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, Wilfred, Boardwalk Empire, Mad 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
AIRED ON 5/11/2014
Season 3 : Episode 22