Top 10 Shows That Jumped the Shark

Script written by Aaron Cameron. Don’t you just hate it when your favorite shows get really, really lame? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 shows that jumped the shark. For this list, we’ll be focusing on previously well-loved TV shows that were ruined thanks to a ridiculous or out-of-character moment. We’ve disqualified shows that overstayed their welcomes or lost quality over time. Special thanks to our users sarahjessicaparkerth, Abe Blodgett, Austin Devine, Moses Delira, Sara Jason, David Whisenhunt, Nathaniel Hyman, DIMA1994, millsgreenblatt, Yolanda Brown, JakeMaringoni, Andrew A. Dennison, nait08, Meg Deeter, Tracy DuChien Jr., coolguy700able and NetGallery for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Top 10 Shows That Jumped the Shark


Don’t you just hate it when your favorite shows get really, really lame? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 shows that jumped the shark.

For this list, we’ll be focusing on previously well-loved TV shows that were ruined thanks to a ridiculous or out-of-character moment. We’ve disqualified shows that overstayed their welcomes or lost quality over time.

#10: Lois & Clark Hook Up
“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (1993-97)

When a show banks on the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic, does anybody keep watching once they get together? The writers of this show tried everything to keep Supes and his intrepid lady reporter friend apart: from long-dormant Nazis to ancient curses. But the series’ kryptonite was definitely when Clark finally married Lois – or at least what he thought was Lois. She was actually a frog-eating clone who was trying to kill the President. Great shades of Elvis…

#9: Marissa Shoots Trey
“The O.C.” (2003-07)

In the finale of an already dismal second season, sad little rich girl Marissa finds her would-be rapist Trey duking it out with his brother. Seeing no alternative, she shoots Trey to save Ryan – as you do. Though he doesn’t die, Marissa’s expelled from school the next season – that’ll teach her. While this certainly shook things up in “The O.C.,” the ratings barely picked up – even when they killed off Marissa altogether. The show ended after season-4.

#8: His Name Isn’t Michael Vaughn
“Alias” (2001-06)

Wanting to mix things up a little, the writers of this spy thriller threw some peppers into the gumbo and revealed that Shotgun wasn’t who he said he was. But when the artist formerly known as Vaughn begins to explain the significance of all this, he is interrupted by a car crash, then credits. Although this revelation was meant to fuel new storylines, “Alias” ended with an abbreviated fifth and final season.

#7: The Great Gazoo
“The Flintstones” (1960-66)

Cause, y’know, aliens, cavemen, that whole connection. This pointless addition to “The Flintstones”’ final season appeared in 11 episodes, although no one’s sure why. Only seen by Fred, Barney, and the children of the series, this pompous, pint-sized spaceman was banished to prehistoric earth. With him he brought a storyline about trying to return to his home planet; an arc that was not resolved before the show’s cancellation.

#6: Cousin Oliver
“The Brady Bunch” (1969-74)

Not many TV characters are so useless they get an entire trope named after them. The namesake of “Cousin Oliver Syndrome,” this 8-year-old jinx was brought into “The Brady Bunch” to add some youth to the cast in the series’ fifth season. But, when he tainted the final six episodes of the series, most viewers wished this mini-John Denver would leave on a jet plane, bus, or the back of a stray dog and not come back again.

#5: Season 2 and Beyond
“Heroes” (2006-10)

This show had a fantastic superhero premise, but lost all momentum in season-2 when Peter, the most important and powerful character, suddenly got amnesia after he spent the exciting first season discovering his abilities. This, of course, came after that whole “save the cheerleader, save the world” plot didn’t really go anywhere. All “Heroes” did after that was pile on more and more characters, rehash storyline after storyline, and drift into cheesy soap-opera territory.

#4: Time Travel
“Lost” (2004-10)

This series started off with a bang – or a crash – and had viewers rabid to discover the secrets of the mystifying island. But it didn’t take long for things to unravel – with a little help from a writer’s strike. Whether or not you’re down with polar bears and smoke monsters, the show’s increasing overuse of time-travel and flash-sideways in later seasons was a red flag. With two different storylines in two different time periods, the series was confusing to casual viewers. Add erratic time jumps to one of those plots and, well, you’re lost.

#3: Winning the Lottery
“Roseanne” (1988-97)

The final season of this blue-collar comedy begins with the titular comedienne striking it rich in the lottery to the tune of $108-million. And this storyline completely changed the nature of the show: out were the everyday struggles of the average American family, and in were visits from tabloid journalists, First Ladies, and Princes. Spoiler alert: in the finale, they revealed the entire show was made up and Dan was dead. Bummer.

#2: It Was All a Dream
“Dallas” (1978-91)

An overhaul of the creative team at the end of season-8 coincided with one of the show’s popular characters, Bobby Ewing, being killed off. The next year did so poorly, Patrick Duffy was convinced to reprise his role in a season-9 finale shocker. When confused fans tuned into the season-10 premiere, they learned that the entire previous season had been a dream. That’s right: the whole season. That’s a lotta hours of your life you’re not getting back.

Before we launch our top pick to the sharks, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Two and a Half Men” (2003-)
- “Sliders” (1995-2000)
- “Family Guy” (1999-)
- “That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006)

#1: Fonzie Jumps the Shark
“Happy Days” (1974-84)

The top spot has to go to the show that spawned the entire trope. Set in the third part of an already questionable Hollywood arc, this episode is cited as the moment “Happy Days”’ quality began to slip. Eager to impress his fans, the Fonz straps on a pair of water-skis and literally – yes, literally – jumps over a shark, inspiring the phrase of the day.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite – or least favorite – jumping the shark moment? For more trope-ridden Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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