, we were smitten. A smart, well-cast multi-camera sitcom--had CBS forgotten its formula of building shows around one old established star? [2]

Seven seasons later, we still love the cast, but the rest of the show feels... stagnant. Ted still hasn't met the mother, although frequent hints keep the audience interested (read: make it seem like they have an endgame in mind when really it'd be easier to just make more episodes/money before introducing her).

As a result, every relationship he gets in seems more pointless than the last, making Ted an even less interesting character than before (and he was already the weak link).

This is the best show on the list, and the most easily fixable. Just introduce the damn mother already! You can still wring two NPH-filled seasons out of that and finally build that water slide made out of money you've always wanted.


2). Dexter

Dexter kills people, and no one can know his secret (or he'll kill them too). This was established in episode one. Now in its sixth season, Dexter has reminded audiences of both those facts at every possible turn. Every year, someone learns Dexter's secret, and he has to kill them.

Except for the one time it was Julia Stiles, and he just fucked her instead. There are a lot more problems with the show than repetition among season-long story arcs (see: the entire cast outside of Michael C. Hall and maybe the dude who plays Masuka, massive season five plotholes, etc.), but c'mon, guys!

How many times are we going to see the same old shit? And how did they sweep Cody and Assturd [3] off with the grandparents SO easily? At least try, Dexter. We'd all appreciate it.

(Dex's first sign of trouble)

3). CSI (ANY)

Admittedly, procedurals are tough to put on this list. Part of the reason they exist is BECAUSE they're basically the same thing every week. But there's definitely a line being crossed when not only are there TWO (TWO!) spinoffs, but the original show is on its third lead character. [4]

As much as I love Ted Danson, even he can't make me care about this show. Unfortunately, CSI could probably go on forever (cue David Caruso's new contract with Oakley). Take a news story from around the country, hire a bankable name to play the victim/culprit, count your money. It's simple. So, here's to another 50 years of CSI! [5]

4). The Office

Oh, The Office. You used to be an NBC juggernaut. Ratings-wise, you still are, as America has (apparently) not realized how good Community and Parks and Recreation are. Steve Carrell's absence could've pushed the show in a new direction, and maybe injected it with new life.

Unfortunately, it seems like the opposite is true. It's still capable of delivering laughs (mostly because everyone is so familiar with the characters), but this horse is clearly past its prime.

It's unfair that it's still NBC's cash cow, because the expectations are higher than they should be. The ensemble cast is still hilarious, but I don't know if anyone gets angry about missing a new Office episode. Must-see-TV? Not anymore.

This is how most people look watching new episodes.

5). Rules of Engagement

I don't actually have any insight on this; I just can't believe it's still on the air. Seriously, it's still on the air.

Ugh, David Spade.

While all of these shows can take steps to regain the magic of their glory days (even Rules of Engagement), they seem content to run out the clock and take the easy way out. It's a shame, but when you're making similar money for minimum effort, why try any harder?

--Matthew Ludtke

[1] Ten years ago we'd be cool with it, but with the Internet, DVR, TV on DVD and the ridiculous amount of syndication on cable networks, audiences want to see some actual storylines. Move forward! None of this going through the motions bullshit.

[2] Here's to you, Becker, New Adventure of Old Christine and Last Man Standing. Wait, Last Man Standing isn't on CBS? Damn you Tim Allen!

[3] Astrid. Not a fan of that character.

[4] Among their many injustices, the CSIs probably showed Seth Macfarlane that it's possible to have three shows that are exactly the same thing. So I'm holding them responsible for The Cleveland Show as well.

[5] While I could also include Law & Order here, I don't want to fuck with Richard Belzer and Ice-T. And you don't either. Trust me. Belzer's hardcore. 

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