The writing on some TV shows is so compelling, that they bring back audiences season after season to find out how various cliffhangers are resolved.
Performances and the overall tone contribute to the success of various TV series, but it is the development of the characters and their respective arcs throughout their run that keep audiences coming back for more.
That is until one clunky episode ruins it.
Frustrated TV viewers shared their thoughts when Redditor theinnocenthostage asked:
"What episode nearly destroyed the whole series?"
Proceed with caution since there may be spoilers here for several shows both current and classic.
A Final Trip
"An episode of pretty little liars when a guy, tripped and fell onto an axe and accidentally beheaded himself."
"Never watched the show, that sounds awesome."
"Sounds like quite the axe-ident...."
"Sleepy Hollow: They killed off the female lead and moved it out of Sleepy Hollow. Though there was that weird crossover with Bones before it."
"that weird episode of Stranger Things where she went to the city and met the other girl with powers could have destroyed the series if they didn't back off quickly."
"If I rewatch the show I ALWAYS skip this episode because it doesn’t disrupt the plot at all haha."
A Good Save
"Michael Scott leaving The Office (US) could have ended the whole series, but they made it work. It didn’t have the exact same magic, but it found its own rhythm and was fun and endearing. "
A Troubled Beginning
"Instead of an episode, maybe the whole season 1 of Parks and Rec. It's the most generic season, not the worst of all time but it showed none of the potential of the greatness of future seasons."
"It's only in season 2 you start to see why it would be one of the best comedy shows of all time. Characters were rewritten to be better, they added Adam Scott and Rob Lowe and Mark left to refine the dynamics."
"The episode of How to Get Away with Murder where they killed off the main character... can’t remember his name. Cool show. But yeah. He was a great character. The death seemed so random and unexpected that I was literally expecting it to be a dream or whatever. My girlfriend at the time and I quit watching a couple episodes later."
"The first few episodes of Bojack Horseman where it's just a generic animated sitcom. I know a lot of people who stopped watching before it got good and had to be convinced to give the series another try."
A writer's decision to "mix things up" is extremely risky.
On one hand, plateauing storylines can be bad for a show's longevity. On the other hand, if it ain't broke...
"The sudden appearance of an (often) evil counterpart in an established show is never a good sign."
"[Protagonist] is the only person in the universe with [power] <writers run out of ideas><ratings slip> 'There is another!"'
"This is basically every episode of The Flash."
"My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive if we ignore all the other people who are faster than me."
This One Was Criminal
"Orange is the New Black."
"Season 4 episode 13."
"I was done after that one."
"I watched the rest of the series, but I feel like the series was already feeling like it wouldn't last much longer anyway in that Piper was only originally sentenced to 15 months at the start. There were already certain aspects of the story that made no sense (i.e. several people that probably should be in state prisons rather than federal). It just got less believable as time went on."
She Deserved Better
"Modern family when Hailey got pregnant with twins, every other character had growth in the show and yet they stuck her with the typical teen mom who fails at school and can't do college and ends up pregnant trope, she deserved a lot better, and there was so many different plots where they could have made her a bad@ss like Claire or her grandpa Jay."
Even the most popular long-running series eventually runs out of steam...and ideas.
J.J. What Have You Done?
"Third season of Alias, the episode where it reveals that Michael Vaughan's wife is, get this, a double agent. Not only did that moment kill the show for me, it's the moment where I began to think maybe J.J. Abrams wasn't a very good story teller."
"It's like with Glenn's fake out death in The Walking Dead. Only to find out he survived four episodes later. So many people said they changed it because of the backlash. As if every episode hasn't already been planned and filmed before the season started. People fully believed they changed everything and filmed a whole new episode in 4 weeks."
"The Walking Dead - When they kill Glen and Abraham. Most of the people I knew and many people online claimed that was the last episode they watched."
"I was so f'king pissed because he was my favourite character and it was such a stupid death. But I tried to put it past myself and keep watching, annoyed as f'k but what can you do."
"Then they bring him back?????? Which was stupid as hell and made no sense but I was like alright you know what, I can accept this because at least my fav character/actor is still around. Stupid, but whatever."
"BUT THEN THEY F'KING KILL HIM ANYWAYS IN A DUMB A** FAKEOUT BULLSH*T DEATH??? Why even bother bringing him back in such a stupid way then???? Idiotic writing."
"Yeah this nearly killed the series, but the episode Carl was revealed to be bit was the nail in the coffin."
"The last episode of the x files. Where William was the cigg mans son. It was not a conclusion."
"I could live with that part; it was icky, but CSM manipulating women for genetic and procreation purposes is long-established in canon. It wasn't really a wild thing to jump to."
"What made me go 'Oh, come on, f'k this sh*t' was when Scully was miraculously pregnant again from a single night (yes it is technically possible at her age, but if memory serves she had been diagnosed with compromised fertility, so the odds drop from 'rare' to 'infinitesimally small'), and worse than that, she rationalised losing William that oh well, he wasn't really her kid after all, and now she's got a real one coming, so it's all good. Or something."
"This is a woman who was all set to adopt a bio-kid of hers that she didn't even give birth to back in the day, now she thinks a kid she genetically and physically bore isn't hers because she doesn't like the father?"
"How I Met Your Mother's finale: Last Forever"
"The show and the fans have already moved on from Ted and Robin's relationship for the better. Hence, it's terribly awful that after we became invested in the Barney-Robin and Ted-Tracy pairing throughout the final season, we watched both developments torn down in minutes for a finale wherein Ted and Robin got back together (again)."
"That didn't 'almost' ruin the series. It did ruin it. Until GoT came along, HIMYM was regularly at the top of the list for worst finales of all time. It turned a ton of people off from rewatching.
"The finale is horribly executed because they just erased a wedding that they had just spend the entire season leading up to."
"I've never watched the series finale or most of season 9 of Roseanne. It was such a perfect show that really reflected life in the 90s that I didn't want to sully it with a weird book written ending.
Kudos to the writers who sometimes have to deal with too many cooks in the kitchen.
It takes a lot of work to craft each episode perfectly and in line with the other episodes.
Once a showrunner leaves a show after creating it to start new projects, as is often the case, the writing team is tasked with continuing plotlines that are authentic to the storytelling.
But the end result is not always a win.
Remember what happened to Gilmore Girls when Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel let their contracts expire when they couldn't reach an agreement after the UPN and WB merger to the CW?
The tone of the show significantly changed, and it wasn't for the better.