9Star Trek: Enterprise - the Xindi attack
Enterprise never did get the same following that its predecessors had. Shifting to a prequel was always going to be problematic, as any new elements were going to be met with the same response from fans “Why have we never heard of this race/planet/idea before”?
This was never more of a problem that when the alien Xindi attacked earth and killed millions. Presumably this would be an event in earth’s history as massive as World War 1, 2, and 3 put together. Yet, in all the years of Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway, it was never even mentioned. You’d think at least once, something as massive as a thousand 9/11s would get a footnote in one of Data’s holodeck adventures.
When the reboot button was hit again with 2009’s Star Trek movie, it was wisely placed in an alternate timeline. This meant that just because Scotty survived to be an old man before, doesn’t mean he’d be safe now. The timeline was able to unfold completely differently and didn’t need to fit with what had gone before.
8Roseanne - Winning the lottery
Roseanne was one of the biggest comedies of its era. It was unique for having an in-your-face style of comedy and revolved around a working mother as the central voice of the show instead of focusing on the male characters.
One of the things that made the show a success was that both the parents were normal, blue-collar workers. There was no perfect housewife style character, both parents were noticeably overweight (Roseanne's husband was played by John Goodman) but it was rarely mentioned. For much of its first season, Roseanne was the number one show in America, and in its first five years, it never left the top five.
Roseanne jumped the shark in its final season. The Connors won the state lottery and suddenly became worth over $100 million. All traces of relatability were gone and the show was mercifully put out of its misery soon after.
7Two and a Half Men – Charlie Sheen leaving. (Winning!!)
For a show about a guy that inexplicably got any woman he wanted, despite terrible tast in just about everything, Two and a Half Men was HUGE! America’s biggest comedy in years went from strength to strength for most of its early run.
Then it hit a snag. In 2011, after fierce contract negotiations over salaries, and Charlie Sheen entering rehab for the third time in a year, production was suspended. After several bizarre, angry interviews an online and tirade by Sheen towards producer Chuck Lorre, the last 8 episodes of the 2011 season were abandoned and the show looked like it had lost its leading man.
It had. Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, was killed off-screen. In May 2011, Ashton Kutcher was announced to be joining the show as new Character Walden Schmitt, replacing Sheen as the lead. Despite continuing for a few more years, the show declined in quality steadily with several cast changes and ever more outlandish storylines. In a finale that divided the fan base, Charlie Harper was seen to be alive and returned to confront his brother and ‘imposter’ Walden, only to bed killed by a falling piano. Winning!
6The X-Files - When Mulder left
Initially a cult-hit, The X-Files quickly became a mainstream favorite. Tapping into pre-millennial tension and distrust of government in the wake of numerous scandals, The X-files found an enormous fan-base.
Much of the show’s success came from the on screen chemistry between the two main characters: Mulder, the emotional believer in the paranormal, and Scully, the skeptical scientist. After the 1998 film, fans began to criticise the show for a lack of coherence in planning the overriding ‘invasion’ plot. Despite this, the show still had several great "standalone" episodes that were as good as the early years.
The show jumped the shark when Mulder (David Duchovny) was abducted by aliens at the end of season 7. While in many ways, the "search for Mulder" revitalized the show, the narrative began to wander and by the end of the season it was clear that the once most-imaginative show on TV was losing its imagination and had run out of ideas.
5Lost - season 3, the Flash-forward
Another massive hit from the beginning, Lost was a phenomenon. Throughout its run it was one of the most popular shows on worldwide television. The premise initially seemed simple: a plane crashes on a remote island and the survivors struggle to stay alive and try to find help. Quickly, things became much more complicated and the plot becomes convoluted very quickly. The island contained many mysteries and the show took incredible twists and turns.
One of the key elements of the early seasons was the use of flashbacks to fill-in the character’s back-stories. In the last episode of season 3, however, the series introduced a surprise "flash-forward" to life after the island, showing what happened to "The Oceanic Six" after they made their way home.
Though this idea was initially exciting, its follow-up in season 4 began to attract a lot of criticism. After three years, there was little explanation to any of the mysteries that had been there since day one and the audience was getting restless. Several new characters were introduced and received almost universal derision. There was a noticeable drop in audience enthusiasm at this point, and the show failed to garner the love it had enjoyed in the early days.