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  #1  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:04 PM
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What long running tv shows did NOT jump the shark?

Still being bitter over what I felt was "Lost"'s horrible end, I'm crossing my fingers that "The Closer" and "Breaking Bad" can avoid shark jumping. Help me here- which long running tv shows, or whatever genre, did not screw their history and/or viewers before the end?
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:09 PM
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If I'm remembering correctly, Magnum P.I. was one of the few shows voted "never jumped" on the old JumpedTheShark site.
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:10 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is online now
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I felt that Stargate SG-1 showed a fairly consistent development throughout its ten-year run, spawning several movies & spinoff series along the way, without any particular feeling of betrayal or insensitivity I normally associate with shark-jumping efforts (except for the publishing company's end-of-credits animation showing a shark on a bicycle which jumps onto an anvil, but I don't think that counts). I haven't watched all of Atlantis or any of Universe, so I don't know how well they stack up in the long run, but if you're looking for a full-run TV series on DVD that remains consistently entertaining through to the end, I nominate SG-1.
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:13 PM
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Seinfeld and Cheers didn't, really, although the final episode of the former was pretty bad.
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:18 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Cheers was the first that popped into my mind as well. It had some lulls during the series but never a terminal decline.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:21 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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60 Minutes?



OK, not the right kind of show. How about The Dick Van Dyke Show? I never felt that had "jumped the shark". I don't know what the JTS site ever said about it.



Did Lassie ever Jump the Shark? I never watched it, but it ran forever. Same with Bonanza.
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:28 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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I don't think Friends did, although they came close in the last season when they toyed with pairing up Joey and Rachel. You know the writers are running out of ideas when they start thinking "Okay, now who hasn't slept with whom yet?"
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:30 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:36 PM
etv78 etv78 is online now
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Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture View Post
I don't think Friends did, although they came close in the last season when they toyed with pairing up Joey and Rachel. You know the writers are running out of ideas when they start thinking "Okay, now who hasn't slept with whom yet?"

Friends
jumped so many times they pulled a groin muscle!
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:44 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Cheers was the first that popped into my mind as well. It had some lulls during the series but never a terminal decline. I was a little young to appreciate MASH but I think it lasted until the end as well.
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:47 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Fraiser ended it's run without going too far off of the rails, although the actual "final episode" (actually 2 separate 1/2 hour "To Be Continued" episodes) was pretty lame.

The King Of Queens (a show I never watched a single second of until it started running in syndication, a few years after it wrapped up on CBS) stayed about the same in quality (mostly mediocre with some really funny episodes occasionally sprinkled in) from what I can tell, although I probably haven't seen each & every single episode.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:48 PM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is online now
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Cheers was the first that popped into my mind as well. It had some lulls during the series but never a terminal decline. I was a little young to appreciate MASH but I think it lasted until the end as well.
I liked MASH, even to the end, but Alan Alda was both the skier jumping the shark and the guy driving the speed boat.
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:48 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Star Trek: TNG progressively unjumped the shark, I believe.
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:49 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Deadwood and The Wire would also have my vote.
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:55 PM
Quercus Quercus is online now
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I think most fans would say that, while there may have been some ups and downs, neither Buffy nor Angel had a significant downturn in quality.

Also, though 'long-running' is perhaps to weak a description, few people are arguing a drop off in Doctor Who, either as a whole or just considering the modern series.
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:02 PM
Ephemera Ephemera is online now
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You think most Buffy fans would say that seasons six and seven weren't terrible? I like them personally, but I know I am in the minority.

Season five of Angel was its best season, though. I'll give you that.
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:07 PM
Daddypants Daddypants is online now
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Dexter?
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:14 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is online now
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Frasier?! Once Niles and Daphne got together, that show was over. I quit watching almost immediately, but I've seen some of the later episodes in reruns, and they are painful to watch.

I remember that the original Jump the Shark website also cited The Odd Couple as a show that avoided the shark.
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  #19  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:15 PM
Tibby or Not Tibby Tibby or Not Tibby is online now
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Happy Days never jumped the shark.
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:19 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Mr Roger's Neighborhood?

Sesame Street? Though that period where Oscar the Grouch was dealing meth was pushing it.
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  #21  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:22 PM
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The Bob Newhart Show - Bob Newhart even actively prevented the writers from adding a baby to the series.
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  #22  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:23 PM
ministryman ministryman is offline
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Originally Posted by Tibby or Not Tibby View Post
Happy Days never jumped the shark.
From Wiki:

The phrase jump the shark comes from a scene in the fifth season premiere episode of the American TV series Happy Days titled "Hollywood: Part 3", written by Fred Fox, Jr.[4] and aired on September 20, 1977. In the episode, the central characters visit Los Angeles, where a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler), answers a challenge to his bravery by wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, and jumping over a confined shark.

Lawyered!
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ministryman View Post
Lawyered!
Whooshed!
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  #24  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:29 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
Frasier?! Once Niles and Daphne got together, that show was over. I quit watching almost immediately, but I've seen some of the later episodes in reruns, and they are painful to watch.
Your opinion is noted and given all of the consideration it so richly deserves.
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  #25  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:35 PM
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Whooshed!
Damn! Game, Set, Match! Well played, sir....
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  #26  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:53 PM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Star Trek: TNG progressively unjumped the shark, I believe.
Grew the Beard, IOW.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
Frasier?! Once Niles and Daphne got together, that show was over. I quit watching almost immediately, but I've seen some of the later episodes in reruns, and they are painful to watch.
I would have quit watching (by the above point) if they had NOT resolved the Daphne/Niles thing satisfactorily, instead of continually toying with the relationship, almost coming clean with it all on several occasions (worst one: when Daphne thought Niles was talking about someone else, and not her, when she eavesdropped on one of his phone conversations-or something, and he all-too-obligingly allowed her to continue thinking so). I guess that would have been an inverse-shark-jumping-by-reasons-of-stagnation-and-disrespecting-your-audience.
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  #27  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:01 PM
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did Twin Peaks, The Prisoner or The X-Files jump the shark?

one could say they didn't because they were so bizarre to start with that more bizarreness is expected. though done at different times where straight or bizarre might fit.

Lynch does bizarre stuff so that would be very much expected from him.
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  #28  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
Dexter?
Well, Dexter jumped, and jumped HARD in season 5, some of the stupidest television ever made. So much so I was extemely disapointed to hear it was renewed. However, I did hear it grew the beard and came back strong in 6.

House was pretty close to jumping when they had to drum up Set of Minions #3, but they saved it and ended well just when I thought they wouldn't. LOL, kind of like every episode, now that I think of it.
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  #29  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:11 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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I am going to submit the idea that a BAD series ending, even a hideous ,dissappointing , they fucked us over! one is not the same as jumping the shark. If anything, I'd say a good ending for a good series is the exception, not the rule.

So, with that in mind. I'd also nominate the recent Battle Star Galactica series.

Grew the Beard. Heh. I like that.

Last edited by billfish678; 07-24-2012 at 02:12 PM..
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  #30  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:18 PM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
Grew the Beard, IOW.
Did you just make that up, or is that a legitimate term for a TV show that starts weak and gets better If it's not, we totally need to start using it as such.

I agree that TNG never jumped the shark. In fact, it's last episode is widely regarded as one of the best, and it's final few seasons some of the best.

I also don't think Seinfeld jumped the shark but it was getting close in the last season. I disagree that the final episode was lame; I rather liked it a lot. The tie-in to the pilot at the end was particularly brilliant.

HIMYM has not yet jumped the shark, and it's been on for many seasons. In fact, in a way, I think it has "grown the beard", the more recent seasons being even better than the first (though I don't think it started off weak).

Futurama hasn't jumped the shark for me, and the newest seasons have had some of my favorite episodes and favorite quotes. They haven't been consistently great, but then, neither was the older stuff. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

South Park hasn't jumped the shark either. In fact, I think this is a very good candidate for a show that grew the beard. The first few seasons were just violent and tried to be as offensive as possible. Then they started being social commentary and it was both hilarious and meaningful.

Last edited by drewtwo99; 07-24-2012 at 02:19 PM..
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  #31  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:27 PM
Rubixcube Rubixcube is offline
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Grew the beard is a real term. It refers to ST:TNG where Riker grew a beard right around the same time the show improved massively.
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  #32  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:28 PM
etv78 etv78 is online now
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"Grew the beard" refers to TNG being bad until Jonathan Frakes literally grew a beard, and the show improved greatly.
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  #33  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:31 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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I think Barney Miller went eight seasons without jumping.

In fact, I even think it grew a beard (or in this case a moustache) in the second season by eliminating the scenes of Barney's home life.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 07-24-2012 at 02:33 PM..
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  #34  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:34 PM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Star Trek: TNG progressively unjumped the shark, I believe.
Agreed - and nice turn of phrase!

My contribution: The Shield! The entire 7 seasons was one long excellently crafted movie. Perfect.

So far Sons of Anarchy is a tremendous distance away from ramps and buoy-cordons.
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  #35  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:34 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is online now
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
I think most fans would say that, while there may have been some ups and downs, neither Buffy nor Angel had a significant downturn in quality.
Season 7 is tolerable (to a point), but Season 6 jumps the shark so hard the shark got brain damage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
did Twin Peaks, The Prisoner or The X-Files jump the shark?
Most people say The X-Files jumped after the movie, but I think it lasted until Mulder was kidnapped. Either way, it definitely jumped.
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  #36  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:37 PM
Push You Down Push You Down is offline
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You think most Buffy fans would say that seasons six and seven weren't terrible? I like them personally, but I know I am in the minority.

Season five of Angel was its best season, though. I'll give you that.

Agree. I think most fans think anything past season 5's finale is shark territory.
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  #37  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:39 PM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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X-Files massively jumped the shark when Duchovny decided he didn't want to do it anymore.

Stargate SG-1, while one of my favorite shows of all time, suffered the same fate when RDA decided the same thing.

It's probably got a trope or something: "One or more main actors leave the show and are replaced, show is cancelled soon after."

Although Stargate made it the furthest after the cast change; it is the longest continually running sci-fi show (Doctor Who technically doesn't count because there were breaks.)
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  #38  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
did Twin Peaks, The Prisoner or The X-Files jump the shark?

one could say they didn't because they were so bizarre to start with that more bizarreness is expected...
There should be a term for a great show with a last WTF? episode. *
We used to gather on Saturday nights in a classroom that could project TV for "The Prisoner", then go out and discuss it to death. Most philosophical give-and-take I've been part of (best pithiness-to-lateness ratio yet). But the last two episodes? [opinion redacted]

Same for Lost. The writers promised they wouldn't come up with magical explanations, but then wrote themselves into too many corners to get out of, and copped out. Ditto for Twin Peaks. Great shows, and with "real" endings would've been looked back on fondly.

Last edited by digs; 07-24-2012 at 02:43 PM.. Reason: * ooh, how about "F***ed The Shark"?
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  #39  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:46 PM
cjepson cjepson is offline
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The Bob Newhart Show - Bob Newhart even actively prevented the writers from adding a baby to the series.
This is what I came in to say. (Although I would not say it of his second series, Newhart.)
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  #40  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:51 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
did Twin Peaks, The Prisoner or The X-Files jump the shark?

one could say they didn't because they were so bizarre to start with that more bizarreness is expected. though done at different times where straight or bizarre might fit.

Lynch does bizarre stuff so that would be very much expected from him.
In my opinion, yes to all of them (and I'd include Lost as well). I feel each of these shows reached a point where they were forced to be weird for the sake of being weird rather than because it fit the ongoing story.

The problem, I think, is that each of them had a structure where some characters were trying impose normality. The established rules of story-telling says the protagonist has to make progress in reaching a goal or you lose the audience - but in these stories you have the problem that if the protagonist made progress towards his goal of imposing normality, then you'd lose the weirdness that was the setting of the show. So the shows we're forced to come up with things like introducing new obstacles or moving the goalposts or revealing hidden layers to keep the weirdness alive while moving the story along. And, in my opinion, none of them were able to do it successfully - in each case, it was an obvious glitch.

In contrast, I feel weirdness can work in a show like The Addams Family or Soap, where the characters embrace the weirdness and there's no goal of trying to impose normality.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 07-24-2012 at 02:53 PM..
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  #41  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:53 PM
Barkis is Willin' Barkis is Willin' is offline
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The Sopranos was voted to have never jumped and I agree. There were some weak episodes and one bad storyline (yes, Johnnycakes), but the overall arc stayed strong throughout.
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  #42  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:54 PM
Malthus Malthus is online now
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How about Breaking Bad? It isn't over yet of course, but as this is the last season, chances of shark-jumping seem remote. Though they could conceivably suffer from "last episode fizzle".
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  #43  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:57 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
There should be a term for a great show with a last WTF? episode. * . . . .
Quote:
* ooh, how about "F***ed The Shark"?
I could agree to that. And The Prisoner is the best and most venerable example of the trope. Although I could also get behind another phrase that was more Prisoner related. I just can't think of one off hand.

Popped the security bubble? Became an irrational number? Launched the rocket of WTF?
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  #44  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:59 PM
Malthus Malthus is online now
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
In my opinion, yes to all of them (and I'd include Lost as well). I feel each of these shows reached a point where they were forced to be weird for the sake of being weird rather than because it fit the ongoing story.

The problem, I think, is that each of them had a structure where some characters were trying impose normality. The established rules of story-telling says the protagonist has to make progress in reaching a goal or you lose the audience - but in these stories you have the problem that if the protagonist made progress towards his goal of imposing normality, then you'd lose the weirdness that was the setting of the show. So the shows we're forced to come up with things like introducing new obstacles or moving the goalposts or revealing hidden layers to keep the weirdness alive while moving the story along. And, in my opinion, none of them were able to do it successfully - in each case, it was an obvious glitch.

In contrast, I feel weirdness can work in a show like The Addams Family or Soap, where the characters embrace the weirdness and there's no goal of trying to impose normality.
Interesting post.

In literature, the best example I can think of for this is the Dark Tower series.

The best counter-examples, that is works filled with wierdness that do *not* end in a 'painted into corner' type fizzle, tend to be cases in which the structure of the narrative itself imposes some sort of pattern on the wierdness (Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveller or Mitchell's Cloud Atlas).
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  #45  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:20 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
did Twin Peaks, The Prisoner or The X-Files jump the shark?
The X-Files jumped no later than when they replaced both leads.
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  #46  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:32 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is online now
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Just Shoot Me ran for seven seasons and I thought it stayed pretty consistent throughout.
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  #47  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:36 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is online now
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Star Trek: TNG progressively unjumped the shark, I believe.
Star Trek TNG Grew a Beard.
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  #48  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:42 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is online now
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Originally Posted by Intergalactic Gladiator View Post
Star Trek TNG Grew a Beard.
Looks like John DiFool beat me to the punch.

Carry on everyone, nothing to see here.
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  #49  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:46 PM
Colaveare Colaveare is offline
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I would recommend then the following Shows:

Babylon 5
I know, I know. The show was slow to start but got progressively better and by the end it had a full grown beard. Eh... I do like that turn of phrase.

Battleship Galactica (2005)

Doctor Who (2005)
Though I am still unsure about current season. 50/50 depending on second part that is restarting soon.
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  #50  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:48 PM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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It may strain the definition of "long running" but The Wire lasted four seasons without jumping.

I think most shows that make it that far start to show their age around season 5 or so. That is usually when the people behind it start moving on to other things and the people that take their place start making short cuts.
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