On Sunday night I turned on the new season of True Blood. Five minutes later I switched off – and decided I was officially finished with the show.

The reason? Even though I really enjoyed season 5 of HBO’s supernatural saga and felt it took the show into new and interesting directions, these first five minutes confirmed for me a suspicion I’d had for a while. A feeling that True Blood had kind of lost its mojo and that it’s now so frantic and frenetic that it’s no longer must see TV for me anymore. Sure I could easily watch the show as a summer guilty pleasure but I also know True Blood probably has several seasons left in it – and frankly I just don’t want to devote that much time to a show I think has past its peak. I’d rather remember the (mostly) great first 5 years of the show and move on.

As I wrote recently, I think Mad Men has also now outstayed its welcome. I’m still watching – albeit on fast forward at times – but I’m really only holding out because the show only has one season left and I feel I’ve come this far so I may as well see how it ends. But make no mistake, Mad Men has definitely lost its way over the last year or two.

On a trashy note, I started to watch America’s Got Talent this year and again turned off midway through episode one. It’s not that Talent has gotten better – or worse – this year. It’s just that it’s run long enough for me now. I know exactly what to expect from the show – the heavy handed backstories / emotional journeys, the child prodigies, the America’s Best Dance Crew style acts… the format is well worn, the ‘moments’ now too familiar.


 So instead this summer I’m playing catch up on Scandal – undoubtedly one of the most buzzed about series of the last year – and I can already see why. And I’m excited for new shows like Under The Dome and Devious Maids. Obviously a new show is always going to feel fresher than an existing show – but I’m curious at what point an old show starts to feel tired.

Personally I like shows to have a ‘master-plan’. I like to feel series know where they’re going and that the producers pulling the strings aren’t just making it up week by week. With True Blood the first few years all had an overarching theme. Each season was about ‘witches’ or ‘werewolves’ or memorably ‘Maryanne’. But this new series was the first season I felt didn’t have that structure. Even the show’s ads couldn’t really settle on a theme. There’s way too much going on (as always) and everyone has a power of some sort. So for me the show no longer knows where it’s going…

The reason Revenge had such a shocking second season was again because it felt like it was being written on the fly. Only in the final weeks did the series once again coalesce. But the first half of the season was a creative mess. No wonder the series’ creator and showrunner Mike Kelley was forced out by ABC. They knew he’d lost control.

Obviously shows like Lost and Game of Thrones have a definite game plan in mind. But not every series has to be working towards a definite end point. My all time favorite show, 24, didn’t have an end goal in mind from the start. But 24 featured a different adventure each season, which made it feel fresh. When the show struggled was when you could feel the writers trying to pad out the season – but even these wobbles were minor as the show’s structure helped keep it fresh. The same goes for American Horror Story which has real long term potential since it refreshes its cast and premise each season.

Comedies are a little different and have the tendency to run longer. Partly they’re helped by their half hour running times. They’re also more about the moment. On Modern Family you care about the next gag, not what Phil and Clare will be doing in three episodes time. As long as the writing stays strong on a comedy, the cast don’t depart and the show doesn’t make any insane Roseanne-like leaps, a sitcom can run and run.

But what about you? What shows do you think exhausted their welcome – and why? Is there any current show you’re now watching that you’re close to bailing on? And which series has the most long term potential at the moment? Comment away…