The Rundown: 10 TV Shows That Stuck Around Too Long

Above: After 12 seasons CBS’ 'Two and a Half Men' recently wrapped up
Above: After 12 seasons CBS’ 'Two and a Half Men' recently wrapped up

The fact that Two and a Half Men lasted 12 seasons and over 250 episodes is staggering given that it stopped being even remotely entertaining roughly two seasons before Charlie Sheen got all hopped up on tiger blood and started shouting “Winning!” like a lunatic.

Rather than use Charlie’s departure (yes, Sheen’s character’s name was Charlie) as a chance to cut bait and move on, Ashton Kutcher was brought in to play Walden Schmidt, the new rich guy Jon Cryer’s character Alan mooched off. By that point, the “Half Man” of the show, Alan’s son Jake (Angus T. Jones), was legal voting age and featured only through the occasional Skype call before he too packed his bags and abandoned ship.

Did that bring the show’s run to an end? Of course not. Instead, Jake was replaced by Jenny (Amber Tamblyn), Charlie’s previously unmentioned lesbian daughter, because why not, right?

The show finally pulled the plug last week and in tribute to one show that stuck around way too long, we present this collection of 10 more shows that managed to do the same.

This is The Rundown.

How I Met Your Mother

We’re closing in on the one-year anniversary of HIMYM departing the airwaves, but the show still stands as a cautionary tale for all sitcoms that start out strong and aren’t sure how long to stick around. The concept was great from the start – Ted telling is kids a protracted story of how he met their mother – but after about four seasons, it was time to meet the mother already. Instead, the New York-based show kept cycling through new cast additions each season for another four years before spending the ninth and final season wrapping things up, not with a bang, but with a fizzle.

America’s Funniest Videos

This show started in 1990 as America’s Funniest Home Videos with Bob Saget as the host, back when people actually submitted VHS tapes by mail and home videos weren’t as common. That was 25 years ago. Despite the fact that embarassing videos are ubiquitous these days and readily available on Facebook, Instagram or Vine, this show has managed to survive and has already been picked up for another season next year, though current host Tom Bergeron won’t be back.

Dancing With The Stars

Bergeron will be hosting DTWS though when the show kicks off its 20th season and 10th year in March. At this point, however, the show is playing fast and loose with the term “stars” as the upcoming cast includes Rumer Willis (Bruce and Demi’s kid), Willow Shields (Primrose Everdeen from The Hunger Games) and Suzanne Somers, best known to current generations as “The lady that hawked the Thighmaster on late night television.” Not that the show ever pulling A-List celebrities, but it’s pretty much become Dancing with Moderately Famous People You Might Recognize at this point.

The Simpsons

How is this show still on? Bart has been 10-years-old and stuck in the 4th Grade at Springfield Elementary for 26 years. While The Simpsons will always be able to draw on the news of the moment for inspiration, there comes a point where they’ve covered just about everything and things in Springfield go stale. As tremendous as the show was in its early years, no show is able to stay fresh for a quarter of a century, not even one as beloved as this.

The Ultimate Fighter

Getting an inside look into how fighters prepared mixed with elements of The Real World was fun for about four seasons. Counting the various international editions of the reality TV competition that have come out in recent years, there have now been 27 seasons of TUF. While the UFC has promised an overhaul of the show when for the 21st domestic season, there might not be anything they can roll out that carries the show back to being as enjoyable as it was during those first four seasons.

Survivor

When you get to a point where one contestant (“Boston” Rob Mariano) has been on four different seasons, you’ve clearly overstayed your welcome. The 30th season of Survivor kicks off next month with three teams of six divided by social class: white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. Yep. You read that correctly. Somehow, more than 10 million people still tune in to see who is getting voted off the island every week.

Grey’s Anatomy

Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night’s on ABC, so Grey’s will probably keep getting renewed for as long as Rhimes wants to keep running the show. Now in its 11th season, we’re at the point where Meredith has another half-sister that has started working at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. When you get to the point that you’re introducing a second surprise sister, it’s time to pack things up and move on.

Criminal Minds

The problem with police procedurals – even good ones – is that after a while, you run out of bad guys to chase down. Yes, you can keep cooking up new “UnSubs” for the members of the Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) to track and bring in new team members (Hello Jennifer Love Hewitt) to spice things up, but at the end of the day, it’s still “The Good Guys catching The Bad Guys” over and over and over. Now 10 seasons in, what was once original has become worn out.

American Idol

Like all of the other reality TV staples on this list, Idol was really fun right out of the gate, still kind of good for a couple more seasons and then become the same old same old after that. After 11 seasons as a Top 10-rated show on television, the show plummeted to 22nd last year and for the second consecutive season, the winner’s debut album tanked. It was a great run, but with The Voice and a host of other “talent shows” out there, it’s time to pull the plug.

Law & Order

The Dick Wolf-created franchise deserves special mention because not only did the original show stick around for 20 years, but the first spinoff, Special Victim’s Unit (SVU), was renewed for a 17th season earlier this month, the second spinoff, Criminal Intent, ran for a decade, and two other variants – Law & Order: Trial By Jury and Law & Order: LA – both got a year’s worth of run. In total, there have been 48 seasons and 1,044 episodes of Law & Order. That seems like enough.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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