Even great TV shows can have a bad episode — or even a bad season. They can run too long, cast members and writers may change, or the creators take a different direction that fans don't love. Here are 17 TV show seasons that tainted otherwise fantastic series.
1. Season 8 of Game of Thrones
There were a lot of Game of Thrones fans who were very disappointed with season 8. “A season so bad it destroyed every bit of legacy and goodwill both the TV and the book series had prior to it,” one dissatisfied fan said online.
2. Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother
So many fans were salty about the finale of How I Met Your Mother, they named the whole final season as a bust. While viewers could agree there were some great moments, they found the season as a whole to be a “huge drag” with a disappointing ending.
3. Season 1 of Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is one of my all-time favorite comfort shows, with endearing characters and charming humor. However, none of this is in the first season, as Leslie Knope is unbelievably annoying and frustrating at the show’s start. But later seasons turn her into the lovable and passionate character many people grew to love.
4. Season 8 of The X-Files
The X-Files is also one of my top shows for casual rewatching, but when David Duchovny left after season 7, nothing was the same. The dynamic between Mulder and Scully was everything to fans, and the show was lackluster without Mulder.
5. Season 3 of Westworld
The first season of Westworld is near perfect, but the following seasons leave something to be desired. Season three, in particular, felt out of place and half-baked. Frankly, it feels like an entirely different show.
6. Season 8 of That '70s Show
Did you know it took That ’70s Show eight seasons just to get through 3.5 years of plot? By season eight, they were running out of new jokes, and the characters stopped developing, leaving many fans disappointed toward the end.
7. Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy has a special place in my heart, but season four certainly does not. When all the characters graduate high school, the show struggles to regain its identity, leading to a confusing and, honestly, messy fourth season that feels lazy and uninspired.
8. Season 2 of Big Little Lies
Why didn’t they just stop after season one? Big Little Lies was originally supposed to be a one-season limited series, but the showrunners got greedy and dived into a very awkward and disappointing season two. Even the magnificent Meryl Streep couldn’t save this season from being a mundane disaster.
9. Season 13 of Grey's Anatomy
In my opinion, Grey’s Anatomy went on for too long, and season 13 truly shows how the quality dropped off in the later seasons. The season wasn’t offensive or confusing; it was just supremely boring to the point that I barely remember it. At least the finale was good!
10. Season 2 of Riverdale
The first season of Riverdale was entertaining, if not a little cheesy. But season two was the terrible catalyst for the subsequent seasons that were just plain awful. It felt like the writers phoned it in after season one, and the characters became incomplete and thoughtless.
11. Season 7 of Pretty Little Liars
Season seven of Pretty Little Liars was completely unnecessary. What was the point of skipping five years into the future? They reset the story with a new A but didn’t make it enticing or relevant. Plus, the whole Spencer’s twin thing was so far out of left field that most fans were left perplexed and unamused.
12. Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why
This show was highly controversial from the start, but the third season wasn’t even quality TV and enraged many viewers, myself included. The writers essentially tried to humanize and support one of the show’s most predatory characters following his death, leaving many fans questioning the writers’ motives and morals.
13. Season 8 of The Office
I am one of the outliers who thinks the later seasons of The Office (the post-Carell seasons) were actually okay! However, most of the show’s avid fans agree it went steadily downhill starting with season eight. The jokes were repetitive, the storylines were bland, and the characters seemed to move backward in terms of depth.
14. Season 9 of Scrubs
The eighth season of Scrubs was just as funny and charming as the earlier seasons, ending the show on the perfect emotional note. But then they ruined it all by making a ninth season with almost a completely new cast. This faux Scrubs likely would’ve been more successful if it had been branded as a spin-off rather than a continuation.
15. Season 12 of The Big Bang Theory
I think the world could’ve happily gone without a few of the final seasons of The Big Bang Theory, but season 12 was by far the laziest and most repetitive. The writers and actors relied too heavily on overdone catchphrases and situational jokes, making the final season redundant and forgettable.
16. Season 7 of Vampire Diaries
Some shows can survive the exit of a main character, but Vampire Diaries could not. When Nina Dobrev left in season 7, the show took a turn for the worse, with weird and incomplete storylines.
17. Season 4 of Community
Please don’t throw tomatoes at me, but I enjoy the fourth season of Community. However, I’m in the minority, according to fan comments online. Show creator Dan Harmon was unceremoniously fired at the end of season three, leading to a different vibe in season 4 that many fans found uninspired and weird.
Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.
If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.
She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.