From Heroes to Zeros: 16 Formerly Great TV Shows That Had Disappointing Endings

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Unfortunately, just because a television series starts strong, it doesn't mean it's guaranteed to end well. We've all been disappointed when a favorite show lost its shine. Here are 16 shows that were formerly viewed as can't-miss TV before they turned bad.

1. That '70s Show

That 70's Show
Image Credit: FOX.

That '70s Show is a sitcom that's still so popular today it got its own spinoff. However, the last season of the show tanked in ratings due to Topher Grace leaving abruptly to film a movie. Writing him out of the story led to weird plots and new cast members that didn't fit quite right.

2. Gilmore Girls

gilmore girls
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

Fans of Gilmore Girls are like no other, but many still dislike the way the show ended. For one, the writer of the show didn't even write the final season. Secondly, Rory leaving after college never felt quite like how the story should wrap up, and people still argue about this today.

3. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Norman Reedus
Image Credit: AMC.

The Walking Dead still stands as one of AMC's greatest hits, but the series lost a lot of fans along the way. Things felt painfully dragged out and by the time it was over, many viewers felt relief. The series finale was seen as uninspired and mediocre.

4. Heroes

Image Credit: Tailwind Productions.

The NBC hit Heroes reached a wide audience when it debuted in 2006, but it couldn't keep up with the lofty expectations it set for itself. The 2007 writers' strike is viewed as a cause for the dip in quality.

5 . American Horror Story

American Horror Story Season
Image Credit: 24th Television.

For many people, American Horror Story making this list is no surprise, as it seemingly has a lot of critics for fans. One particular issue is how seasons always start out strong before falling apart by the end.

6. Westworld

Westworld Evan Rachel Wood Jimmi Simpson
Image Credit: HBO.

Westworld took the world by storm in 2016, becoming a worldwide sensation for HBO due to its thrilling script and top-notch acting by its ensemble cast. The show never made it past its fourth season before cancellation. While season four was an enjoyable experience, the confusing second season and the frustrating third season turned off many fans.

7. Shameless

Shameless William H. Macy, Christian Isaiah
Image Credit: Showtime Networks.

Shameless became one of the all-time most popular shows on Showtime, but many people have opinions on the show's alleged downward spiral. It lost its magic in later seasons and had more in common with an over-the-top soap opera.

8. Weeds

Image Credit: Showtime Networks.

Not many people can deny that Weeds had a great storyline that fans were invested in. Like many other shows on this list, the quality of the writing dipped in later seasons. Fans argue that the show should have ended after the third season, but it dragged on for far too long instead.

9. Dexter

Image Credit: Showtime Networks.

Another huge hit for Showtime, Dexter stumbled after its acclaimed first season when it deviated from the novels it's based on. The fourth season, which features John Lithgow, is the best in the series by far. By the end, however, everything fell apart.

10. The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale Elisabeth Moss Madeline Brewer
Image Credit: Hulu.

After a fantastic first season, many viewers lament that The Handmaid's Tale fell off a cliff. It was hard to live up to the storytelling of its unforgettable first season.

13. Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Charlie Hunnam, David Labrava
Image Credit: FX.

Sons of Anarchy was a staple on FX for seven seasons but fell victim to falling viewership over time. At a certain point, the narrative plunged too hard into too many 80's sitcom tropes, turning off longtime viewers.

14. The Office

The Office Will Ferrell, Steve Carell
Image Credit: NBC.

Not many shows can touch the high bar that The Office set during its run on NBC. As one of the most popular shows of all time, it comes as no surprise that many viewers believe the show peaked in its middle seasons. Many people tuned out once Steve Carell left the cast.

15. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks, Kyle MacLachlan, David Lynch
Image Credit: Lynch Frost Productions.

Sandwiched between a unique and unforgettable first season and the trippy, fantastic third season that aired decades later, Twin Peaks season two solved its marquee mystery and immediately took a nosedive in quality. Watching the second season is an absolute slog.

16. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Ed Sheeran, Maisie Williams
Image Credit: HBO.

By the time the hit HBO show caught up with the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, everyone's worst fears came to fruition: the show wasn't nearly as good as it once was.

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As the ultimate everyman, Chris enjoys writing about, well, everything. Blessed with a knack for stringing together sentences in an easy-to-read and conversational tone, he'll just as likely cover the electric vehicle price wars as he would the latest happenings in the entertainment world. As a freelance writer for Wealth of Geeks, Chris focuses on trending topics across mainstream American culture, including travel, finance, and relationships. He also writes under the NBC-Universal banner, specializing in one of his childhood passions: WWE. As the principal WWE correspondent for USA Network's Insider website, Chris has interviewed dozens of WWE Superstars over the years, including particularly memorable conversations with Cody Rhodes, Paul Heyman, Liv Morgan, and Sami Zayn. When not covering the hottest brand in sports entertainment, he enjoys collaborating with other NBC-Universal properties, most recently Bravo TV, covering many of the best reality shows we all love to hate. An avid traveler, Chris enjoys sneaking away to Europe for months at a time, writing must-read content at small cafes in Croatia and Italy, often with an Aperol Spritz in hand. His life is hard.

Chris Phelan

Author: Chris Phelan

Title: Writer

Expertise: Sports, Finance, Lifestyle, Travel


Chris Phelan is an American culture writer, frequently dabbling in the travel, finance, and entertainment fields. He currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina where he is constantly amazed at the number of black bears wandering down his street on any given day. 

His work can be seen on Wealth of Geeks, NBC, Bravo, USA Network, Yahoo, and countless other online publications.