5 TV Shows That Need End Dates

By Tim Surette and Kaitlin Thomas

Mar 13, 2014

In a perfect world, all TV shows would recognize when the end was nigh and smartly choose euthanasia, setting their own final seasons instead of suffering a long, lingering death. Lost wisely chose to end after six seasons in an almost unheard-of decision for a much-talked-about network show, and Breaking Bad perfectly faded to black last year at the height of its popularity. And lots of shows will follow suit in the next year or two: Sons of Anarchy (probably), Justified, True Blood, WilfredBoardwalk EmpireMad Men, and Glee are all currently walking toward the light at the end of the tunnel. There's even word that Game of Thrones might be calling it quits after seven seasons.

But for every show that takes care to make a graceful exit, there are several that just don't seem to realize that they've overstayed their welcome, hanging around the airwaves well after their expiration dates like a seven-year college senior. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other shows that, even though they're doing great, would benefit creatively from having an end date in mind. So with that said, we've compiled a quick list of five shows that fall into one of those two categories and should start looking for the exits. Don't get too comfortable, shows! And just so we're clear, the series below aren't necessarily bad, they just need to know when to say when.

1. Revenge

Revenge is a perfect example of, "Ehhh, maybe we should have made this into a miniseries." The show's premise—Emily is getting the R-word on a bunch of people who did her wrong in the past—is finite, and now that the series is three seasons deep, it's reached a point where the writers are struggling to come up with new stories that aren't about Emily getting back at the Graysons. That's why there are so many half-baked arcs (like the reveal about Conrad's first wife) polluting the current season, making us miss the good ol' days when Emily scrawled red Xs onto pictures of assholes; the show is just trying to fill time for as long as ABC is writing checks. 

Ironically, one of the worst things to happen to Revenge was its early success, because ABC now feels compelled to keep it around instead of playing the "wrap it up" music. Even series creator Mike Kelley foresaw this potential problem, and left the series after Season 2. 

Proposed end date: As soon as possible please! If it's too late to end the show with this season, let's give it 'til May 2015, so Emily can put her remaining targets down for good.

2. Person of Interest

We love this show! So why is it on this list? Why would we want it to end? Because the mythology that Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman have created would benefit from having a clear end point. What we don't want to see is Person of Interest run out of ideas and then fill in the many blanks with weaker standalone episodes where Reese and Finch chase down an antiquities thief or a sailor who's in town for Fleet Week. Let's get it out of here before Finch or Reese settles into a committed romantic relationship or CBS spins off Person of Interest: Los Angeles. There are still plenty of questions that need answers, and the Machine has lots of room to grow, but knowing when everything will shut down would dramatically increase the quality of the journey.

Proposed end date: Let it end on its own terms with a closed arc; we suggest shooting for May 2017, after six fantastic seasons.

3. Supernatural

Sam and Dean Winchester have died and come back to life many, many times, more than any mortals should, but that doesn't mean the show has to follow suit. Supernatural could have bowed to a standing ovation after its fantastic fifth season, when creator Eric Kripke departed, but The CW brought it back for a pretty painful Season 6 and Season 7 (remember the Leviathans AND Becky Rosen in the same run?). Now in its ninth go-round, the show has bounced back, and The CW has already ordered a tenth while also developing a spin-off. But it's time to start tapering so that Supernatural can go out on as high a note as possible... especially so we can see Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki in something else! 

Proposed end date: Supernatural is good enough to get a farewell season, so let Season 10 be its last. That would end it in May 2015, at which point new CW superheroes will be free to take over the network. 

4. Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars' big mystery is "Who is A?" And at some point or another, pretty much every single character has either been A, suspected of being A, or worked with A in some capacity. The central Liars have become their own worst enemies, which is a lot less fun than watching them be terrorized by a mysterious one-letter villain, if he/she/they even still exists. With Season 4 coming to a close next week, it's getting harder and harder to believe that these girls shouldn't just go to the cops—or, hell, up and move to another city to avoid being murdered. Pretty Little Liars many "twists" have led it down a dangerous path where it's desperate to find new ways to one-up itself. Just because the books the show is based on keep coming, doesn't mean the show should continue; it's time to reveal A and close the curtains before Lucy Hale gets her AARP card. 

Proposed end date: End it after Season 5, sometime in March 2015.

5. Bones

After Bones debuted a decade ago, the will-they-won't-they tension sustained the romantic crime procedural until Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan finally "did" with a kiss at the end of Season 5. Then they settled into relationship mode in Season 6. Then they had a kid in Season 7. And then they got married in Season 9. So what's left? Season 10 is on the way, and we're thinking the show had better hang it up before the eventual Season 17 becomes a live-action version of the opening of Up. And it looks like we might get our wish, as Season 10 has long been rumored to be the show's last, but still: Make it official, Fox.

Proposed end date: You get one more season, Bones. End it for good in May 2015, after Booth and Brennan get that house with the white picket fence and live happily ever after. 

Honorable mentions:

Homeland – No more Nicholas Brody means the show is now that much less interesting. But as long as the ratings are up (Season 3 hit series highs), Showtime will keep it going as long as it can.

Parks and Recreation – Another great comedy that's in danger of going the way of The Office in its later seasons. Go out on a high note, Pawnee!

What shows do YOU think should set an end date, and just as important, WHY?

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  • AureaMegaVT Dec 10, 2014

    more Revenge! The show is too good for cancellation

  • dewdropvelvet Oct 28, 2014

    Hey! I want to see more Revenge! i think they should sell it to Netflix and let ppl binge on it the way they want to... watch all 24 episodes at once. Season five, I want it!

  • dewdropvelvet Oct 28, 2014

    Also disagree with POI and PLL.

  • kaeline Oct 28, 2014

    I don't see why Person Of Interest would be on the list. Of course. all shows must have and and POI should have it too, but it shouldn't be in the list now. I mean, the global story is going in very right direction and the show is becoming more and more intersting, probably it didnt even reach its culmination yet. So, it should appear in list like this after 7-8 seasons when there are no questions left, because now there are planty of them, and they are not going to get all answered in one season.

  • Frankymunk Oct 28, 2014

    I agree with Bones and Supernatural and several more mentioned, I think Person of Interest and Revenge can last another season, but regarding abc, I don't understand why they have continued producing these failing shows at the same time canceling the potential hit Betrayal. It makes no sense! I really would've loved to see more seasons, it had so many seeds planted I wanted to see it evolve.
    Now the worst show I've suffered in a long time has aired, from the over creative Shonda Rhimes, How To Get Away With Murder, it's poorly cast, badly acted/directed and is shockingly tedious. I have noticed with Rhimes shows that a certain requirement is wpm-words per minute....while I long ago stopped watching Greys Anatomy, I do enjoy Scandal, but is incoherent rambling always necessary? Please
    pray Getting Away With Murder ends as soon as possible, everything about it is stupifying and a boring cast can't save it.
    Lok at the forums that beg for shows not to be cancelled-just a thought...

  • naseerahmad18488169 Oct 27, 2014

    I AM getting tired of Revenge too.

  • kurtalexander1291 Oct 27, 2014

    Two and a Half Men should have called it long ago, after Kutcher's first season.

  • Donoterase Oct 27, 2014

    Once Upon a Time.

    Season 1 was great. Season 2 was decent, but since then things have gone to Frozen in a hand basket.

    The plot is non-existent, they are constantly having to explain what is going on; there is no development. And the thing that ticks me off the most is still the fact that they threw the closest two males (Hook and Hood) at the two strong, intelligent, independent females core characters (Regina and Emma) and what is worse since they have been demoted to love interests their characters have done complete 108s personality wise.

    Continuity...what continuity?
    Plot holes...just watch 5 min, pick one - heck pick 3.
    Fairy tales with a modern twist...it might have started out that way, now it's just joke.

    Lana Parrilla and Jennifer Morrison need help in the PR department, and lessons on when and to what to *not* respond when it comes to social media interactions with fans, but this aside they are both above average actresses who can do much better.

    In my opinion the writers did not plan beyond season 1 and have been making it up as they go ever since.

  • kaeline Oct 28, 2014

    Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time was dead long ago... Interesting idea, but poor story. I would advice you reading "Fables" comics if you are interested in the setting. Looks like they took idea from there, but wanted to make it suitable for 11 years old girls, so in the end we got this - neither good children's stroy, neither adult plot of Fables. Adding Elsa from Frozen looks like they are desperately trying to add some interest to the show.
    Honestly, I lost the interest after 1st season and completely lost the point of the story after 2nd season

  • Donoterase Oct 30, 2014

    yeah, I stopped watching end of season 2. Now I just enjoy Lily Sparks' weekly recaps - beyond hilarious.

  • stevenwoodworth Oct 27, 2014

    I have to disagree about Supernatural. The entire point of the story is the brothers and their continuing struggle to hunt monsters and the things they deal with. It's easy to complain about how often they have died and come back to life sure, I get that, but, that's just another part of the struggle they have to deal with in order to become who I believe God, in the show wants them to be. I feel like all this IS leading somewhere, season 8 we dealt with possibly shutting the gates of hell forever, season 9 the angels and Metatron, I feel like the developers do have a plan and we just need to hold out. Season 8 and 9 are the best seasons since 5. 6 and 7 were a little weak yes but I still liked them, especially the Leviathans who were creepy monsters. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are still interesting to watch together as well.

  • hannahwatford16 Oct 27, 2014

    I personally must say I'm a huge fan of PLL and Revenge. Ive watched both since their beginning of time and I'm still hooked. PLL has a HUGE fan base and whether or not it has been drug out I hope they wrap it it with a great finale.

  • erniekovacs Oct 27, 2014

    most reality shows. all talent spotting shows. any show with tom selleck. jock yak shows. local news pageants. that goddam insurance lizard. australian accent crap. melodramatic announcers of nba games. ted danson. i could go on, maybe later. these are just the tip of the mountain of tv drivel. they don't insult the intelligence of the audience, they mock it.

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