Some TV shows are incredibly perfect, from the pilot to the finale. Then others are thoroughly terrible, regardless of what era they aired in. But other shows occupy a strange territory. They are good overall—great even—except for that one season that derails the show. A bad apple can spoil the bunch: while they shouldn’t define the entire TV show, the very worst season of a show can bleed into the rest.
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Many would agree that these TV shows would be fine, if not better off, without these seasons airing. While there is no longer a way to veto the seasons, we can always look back at these mistakes and hope they can be learned from.
Season 8 — ‘The X-Files (1993-2018)
Season 8 – ‘The -Files (1993-2018)
While Mulder’s (David Duchovny) absence played a significant role in its failure, the eighth season of The X-Files was a disappointment through and through. After the seventh season, the quality of writing and acting declined steeply, causing a melancholic mood among fans. What further reduced the season’s value was the melodramatic, lonely Scully (Gillian Anderson) theme music. It’s a shame that Scully was written pregnant, only for their kid to be taken away.
A popular opinion about the show stipulates that it would’ve been better off ending at Season 7. While the later seasons featured a few remarkable episodes, none were enough to overlook the substandard execution and suboptimal plot.
Season 7 — ‘Gilmore Girls’ (2000-2007)
Season 7 – ‘Gilmore Girls’ (2000-2007)
The WB and UPN merger resulted in The CW network being formed; it was a time of hardship for Gilmore Girls, whose final season was in production. Unfortunately, the show’s last season saw some bad creative decisions and spoiled the legacy that showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino had successfully built. After six years of perfect craftsmanship by the creator, Rory (Alexis Bledel) and Lorelai Gilmore’s (Lauren Graham) characters acted haphazardly in the final season, leaving fans disappointed.
The season also saw the downfall of Rory and Logan’s (Matt Czuchry) relationship after she turned down his proposal at a time when their relationship had been stronger than ever before. Lorelai ended up marrying Christopher (David Sutcliffe), which was strange because she was terrified of commitment.
Season 2 — ‘Riverdale’ (2017 – 2023)
Season 2 – ‘Riverdale’ (2017-Present)
Most teen dramas in the history of television have a knack for airing a terrible season that makes the entire show trashy, and Riverdale made no exception with the follow-up to its near-perfect first season. The show’s second season begins with the cliffhanger left at the end of Season 1 and then takes it all down the drain. While the first season was focused on the storyline of finding the culprit behind the murder of Cheryl Blossom’s brother, Jason, its successor, does a lousy job and is just a bunch of jumbled-up storylines.
While the multiple storylines offer the writers a chance to create various seasons, the season was confusing and left a sour taste for the viewers.
Season 1 — ‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009-2015)
Time and time again, audiences have tried to watch Parks and Rec but given up before the end of the first season. So what about this otherwise highly-rated show that makes viewers give up? The answer is the show’s first season. Parks and Rec were initially meant to be a spin-off of The Office. Even after the idea was abandoned, the show picked up a few cues from it that were a little too similar: Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was accredited as a female version of Michael Scott.
The characters are rather intense in the first season, and the writers do not value what individual characters add to the ensemble. As a result, the season is a droll comedy and is too slow for the viewers’ preferences.
Season 7 — ‘Pretty Little Liars’ (2010-2017)
Season 7 – ‘Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017)
The final season of Pretty Little Liars was built from a few bad decisions. Jumping forward five years after the sixth season, the seventh season features the return of the last villain, CeCe (a.k.a Charlotte), from prison. But she is defeated and killed relatively quickly, leaving much to be desired. Then, an Uber A comes to the scene, and the old tale rewrites itself.
It can be argued that the show developed the art of hate-watching, compelling fans to finish the show even when they’ve given up on it. Unfortunately, with countless storylines crossing over one another, the final season is hard to watch.
Season 3 — ‘New Girl’ (2011 – 2018)
Season 3 – ‘New Girl’ (2011-2018)
There is no disagreement that New Girl lost its flair in the show’s third season. It started with the whopping mistake of putting its two main leads: Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson), into a full-blown relationship. While fans noted the clear hints and got used to their crackling chemistry, it was way too soon and undoubtedly very toxic for them to be together, creating a domino effect of bad decisions for the show.
However, something worse led to the show’s eventual floundering. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) was two-timing Cece (Hannah Simone) and Elizabeth (Merritt Wever), which was horrifying as it was offensive. His excuse for his cheating, being that he was a fat kid, made absolutely no sense, much to the dismay of the producers who thought the storyline would be a hit.
Season 3 — ‘13 Reasons Why’ (2017 – 2020)
Season 3 – ‘13 Reasons Why’ (2017-2020)
The third season of 13 Reasons Why deals with the death of Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice), a jock and serial rapist. The first season’s protagonist, the late Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), was one of his victims. The season tackles social assault, suicide, substance abuse, and more. Built around the show’s theme, the season ventures into human psychology with one ballsy question: Are humans capable of change? So why did the creators spend an entire season trying to humanize a rapist? Unfortunately, there is no good answer.
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Bryce Walker never faced any consequences for his actions until he was found dead, and by focusing on rehabbing the image of a monster, the third season probed that the show was creatively bankrupt.
Season 8 — ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)
Season 8 – ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)
After Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) departure, The Office took a turn for the worse. More specifically, Season 8 of the show hit its lowest rankings because of the lack of humor and repetitive scenes. When Michael’s seat got empty, the producers decided to install a new boss who would be equally irritable but not as charming. In the process, they reset Andy Bernard’s (Ed Helms) character to his initial, jerk self and broke him and Erin (Ellie Kemper) up.
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The show became dull, and the only reason that kept the audiences hooked was habit and familiarity, not curiosity.
Season 9 — ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005 – 2014)
Season 9 – ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005-2014)
The final season of How I Met Your Mother divided its fanbase into two broad groups: those who loved it and found it a fitting ending and others who thought that the season completely soured the show’s legacy. Before its release, everyone was skeptical about a the events taking place over a single weekend, especially Barney and Robin’s wedding. But given the ending, which the creators had in mind before mapping out the season, the wedding was a waste and a cruel manipulation of loyal fans who wished Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) would end up together.
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Towards the end, it became apparent that the showmakers were running out of ideas, and a sitcom that was supposed to be funny at its core became a soap opera with excessive drama.
Season 7 — ‘The Vampire Diaries’ (2009-2017)
Season 7 – ‘The Vampire Diaries’ (2009-2017)
Most people would agree that a main character’s withdrawal from the show is tricky. And while some TV shows aren’t able to bear the grunt, others make it so remarkable that the existence of said character is momentarily forgotten. The Vampire Diaries, however, did not fall in the latter category. When the lead star, Nina Dobrev, left the show in Season 7, the storyline worsened. So while the focus being taken off Elena’s incessant misery was refreshing, its weak points outweighed the reprieve.
While it was great to see Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) build a healthy relationship, the rest was not so smooth sailing. The Heretics, dazzling yet grating, were a poor recreation of The Originals and were the most unpopular antagonists on the show. Even worse, Stefan’s reconnection to his past lover was as bland as Elena dating Matt (Zach Roerig), if not worse.