We love a good TV show, we have our one or more shows that we stick by no matter what but there’s also that sense that that one show should come to a close when it’s been on for way too long and then you have people complain when a show ends too soon at only three to four years into the run, so, really, when is the right time for a series to end its’ run?
There’s honestly no real right answer for this question solely because it all depends on how the series is setting itself up for and/or how long they can keep making quality stories and episodes to tell.
For one thing, a good TV series knows when it’s time to call it quits even if it’s a popular series. Gravity Falls ended its’ short two season run last February because the creator of the series, Alex Hirsch, called for the series to end itself and it ended on the best possible note it could end it on, ending with all the main stories wrapped up and a satisfying conclusion to the main storyline and while it would’ve been great for the series to continue after just two years, Gravity Falls knew when to call it quits.
You also have those shows that get cancelled before they even finish the storyline, shows like Sonic The Hedgehog, which ran for two seasons in the mid 90s and set itself up for the next season while wrapping up a major plot from the first two years but because Saturday morning cartoons were changing the format by 1995, a lot of animated shows got cancelled at the time. A lot of animated shows fall into this category mainly Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network shows solely because many of them had an mandated order of 65 episodes so they can have a 13 week rotation of shows to air, once you get 65 episodes, that’s it, your show is done even if you don’t wrap up the story.
Then, there’s those shows that just keep going until the network says “we’re done”, long running shows like Law & Order, ER, CSI, NYPD Blue, King Of The Hill just these shows that keep going long after their popularity peaked but still are in production solely because you can still make money off of new episodes produced as well as syndication money too and then that moment comes when they say, “yeah, we’ve got enough, cancel it.”
There are also those long running shows that kept going and still remained popular, Cheers, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, Dallas, Frasier, Smallville, Friends, and they ended on their own terms with long runs and still held on to become popular to have large audiences show up for the final episode of the series in record numbers to say goodbye one last time to their favorite characters they’ve come to love. Today, you have long running stuff like a ton of late night talk shows, The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, and many more.
Then you had those shows that think they have an ending gameplan and the final episode ends up being one of the most massive disappointments ever. Shows like Seinfeld, Dexter, Entourage, The Sopranos, The Boondocks, How I Met Your Mother all came to an end with loyal fanbases that got screwed out of really good endings and instead you get endings to shows where the writers have literally nothing to work with and they end on the worst note possible to the point where you wonder why the hell do you even bother to end the show if you can’t end it right?
So, the question is when should a good TV series end its’ run? The answer, it should end when the people behind the show know that it’s time to call it quits, if you can’t figure out how to write good storylines anymore, if you can’t figure out how to keep these characters likeable again, if you have nothing else to work with and you’re just working on the same show over and over because you can’t make anything new, it’s time to call it quits, wrap it up on the best possible note you can and don’t be afraid to end a show when you have a perfect way to wrap it up. End it on top instead of going out like dust in the wind.
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