Another year in review

This isn’t my end of year article summing up some of the highs and lows of 2021. It irks me no end to see people writing those pieces long before Christmas! If you’ve been a regular reader for a while, you might recall that the 30th of November is the website’s anniversary – it has been two years to the day since I published my first article at the end of November 2019. How time flies, eh?

Last year I commemorated the occasion by writing about the website’s first year in operation, and this time I wanted to do something similar. I’ve had two full years of talking about Star Trek and other entertainment subjects now, and it’s always helpful to step back and take a moment to reflect.

It’s been an interesting twelve months!

The biggest change for the website itself came just a few weeks ago. At the beginning of November I changed the name to Trekking with Dennis, ditching the old name and establishing a new identity for the website. This is something I’d been thinking about a lot for several months, and finally being able to pull the trigger and get it done has been incredibly cathartic.

The website’s name changed a few weeks ago.

There have been some immediate repercussions for the name change, though. Traffic to the website took a nose-dive in November, significantly down on where it had been for much of the rest of the year. I’m putting two and two together and assuming that the change in name, branding, and most importantly the website’s URL is responsible for the drop in readership. I’m optimistic that in the longer term, however, that decline will be reversed. Even if not, I don’t write here because it’s my job or because I’m chasing “internet points” and high numbers of clicks! This is my hobby, I do it for fun, and I’d still do it even if readership dropped to absolute zero!

Conversely, twice in the past year I’ve had articles go “viral” – or at least as close to viral as I’m ever likely to get!

The first article was one I’d written in early December, listing Five things to watch at New Year (instead of fireworks). The list is fairly self-explanatory; I put together a handful of New Year-themed films and shows that could’ve made for entertaining New Year’s Eve viewing in lieu of the usual fireworks shows and parties – many of which are usually televised but which were cancelled in 2020. This list was responsible for a massive spike in views which began on the 30th of December, then ran all the way through the 31st and into the early hours of the 1st of January.

This post got a lot of attention around New Year, which was neat to see.

The second article began getting huge numbers of clicks in late May, then in June absolutely rocketed up to become the most-read post I’ve ever written. More people read that one article than read everything I wrote in all of 2020 combined. And I think it’s possible that many of them came away disappointed!

The article in question was titled Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – What’s the best ending? and it was an examination of the three-and-a-half endings to Mass Effect 3, looking at the pros and cons of each. However, I think that the title may have been unintentionally misleading, judging by the search engine traffic! I think folks may have come upon the article while looking for a guide to achieving the “best” outcome to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – namely the version of the “destroy” ending in which Shepard is implied to have survived. I talk about this in the article, but it isn’t what the focus of the piece was.

This article has become the most-read ever!

I didn’t expect that article to get so many hits when I wrote it. My Mass Effect commentary in general did quite well, though, and I think that’s because I managed to get out several pieces about the series around the time of Legendary Edition’s launch – which is when there was significant interest in the games. Being timely brings rewards, it seems!

This year I’ve made significant improvements to the images used across the website. Some of the images used even as recently as March or April now feel incredibly amateurish and low-quality in comparison. I’ve been doing more with paint.net – a freeware image editor that has become my go-to for any and all image work – and I’ve learned how to do things like add a shadow or outline to text. That has allowed me to make huge improvements to the header images/banners at the top of articles, giving them a more modern, professional look.

The website’s main banner – a core part of the site’s identity – has also been massively improved. Firstly, now that I have significantly more web storage I’ve felt more comfortable using higher-resolution images. Beginning earlier in the year the expanded storage allowed me to use larger, more detailed images for article and page headers, something I feel makes the website as a whole look a lot more modern and professional than it did even at the beginning of the year. The new banner was added earlier this month as part of the aforementioned change of name, but earlier in the year I tried out a variety of different banners with different sci-fi and fantasy-themed backgrounds.

The website’s main banner.

I’ve also added quite a few different “spoiler warning” images – most of which are based on the Star Trek franchise! Again, the quality of these has improved a lot as I’ve become more comfortable with my image editing software, and I think some of the recent spoiler warnings look pretty great! I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to spoilers, so I use spoiler warnings a lot at the beginning of articles and reviews.

Filling time over the past twelve months has led me to research and learn about shows, films, and games I’d never have heard of otherwise. I reviewed titles like Space Jam: A New Legacy, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and even The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after learning about them in the course of researching topics for the website. Trekking with Dennis has, to a certain extent anyway, broadened my experiences of media this year.

I’ve seen (and reviewed) several different films and television shows over the past twelve months.

I’ve also finally got around to playing a couple of games that had been on my ever-growing list: Control and Red Dead Redemption II. I’ve written up my first impressions of Red Dead Redemption II already, and in the days ahead I’ll hopefully be writing up my final thoughts as I’m close to finishing my playthrough of the game.

Speaking of playthroughs, I didn’t get around to doing another complete “Let’s Play” series of articles. Though I’ve had a number of ideas for games I could choose, I just haven’t committed to one nor kicked off a playthrough in the way I did with Jedi: Fallen Order last year. It’s still an idea that I’d like to revisit in future, so… watch this space, I guess.

I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption II – but I didn’t write up the whole experience.

During the website’s first year in operation, I’d post articles and columns somewhat haphazardly. Sometimes I’d post daily for a couple of weeks, and at other points I’d take almost an entire week off while writing nothing. Over the last twelve months, however, that has changed. Going back to November 2020 I’ve been posting at least every other day – so there hasn’t been a long gap in between posts in more than a year. Occasionally that schedule has felt challenging, but I’ve been proud of the fact that I haven’t had any significant posting gaps for an entire twelve-month period.

April saw my most intensive posting schedule to date, as I wrote a post every single day for an entire calendar month for the first time. It wasn’t exactly planned, but once I got about halfway into April and I noticed I hadn’t skipped a day, I made it my mission to complete the month! I can keep up that kind of schedule for a while, but not indefinitely. I need occasional breaks, and being able to write articles in advance and schedule them has meant I have actually been able to take breaks across the year without interrupting my posting streak.

In April I published an article every single day.

In December 2020 I joined Twitter. I did so at first because I was having a hard time keeping track of the various franchises and their social media pages, and as I’ve never had a personal Twitter account I couldn’t follow them that way. In February I made a very tentative first post, and across the year I’d sent out a handful of Tweets to promote newly-published reviews and other articles. But as I said last year, social media isn’t really my major focus.

This should absolutely be the subject of a longer essay sometime, but Twitter in particular is a very difficult platform for me to navigate. I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I have a particularly long-winded writing style! Condensing an argument, article, or even just a fan theory into 280 characters or fewer is difficult for me. I also find that, partly as a consequence of the abbreviated posts, the conversation on Twitter can lack nuance. It’s very hard to articulate a complex thought or position on the platform because such short posts don’t easily allow for shades of grey – you can either be on one side of a debate or the other. For someone who occasionally likes to straddle the fence and acknowledge the merits and demerits of both sides of a discussion, or just to explore different interpretations and points of view, Twitter isn’t the best place for me sometimes!

No, not that kind of Shades of Gray

That being said, I’ve recently stepped up my Twitter use. It’s been an interesting world to step into for the first time, and I’ve found it quite fun and occasionally exciting to be able to engage directly with brands and companies – or at least their social media teams. Toward the end of my time working with a large video games company, social media was just beginning to take off as a marketing tool. I had some involvement with social media campaigns in the late 2000s and early 2010s at companies I worked for or was freelancing for, so it’s been interesting in a way to be on the other side of the screen for the first time!

If you don’t follow me on Twitter I don’t just post links to articles and columns that I write here on the website. I do post other occasional Tweets, mostly about Star Trek and the other subjects I cover. I don’t get political, so don’t expect any of that, but if you want to follow me on Twitter you’re more than welcome to do so.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @TrekkingwDennis is my Twitter handle.

But Twitter wasn’t the only social media platform that I found myself involved with over the past twelve months. Beginning in July I planned to record audio versions of some of the articles here on the website, using YouTube and Spotify to host these audio files. I later expanded my audio offerings to include what might generously be called a “podcast.” However, I wasn’t very happy with the quality of both the audio recordings themselves, as I lack the technical know-how to make decent-sounding audio, and also, to be blunt, my own vocal performance. Upon re-listening to several audio versions of articles I sounded very wooden and stilted; the kind of performances I’d give 1/10 to if I were to rate them.

So after a sum total of four podcast episodes and about ten audio articles I scrapped the project – at least for the time being. It’s a fun idea, and a concept I’d certainly like to revisit one day, but between the audio quality, my own poor performance, and the rebranding of the website making all of the audio clips and YouTube videos out of date, I think it’s for the best that I shelve the project for now.

Audio recording isn’t my strong suit.

That being said, I did enjoy the podcasting format. Having the opportunity to talk about smaller news stories and topics that wouldn’t necessarily make for a good standalone article was fun, and it certainly broadened the range of things I discuss here on the website. Revisiting the podcast concept is something I might consider in 2022.

It was in June this year – Pride Month – that I first discussed my sexuality and gender identity. Those twin posts were among the most difficult I’ve written over the past twelve months, not because they were technically challenging but because of how personal they were. When I created the website two years ago I intended to remain wholly anonymous, with details of my personal life kept to a bare minimum. By this time last year I’d changed my mind and I’d decided I wanted to openly discuss my asexuality and my struggles with my gender identity – but it took months before I’d be able to finish writing those pieces and feel brave enough to publish them.

In June I finally felt able to discuss my sexuality and gender identity for the first time.

I now proudly display the asexual and non-binary pride flags in the upper-right corner of the website. These symbols are present no matter what page or post someone clicks on, even if the piece has nothing at all to do with asexuality or being non-binary.

Writing these pieces, though incredibly difficult at times, was deeply satisfying and cathartic. Only a few people in my offline life knew these things about me, so having a space where I could openly discuss things that I’d struggled with for decades was a truly incredible experience. It gave me the confidence to be more open in my offline life too. I don’t have a lot of friends or surviving close relatives, but I’ve been able to direct a couple of people to the website where they were able to read my words to gain more of an insight into my personal life. I’ve said before that I’m better at writing than I am at speaking – having these pieces to direct folks to is so much easier than having to explain out loud what it means to be asexual or non-binary.

It’s been a difficult process, but I finally feel comfortable referring to myself as non-binary.

I haven’t added as many articles to the Greatest Hits page this year as I did in the previous twelve months. I think that’s partly because I had some article/essay ideas in mind when I started the website and I slowly worked my way through them over the course of that first year. While I’ve had plenty to write about this year, I guess I’ve just written fewer of those long-form essays.

That being said, my essay on Star Trek: Discovery’s Season 3 Burn storyline is one of the best things I’ve written all year, and I’m happy to show off that one! I’m also proud of my character study of The Next Generation’s Dr Pulaski, and my examination of Luke Skywalker’s characterisation in The Last Jedi that I wrote back in December. I’m sure I’m forgetting or overlooking a few others as well, but those are three of the essays that come to mind when I think back over the past twelve months.

This is one of the best essays I’ve written in the last twelve months. Give it a read if you haven’t already!

So I think that’s enough self-congratulation for this year! As I look ahead to the next twelve months, I can’t really say that I have any major plans or changes in mind for the website or the kind of pieces I write here. I’d like to do another playthrough series at some point, and I’m certainly open to more creative projects in addition to my reviews, theories, discussion topics, list articles, and the rest. But watch this space, I suppose!

The website is very different now compared to twelve months ago. I like to think that, for the most part, these changes have been improvements – and certainly from a purely visual point of view I think the website has never looked better! As we move into the holiday season and 2022 I’m looking forward to keeping up with my regular posting schedule and writing about the subjects I’m most interested in: Star Trek, gaming, and the wide world of geeky entertainment.

Thank you for your support over the past twelve months.

-Dennis
Tuesday, 30th November 2021

All properties mentioned above are the copyright of their respective broadcaster, studio, developer, distributor, company, etc. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.

Introducing… Trekking with Dennis!

Starting today, this website has a new name! There’s also a new URL to match, so be sure to update your bookmarks! From now on, you’ll be able to find me here: https://www.trekkingwithdennis.com/

Why the change of name and branding? That’s a great question, and I’d like to take a moment to address this.

When I began working on the project that would ultimately become this website in the autumn of 2019, the name was one of the last things I settled on. And almost from the beginning I wasn’t thrilled with the name that I chose. The original light-hearted intention was that the website’s content would be akin to reading something that your proverbial “Crazy Uncle” might’ve said; sharing rambling opinions on geeky entertainment topics.

Making the website’s name a bit of a joke was, in retrospect, a mistake. It wasn’t the worst name I could’ve chosen, but I’ve had regrets about it almost from the moment the website went live.

Then there are the two constituent parts of the old name. “Crazy” is a term that many people have used to describe me in the past. I have mental health issues, and I’ve been up front about that on a number of occasions. In a way, I kind of felt as though I was reclaiming the word from critics by using it here, but on reflection I’m not sure that’s the way it comes across. The word “crazy” has been used for a long time to malign and marginalise people with mental health issues, and I don’t want to contribute to that in any way.

While I had good intentions with the use of the word, I now consider its usage here over the past couple of years to have been a mistake. Rather than compounding that mistake by doubling down, I’m choosing to drop the word “crazy” from the website’s name entirely.

Then we have the word “uncle.” As I’ve been exploring my own gender identity over the past few years, I’ve accepted myself for who I am: I’m non-binary. Masculine words and terms have no place here, because I’m not male. As I’ve explored more of what it means to be non-binary and to not be male, I’ve become more confident with my own gender identity and my gender expression. Dropping a masculine-sounding noun just makes sense for me now. As we approach 2022, I want my website to better reflect the person I am and the person I’ve become over the last few years; keeping such a masculine title has felt wrong for some time and I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with it.

So from now on, your favourite(!) website will be known as Trekking with Dennis.

Obviously I chose the first part of this new name based on my love of the Star Trek franchise, not because I’ve suddenly become a long-distance hiker! Star Trek has been a huge part of the website and will continue to be a major focus as we move forward, but I will of course continue to talk about other topics as well. I’m not just a one-trick pony, after all! And if past precedent is anything to go by, some of the most popular articles and columns that I’ve written have been about subjects other than Star Trek!

The old URL – https://www.crazyuncledennis.com/ – will continue to work in the short term, simply redirecting you here, but by the end of 2022 at the very latest it will most likely be permanently shut down. So there’s time for everyone to update their bookmarks and for Google’s web-bots to find the new address and start their trawling!

Thank you for your support over the past couple of years. The website has grown to become so much bigger than I ever expected, and I’m having a great time writing about some of the franchises and subjects that I love and that I find the most interesting. I hope you’ll enjoy Trekking with Dennis as much as you enjoyed Crazy Uncle Dennis.

Here’s to moving forward!

Dennis

5th November 2021

Five television shows that ran too long

Spoiler Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for the titles on this list.

When writers and producers sit down to craft a new television series, usually they can’t plan for anything beyond a single season. Most television shows are greenlit for one season at a time, and renewed for one additional season at a time. Forward planning for events that may take place in Season 6 of a show are usually not at the forefront of creators’ minds when sketching out the storyline of Season 1.

And this approach makes a lot of sense. A series like Terra Nova clearly had a multi-season story planned, as Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger, but cancellation meant that the remaining story was never put to screen. That’s frustrating as a viewer – and yes, even though it’s been ten years I’m still sore about Terra Nova!

Terra Nova had the opposite problem to the titles on this list!

But one drawback to this season-by-season approach to writing and storytelling comes when a show is renewed. If writers have managed to successfully wrap up a season-long storyline and character arcs, what comes next? This is something I’ve termed “the Disney sequel problem,” because it’s comparable to a situation many sequels to successful Disney films find themselves in. What comes next after “happily ever after?” Or in this case, what comes next after a finished story?

Some shows just run and run and run, continuing long after they’ve completely exhausted their potential stories and original purpose. These shows tend to morph into something different – even unrecognisable – from their original incarnation. Even though the characters may remain the same, storylines change and often get wilder and more bizarre. Though some shows retain a large following even as they change, in many cases fans of the first couple of seasons realise that the changes have been for the worse.

The Simpsons is now approaching its 33rd Season…

Television, like any entertainment or artistic medium, has its limits. No single story can run and run forever, and no set of characters can endure season upon season of increasingly outlandish storylines. Most television shows, like most stories across other forms of media, have natural lifespans. In some cases that could be a single season, in others it could be ten seasons. It varies a lot and depends on the show. But practically every show eventually hits that wall – and some try to sidestep it and keep going.

Today we’re going to look at five examples of television shows that should’ve ended far sooner than they did. As I always say, this is just the opinion of one person. If you like a show on this list and enjoyed its later seasons, that’s okay. I’m not trying to claim these shows or their latter episodes are somehow objectively bad. Simply put, I feel they outstayed their welcome.

Number 1: The Simpsons (1989-present)

The Simpson family.

Given The Simpsons’ place in popular culture and the show’s enormous influence over satire and comedy, this one is painful to admit. But The Simpsons, which will begin broadcasting its 33rd season later this year, has clearly and demonstrably gone on too long. Its original premise – satirising family-oriented 1980s sitcoms and taking a comedic yet biting look at America as the 1990s dawned – has entirely evaporated, and while there have been creditable attempts in recent seasons to recapture parts of that, the show has largely forgotten its roots.

A few weeks ago I picked out twelve of my favourite episodes – and as I was composing that article I came to realise pretty quickly that all of my favourites were within the first eight or nine seasons. That was when The Simpsons was at its peak, and while the show is still running and clearly has an audience, even Simpsons fans admit that it’s gone downhill.

The Simpsons’ decline set in sometime around the year 2000.

One of the most-cited differences between The Simpsons in its ’90s heyday and the series today is the characterisation of Homer. Originally he was presented as a hard-working everyman, down on his luck and with undeniable flaws, but nevertheless someone viewers could root for. In his first standalone appearance in the Season 1 premiere Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, Homer’s financial problem and desire to do right by his family as Christmas approaches elicits genuine sympathy; an oddly timeless story. But by later seasons, spurred on by a desire or need to continue a trend of increasingly outrageous storylines, Homer has been turned into a character that’s half-clown, half-jerk, exaggerating his worst traits and becoming a parody of himself.

Unlike some other entries on this list, The Simpsons is episodic in nature. It didn’t have a single overarching story to tell that was exhausted at some point in its run. Instead it had an underlying premise, and a desire to show Americans a satirical mirror of their society. But since the show itself became part of American popular culture, and inspired not only a whole genre of adult-oriented animation but also a whole style of comedy, its ability to effectively do that waned. And as writers exhausted plausible storylines to put a comedic spin on, all that remained was to take the show to extremes – pushing the boat out ever further to try to keep it funny.

Number 2: Supernatural (2005-2020)

Brothers Sam and Dean Winchester in Season 15 of Supernatural.

Supernatural is the show that originally inspired this article! If you’re a regular around here you might remember it from last year’s Crazy Uncle Dennis awards – where it “won” the award for worst television series of the year. I stand by what I said then: Supernatural had become the king of running too long.

When Supernatural premiered in 2005 it had a wonderfully innovative premise. It was a great blend of episodic, monster-of-the-week television with season-long character arcs and stories that rumbled away in the background, particularly the disappearance of the boys’ father and their quest to hunt the Yellow-Eyed Demon. As Sam and Dean travelled the United States hunting an array of new and old monsters and horror movie villains, there was a lot to love.

Sam and Dean Winchester in the pilot episode.

But Supernatural exhausted its original storylines sometime before 2010, certainly by the fifth season or so. Not only that, but having faced down examples of most horror staples – ghosts, demons, werewolves, and the like – the writers and producers were running out of material. The show moved away from its original semi-episodic format toward a more serialised approach, and while there’s nothing wrong with serialised storytelling, combined with the satisfying conclusion of Supernatural’s original storylines and the exhausting of most monster-of-the-week stereotypes, there was nothing left for the show to explore.

For me, one episode more than any other cements Supernatural’s decline: Season 6’s The French Mistake. It was at this moment that the show lost all semblance of seriousness and descended into the fan-servicey mess that became the hallmark of its latter seasons. The transformation of main characters Sam and Dean from two relatively ordinary guys thrust into a world of demon-hunting into invincible Biblical warriors anointed by God and the angels was catastrophic, but that episode was the icing on the cake.

Number 3: Lost (2004-2010)

Title card for Lost.

Lost is absolutely one of the best shows of the 2000s, and unlike other entries on this list which ran for a decade or longer, its six seasons actually seem rather modest in comparison. But Lost nevertheless exhibits many of the same issues, including exhausting its original premise and storylines, and putting its characters in increasingly weird and wacky situations to try to keep the magic going.

I mentioned at the beginning that many television shows are written season by season, without much thought for how or when they will end. Lost is a case in point. JJ Abrams, who created the show, has become notorious for writing half a story – a beginning without any idea of how it will end. In fact, the so-called “mystery box” has become a hallmark of the way Abrams creates his stories. In the case of Lost – as with the Star Wars sequel trilogy that Abrams also helmed parts of – the weaknesses of this approach become apparent.

Lost started strongly and encouraged fans to theorise and speculate – but the writers and producers hadn’t planned any answers to the questions they set up.

There were mysteries in Season 1 of Lost. What caused the plane to crash? How were they so far off-course? What’s with the weird smoke monster? What’s inside the hatch? Who is Kate, and what did she do? But fundamentally it was a character-driven story with a strong focus on the need for survival. The characters found themselves in a hostile environment with no immediate hope of escape, and much of the drama came from that premise.

Lost had become unrecognisable by Season 6, with a narrative that involved worldwide conspiracies, time travel, an island that could literally move, and so on. For fans who had become engrossed in its world, perhaps some of these answers were satisfying. For many, though, they were not, and what started as a fun and mysterious show lost its way when the creative team found themselves boxed in narratively, unable to find a satisfying way to conclude various story elements.

Number 4: 12 Monkeys (2015-2018)

12 Monkeys protagonist James Cole in Season 1.

As with Lost above, 12 Monkeys doesn’t seem to have enough seasons to fit the bill as a show that outstayed its welcome. But it absolutely did! The series began with a similar premise to the 1995 film of the same name – a man from the future must travel back in time to the modern day in order to prevent the release of a biological weapon that would decimate humankind.

That premise sounds amazing, and more than a little timely given the year we’ve just had! Though time travel stories are seldom my favourite for a number of reasons, 12 Monkeys Season 1 absolutely nailed it. But then they ran out of story, and what was chosen to replace it simply did not work. Things went downhill fast.

12 Monkeys did time travel very well… in its first season.

The plot became overly complicated when the original premise – stopping the release of the virus – was played out. What replaced it was a convoluted and frankly just plain dumb story about an international conspiracy to “stop time itself.” Yeah. I know.

Though the characters remained the same, the lines they were spewing now made no sense, and the show had to create increasingly stupid reasons for both using the time machine – its central piece of tech – and for including characters from the modern day. With the focus having switched to battling this weird army of time-hating people, the entire concept of the series was lost.

Number 5: The Walking Dead (2010-present)

An iconic image from Season 1 of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead’s main problem is that the entire show is built around a very simple premise: zombies. When the zombies stop being frightening, and when the show’s original cast has been decimated by season after season of “shocking” deaths, there’s nothing left to do. That should be game over – and The Walking Dead managed about three seasons before that feeling set in.

Unfortunately, despite hitting the wall, The Walking Dead kept going. The zombies stopped being the show’s focus and were relegated to a background role, with the impetus switching to new groups of characters who, for no other reason than “because plot,” would turn out to have a burning hatred of protagonist Rick Grimes and his group.

Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery’s Michael Burnham) appeared in The Walking Dead.

After the show found success with the Governor as its main human antagonist in Season 3, the writers evidently became desperate to recapture that feeling, throwing villain after villain at Rick. That’s all the Terminus cannibals were, that’s all Negan was, and now this new villain Alpha is in the same mould.

The Walking Dead, along with Game of Thrones which was around at the same time in the early 2010s, helped to pioneer the idea of a “disposable” main cast – where viewers were kept on the edge of their seats not sure if all of their favourites would survive to the end. The problem is that the end should’ve come far sooner. Spin-offs like Fear the Walking Dead and World Beyond can pick up the baton for the franchise, telling new stories with new characters. But the main series should’ve ended a long time ago.

So that’s it. Five shows that ran too long – or are still running too long!

Usually this happens for “business reasons” – namely money. Investing in the creation of a new television series is expensive, and when a show is a hit, executives and producers naturally want to keep going, bringing in more money and making use of existing sets, props, and characters. However, this can come at the expense of artistic integrity and good storytelling, with shows forced to make major changes to compensate for either concluding their original story or simply running out of ideas.

We didn’t even mention The Big Bang Theory…

None of the shows on the list above were bad. I actively enjoyed all five in their early days. But somewhere along the way their original intentions got lost, and the transformed series that resulted became less enjoyable. In some cases this can happen within a season or two, especially if the original creative team tell what is essentially a one-and-done story across one season of television. But other shows have a slower, more gradual decline over the course of several years, with concepts that were interesting and exciting in Season 1 decaying and becoming clichéd tropes by Season 5. There are different ways this decline can manifest, just as there are different lifespans for different shows.

As a fan, in every single case I’d rather be writing an article saying “this show was cancelled too soon!” instead of “this show should’ve been cancelled already.” I’d rather lament what we could’ve seen had a show ran for just one more season than feel it declined because it went on too long. Perhaps that seems paradoxical, but sometimes, as the saying goes, “less is more.”

Regardless of what I may think, this phenomenon isn’t going away any time soon. Television producers will always look to continue successful projects where they can and cancel those that don’t bring in enough viewers and enough money. That’s just the way the industry works!

All titles listed above are the copyright of their respective network, broadcaster, studio, and/or distributor. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.