Spring is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to clean out everything we don’t need anymore. Hopefully TV networks are feeling the same way, because there are a bunch of shows on the air that aren’t looking that fresh anymore. Whether they started out fun and full of potential, or just never really hit their stride to begin with, these shows just aren’t doing it for us anymore.
Not every show on this list is completely awful. Some have just run their course and apparently never heard the phrase “leave the audience wanting more.” Well now we’ve reached the point of just wanting these shows to make room for some fresh ideas and original new series. So, looking at some of the stale series still on the air, here’s our list of the 10 TV Shows That Need to be Cancelled.
10 2 BROKE GIRLS
Of all the shows on this list 2 Broke Girls might be the most baffling as to why it’s still on the air. The sitcom never had a true peak nor a strong following. It’s just been a middling sitcom attracting okay viewership numbers and never really evolving in its formula. Max and Caroline live out their low income jobs in the service industry while trading one-liners about sex, and intermittently interacting with their friends who fall into various racist stereotypes. The jokes are cheap and easy, and the characters lack compelling attributes.
2 Broke Girls has been a frequent candidate for TV fans' ideal chopping block since its debut in 2011 and the latest season is no different. Frankly, the most impressive thing about the sitcom is that it’s been on the air as long as it has. Since CBS is the same network that gave us Two and a Half Men for twelve seasons, we should probably buckle in for the long haul on this one.
9 SLEEPY HOLLOW
The premise of Sleepy Hollow was never an elegant one: take Ichabod Crane, transport him to modern times, have him team up with the police, and work to catch the Headless Horseman — who is actually one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Points for creativity, but from the very first episode it was clear this was a supernatural show for those with a high tolerance for some seriously cheesy ideas. Though, as viewership numbers for the show continue to dwindle, perhaps that tolerance is waning.
Sleepy Hollow tried to get back into the public eye a bit in 2015 by doing a crossover with Bones, but linking the two show universes just made things even more odd. Introducing the supernatural into the clinical world of Bones was an odd choice, especially considering that the latter series isn't exactly the freshest show on TV itself. The third season of Sleepy Hollow wraps up next month, but with its declining ratings we suspect (and hope) that the Headless Horseman and his crew are among those getting the axe.
8 THE BIG BANG THEORY
Despite its enormous popularity, The Big Bang Theory is one of the most divisive series on television today. There are clearly a ton of people who still enjoy it, while detractors say it’s little more than a half hour of the same joke repeated over and over again: the main characters are nerds. They take the mundane and make it overly complicated with their silly pop culture references and overly-analytical scientific minds. Apparently even the showrunners felt the premise ran its course eventually, as about halfway through the current series they made romantic relationships much more of a focal point.
While some might find it amusing to still see Sheldon Cooper having to be coaxed into doing the most basic of tasks, after nine seasons, it’s gotten old. And just because the laugh track plays every time Howard, Leonard, or Raj make a "joke" doesn't mean that it was funny. The notion that geeks are awkward or like silly things was nothing new when this series debuted, and it’s certainly not new now.
7 THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
Hmm, we wonder what could have possibly motivated The CW network around 2009 to make a show about a teenage girl who has a love triangle involving vampires. The book series The Vampire Diaries was based on started in the ‘90s, but there’s no way it’s a coincidence that the show got picked up a year after the first Twilight movie. Vampires for young adults were all the rage at the time, and everyone wanted to get in on the action.
We all (hopefully) grow out of our angsty teenage phases, though, and it looks like the world has grown out of sexy vampires for the time being. Vampire Diaries might have an immortal cast of characters, but we’re ready for the show to be laid to rest alongside Twilight and True Blood. After 7 seasons, the show has grown a bit long in the tooth, and it’s time for these brooding creatures of the night to be defanged. Though it looks like we'll have to wait another year.
With long-running shows like Law & Order and CSI still on the air, it’s a wonder why anyone thought we needed another show about crime investigations. The premise is interesting enough, focusing on a writer whose work inspires another to commit violent crimes. The show was never going to be Stephen King’s Misery, but it had some promise for a little while at least. The eponymous Castle predictably winds up getting caught up in trying to help the investigation, where he finds his love for the work, as well as love for his partner, in his sleuthing.
As much as we love star Nathan Fillion, as time went on, there simply wasn’t enough to set Castle apart from all the other police procedurals out there. It’s unlikely anyone was expecting the show to be the next Wire, but when the acting isn’t lighting the world on fire, there has to be more of a hook than an ex-mystery novel writer deciding he wants to solve some real life mysteries. This series needs a shot in the arm or a kick to the curb.
5 FAMILY GUY
It’s strange to think that back when Family Guy was first cancelled in 2002, scores were outraged by the decision. The series has enjoyed a great run, but here in 2016, people have gotten as tired of the show as they are of its trademark cutaway gags. Characters like Stewie have evolved into personalities that are unrecognizable from their debut, and the show has had to resort to moments like Brian’s fake-out death just to get people talking about it nowadays.
While Seth MacFarlane’s brand of shock humor definitely has an audience, American Dad already scratches the itch that many Family Guy fans might have — and more effectively, we might add. We’ve reached the point where the series is dragging out longer than a fight between Peter and the chicken, and making even less sense. It’s time for Fox to say goodbye to Family Guy once again before its legacy is tarnished beyond repair.
4 ONCE UPON A TIME
When Once Upon a Time premiered on ABC back in 2011, its premise was unique enough to generate a lot of buzz for the show. From the first episode it was clear the writing and acting were on the questionable side, but it had some new twists on some of our favorite fairytale characters, so people gave it a chance.
Now five seasons in, we’ve seen the cast increasingly expand with more and more unusual figures turning up, including Elsa from Frozen. Throw in repeated amnesia storylines, time travel, and alternate realities, and even for a fairy tale, Once Upon a Time is stretching viewers' credibility thin. At this point all the show needs is to throw in a few Final Fantasy characters for it to effectively become a convoluted live-action version of the Kingdom Hearts games.
Every story needs a beginning and an end, so it’s time for Once Upon a Time to make with the happily ever after already.
Coming hot off the heels of the series finales of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel came Supernatural, a new weekly show about monster hunters to fill that niche. It had so much of what fans of Joss Whedon had come to enjoy: monster of the week episodes, quirky characters, and big evil antagonists looming in the background for entire arcs of the show. And then it just kept going, until we’ve now nearly reached the point that Supernatural has tallied as many seasons on air as Buffy and Angel combined.
Even the most diehard fans of the series will admit that the ending of season 5 would have served as a perfectly acceptable conclusion for the series, as it completely wrapped up the main storyline. The series' creator even stepped down as the showrunner afterwards. But the increased ratings proved too tempting for the rest of the crew, and with the series somehow now in its eleventh year, it's time to say die. The characters have literally been to hell and back by now, and it’s time for the show’s devoted fandom to let the Winchester brothers retire from dealing with demons every week.
2 GREY'S ANATOMY
With Scrubs and House gone from the air, Grey’s Anatomy has become the last big medical drama standing, for better or worse. It’s supposedly still very popular among medical students, though its ratings have tapered off significantly in recent years. Despite the fact that medicine isn't ordinarily an overly dangerous practice, the series has killed off many of its strongest characters — a strong contributing factor to its ongoing mediocrity.
The first few seasons of the show are still well-regarded, though its appeal has dwindled as the years have passed. A show like Grey’s is the perfect example of a series that while not necessarily awful, has become more like comfort food rather than a fresh, home cooked meal. Having recently been renewed for its thirteenth season, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. But maybe the showrunners should take a cue from how they handled the death of “McDreamy” and take the show off life support.
1 THE SIMPSONS
This might be an unusual and controversial opinion, but after nearly 600 episodes, we’re thinking The Simpsons might be just a tad past its prime. No, it’s not just us? Fine, South Park said it best: any idea you might have for a TV show plot, “The Simpsons already did it.” That really is a testament to the show’s influence, though. It pioneered comedic cartoons for adults, it established the formula for so many animated families, and it’s still one of the most quoted TV shows out there. But after nearly 30 years on air, it’s simply done everything there is for it to do.
Critics frequently say the series peaked around season 10, but it’s not as if the show has become awful since then. It’s just grown stale, having become overly reliant on pop culture references. That’s most apparent when the biggest thing the show has done in years was its crossover episodes with Futurama and Family Guy. The episodes were supposed to feel like a big deal, but the former show had already been cancelled again, and the latter needs to wrap it up as well. The Simpsons’ impact will never be forgotten, but now that it’s faded from relevance, it needs to step aside for newer, fresher shows to make their own mark.
Are there any other shows that you think have run their course? Tell us about them, or make the case for one of the shows we listed to stick around in the comments!