Challenge: Shows that Deserved More than Four Seasons

Doctor Who (new who, specifically). Having entirely different doctors, companions, show runners, etc kept things fresh. Had they only done four seasons I would have missed out on so many good seasons and episodes.

Stargate. I'm pretty sure Anubis isn't even introduced until season 4 or 5. Before that Apophis is the big bad. According to IMDB the highest rated episode was the season 7 finale and the show regularly had episode scores in the mid 7s to low 8s.

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I am generally of a mind that a good story has a good beginning, middle, and end. Trying to create a show that lasts forever eventually leads to bad storytelling (The Walking Dead probably being the biggest example. I thought the last season pretty good, but the seasons before that were...of mixed quality).
For a show that had one of the best pilot episodes ever, you're not kidding. TWD hit a snag when the producers decided to get rid of the showrunner Frank Darabont in 2011 over disagreement on where the series should go. AMC wanted the series to be 20% cheaper but wanted twice as many episodes and Darabont disagreed so they fired him. If you want to now why the 2nd season consisted of them sitting around a barn talking about their feelings, well, there you go. Darabont ended up suing, and in 2021 both he and the agency representing him got AMC to a gree to a $200,000,000 settlement. It just seems so odd that AMC was gung-ho about the budget back in 2011 when it was such a popular and well liked show, but there you go.

I think the quality of TWD would have been much more even Darabont on the wheel. But the show certainly went on too long. When Lincoln left they should have just ended it there. But it expecially didn't make sense later in the series when Michonne abandons her two children to go look for Rick.


She Ra and the Princesses of Power - Yeah, this is a kid's cartoon. However, this show is super-tight in its scripting. There are no wasted episodes, all the characters develop. It has a beginning, middle, and a good end, and it needed that time to get where it was going, and it was a worthy destination.
It's amazing to me how much better cartoons are today than they were when I was a child in the 80s. But in the 90s we got some quality kid's cartoons like Batman the Animated Series. So, yeah, kid's cartoons can be good.

Lots of good examples of longer shows so far. Here are a few I haven't seen mentioned yet:

The Ed Sullivan Show


Law and Order


Brooklyn 99

Sesame Street

Mister Rogers


The Price Is Right


Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Robot Chicken


Lupin the 3rd



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Front Range Warlock
Banacek deserved at least four seasons (it got two most excellent seasons). Peppard was at his peak as the titular Thomas Banacek, refined man of action and insurance investigator cracking "impossible" crimes, Ralph Manza's Jay Drury was a great comic relief character, and series regular Christine Belford was a strong leading lady and foil for Banacek. The writing was top notch and the mysteries were both believable and genuinely hard to crack (most required watching to the end of the episode for the denouement). Indeed, the series was slated for further seasons and the only reason it didn't get them was because Peppard would rather it fail than allow his ex-wife Elizabeth Ashley to claim any residuals for further seasons (Peppard declined to sign a contract for further seasons).

For shows that overstayed their welcome, add Jonathan Creek to the list. The first three series were incredible, series four was a bit more shaky, and series five was absolutely horrid, having almost completely departed from the formula that made the show popular in the first place (Adam Klaus disappeared, Creek was no longer working in the stage magic industry, and instead of an unmarried companion, he now had a wife). The mysteries also got less clever in the final series and felt... off... compared to those of the earlier series.
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However, soap operas exist on a scale beyond almost anything else. Days of Our Lives and General Hospital are, what, approaching season 60? Generations have come and gone within their span of storytelling.
Do soap operas even have seasons? British ones are on continuously.

To use Emmerdale as an example, it started in 1972 and so far has had 9,617 episodes (which works out at over 3 per week). Days of Our Lives (which I've never seen) apparently started in 1965 and has had over 14,000 episodes.

I don't know whether Dark Matter deserved more than 4 seasons, but cancelling it after season 3 - which ended on a massive cliffhanger - was less than ideal.

Numbers went on for 6 seasons, but we got fed up with it around season 4. I don't know if that was because seasons 5 and 6 weren't as interesting, or whether the premise itself couldn't sustain 6 seasons.

Blackadder could easily have managed a few more seasons (although since each season was only 6 episodes, as usual for BBC comedies, maybe it doesn't count?) I don't know if they felt the dramatic ending to season 4 couldn't be bettered, or if they couldn't think of a time period after WW1 that interested them (or any time period, if they were okay with going back in time). Or maybe they'd had enough and wanted to do other things?

Seinfeld and after Curb Your Enthusiasm both suffered the same fate. An excellent start that slid into fan service caricature territory. The latter half of their runs might have a few gem episodes, but overall they don't do anything for the series as a whole.

For Cheers, see comment above, and comment below.
This is so left field for me. First time I've come across this type of criticism levelled at Seinfeld and Cheers (I have not yet delved into CYE). I'm curious, do you have the same opinion on Frasier?

Blackadder could easily have managed a few more seasons (although since each season was only 6 episodes, as usual for BBC comedies, maybe it doesn't count?) I don't know if they felt the dramatic ending to season 4 couldn't be bettered, or if they couldn't think of a time period after WW1 that interested them (or any time period, if they were okay with going back in time). Or maybe they'd had enough and wanted to do other things?
I'm of the same feeling that the ending of s4 could not have been bettered. They did have a couple of one-offs.
The Crusades, The Xmas Special and maybe one or two others which I may be forgetting.
The Xmas Special dealt with current times and a futuristic scene.


Hustle had a couple of weaker seasons, around 3 and 4, if I'm not mistaken, but overall it stayed strong right until the end of season 8. Death In Paradise has been good for, what, twelve seasons now?


Are we talking US Seasons (22 Episodes around 45 minutes) of UK/Netflix Seasons (6-10 one hour episodes).

Because most shows don't even deserve four US Seasons, IMHO. I think four UK seasons is normally okay to tell most stories.

I'm focusing of shows that tell stories, as I don't think the OP was thinking about comedy panel shows or quizzes. I'm also more interested in fantasy shows which inspire RPGs than various cop/hospital/school dramas based on real life.

Generally shows that are showing episodic rather than serials telling a major story over a season, tend to run longer. Episodic stuff normally features on the characters with how they react to different short story events each week. Serials are more focused on the story arch which can normally wrapped up over a few seasons, the characters develop but serve the story once the story is over and the characters have changed there often isn't a reason to follow them anymore. In episodic stuff the characters rarely change, they stick with their archetype so you can keep putting in them in different situations, and short stories, if people like (or even hate so long as they want to watch them) the characters they just keep going and going.

There are plenty of shows that seem to combine the two with generally episodic nature but with a season spanning plot now. They are still basically episodic in nature so the character don't change significantly.

Soaps, hospital and cop drama's run and run as the writers have plenty of source material with it being based on real life. Fantasy stuff like Buffy, Star Trek, etc. have a harder time for the writers to come up with stuff original and engaging, so can go stale after a few seasons. These fantasy dramas are also the ones that tend to blend the serial with episodic nature, so once they have done the serial plot they seem to reach a logical conclusion. Battlestar Gallactica for example, the crew had an overall goal, once the Cylon problem was resolved story was going to be over and how long can you drag that story out before people get bored of waiting for a resolution.

Doctor Who is an odd one it can refresh itself by changing the cast/writers/directors regularly, and has the whole of time and space to play in, while there are bad episodes and even bad seasons, the show can always find new content. There are over arching stories but they tend to end with the regeneration of the Doctor, and kicks of a new story arch with a whole new cast. This has given it legs other fantasy dramas don't seem to have, the exception being Star Trek. Star Trek is pretty much a workplace soap but set in future and space, so it can stay fresh changing the background to a whole new planet each week.

I would have liked to see The Expanse continue as it still has barely touched on what's on the planets on the far side of the gate, but I think that changed the nature of the show as well as it became less about the Mars/Belter/Earth dynamic.

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