My Collection: TV Shows That Should Have Ended Sooner

Daniel Leigh 7 November 2013

A distinction is often made between British and American TV: the Brits know when to stop while the Americans do not. When a British show has given all it has to offer it gracefully bids farewell and lives on as a golden memory. The twelve episodes of Fawlty Towers and the fourteen of The Office have done so. America prefers twenty-four episode long series that end when the fat commissioning editor sings. This distinction is not entirely fair however. The following list of shows that passed their sell-by dates come from both sides of the Atlantic, and hopefully proves that you can have too much of a good thing.

Arrested Development

The hit American sitcom is the ultimate Aristotelian tragedy: all plot and no characters. This became painfully clear in the ill-advised fourth season. Dragged out of the grave after seven years of decomposition, Arrested Development is a stark warning to cult fans to be careful what they wish for.   

Peep Show

Peep Show reached its perfect end-point in season four after Mark’s botched wedding; in the previous episode they had killed and eaten a dog. Maybe it would be cynical to say that they would never have topped this moment, but the fact remains that they never did. The subsequent seasons have been more of the same, just worse.  

How I Met Your Mother

It’s just not funny anymore. And I’m sorry I don’t care who the mother is. I don’t even think the children care who their mother is.   

The Inbetweeners

The first series was scarily well observed to the extent that I would not let my parents watch it. The second had moments of surreal hilarity. The third had neither of the above. The film was a monstrous re-hash of previous jokes with a nonsensical plot. I loathed it, but it was quite funny.   

The Simpsons

I have no right to complain after eight of the best television seasons of all time, but ever since Principal Skinner wasn’t actually Principal Skinner the show has declined into a trance-like limp towards oblivion. An ending now would be inconsequential artistically but would shake popular culture to its very core.   

Family Guy

A lot of people have commented on how the quality of ‘adult’ animated comedy Family Guy has declined of late. They are wrong: it was never good. This show had gone on far too long by its first episode. It should have been aborted immediately.