Series that Went on Too Long

 By Shamus Jun 21, 2012 563 comments

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In an attempt to placate your ravenous appetite for content, allow me to kick off a discussion. In the previous post on Homestar Runner, Mr Guy says:

So, at risk of starting The Thread With No Bottom, let’s consider the flip side. I believe Shamus’ premise is that HSR went out at the right time – before it got stale or beat itself into the ground. What are other similar endeavors that chose the other path – went on way longer than they should have, and suffered for it?

Good question. I’ll start us off with a few:

  1. Family Ties – The political dimension of the sitcom was completely lost on me as a teenager, and I suspect it’s what’s prevented a real revival of interest in the show. Nothing goes stale quite like topical political humor. At any rate, even as a family comedy I think the show ran out of steam several seasons before they stopped making episodes. Even as a teenager with… unrefined tastes, I sort of realized I was watching a sitcom that no longer made me laugh. I was tuning in mostly out of habit and affection for the characters.

  2. Sopranos – I misunderstood Sopranos while I was watching it. What I wanted was a really long mini-series, a long-running story with a beginning and an end. But it was, at its heart, a soap opera. Like all soap operas, the writers had no plan and no sense of direction. Plots and sub-plots ran in circles, dropped off without explanation, or ended in contrivances. I lost interest because of the lack of coherence and direction, and I always thought the show would have been better with a smaller, tighter, more focused run. That said, it’s supposedly the most successful show in the history of TV, so I guess it worked for someone.
  3. Alien and Terminator – I list these together because both franchises followed the same trajectory. It begins with a really tense, personal sci-fi horror / thriller. Then James Cameron comes along and makes a spectacular, quotable, smarter-than-average blockbuster action movie out of the material. It’s good, but this tonal shift makes it really, really hard to go back to making thrillers. After this the series is fed into the sequel meat-grinder where the continuity and lore are over-extended and the whole thing turns into tired action schlock.
  4. Resident Evil – Capcom is pretty much the poster child for horrible videogame writing. Their Resident Evil lore is so convoluted and goofy that it’s agonizing to sit through the cutscenes, which are frequent, superfluous, mood-breaking, horribly acted, and overly verbose. We could pardon this if we could excuse the story as just as an excuse to shoot zombies, but the gameplay itself changes with almost every iteration. They re-invent the gameplay we supposedly like and then retain this stupid and needless lore that we could do without.

    The common excuse is that it’s satire, but it doesn’t feel like satire. Satire should have something to say about the material being satirized. At the bare minimum it should have a punchline beyond, “Hey, is this material dumb, or what?” Resident Evil isn’t making fun of the old idiotic B-movie zombie stories. It IS an idiotic B-movie zombie story.

    While we’re talking about the series, it’s worth pointing out the Errant Signal Episode (with special guest: Somebody else I’ve never heard of) on Resident Evil.


Link (YouTube)

I’d nominate Sonic as well, but I’ve seriously never played a single minute of Sonic in my life and I’d just be repeating what others have said about the series. I’ll leave the criticism to the fans who know what they’re talking about.

So your turn: What series went on too long? TV, Movies, Books, games, whatever. Let’s hear it.

FIVE HUNDRED!2020203563. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a ridiculous number.


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  1. Naota says:

    Though this may just be my opinion (though given how I usually go easy on things like this I doubt it), I’d say Dexter is almost definitively in that place where it’s gone on too long, explored every avenue of the setting and characters’ dramatic potential, and worn the same jokes/situations/tropes down to the bedrock.

    Where in past years I might celebrate the announcement of a new season, now I wince and cringe at the very idea. The performance is not only dead from exhaustion – its corpse has been reanimated into a sad, shuffling mimickery of its past glory and bygone triumphs. It will go out not with a bang, but a rattling wheeze.

    • Harry says:

      A lot of people hated Season 5, but I actually thought it was the third-best season of the show as a whole.

      Season 6 was utter drek, however.

      For me, Dexter’s had a weird trajectory – starting out brilliantly, then going rapidly downhill in the next two series, then spiking again into semi-greatness with seasons 4 and 5. Then there’s a drop akin to the Mariana Trench, at the bottom of which wallows Season 6.

      Yeah… I dislike Season 6.

      • swimon1 says:

        I agree with the rough outline of that quality curve but would rather say: season 1 was great but I actually liked season 2 the most. Then the whole thing collapsed in season 3 (I have a great idea lets redo the plot of season 1 but with worse characters and a shit ending). Season 4 was a return to form, a season worthy of the first two. After that the series has plummeted like a rock for me. Agree to disagree on season 5 I guess I just didn’t care for what it did with the main character (the character arc is him becoming who he was in season 4 it just felt like a pointless loop) and the way it abandoned the main thread of the series (can a serial killer psychopath be a good father) by just dumping the family like they never existed.

        • Jeremy says:

          I am largely in agreement with this as well. In the first two seasons we had characters progressing rather naturally, and the Miami Metro PD acted, for the most part, like a rational police force. Dexter was a fascinating character to watch, Deb never failed to amuse etc. Everyone had a good role, and characters like the Ice Truck Killer and Frank Lundy are memorable (the first as my personal favorite, the second as the most pragmatic, intelligent character in the show’s history).

          Then along comes Season 3 (which I didn’t actually mind all that much) which explored questions about Dexter’s hobbies with a partner: a new aspect, which admittedly could have been handled better. I did like the performances of Jimmy Smits, though. The main problem I had with Season 3 was the way everything wrapped up too neatly re: the Skinner + Rita’s wedding.

          Season 4, while epic in many ways, stuck Dexter with the idiot ball. I mean, that rooftop scene. REALLY, Dexter? You’re really not going to let Trinity just go ahead and take that last step? I understand the whole thing with the Dark Passenger being satisfied only with an up close and personal murder, but that is a pretty thin justification. There are plenty of other killers and predators out there. Since the season was obviously built around Dexter vs. Trinity, that whole scene (and there were others) felt really contrived. Great acting all-around, though, and what an ending!

          Season 5 rehashed the question of whether or not Dexter can kill with someone else. It wasn’t as original (the overt symbolic comparisons between best friend in Seasons 3 and 5 aside). It introduced sub-plots within Miami Homicide that ultimately wasted viewer time because they went nowhere. I also did not like the fact that there was very little development into the villains, besides a hazy summer camp back-story. However, I felt that the overall plot arc was necessary after Season 4 to set up the show for further seasons.

          Season 6… just sort of disappointed me all across the board. The villain (while not underdeveloped) was massively inconsistent and transparent. How many people figured out the big twist halfway through the second or third episode? Moreover, it didn’t introduce anything new as a season, and handed the Idiot Ball right back to Dexter. He takes many of the same stupid risks he took in Season 4. And then there was the infamous sub-plot with Deb that I am hoping to forget for a while.

          I am actually eagerly awaiting the continuation of Dexter, though. Firstly, we already have some nice plot threads leading into Season 7. Moreover, Seasons 7 & 8 have been/are being written at the same time, so expect a lot more coherency between them. Thirdly and finally, these will be the last two seasons. Showtime has gone on record for this one: there will be a Grand Finale, so expect the show to go out with a bang.

          I think 5 would have been the optimal number of seasons for Dexter, but I can see some shows needing more than that. It depends of genre of the series in question. Shows like Smallville that ended at 10 seasons were a bit long for me, especially when they have twenty four 45 minute episodes (~1080 minutes), versus Dexter’s twelve 55 minute ones (~660). Compare both of these to shows like Sherlock, where British Brevity comes into play and it’s like watching a mini-movie series instead of a TV show (with three 90 minute episodes, capping off at 270 minutes per season). I think, for straight drama on television, that is my personal threshold.

          I might watch that show just a bit too much (and troll the TV Tropes pages for it).

          • I’ve enjoyed each season of Dexter. They all have one overarching theme about Dexter’s life. He’s basically becoming a human being again: First dealing with sibling rivalry and family in the first season, then adolescent outbursts and addiction and love in the second, then friendship in the third, then being a family man in the fourth, then losing a loved one and moving on in the fifth, and religion in the sixth.

    • karln says:

      At least we finally got the plot development we’ve been waiting about four years for, at the end of season 6. Might make 7 more interesting.

      For the record: 2 and 4 awesome, 1 pretty cool, 3 and 6 meh whatever, 5 an unspeakable travesty.

      • Nick says:

        I liked all the seasons, some more than others of course, but then again I’m not average in TV watching preferences. I also think I’m a little psychopathic, so I can relate to the character.

        Season 7 though, as mentioned, will hopefully be a big story arc.

  2. Primogenitor says:

    Most TV series that thought they were not being renewed, and then were at the last minute. The last season of Babylon 5 and Dark Angel spring to mind.

    Star Wars. There should only be 3 movies.

    In books, the Belgariad and The Malloreon. That could really have been tied up at 5 books, not stretched to 10.

    • Phill says:

      Star Wars: there *were* only 3 movies…

      • sab says:

        Too bad they never made any Matrix sequels (obligatory xkcd link here).

        • MrPyro says:

          And no Highlander sequels either.

        • asterismW says:

          Some Pirates of the Caribbean sequels could have been fun, but I’m glad they stopped at one.

          • Hitch says:

            Pirates of the Caribbean might have been a better series of movies if they hadn’t done traditional sequels. I think a better choice would have been to ditch the cast and tell a whole new pirate story in each installment. And since they might have wanted more of a common thread and he was so popular, maybe have Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow keep showing up as a cliche, overly-flamboyant, pirate stereotype only tangentially connected to the main story.

            They took a step in that direction with the last movie, but not far enough. There were to many returning characters, Sparrow was still front and center, and it had some of the worst movie storytelling that I’ve ever seen. In that they told the story rather than showing it. Nearly every major plot point happened off screen and the characters told you about it, rather than having it happen in front of the cameras.

            (So, yeah, this has little to do with the topic. I just had a pent up PotC rant inside me that was triggered by the mention here.)

            • John The Savage says:

              I completely disagree. I loved the pirates sequels (before stranger tides, anyways). They have a kind of storytelling that is rarely seen in movies: large-scale, complex stories with multiple elegant, tightly interwoven plot lines. The example I love giving people is how at the climax of At Worlds End, Davy jones stabs Will with the sword that Will himself made at the start of Black Pearl. You see this kind of story in theatre and opera (the Viennese court in particular ate this stuff up), but not very often in film. Plus the last 30 minutes of Worlds End was awesome in a can. Seriously, I was working at a movie theatre that summer, and I must have seen that last half hour at least twenty times. Stranger Tides was was where the series overstayed its welcome, though.

              • They borrowed the title and maybe originally intended to borrow a plot element or two, from the book “On Stranger Tides” by Tim Powers. From all I’ve heard, they would have been much better off just actually making a movie of that book, which is awesome.

      • Thomas says:

        I think there was a pretty important story to tell about the rise of the empire and fall of Anakin Skywalker. More importantly, I think the franchise as a whole would have been lessened if we never saw Coruscant or the Jedi at their peak, as a strong prevalent body, with this big exciting universe contrasting Luke’s backwaters. And the story of the Clonetroopers was good too. If the originals brought depth, the prequels brought scope and both were necessary to create the best universe to explore

        Without it, KotoR 1,2, Star Wars Battlefield etc wouldn’t exist and that would be a shame.

        The problem of course is their was a demographic shift and the story wasn’t told particularly well, but still, you can ignore the films and still benefit from the things they did bring to the world. Luckily for me, I was in the right age group when watching the prequels and hadn’t seen the originals and so I actually ended up enjoying both. The music in the prequels was kick-ass and the fight/relationship between Skywalker and Kenobi is still probably one of the most fun action scenes I’ve ever seen. I even found a lot of pathos in seeing the Jedi gunned down

        EDIT: I like to think that the system realised a fairly positive comment about the prequels was flame war worthy enough to put into moderation

        • Halceon says:

          I’ll agree that prequels were a good idea, it’s just that any good idea can be thoroughly devastated by shitty work. So, yeah, I’m excited that SW is finally getting prequels http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/9071548491/another-little-sneak-peak-of-my-star-wars-1999, even if not in movie form.

          • Volfram says:

            This, effectively. The story I heard would be told in the prequel trilogy was not the story that was told in the prequel trilogy.

            Also, having Yoda show up in all 3 movies completely ruins his mystery in Empire Strikes Back. To preserve the effect in that movie as it should have been, he should have been The Ghost throughout the prequels.

            The scariest thing about Jake Lloyd in Phantom Menace, I think, is that if you watch the auditions, he was the BEST applicant they had.

            Still better than his replacement, though.

            • Thomas says:

              I mean there’s only so far I will go with this. I just don’t feel the hurt that other people feel, it’s not that I don’t care for Star Wars, I love Star Wars and will argue it’s superiority over Star Trek everyday, I just genuinely enjoyed the prequels, and now I’m older I’ll happily go and watch them for enjoyment still.

          • ? says:

            Ugh, that Mandalorian in what I assume is main cast contradicts the main premise of the thing in my opinion. Focusing on a group whose entire contribution to original trilogy was ‘Boba Fett wears their armour’ reeks of Karen Traviss and her atrocities.
            Am I the only one that liked Boba because he was unique among Empire’s henchmen and showed some character in confrontations with Vader? His armour was cool only as long as it was rare. When I was a kid, all of his backstory I knew came from Essential Guide to Characters. There collecting complete set of Mandalorian armour was described as complicated and expensive endeavour, and the fact that there was other bounty hunter in that armour who sometimes posed as Boba was somehow a big deal for his business. I have read a short story where Thrawn owning a set was a big twist at the end. And now everyone in galaxy seems to be able to get one from Mando-Mart. Boba Fett is considered cool because he is Mandalorian, not because he is a badass who looks Vader in the visors when questioning his plan and happens to be wearing Mandalorian armour at the time.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with someone making an alternative prequel fanfic. I’m just sceptical if it would be better than actual prequels.

        • karthik says:

          KOTOR 1 & 2 were based on an existing series of graphic novels/comics about the Old Republic and had nothing to do with the prequels. They’re set a few thousand years before the movies, anyway.

          • Thomas says:

            Yeah but it all interconnects. There is so much stuff in those games which is clearly a reflection of things which were in the prequels. And the whole large world busy atmosphere

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          There very much is a (back)story to tell with regard to the fall of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire. However, that story probably should have been fleshed out a lot more by Lucas in his 30′s and created by a director with a budget deserved by a cool, hip and somewhat out there director in his early 40s, instead of a man looking toward grandchildren, retirement, and his immortal legacy. Those two directors make very different films. Particularly in that the later one seems to have a driving need to show everything he’s ever thought of on film, to the point of going back and retooling the prior works to put back in things that seemed to have been cut for good and sufficient reason. The Phantom Menace is almost more of a travelogue and touring film than it is actual story, and there’s an effort to turn every single quirk that was in the 1970s and 80s films into some kind of lasting and honorable tradition or culture, which only ends up kind of wringing the juice out of the characters from back then and taking them from being interesting individuals into being A Stereotype For One’s People.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Just like Indiana Jones and I’m glad both stayed that way.

        • Volfram says:

          Raiders, Crusade, and Crystal Skull, right?

          (Crystal Skull may not have lived up to its true potential and gotten hit with Lucas’s special effects obsession, but at least it didn’t have some mindless blonde city girl whining the whole way through!)

          • Michael says:

            I’ll second that. Temple of Doom is a terrible film.

            • ps238principal says:

              It’s terrible in that it doesn’t have the same Judeo-Christian mythology of Raiders and Crusade, so it’s not like a ton of the audience members have a lot of familiarity with the subject matter, but it was still about magic which was (1) fun and (2) not about friggin’ aliens. It was my least favorite of the trilogy, but it somehow managed to be the most like the old black-and-white serials it was trying to pay homage to.

          • Gravebound says:

            …at least it didn’t have some mindless blonde city girl whining the whole way…

            I will take that over Shia every day of the week.

            (Oddly enough, I actually thought he was okay in Even Stevens. I guess they had someone to put a stop to his mumbley, stuttery, gibbering performance that typifies every role since.)

      • MatthewH says:

        I thought my version of the Prequels was better, but that was probably the case with everyone, even if the movies had been Oscar-worthy. My break with the Franchise came at the end of the New Jedi Order books. At that point, I reached the “I no longer care what happens to any of these characters” moment and stopped reading. I grandfathered Timothy Zahn, but otherwise I don’t read anything that came after the Hand of Thrawn.

    • Trevel says:

      13. There were three more books, at least, to retell the same stories from other perspectives.

      I, personally, was disappointed he cut the series short before writing The Events Involved In Saving The World As Told By A Small Pebble Caught In Belgarath’s Shoe.

      • Dwip says:

        Per the rest of this subthread, it’s a good thing Eddings never wrote anything beyond the relatively well-paced, amusing, didn’t-overstay-their-welcome Elenium and Tamuli. A really, really good thing.

        • False Prophecy says:

          I kind of wish he had stopped halfway through the second book of the Elenium. I thought the first book was the greatest thing Eddings ever wrote, but the third book was the worst thing he ever wrote.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I need to read the Elenium and Tamuli, I’m a big fan of the Garion books… I just can’t get enough of Silk, Belgarath, and all the other amazing snarkers in that serious. Plus I’m a sucker for troperrific works.

            • Phineas Rhine says:

              My experiences being exposed to David Eddings:

              The Belgariad, what’s that about?
              Well, it’s about someone who has to travel the world to find a magic rock that will save the world from The Prime Evil.
              Neat!

              The Mallorean, what’s that about?
              It turns out the Prime Evil wasn’t all that prime. Now the guy has to find the same magic rock and save the world from the Real Prime Evil.
              Okay, I’ll give it a shot, but really?

              The Elenium, this isn’t another sequel, is it?
              No, totally different universe, totally different characters.
              Awesome, I’m in. What’s it about?
              Well, it’s about someone who has to travel the world to find a magic rock that will save the world from The Prime Evil.
              O-… okay, wait just a minute. Honestly?

              The Tamuli. What’s it about.
              It turns out the Prime Evil wasn’t all that prime. Now the guy has to find the same magic rock and save the world from the Real Pri-
              Don’t. Just… don’t. We’re done here.

      • Joshua says:

        Never read that, but sounds like Crossroads of Twilight from The Wheel of Time. Basically the entire 10th book is a “Where were you when x event happened?” when x event was from the 9th book. 99.99% is spent not moving the plot forward at all.

        I guess that’s why it currently has 2/5 stars on Amazon.

        • MrPyro says:

          Crossroads of Twilight was why I stopped reading them as they came out and decided I was going to wait until the series was done before picking them up again.

          • MelTorefas says:

            Good plan, because Brandon Sanderson made the next two books SO GOOD that waiting for the last one to come out is actually painful. Partly because of anticipation, partly because I am forgetting the plot and the idea of working my way through the first 10 books again makes me want to weep. Thankfully, there’s a wiki.

            (EDIT: Oh, and Crossroads of Twilight is where I stopped reading too, the first time around.)

            • Syal says:

              Was Knife of Dreams really so unnecessary that you forgot about it in its entirety?

              (I counted three plot-relevant events in Crossroads of Twilight, one of which took place in a sentence and one of which was in the epilogue.)

              • Aldowyn says:

                I think I’ve gotten to the tenth… Every once in a while I pick up the first one and I’m like “THIS IS AMAZING”, read it in a couple of days, but I usually give up somewhere in the middle. (5-7ish)?

                But yeah I need to read that whole series sometimes. Another epic world-builder… Sometimes I think Jordan knows what every ruler of every country, even the ones we haven’t heard of yet, ate for breakfast every morning.

                • Indy says:

                  Well, knew anyway…

                • If you want a huge epic story, do yourself a favour and go read “Malazan Book of the Fallen” by Steven Erikson instead. It’s about as long as WoT, but masses of stuff happens in every single book, and the author actually has something to say. Admittedly, like WoT, most of the characters are constantly griping–but in Malazan it’s because a lot of them are soldiers of some sort, and soldiers griping constantly is part of the rules.

            • Admittedly, Robert Jordan’s writing has by all accounts gotten much better now that he’s dead.

        • Nixorbo says:

          Crossroads of Twilight was the first time I was ever actually physically angry with a book.

      • Only two of the other books were told the history of the setting from the perspective of the ‘ancient’ characters involved (Belgarath and Polgara), the third ‘spin-off’ was a companion book that compiled all the work Eddings did to create the various races/locations/storylines/etc.

        Although I will agree that I was sick of Belgarion’s story after the end of the Belgariad. Especially when I picked up the Malorean immediately after finishing the former and there were recons within the first chapter.

        • Mistwraithe says:

          Ah the Belgariad. Vied with Magician (Raymond E Feist) as my favourite childhood fantasy books. I’ve still got a fond place in my heart for it even though the books are probably a little unsophisticated for my current tastes.

          The Mallorean had a few OK moments but on balance I agree the series would have been better left at the end of the Belgariad.

          • MelTorefas says:

            I agree with the childhood thing. I read Eddings’ stuff when I was young and loved it. Then I re-read them as an older teenager/young adult and thought they were some of the most contrived tripe ever. I can’t really stand the series’ now, any of them. :(

            • Milos says:

              I had a similar experience. I only ever read the first two books of Belgariad back in highschool and they were both translations. Recently I thought hey I remember liking those books and I never got to finish the series so that could make for an enjoyable read. So I got them in english this time and I started from the first book again because I don’t remember anything about it, but I just gave up around halfway through the first book. I just couldn’t stand the badness of it. And I’m not even a literary snob, pretty much everything I read these days is fantasy. Maybe it simply sounded better in my mother language, or more likely my taste in books has changed over the years.

          • Dev Null says:

            Oh god! How did we miss Feist?

            Whole first series was pretty good – first couple of books were brilliant – but the Scrappy-Doo-children-of-the-main-characters spinoff series? That was _awful_.

    • Dev Null says:

      No, I think the real shame of the Star Wars prequels is that there _was_ a compelling story to be told about the fall of Anakin and the rise of the Emperor… and instead we got teen angst, extended-length video game ads, and Jar-Jar. the weren’t Sequels That Should Never Have Been, they were A Story Badly Told.

    • Factoid says:

      This is very true. Chuck had major problems with this. It was constantly “on the bubble” so every season basically HAD to have the potential of being a series ending. It was a good show despite this, but it could have been MUCH better if they’d given it full season pickups early on instead of waiting until May.

    • Brian says:

      While I won’t argue that Babylon 5′s final season was as good as those before, with many plots that should have been B-plots now taking A-plot position, I would argue that doesn’t mean that the series went on too long.

      For one thing, B5 is a story arch, and was always planned as such, which means, in a sense, it goes up, it peaks, and then it comes down again.

      But more importantly, Season Five still continues the story in incredibly satisfying ways. If the show had ended with S4, many guns would have remained unfired on their walls. Without addressing spoilers, Londo, Garibaldi, Lennir, G’Kar, Delenn, and likely Susan all had not yet gone through their full development. Well, we didn’t get Susan, but I’d say the rest were more satisfying at the end of S5 than S4.

      • Michael says:

        The issue is, of course, that Season 5 was mostly unplanned. Originally Season 5 was set to deal Earth, and the entire Clark arc, with Season 4 being The Great War. What happened was going into Season 4, JMS was told this was the end, so 4 and 5 were truncated into a single rather epic season.

        When the time came to actually do 5, because another network had picked up the show, it was already over. On that subject, Sleeping in Light was actually shot at the end of S4. Which is why it has Ivanova, instead of Lockley.

        • It’s only the first 6 or 7 episodes that are really unplanned in Series 5 – the Shadow War was always going to end in Series 4 (but more towards the middle, rather than episode six!), and the Civil War was going to carry on across the series finale (with Sheridan being captured by Clark as the obvious cliffhanger).

          All the stuff with the alliance, Londo’s ascension etc. – that was intended to be part of the arc all along.

          I think part of the problem with Series 5 is that it was always going to be slower-paced than 3 and 4; it’s really the denouement of the story. This was exacerbated when JMS shifted & condensed the first quarter (or more) major plotlines into series 4, leaving an even slower start to the series.

          Once the series gets going again, the story of Londo is worth telling (the story of B5 is really the tale of his rise & inevitable fall anyway), and there are some good ‘B’ episodes stuck in there as well – it’s just that it can’t possibly live up to the series’ that came immediately before, which are incredibly intense (being both the climax of the main story AND condensed…)

  3. Infinitron says:

    James Cameron also made the first Terminator movie.

    • Mari says:

      There was only 1 Terminator movie. By this motto I shall live and die.

    • Lalaland says:

      This he may have shifted the material to action from horror but it was his in the first place. The hacks they’ve hired since haven’t even been able to deliver the action, booo

      • MatthewH says:

        I’ll express the heresy: I liked Rise of the Machines, and never particularly bought the end of Judgement Day -purely because the first movie established the stable time loop system. I prefer “no future but what we make it” to be a defiant statement, rather than a maxim. As such, my favorite scene in the third movie is when Arnold smashes the gravestone in the mausoleum.

        Saw the commercials for Salvation and decided I had no interest in the movie.

        • MrPyro says:

          I really enjoyed the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which picked up from the end of T2 but don’t acknowledge (or exist in an alternative timeline to) Rise of the Machines. In that, the end of T2 didn’t stop Judgement Day, it just delayed it until the technology could be developed independently.

          • Dasick says:

            There’s actually a link between Rise of the Machines and Chronicles.

            Sarah Connors dies of cancer by the beginning of Rise and there is an episode in Chronicles where she has to enter a nuclear reactor room in a power plant without a hazmat suit</strike

  4. Phill says:

    Limiting myself to series that I once liked but that then went sour (since you could argue that a series that you hated from the start has gone on too long from episode 1, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish), the first one that springs to mind for me is Dexter.

    I loved the first series, in a macabre sort of way. Unfortunately, after that you’ve more or less run out of steam with the basic premise. So the writers introduced new plots based around his relationships, which seems like a pathalogical choice in a series based around a psychopath who by definition doesn’t experience any of these emotions and has merely learned to fake them well enough to get by. Season 2 I tolerated despite loathing every scene with Lila in (and the complete incongruity of Dexter’s behaviour around her), and we got about 5 episodes in to series 3 before we stopped caring, realised we weren’t enjoying it, and stopped watching.

    Some concepts just don’t support more than a certain length of run before you’ve exhausted everything you can do with the basic idea. And when you add new things in, you change the show. Somwtimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I always admired shows like Babylon 5, where the creater had a specific amount of story to tell, and when it was done, the series ended. I never got bored of that series. And perhaps tellingly, I’ve never been all that interested in the Bab 5 spinoff movies and ideas. Conversely, while I enjoyed Stargate SG-1, I’m pretty sure I’ve never watch anything past the 5th series of that except by accident.

    Some long running shows do hold up well though – Medium was very good right to the end. I suspect it helps that the quality of writing and casting in the show was so consistently high…

    I dare say I could come up with plenty more shows to add to the “went on too long” list, but life is too short :)

    • anaphysik says:

      Just started on Bablyon 5 (it’s like my Mass Effect withdrawal replacement), and it’s wonderful. (Just got to Mr. Morden, oohoohoo.) Good to hear that it keeps being good ^_^

      On-topic, I’d say Burn Notice. It became apparent far too quickly that the continuing narrative line was really just a secret-wrapped-in-an-enigma sort of thing, that never-ending cycle of drama that doesn’t ever resolve anything (or if it does, does so in a manner mostly unrelated to what has come before). Which is a damn shame, because it made me stop caring about the voiceovers and ‘tradecraft’ moments and Bruce Campbells that brought a spark to the show. They were still cool, but I simply became disinterested in the framework. (I guess it’s similar to the Mass Effect problem – so many great little things (and background things) to stay for, but which all happen to be part of an increasingly broken and stupid main thing.)

      • Phill says:

        Ah, the joys of hearing Londo saying “Mister Morrrden”. Seasons 4 and 5 were a bit more contentious for some people – partly due to the possible canellation after season 4 caused a certain amount of rearrangement of plotline to create a tidy ending in case they didn’t get renewed, and partly because not everyone was happy with what JMS (the overall writer) wanted to do with the whole story – but that had been his plan from day 1 regardless. I enjoyed all 5 series, although would have to say that series 3 probably represents the high point.

      • Neil D says:

        Oooh, yes. I liken the B5 arc to a roller coaster. Season 1 overall is kind of slow, because it’s all set up, with the story slowly ratcheting its way up to the top. With the beginning of season 2 you just crest the hill and start to see where it’s all headed. Then the ground drops out and the momentum builds like a juggernaut, and it’s a crazy, breathtaking ride right through to the end of season 4. Season 5 is kind of a slow coast to a stop, but it isn’t bad, and the memory of what came before keeps you engaged to the end.

        For added enjoyment, check out the “Lurker’s Guide to Babylon 5″ (http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/) and read the page for each episode after you watch them. Each episode page highlights background stuff that you may have missed, raises unanswered questions that future episodes will hopefully address, and finishes with a collection of quotes from JMS himself, gathered from his Internet postings at the time, that are relevant to the episode. I tend to be a pretty passive viewer myself and don’t analyze things too closely, so I found that greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the series the first time I watched it, as I would have missed a lot of the more subtle stuff.

        • anaphysik says:

          Yeah, I’ve been reading those. I really like it when a creator actually talks about their creation in a meaningful way, especially so frankly and in-depth-ly.

      • Loonyyy says:

        Yep. All of the crazy plots within plots.

        I’m pretty sure if I looked back over the seasons, I’d realise the bad guys, or the conspiracies made no sense.

        Also, on a similar note, they manage to completely stuff up relationship drama.

        It’s like they’re trying for the old sit-com standard of maintaining the status quo over all else. I was extremely suprised when Mike got his job back.

    • Raygereio says:

      Conversely, while I enjoyed Stargate SG-1, I’m pretty sure I’ve never watch anything past the 5th series of that except by accident.
      Season 6,7 & 8 weren’t overall bad really. That shows main problem, as far as I’m concerned, was that as season 8 ended, the show was done: all the bad guys were gone, the universe was at peace and all major story threads had some closure.
      And then someone decided they needed to milk the franchise some more.

      Babylon 5 suffered from a similar problem as it looked like the show would be cancelled by season 4 (even though JMS was promised 5 seasons), so JMS had to finish his two main plot threads in a hurry.
      The result was that Season 4 overall was good, fast paced season, but it did felt rushed to me. And then when season 5 came along Bab5′s main story was done. True, JMS still had some stuff to write about. It wasn’t like SG-1′s season 9 where the writers just copy-pasted the original concept and, replaced some nouns to make it look different and just made it bigger. But to me Bab5′s season 5 was pretty much just side stories, with no main story.
      As it stands, you can stop watching Babylon5 at season 4 and feel like the show has finished.

      • CrushU says:

        There were two main stories in B5′s fifth season. There were two in B5′s fourth season. The problem is that the fourth season actually built upon the previous three, and while the fifth didn’t start from whole cloth, a lot of it kinda came up from nowhere. To JMS’s credit, he still did well with it, and they make sense.

        B5 follows a more traditional story arc, and is one of the few I’m aware of that actually has the Exposition – Climax – Denouement form. (The entire fifth season is the Denouement. You can sense the slowing down, the ending of this story even though there could’ve been more to tell.)

      • MrPyro says:

        As long as you finish by watching Sleeping in Light, I agree.

      • Falcon02 says:

        Conversely, while I enjoyed Stargate SG-1, I’m pretty sure I’ve never watch anything past the 5th series of that except by accident.
        ******************
        Season 6,7 & 8 weren’t overall bad really. That shows main problem, as far as I’m concerned, was that as season 8 ended, the show was done: all the bad guys were gone, the universe was at peace and all major story threads had some closure.
        And then someone decided they needed to milk the franchise some more.
        ******************

        I agree, also, Richard Dean Anderson really defined the mood for me, he was great as O’Neill, and when his role was reduced, and then pretty much eliminated (Cameos only) the series kinda lost its compass for me. Later in season 10 I kinda felt Shanks (Daniel Jackson) started to take on that role a bit more effectively.

        After Defeating Anubis and the Replicators and jumping into fighting Baal and the Ori felt very disjointed. You basically end Season 8 with a “Permanent Peace in our Galaxy” and Season 9 restarts trying to figure out how the writers can find a new big bad…. let’s see what monsters are in the Galaxy Next Door…

        I kept watching mostly out of loyalty for the characters that remained. It wasn’t until about the second half of Season 10 that I started to actually buying into the Ori story arc… and then once I finally was getting into the new arrangement they cancel the series and give us a Series Finale that basically does nothing and just gives Teal’C a few grey hairs.

        • Taellosse says:

          Agreed categorically. Everything you said could have been typed by my fingers.

          Though they do resolve the dangling plot threads in the 2 direct-to-DVD movies they made. One ties off the Baal thread, the other the Ori. Let’s you at least walk away from the whole franchise feeling like nothing was left on the table.

          Too bad neither of its spinoffs got the same consideration.

        • LunaticFringe says:

          I mostly agree with you, I did think the Ori were decently set-up however (HOLY SHIT THEY’RE COLLAPSING A PLANET AND BUILDING A MEGAGATE! THIS IS AWESOME!) but there were plenty of weak episodes and once they actually showed up the season devolved rapidly.

      • ps238principal says:

        JMS wanted to make B5′s fifth season a build-up to his story for Crusade (which is still worth watching for Captain Gideon, if nothing else). If you want to see a chronicle of network meddling with a TV show that’s trying to not be idiotic (the execs wanted an alien crewman who could only understand another species after having had sex with it) and was trying to have a coherent narrative (they aired the existing episodes out of order), go see if there are any archives of the back-and-forth between JMS and the suits.

        So we got a cool “big threat” of the Earth being hit with a plague from one of the lesser bad guy species, and in 5 years everyone on the planet would die. And then nothing, thanks to TNT.

        A similar problem happened with the still-great Showtime show, “Jeremiah.” The first 1.5 seasons are amazing post-apoc fiction, but then it got canceled and they had to cram 3 seasons worth of build-up and ending into a handful of shows. It didn’t work as well as B-5′s last season, but you could see what was hoped for, anyway.

        • Gary says:

          The first half of B5 Season five was miserable and you could tell the author was scraping ideas together at the last minute because he wasn’t expecting to do a fifth season. However, unlike most shows that run too long, he managed to pull it together for the ending. The season 5 ending was great!

          Season one however was SO painful that I only barely made it through because I had heard from so many people that the show was so good.

          Seasons 2, 3, and 4 were amazing.

          Other Shows that went on too long:

          I agree with the Burn Notice comments. It rather lost its edge.

          Also, Chuck may have gone on one season too long, even though I loved the show dearly.

          On the flip side, The Dresden Files could have easily gone at least 2 more seasons…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “and we got about 5 episodes in to series 3 before we stopped caring, realised we weren’t enjoying it, and stopped watching.”

      Thats a shame,because season 4 was really,really good.And it had the ending on par,if not even better,than season 1.

      • Nick says:

        Agreed, Season 4 was awesome, and I think they’ve learned from their mistakes. Season 6′s ending is… interesting, and I’m definitely going to want to see what happens on the sixth season

    • The best bit about finishing SG-1 with series 5 is that you get to end the series with Daniel “action scientist” Jackson dying in agony.

  5. sab says:

    The TV show Heroes comes to mind. They never should have made more than 1 season imho.

    Is 24 still running? I remember seeing an episode where on the commentary track they congratulated themselves because Jack Bauer’s daughter didn’t do something stupid for a change (she declined lift from a creepy looking guy when she was stranded).

    Also, Happy Days.

    • Ithilanor says:

      24′s finished now…after 8 seasons. It’s definitely an example, though. IMO, the first season was the best, and by far the most tense; seasons 2 and 3 were both pretty good, season 4 was rather terrible, season 5 managed to be decent though with some recycled elements, and it went downhill from there.
      (And even in the good seasons, Kim Bauer was still, well…there’s a reason the Damsel Scrappy trope used to be called The Kimberly.)

      • Neil D says:

        Oh man, 24. I don’t know why, but I decided that 24 was going to represent all my schlocky hour-long TV drama viewing. I couldn’t really bear any of them (CSI, Law & Order, ER, etc., etc.). They all have the same basic look-and-feel to them, the characters are all the same generic cardboard cut-outs and everyone speaks in exposition all the time, the way no one really does. But 24 was so over the top, I just decided to throw it all down and said “Come at me. Give me your best shot. You cannot do something so stupid that it makes me stop watching.”

        The more unbelievable the plots got, the more violent and psychotic Jack got, the more it all just made you want to throw something at the screen and say “Really, writers? REALLY? This is what you went with?”, the more I just reveled in it. No, it wasn’t a good show, but dammit, when they ran into walls they ran into them at full speed with no apologies, and I laughed my ass off the entire time.

      • Dave B says:

        I always thought 24 would have been better if each season had focused on a different set of characters. Maybe instead of making everything about Jack, have each season be about another agent or something. Oh well, too late now…

    • Nonesuch says:

      I think that they could have run heroes a little longer, but somewhere between seasons one and two, someone gave peter a dose of wangst and decided he should take a level in badass which really sort of crippled him for character development.

      And then they kept focusing on the unkillable cheerleader and then everyone was related.

      What they should have done was more Hiro. He had character growth, he was likeable… they had good material but they really didn’t seem to use it.

      But I digress, they really should have shot it sooner. I remember watching through it after my friend told me I should only watch season one and regretting it.

      • ima420r says:

        I believe the writers strike has a little to do with Heroes being so bad. They cut the season short and didn’t do what they planned on doing story-wise.

        I gave up (but kept watching hoping for improvement) after they left a woman in the future where there was a virus killing everyone and she was never mentioned again.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          The strike indeed had a lot to do with the problems Heroes had. The second season was only half as long, so a lot of things that were planned to be wrapped up in the second story arc that season had to be rushed into place, that second arc was completely dropped, the third arc (originally more tying things up and running a simpler bit of rounding up some escapees instead of trying to make that the entire structure. Then Jeph Loeb gets let go for being difficult about scope and budget, and the focus really starts to go. (cue Mumbles: “they GOT RID OF Jeph LOEB?!?” Yeah. I know..) Budget issues start confining the story to stock locations or things that can be created cheaply (half of Season 4 is set in a carnival, after dark, so you can set-dress with trash and don’t have to go anywhere) and finally NBC says “Screw this. We can make ten reality shows for what we’re spending here.”

      • Turk says:

        Can not agree with you more. Loved Heros recommended it to all my friends. Then season 2 happened. I thought for a second they were going to pull Hal Jordan/Parallax with Peter, where the good guys have to turn to the one enemy that could stand up to him, Sylar. Then have Sylar become an anti hero for a few seasons. It just felt like once they lost their balance they never managed to get back up and running. Battlestar Re-imagined springs to mind as another. Only watched as far as Season 3 then I just hung up the towel. I still love season 1 and am pushing for my family to watch it, but season 2 is where I would call it. Loved Scrubs, never watched the *final* season. Everyone already knows about Star Wars. Prison Break is another, first Season is almost perfect. You can tell it was completed as a whole. After that it just doesnt work for me anymore. I hate to say it but I think The Walking Dead is right in there too. Season 1 was great, but season 2 was so bad that I was actually having to gear myself up for an episode.

    • Factoid says:

      No, they just should have stuck to their guns and made it more like 24. Originally the show was going to shed about 75% of the cast every season. But people liked the characters so much that they brought everyone back. That ultimately killed the show because season 1 did such a great job of giving every character a complete story arc.

  6. Naota says:

    Though you mentioned the Resident Evil games, I think the movies are themselves deserving of mention for following almost the same trajectory as the game series that spawned them.

    What began as a serious (if somewhat cheesy) attempt at some kind of vaguely psychological horror with a soundtrack by Marylin Manson quickly turned into a dumb action movie with zombies… then into a bad parody of Mad Max with zombies in jumpsuits able to undertake choreographed fight scenes.

    Then it became Resident Evil: Afterlife. There are no words in this language to describe how staggeringly awful Afterlife was. It remains to this day one of the absolute worst movies I have ever seen.

    • Amnestic says:

      All you need to know about the next Resident Evil movie (due September this year) is that they put a hashtag before ‘Resident Evil’ on the title and it’s also starring twin clones of Michelle Rodriguez (whose character died in the first film). One good, one bad.

      The Resident Evil movies are a constant issue with me because of the way they use the license. Now as we know, Resident Evil lore is pretty damn silly. But it’s still there. If you’re going to take the Resident Evil license, then at least you could do it some modicum of justice. Instead they seem to take names and locations and monsters from the series and then just throw them all together in a mixing pot. Fans of the RE games will be frustrated that your usage of them makes little sense and non-fans who just want a dumb action movie will be confused as to why you’re including all these things we’re meant to know about.

      My best example of this would be the giant axe wielding monster from the latest film. No explanation, no understanding of why he was here or huge or why a giant axe. Just “T-Virus! Science!” and accept it.

      /Ramble off.

      • Naota says:

        Oh lord. I’d ask you to kill me, but I’d be afraid of somebody cloning my remains into two aspects of my personality.

        One would just be me; the other would be me with a handlebar mustache and a top hat. Somehow I think both of them would hate this movie.

  7. Amnestic says:

    Bleach. One Piece. Naruto.

    They’re the archetypical shounen manga/anime that goes on forever and ever and ever with no discernible end in sight, just ever more powerful enemies and more bombastic attacks.

    I like to contrast it with Gurren Lagann which had a very clear start, middle and end. It had pacing. It had development. It had plots which mattered. All the examples I have are filled with hotblooded characters and enormous world-shattering attacks, but one is just so much better than the others and I think the fact that TTGL ends after 27 episodes is a pretty big part of that.

    I wouldn’t say Sonic has gone on too long, just that it…lost its way a bit. Sonic Generations proves they can do it right (except for the godawful pinball DLC game).

    I expect to see Final Fantasy and Dynasty/Samurai Warriors come up in this. I just started FFXIII-2 so I can’t really offer opinions on that yet but if Final Fantasy Versus XIII ever comes out I think opinions may be swayed back.

    As for Dynasty/Samurai Warriors. I love them. It’s a huge guilty pleasure for me. Some games I play for the story, some I play for the pulse pounding gameplay or the thrill of a strategy coming together, some I play just because sitting around killing thousands of dudes with your brain switched off can be a good way to de-stress after a long day. D/S Warriors falls into that last category.

    • anaphysik says:

      Hm? I was pretty sure Gurren Lagann ended after 16 episodes…

      (That was a joke.)

    • Thomas says:

      I don’t think Final Fantasy can ever count (although people will probably mention it) because it’s the perfect way to do a franchise, there are no ties and every game can be as different as it feels like providing it’s still a JRPG, so how can it outwear it’s welcome?

      • Trevel says:

        By making a sequel where you get to play dress-up with the female cast.

        • Amnestic says:

          Meh. Playing dress-up is a staple of RPGs isn’t it? Hell, even dressing up your guns.

          Don’t get me wrong, I *hated* FFX-2 for its story, atmosphere and theme (gameplay was pretty decent though), but just dressing people up isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

          Doing so in a sleazy James Bond-esque nude silhouette sequence on the other hand…

        • Ringwraith says:

          Which technically isn’t a main series game.
          I still enjoyed the general silliness of it regardless, but maybe I was just more accepting of the severe tonal shift.

          Although I have only played what seems to be the most linear games in the main series and enjoy both a lot, so what do I know?

          • Thomas says:

            I didnt hate the games, but I don’t want this to be a regular thing. Actual sequels would outwear their welcome quickly

          • I have the same opinion. I didn’t like the overall plot of X-2, but it was incredibly fun to play. They perfected the Active Time Battle system and switching jobs mid-battle was done in such a smart way.

            My only complaints about XIII-2 are the over-reliance on DLC (that I had no real interest in) and the ending literally saying “To be continued”. Other than that I really liked it.

            • Thomas says:

              Oh no :( This disappoints me so much. A couple of sequels are okay, in some ways it would be cool to really flesh out the worlds, but not a continuous series

              • To be fair, I haven’t bought any of the DLCs so I’ve no idea if they actually end the game or if they are foolishly holding out for a XIII-3.

                I say “foolishly” because “to be continued” kills any interest I had in buying future games/DLC in the FF 13 world.

      • Draxom says:

        Final fantasy might not be a series in the sense that FF8 followed FF7, but it is a series in the sense that the FF8 team thought “how can we be better/different from FF7?”. This causes the core feel of the game to start to get diluted through new mechanics, wierd story elements, and refrences to previous titles(all the Cids, chocobos, etc.) What you end up with is a final fantasy that barley works and feels more like a game dressing up like final fantasy than a game actually being a final fantasy.

        I need to mention FFXII(Where the series went too long for me). FFXII removed the need for a player in the game. you could get your party to a point that, through gambits, battles were won automatically. All you had to do was walk between them. Also, the introduction of the license grid was completely insane. One license would be for a cloth hat, meaning you now know how to wear a cloth hat. skip ahead a bit and you pick up a leather hat, which you can’t wear until you get the license because you don’t know how….your not trained in the use of that hat. While this does bring a hilarious image of a classroom full of people learnng the ins and outs of wearing a baseball cap, this is the dumbest thing i ever had to deal with in a game. Imagine walking into a store and having to check the material of a shirt because your not sure how this “polyester” thing works. This wouldn’t be too bad, BUT you have to choose between learning new skills and learning how to wear new clothes. So now you have to choose between learning a new heal spell, or how to wear a hat with a feather in it.

        In FFXII, Square ran out of things to do with the story(we get it, rebels good, establishment bad, save the world while we are at it)and the mechanics had moved in to the absurd(Random limit breaks, really?). The series is done, and yet here comes FFXV with the same old thing.

        • Aldowyn says:

          License system does suck, I will agree with that, although the … crap, what do they call them? the things that make the chars automatically do stuff. That was interesting. And in Origins.

          At this point the only point to play Final Fantasy is if you like to watch the pretty cutscenes.

          I prefer the old style, turn-based final fantasies… I have Final Fantasy III on my DS, and the story is the most cliched “warriors of the light” save the world from darkness EVER, and it’s amazing.

        • MintSkittle says:

          I think to took the wrong impression of the licensing system in XII. It isn’t that they don’t know how to use it, but a legal issue. I didn’t play too much of XII, but it takes place in the same world of Tactics Advance, and Laws were a big game mechanic. I think the license grid was supposed to invoke a similar vibe. It’s still stupid, though.

          • Scerro says:

            The major problem I had with FFXII was that the mechanics were just a little bit of programming, but it’s like you’re programming a horribly inefficient system where there is not flow. How mana was managed angered me(Way too little regen as you run, mana costs were through the roof for a mediocre amount of damage.) Also, combat just wasn’t fun. Seeing someone charge an Attack nearly fully then cancel it with a 12th of the bar to go, and start a healing spell because of a gambit just made me angry.

            Sure, everyone could get different weapons, but they still excelled at the items they started with. Ashe seemed to always be a medium damage melee character with decent heals. Basch was all physical damage. Penelo was best as a healer.

            It’s just annoying because they promised diversity with the characters, but they always had something they were best at.

            My biggest complaint is the characters felt like they were all thrown together, and really disliked each other, except for the other in their “pair”. We had Vaan-Penelo, Basch-Ashe, and Balthier-Fran. Vaan kinda liked Ashe. Vaan likes Balthier because he’s a sky pirate. Other than that. Penelo is positive to everyone. Other than that, the characters just seem to like their respective partner they joined with, and NO one else. There was no cohesion as a group, it felt like they were thrown together for gameplay mechanics and they had no idea why they were together.

            Combined with the world being from FFT:A, which wants to be a derivative world from FFT:WOTL, I just didn’t like any aspect of the game, or how it played things out. It didn’t engage me, and combat wasn’t fun.

            • There’s also the fact that both Vaan (the viewpoint character) and Penelo don’t really have a reason to be in the party. You could replace them with two generic soldiers or even cut them altogether and it wouldn’t change anything about the plot. The same can almost be said for Fran.

              I also had the same problem you had with auto-pilot battles and all the characters literally being the exact same in terms of abilities. The only exception is summons, but they were almost completely useless anyway.

              • Scerro says:

                The cohesion of the group was horrible, which is what I was kind of saying. Vaan was there because he pretty much admired Balthier. Penelo followed Vaan. That was the only reason why he was there, and no one really cared about him, he was just tagging along.

                Where in FFX you had a group that had a purpose, and while they might have disagreed with each other, they certainly had a purpose.

                I got a few summons. Losing 1/2 or 1/3rd of my Mana for those things? No thanks. On top of that they were awkward and I don’t remember exactly how they worked, only that they gave me a whole mana bar more worth of mana to work with.

                • I agree. I liked the group in FF 10. They all had a reason for being there. This is something that 13 also did quite well. Each member of the group was connect to at least two other people in the group and it was all interwoven.

                  The summons in 12 were just horrible. Unless you had the international version, you could not change the gambits they used and as a result they were impossible to work with. Even their best attacks often had stupid requirements for when they would go off. For example, one of them would only trigger when the summoner is petrified. How stupid is that?

                • Thomas says:

                  I never noticed, but you’re completely right, they hardly interacted as a group at all.

                  Part of that must be due to how thin the story was in XII too, in X there was a drive to advance and see how the story progressed, but you could play for hours and hours in XII with no story development, particularly not party interactions, and when things happened it was usually short and shallow

        • Stranger says:

          Hey now, I liked Final Fantasy 12 . . . just because you COULD set up an auto-leveling loop doesn’t mean you should :/ That’s almost as bad as saying Contra is too easy because of the Konami Code. That said, if you were able to spend time hunting down specific items for selling to the Bazaar you could get some seriously unbalancing equipment early.

          Spoilers below:

          The storyline was not “Empire bad, rebels good” anyway, because the Empire still existed at the end. The point was that Vayne/Cid/Venat’s plot was not good for the world and was meant to be foiled in the final bit of it. The point of the story was for the Crystal in the Pharos to be shattered and the “gods” to have their grip on things weakened.

          Sure, there were elements in the story which were recycled, but you know . . . it worked for me. It was better than everyone gives it credit for, because people tend to get hung up on one or two details which bother them.

          THAT SAID the team which did FF12 was responsible for Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. Two other games I really enjoyed, so maybe I cut them a bit too much slack for this. (Also worth noting, Vaan and Penelo don’t get much use in 12, but “Revenant Wings” was an interesting work to show their journey did change them.)

          It’s a pity I can’t like all the Final Fantasy games . . .

          • Scerro says:

            Sure, it may have been made by the same team… after 10 years of changes. In ten years you move a lot of people around, as well as technology in that time is completely different.

            My problem with the game is the bland, imbalanced, inefficient battle system, as well as characters that feel thrown together for the game’s purposes, and a leveling concept that doesn’t feel right at all.

          • I think 12 had the opposite problem of 13. In 12, the general plot was very good, but the main characters driving that plot were not very fleshed out and as a result were not very interesting. On the other hand, 13 had very well-developed and interesting characters, yet the overarching plot really wasn’t that good imo.

            There’s also the large world vs. linearity of 12 vs. 13. Basically, 13 was made in response to 12.

      • Jakale says:

        I would say that FF7 has gone on too long. There are five spinoff games so far, not including games the characters just appeared in. Dirge of Cerberus is practically Resident Evil with resurrecting a villain, giving him new “where did that come from” power(Hojo, the Midgar internet ghost), and putting him as the mastermind behind a new, never before seen group that has huge underground facilities that have apparently existed for years without anyone, outside the evil corporation, knowing.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          What worries me about the ‘compilation’ even more than how hard it has trashed the original game is that every part of it seems to be hinting toward some new, true sequel in which Genesis must be dealt with once and for all.

          I would do anything not to see that happen. I’d sell the shirt off my back. I’d hammer-toss a complete stranger. I would rather strike FFVII from existence entirely than see it sunk even lower than it has by giving this meaningless, hollow, me-too, Villain Sue nexus of retcons, hack writing, character assassination, and author self-congratulation serve as the antagonist of any game, much less one earnestly intended to serve as a full-fledged successor to the already much-tarnished classic.

          I thank my every lucky star that it seems impossible at this point. S-E really does seem to have wiped away more than a decade of some of the strongest fan devotion the industry ever witnessed with their clumsy handling of the property.

          And that’s not even getting into how FFX-2 linked the setting to Spira…

          • There’s a reason many people call it the “Complication of FF 7″. And I agree that Genesis is a very irritating villain. He was based on a real life singer in Japan named Gackt who is apparently quite popular with Japanese girls. I think that’s why he’s such a overly-dramatic and irritating Villain Sue with even flimsier motives than Sephiroth. There I said it, and I LIKE Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core.

    • Eldiran says:

      Yes, Bleach, so much. It feels like forever ago that the show was actually good, and things actually happened. And then it became fights and fights and more fighting and nothing else (Soul Society arc). I haven’t watched it since.

      • Otters34 says:

        Hilariously enough, it’s apparently entering it’s absolute swear-to-the-kami final arc. The guy who does the comic apparently is finished with it too. If it sticks? Who knows.

        Agreed, the whole thing becoming merely an excuse for combat to happen and for people to use superpowers was a shame, it began so nicely..
        To my shame, I have terrible taste in entertainment, so it never really bothered me enough to make me stop watching/reading out of curiosity about where it would end up.

    • Chargone says:

      the thing about dynasty warriors is that People Keep Buying it because it keeps being Just good enough to justify it… and it doesn’t cost the studio so much…

      Koei pretty much uses it to fund all the cool and unusual stuff they do.

      … the various american game magazines/websites consistantly rate it lower than it deserves though. especially given the crap they give High ratings to. (one of the worst instances was the game being asigned to a reviewer who flat out stated from the start that he hated those sorts of games, and his review and score in No way compensated for that bias. he just ran the thing into the ground.)

      the one thing that does seem to have gone wrong there though is they got all enthused with next-gen graphics tech… at the expense of artistry, i think. all the more recent character models look a lot more polished and nicely done… but none of them look as good (they’ve burned most of the female characters’ uniqueness for ‘cuteness’, just as the most obvious example…)

      • Amnestic says:

        It’s not just Dynasty Warriors which has its reviews suffer for “not innovating” and the like. Other games do too. I think it’s actually a major problem with games reviewing today. People will balance “Does this stand up as a game in its own right?” and “Does this stand up as a follow up in the series?” differently depending on what series they’re talking about to the extent where I’d almost consider offering two separate review scores for “Standalone Quality” and “Sequel Quality” or the like.

        It’s inevitable that sequels build expectation, but not everyone plays the preceding games so having that colour review scores can turn off people who would go pick up the title if it was given a ‘fairer’ score. Likewise, those who did play the previous games deserve to know if the sequel does anything different or if it’s just “more of the same”. I don’t think there’s an easy fix.

      • Kalil says:

        Also, they had an extremely simple core mechanic (x for base attack, triangle for combo, x(+x(+x)) for different combos. Additional tricks varied by game (archery, L/R specials, skills/abilities, etc).

        Then, in DW6, they tossed all that out. The fairly fluid 2-button dynamic was replaced with a 1-button methodology. The result.. sucked. Badly.

        I’ve heard DW7 is back to the old system, but I haven’t tried it yet…

        • MatthewH says:

          I wish to defend the Renbu system. Everyone seems to hate it, but it always made me feel like I was accomplishing something because it built the combos within the levels. The regular system was xxxxy. Then you get enough xp and you can do xxxxxy. And then with more xp you can do xxxxxxy. Whoop de do. With the Renbu system, it built within the levels. “I want to KO 100 guys without being hit so that I can do the infinite loop!” Rather than “in a few more levels I can totally press x one more time!” And given that the prior system was xxxxxy, I don’t see how xxxxxxx can be considered that much more monotonous. As for the “on higher difficulties, you can’t build the renbu,” my solution is “don’t play on higher difficulties with that character -or get a weapon where the Renbu doesn’t fade, or play with a partner.”

          I do like the DW series, and I think KOEI’s storytelling abilities are greatly underappreciated. They can pack more story and emotion into a 30 second cutscene than some companies can pack in a 30 hour game. And Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War has dozens of intertwining stories and a fairly interesting take on the RTT/S Genre. I am only sad that the X-Box port of Troy isn’t going to happen.

          • Kalil says:

            One of my favorite stories to tell in response to the ‘video games are bad for you’ crowd centers around Dynasty Warriors.

            Dynasty Warriors piqued my curiousity enough that I started reading about the Three Kingdoms era on wikipedia. That led me to Project Gutenberg and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

            A couple years later, I was talking with a Korean friend of mine, and mentioned that I’d read the Romance. He was astonished. “You mean you’ve actually read it? Not just played the games?” “Yes?” “Wow. You know, in Korea, reading the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is considered the mark of a truly wise man.”

            I was amused.

    • Lame Duck says:

      Those animes also suffer from incredibly slow pacing, which I am under the impression is due to them being made in parallel with the mangas they are based on, so they are padded to hell to prevent them overtaking the manga’s story. I was actually really mad about it in One Piece’s case because I really liked the main character. He felt fresh and interesting, instead of being a rehash of another tired archetype, but eventually I just had to quit watching the show, it wasn’t worth the amount of my time it was wasting. Entire episodes would be taken up by someone throwing a single punch, then having a flashback to the previous episode to re-explain the justification for why they want to punch the person, then an explanation as to why their punch was so effective at laying the person out, then some gloating over the punch. Then, next episode we would have a recap of the punch.

      Basically, the show’s pacing was fucked right from the start.

    • Yar Kramer says:

      My theory about what the hell’s been wrong with Sonic from Sonic Adventure on is that Sonic Team is just full of ideas, and they have all kinds of fun coming up with them and implementing them … but they have absolutely zero process for dealing with the question of “Yes, but will it be fun to play?

      • Michael says:

        I haven’t played a Sonic game since 3 (on the Genesis), so all of this goes over my head. Someone want to write a [concise] summary of what went wrong?

        I mean, seriously, Sonic’s just a platformer – how many different ways could you screw that up?

        • Amnestic says:

          I could attempt a summary, but honestly Chris’ Errant Signal video (Sonic and Speed) says everything I could but I don’t have to type it all out, so just go watch that ;p

        • Naota says:

          Concisely: Big The Cat. It doesn’t get much more Sonic than a realistic depiction of ice fishing.

          That said, I actually quite enjoyed the 3D platforming and boss fights of the more Sonic-y characters in both Adventure games. There seems to be a lot of contention over whether or not SA1/2 were the last “good” Sonic games, or if the transition to 3D set the series down the path to ruin.

          Back to Sonic Adventure:

          There’s just no sane reason that anybody at any point in time should have considered a character like Big, let alone an entire story arc dedicated to him which must be played to finish the game. Likewise Amy’s gameplay could have been fluid and interesting (run away from things rather than towards them), but ended up slow, awkward, and weirdly focused on puzzles (“stop running – do puzzle!”, or worse “stop running – do puzzle or you die“).

    • Volfram says:

      TTGL is better than packing a full story into 27 episodes. TTGL packs a full story into the first SIXTEEN episodes, accomplishing in barely half a season what it took Naruto five years to do(including the filler portion of that five years). The remaining 11 episodes are really the second season, except they don’t feel tacked on. They have a different tone, a different plot, and pretty much a different feel(we went from a post-apocalyptic wasteland journey to a 20-minutes-into-the-future megatropolis science fiction disaster story), but it’s still the same story.

      I think Final Fantasy gets a by because it’s not a series so much as a collection of independent JRPGs with similar key elements. And sometimes a direct sequel. FF13 isn’t bad because it came along 25 years after the original it’s bad because it’s trying to copy all the wrong parts of something else that was successful.

    • MelTorefas says:

      Oi. Gurren Lagann was all the ludicrousness of a 500-zillion episode Shounen anime in 27 episodes. Gurrenn Lagann got SO ABSURD by the end that I literally stopped caring about anyone or anything in it.

      I ended up feeling very disappointed that it hadn’t stuck with Kamina and the original, smaller scale.

    • Sephyron says:

      The Bleach anime has accually ended and the manga is on the last arc before it ends.

      The other two i still like, something that however has gone on far o long i Dragon Ball which should have ended about 3 episodes before the original anime endet. Z,GT,Kai should never have been made and i would be a far happier panda.

      • Uhh, sorry, but Dragon Ball Z is the anime that got me into anime, it’s still one of my favorites, and it holds limitless nostalgia for me -and- millions of other people. If you don’t like the fact that it exists, then… that’s weird, but it definitely should have existed, as justified by the amount of people that love it even more than DB.

    • karthik says:

      Dunno about the other two, but Naruto (the manga, not anime) is actually working towards a conclusion six years in the making and foreshadowing. The series was at its best when it focused on the village and the lives of its colorful inhabitants, though. If anything, it could use some more fleshing out of and focus on the forgotten auxiliary, interesting characters.

      I think much of the frustration with Shonen anime comes from having only 17-20 pages of storyboard per week to go by. You could actually read all 600 chapters of Naruto in two days like a graphic novel and it wouldn’t seem slow… just off. So it’s ending soon, and in a planned, premeditated way. Of course, none of this excuses the one-dimensional characters, poor pacing, internal inconsistencies and awful plot contrivances.

  8. StranaMente says:

    I’d start off with Dune.
    The first two books are nice and interesting, with amazing lore and backstories, the other five are the same stories repeated so many times to the point that the author invented the cloning machine just to keep using the same characters.

    Next on the list is Lost.
    What was an original story with extremely interesting storytelling with past and present intertwined in more ways one could imagine and a background of mistery, became a giant supernova of plot holes and reused relationships, with the occasional boring, uninteresting twist.

    I’ll add How I met your mother, to the list.
    The first three episodes were a bit low key, but then for three season it was really funny and absurd. And now, (at the end of the 7th season) all the possible combination of the cast has been done and the humor has ran out and I lost all my interest in it.

    On the same vein: Scrubs.
    I really, really loved that humor but then it became stale.

    • Nonesuch says:

      In the vein of How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory is starting to feel like this. It started out as a funny, if occasionally insulting, sitcom about two nerdy dudes living in an apartment and their two friends and the hot blonde. five/six seasons later almost everyone has a girlfriend, one character is getting married, and it really feels like they need to start wrapping things up.

    • swenson says:

      You know, I really have to agree with Dune. I liked the first couple, and then it was just… I dunno. It lost its charm, or whatever it was about it that attracted me to it in the first place. I guess you can’t carry on that sort of story forever.

      And that’s not even going into the extra books, which don’t even count anyway. I haven’t read them, but from what I’ve heard, they’re even more useless than the later original books…

      • Telas says:

        It’s funny you should use the word “charm”. Someone pointed out to me long ago that there is no humor and barely a smile in the entire series.

        Not that that makes them bad, just kind of a downer…

    • PAK says:

      Regarding “Dune,” Herbert of course planned it as a trilogy originally, and the arc definitely feels complete when you get to the end of “Children” (which I would argue is actually a bit stronger than “Messiah” although since they’re subtly different genres of story to begin with this is largely down to personal preference). Coming back to Leto II as the God Emperor was definitely a decision to milk the franchise. As it stands, even within the original trilogy, neither of the sequels ever match the richness, depth and scope of the first book. And, somewhat like the X-Files (another one for the list!) elements of the lore get sort of changed around and break continuity (the Dune Chronicles’ inconsistent treatment of the properties of the Water of Life/Spice Essence is sort of analogous, in my mind, to the X Files’ treatment of the Black Oil/Purity).

      • Michael says:

        Honestly, I’m not sure if X-Files really belongs on the list, given, basically after the first season, it never gets good again until after they say “f— it, we’re starting from scratch” a decade later. The pieces can be good on their own, but it was never a coherent series.

    • Dev Null says:

      Dune is ultimate Shark Jumper – the first two books are _brilliant_, and everything after that from Frank is awful. Drug-induced incoherent ramblings without a point. And then, 20 years later his son started re-hashing the series; I read the first, and it was just dull and uninspired, so I didn’t read any more.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Actually, I’ve read all six Dune books and didn’t regret it.
      It could have ended at the initial Trilogy, but the sequels are different enough to not be called “the same thing all over”, contain new ideas, go over much (much!) larger time scales and actually helped me make sense of what happened in the earlier books (like: why the hell would Leto II _want_ to turn into that worm-thing and become a big evil tyrant and all?) the only character present in all books is Duncan Idaho, everyone else dies for good eventually, even if it takes a bit longer for Leto II. — yeah, I guess he could just have cut that out. Herbert liked the character too much, I guess.
      Apart from that I found little to complain. Except for the slightly cryptic style, but that’s at least as strong in the initial books, so…

  9. Rodyle says:

    The Sword of Truth series. The first book was pretty okay, apart from the 100 page SM scene in the middle, but it quickly deteriorated into long author-insert characters rambling for pages about political views and blatant straw men.

    House: the first few series were pretty cool, but it later on just because formulaic enough to not be interesting any more.

    • Will says:

      Supposedly the Sword of Truth series gets better again at book 5 when the author finally gets over his obsession with writing bondage fetishes in the middle of rather contrived stories.

      • Trevel says:

        Nope. As a series, each book is worse than the one before.

        The moral of one of the books is that killing people is great; I’ll pick that one for the place to give up on the series, although I won’t argue against anyone who gives up earlier.

        • I’ll agree wholeheartedly with this. I gave up after finishing the book where Goodkind completely deserted the main characters to devote a couple hundred pages to a different set of people on the other side of the world…..what was with that anyway?

      • False Prophecy says:

        I stopped after Book 4 because I was sick of excessive scenes of gang rape. But from what I hear, Book 5 onward kickstarts Goodkind’s obsession with Objectivist philosophy. I have a lot of issues with Objectivism, but that alone wouldn’t keep me from the books. However, the few things I’ve read about the later books suggest he has a really fascist interpretation of Objectivism, and there are huge retcons to force-fit the established setting into his new worldview. No thanks.

        • MelTorefas says:

          Oh gods yes, the rape thing. I can’t even think about the Sword of Truth without getting angry. Goodkind has serious issues of which I do not want to be a part.

        • Rodyle says:

          It’s really bad. I don’t remember which book it was, but in a later one, he kills a huge amount of peaceful protesters, lectures for ten pages about how they’re evil because they hate freedom, the smile on a baby’s face and the American Way and then tops it off by recreating an antidote by taste, down to the exact amounts of each ingredient.

          Also: the chicken what wasn’t a chicken…

        • Indeed. I’m actually an Objectivist and I couldn’t tolerate his novels. The man writes like I did . . . when I was 16 and dumb and angsty and shit. Bleh.

        • If you aren’t interested in abusive sexual situations, then the series was never good to begin with. I quit after the first book due to the hundred page section previously mentioned. (also, I hope this thread has not ruined the ad-sense keywords for the site)

    • Hitch says:

      I really liked the TV series. Mainly because the writers pretty much abandoned Goodkind’s story and made up their own version loosely based on His characters. It was just average, schlocky television, but still better than the book and a half that I read.

    • I’d been reading Sword of Truth for I dunno, 3 books, and geting really sick of it but wondering if it would get better . . . then I saw an interview where the author ranted about how people’s obsession with worldbuilding in fantasy was stupid, and concluded that getting better wasn’t going to happen.

  10. Psithief says:

    Here’s another take: The Wheel of Time outlasted its original author.
    Brandon Sanderson has shown us what happens when you fix the turbo on that spluttering series.

    • Joshua says:

      My take on it is that Jordan started writing too many plots and had no idea on how to bring them together, so he just kept writing new ones and hoped that somehow something would click and he’d get an idea on how to bring things together and wrap the storylines up. Basically, playing double or nothing, and he never seemed to win.

      And then Sanderson came along, and said “WTH?”, and just started moving the story along in a rather heavy-handed and not so graceful manner. Unfortunately, it seems like that was the only option if we ever wanted to get closure on the storylines.

      • MelTorefas says:

        I think you mean AWESOME handed.

        But seriously, yeah, pretty much what you said. I do love the two books Sanderson wrote so far though. Got me into his other main series, Mistborn, which I do not regret.

        • Milos says:

          I almost felt guilty when I got to the last two books. After the almost unbelievably boring/frustrating Jordan books that lead to it (I resorted to audio books so I could easily skip or tune out the worst parts, otherwise I would have just gave up on the series even after investing so much time in it already and sorry for this gigantic sentence ), Sanders’ almost feel like reading fanfiction. Like somebody gave me the series and just told me to do whatever I wanted, go nuts.

          Edit: In conclusion, writer could have easily shaved off 4 books from the series, or even more if he gave it any effort. It’s definitely the most bloated series I ever stuck with.

          • I remember reading a 5-600 page WoT book, then going and re-reading an old original Robert E. Howard Conan short story, and marvelling at the fact that the short story had four times as much plot and action, far more satisfying resolution, and much more appealing characters. Not a lot of characterization as such, but much better character design, and plus you gained an impression of what people were like from what they did, which was made easier by the fact that they actually did things.

            What Jordan needed was an editor who would tie him down and use one of those nasty SM devices he invented two or three books in to zap him every time he wrote a page where nothing happened.

    • Yeah, I read the first two of the WOT and I’d have to agree. The first half of the first book was fun and interesting… but it was never going to end. I guess that’s good if you can read super fast and/or have tons of time to burn.

    • Telas says:

      I lost count at the number of parallels between the first WoT book and the Lord of the Rings. I had to force myself to finish it, and swore that if I ever wanted to read Tolkien again, I’d go to the original source.

  11. Dragomok says:

    The Unforgotten Realms. It began as a crudely drawn Flash series on Newgrounds about two guys playing titular home-brew RPG system. It was basically one long extended “stupid player ruins the campaign, introduces own NPCs and somehow gets away with it” joke, but had its charm. Realms ran for six progressively longer episodes, got really decent art update, ran for two more and then… ended.

    One year later The Unforgotten Realms returned as The Escapist‘s show. While the first few new episodes were great, the series quickly took nose-dive into hell of self-refential humour and Straight-Face Overaching Serious Plot™, as well as upped the main character’s luck so much, he turned into genuine Mary Sue.
    And it ran out of fresh jokes, too.

    • anaphysik says:

      UR got stupid really fast even in its original run. The first few (say, four or so, of the, what, six?) are of course amazing, but after that… nope. The run on the Escapist actually gave it a chance to do more, though I do agree that it did go sour eventually.

      And I never liked any of the art updates. The crudity of the original episode was intrinsic to its charm.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Yeah. The episodes were completely stupid when they started on Escapist, and quickly lost even the last remainders of humour, wit and sense that they could have had.

      Doraleous was even worse…

      • anaphysik says:

        Doraleous was even worse…

        GAH~! Worms upon your house!
        There were some dead episodes, but overall I really liked Doralingus.

      • Zagzag says:

        I have to agree with you about Doraleous… eh… that was terrible.

        I did actually really like Unforgotten Realms, but I found that treating all but the first couple of episodes of the new series as completely separate to the originals made it much better. It shifts from making fun of pen and paper RPGs in general to making fun of just World of Warcraft quite quickly, but I still enjoyed it, and every year or so when a new episode comes out I still watch them.

  12. Kdansky says:

    The Simpsons. They had a rather bad first season, a few good ones thereafter, and then they got stuck in a rut.

    24. The first season is good, and the second season is similar, and then the quality drops.

    Lost. Don’t make a mystery series when you have no clue what the answers are, and don’t use “it was all a dream” as your explanation in the last episode. Horrible!

    Heroes. One of the best first seasons ever, followed by something that can only be compared to Matrix 2/3.

    Final Fantasy. The genre does not work like that any more. Today, FF7 would not be the hit is was a decade ago.

    Devil May Cry. The first game was brilliant. The second and fourth are incredibad, I’m unsure about the third one. [Edited]

    Wheel of Time. Decent first book. Mediocre second book. Complete cow dung for the next TEN BOOKS.

    • Thomas says:

      You weren’t a DMC3 fan? It’s probably one of my favourite all-time games :(

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      While the simpsons is often thrown around as the series that jumped the shark long ago,they still manage to produce a very good episode or two in every season.After 20+ years,thats an enormous achievement.

      As for heroes,their biggest bane was the writers strike.They shouldve gone on hiatus,instead of chopping the season down.Something that theyve never recovered from.

      As for lost,I completely agree.

      • Mistwraithe says:

        Lost gets my vote, if only because on the surface it had the potential to be a truly awesome show before it became apparent that there was no plan and there wasn’t going to be any satisfying answers.

        You need great hope in order to plumb true despair…

      • Xanyr says:

        There needs to be a new category from Series that Went too long to “Series that can’t die no matter how many bullets you eject into its skull” The list is the Simpsons

    • Chargone says:

      VII might not, but i reckon FFVIII would still do ok. might need a little tweaking here and there (very Careful tweaking) but that’s about it.

      X was also really good.

      XIII’s problem wasn’t that things like VII are old. it’s that it was desperately trying Not to be a Game. you were on rails even more than in X, combat was ATB like VIII, only with the speed turned up (and several chapters before you even Got an option other than ‘attack’ at which point the difficulty also spiked so you went from ‘basically can’t lose’ to ‘getting your arse kicked by rats’ from one fight to the next) like XII you could see the combat coming, but unlike XII you Couldn’t Pick Your Fights. (rails worse than X: you were lucky if you could take more than one step left or right and the closest you came to a path branch was taking five steps down a side path to pick up an item then come back). characters and story were still good (as far as i got at least) gameplay was Rubbish.

      so… *thinks*
      yeah, i dunno where i was going with this anymore. series may well have been going on too long, but in this case the problem is that they’re trying to hard to be Different, and avoid that, at the expense of being Good… or something.

      • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

        FFVIII… I hate that game.

        Me: “Hey, Squall, Rinoa’s in a coma and we had better not take her anywhere near the evil sorceress who is trying to destroy the world or she will destroy the world. Luckily, the sorceress is in a space prison and not anywhere close to where you are or where you need to go at all.”

        Squall: “LET’S GO TO SPACE!”

        • Aldowyn says:

          I think of FF VIII as the reason David Boreanaz is in Kingdom Hearts…

        • I’m going to be honest, regardless of the story (which was okay. not good, not bad, but okay.) FF 8 was just not fun for me. Either you spent time drawing from monsters or playing a card game to get magic and up your characters to stupidly strong levels or the level scaling mechanic makes it so that you never truly get stronger as the game goes on. Plus, it would often result in just leaving your character at half health to spam limits all day.

        • Syal says:

          I can’t believe you’re honestly willing to turn down the chance to live in a world in which people deliberately design their missiles with a “miss” option.

          Seriously, not liking FF8 is like not liking Ed Wood movies. It’s garbage in all the right ways.

          • Chargone says:

            that sequence is a little bit odd if you think about it, though not entirely due to the ‘miss’ feature.

            they increase the error ratio… which might make sense if you’re sending enough missiles in and want to saturate an area, maybe…

            but sort of nullifies the entire point of Moving the Garden so it’s not right under the target point… the garden barely gets out of the way in time… i’d actually rate that as the plan backfiring :D

            oh,and on the auto-leveling? from memory it’s not smooth. and only applies to bosses. basically if you’ve been grinding and got way ahead of the curve the bosses jump to catch up (it’s like, 5 or 10 level … things. there’s a word. it’s left my brain.) but if you’re just doing really well you mostly don’t notice it.

            *shrugs* playing it (it was one of, if not the first, console games i ever owned, and certainly the first FF i ever played), while i noticed some of the bad points, none of them were ever bad enough to overwhelm my enjoyment of it.

            ok, so the story’s flakey if you stop to analyze it. it worked well enough when i was just Playing it.

            *shrugs* meh. still my fav FF game. (though it only beats ten due to nostalgia)

    • SteveDJ says:

      I will add my voice in support of THE SIMPSONS running on too long.

      In fact, I haven’t been following the new shows regularly, so have been watching reruns instead. The local channel here re-runs two shows back to back, one from the early years, and a second one from within the last two or three years.

      So I’m sitting there watching the older show with my kids, and we are all laughing hysterically throughout.

      Then the newer show comes on — very little laughter, and too many sexual overtones … so much sex in fact that I end up turning it off halfway through.

      Looks like The Simpsons should have stopped at least five years ago, if not more.

      • Gravebound says:

        I think season six was the last really good season. Starting with season seven they changed show runners and you can feel a shift in tone. The next couple seasons are still good, but the quality is curving downward. Season ten has only a handful of episodes I like and after that it starts to free fall. The characters stop acting like they should, the writing has lost its “both-sides-of-the-issues” style and pushes the standard PC, Hollywood-liberal viewpoint, and the quality of the voice acting dips markedly.
        I’ve only seen a few episodes in the last six or seven years but one of them had Bart weeping like a baby when his birthday party was ruined/not-to-plan… Bart isn’t a crybaby, he’s an obnoxious/bratty hell raiser. Another had Bart and Milhouse running down a flight of stairs in some of the worst cut-corners 3D I’ve seen on TV. Just a loop of them running, from behind, superimposed on the 3D in the background. It was baaaaaaaaaaad. I guess all the talent was moved to Futurama, because it has some of the best animation and 3D work you could hope for.
        Saying that, those first 6-8 seasons are some of the best quality television you can watch, and I still regularly do watch. I’ll even defend the first season. It’s incredibly rough, visually, and has a different tone to it’s humor, but it contains my absolute favorite joke in the whole series: in “The Telltale Head” when Bart asks Homer if it’s okay to do somthing bad if it will make him more popular, to which Homer replies
        “Why Bart, you’re thinking of killing anyone are you?”
        “No.”
        “ARE YOU?”
        “NO!”

        (I know, typing it out doesn’t do the joke justice.)

        • SteveDJ says:

          Agree completely – but just add one little tidbit. Bart has cried before, during the ‘good’ seasons. Remember trying to pass the 4th grade? He takes the final test, after the snow-day of studying, and only scores a 59…

          • Gravebound says:

            I would say that the shock of being held back, the struggle to improve himself and the end result of still not being “good enough” gives more cause to be truly sorrowful than having a party not being as-good as-you-hoped causing instant blubbering. In that instance, I feel Bart would be rebellious or impertinent, not weepy.

  13. Retsam says:

    I’d say that most of American television goes this way. Really, the only two options for a good show are to cut it off while it’s still good, or to keep making it until it goes bad. And, since most companies aren’t going to give up a show they’re still making money, I feel like most go for the second option.
    I don’t mean this as a shot at Firefly, it’s a great show, but Firefly is so popular precisely because it wasn’t allowed to run long enough to go bad. If I had run for a few more seasons, I’m sure it’d still be remembered as a good show, especially among the sci-fi, but it almost certainly wouldn’t have kept the same standards the whole way through.

    On the flip side, if Lost had been cancelled after the first season, (or even the second season), Lost would have been remembered as the best show ever. (To be fair, though I think the problem with Lost for most people isn’t the length as much as it was the lack of satisfying answers)

    • drlemaster says:

      This. If you made a list of popular American television shows that had long runs, the ones that went on too long would greatly outnumber the ones that “went out on top” or had a well-regarded final season.

    • Dave B says:

      Yeah, unfortunately it seems that American TV makers decide to just make the show as long as it gets good ratings. Thus, a show tends to either:
      1: get bad ratings and be cancelled after one season (or less)
      or
      2: get good ratings and keep being renewed until everyone is tired of it, and the writers have run out of interesting episodes.

      It’s very rare to see a show that finds some kind of middle ground.

      I do think you’re right about Firefly. People keep mumbling about reviving the show, and it sounds nice, but I don’t think it would be a good idea. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I think trying to recapture that magic is doomed to failure.

      As for the original question, I think House, MD fits the bill. I loved it at the beginning, but ran out of interest for it a season ago.

    • MelTorefas says:

      Absolutely. Very few shows make it to the end still vital, for just this reason. I may stand alone as someone who really enjoyed all 8 seasons of House, but I still consider it one of very few exceptions.

      As to Firefly, if Serenity was any indication of where that series was going, I would have stopped liking the series long before the end.

    • PAK says:

      Yeah, this is pretty true. My two favorite television series ever are “Sports Night” (2 seasons) and “Rubicon” (1 season). Every so often I pine wistfully for what might have been and wish for new episodes, but…they both left off before they ruined the characters or got stale. They left me wanting more.

    • Yup. This is exactly why I stick with anime that has an end and Korean Dramas with less than 20 episodes. In most cases it is a push to get to 16 and I end up skimming a bit of the last 2 episodes as they try to force it to fit the 16 one 1 hr thing.

    • Gravebound says:

      Yeah, if Firefly went anything like Buffy… I liked season one, hated season two when it focused on Buffy moving out of town (what the hell was that all about), liked season three and then my interest nose-dived. Those later seasons with the three evil nerds as antagonists…Yeesh.

    • Telas says:

      And if Jim Morrison hadn’t died young, he’d be a fat Elvis in Vegas, still crooning “…and I’m gonna love you, till the heavens start to rain.”

    • I agree.
      On Firefly, though, one season was still too little. For me, the best length for Firefly would have been two, maybe three seasons, ideally with the cutoff known well in advance.
      Otherwise they’d have given Joss Whedon time to get bored and fiddle around with the characters and stuff; probably bad.

  14. Scipio says:

    The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I started that series something like 2 decades ago. (Or maybe more, damn I’m old.) It starts of great and then the middle 5 books or so were just terrible. Many of the characters stopped developing and just became one dimensional and repetitive. Rand is angry and confused and trusts nobody. Nynaeve yanks her braid… a lot. The plot ceased advancing. It finally looked like it was going to pick up again, and then Jordan up and died. Brandon Sanderson picked it up and his first two books look better than the middle books by far.

    • Anorak says:

      The problem with the middle books is not only did they not move the plot along, but that there was such a long time between them. Fans began to get bitter about waiting for years for a book that turned out to last for 10 days in universe, and mostly covered a bunch of minor characters that no one cared about.

      If they’d come out more quickly, or if you’re only just reading it for the first time now, I don;t think there is so much of a problem.

    • I think the title really demonstrates what is “wrong” with the “Wheel of Time” series. It’s inspired by Eastern philosophies, especially about balance, and the cyclical nature of experience. In this kind of philosophy “going on too long” is just not a thing. It’s impossible to do.

      Saying that Wheel of Time “went on too long” is kind of missing the point. The author’s philosphy is (in this case, I believe) the cause. You were expecting Revelation, but Jordan gave you Dhamma instead. I’m not saying it’s right, or that you should enjoy it, but WOT was intentionally an eastern-flavored series, and “the final ending” is a fairly Western idea.

      I realize I’m getting into sketchy territory here, and I’m no expert on Buddhism. Just pointing out that “the plot ceased advancing” may have been the point of the series all along.

      • lasslisa says:

        Have you read the books? Because in them, it’s stated explicitly that not only the series but the entire Age of the World is working itself up to a giant climactic battle.

        Also, Robert Jordan stated at one point how many books he planned for the series to be. Then he published a few more books and re-stated it. It just kept getting longer… the author’s intent was not, as far as anyone could tell, to write an infinite number of meditative books delving fractally ever deeper into the question of exactly what kind of embroidery is on the main characters’ clothes today.

      • Scipio says:

        That’s an interesting idea Mr. Spooner, but I think it might be a case of literary criticism that finds insight where the author didn’t intend.

        I remember thinking that Jordan was going to write the series until he died. If he ever finished it, he’d be out of work.

        • Retsam says:

          Well, he had a list of prequels he was going to do that could have kept him going for awhile. (I’m not sure if you count that as part of “finishing the series”)
          There was the one that was written, New Spring, covering Moiraine and Siuan’s backstory; I think he intended to do a longer one about the Breaking of the World (as opposed to the short story that already exists), and one about how Moiraine and Lan came to be in the Two Rivers at the start of the series.
          He really could have just kept writing prequels and short stories in the same universe without running out of material or, in my opinion, interest.

      • Fine in theory, but it’s really hard to actually write like that, and Jordan didn’t.

  15. Thomas says:

    Uncharted.

    It’s a bit sad, because it’s only made 3 main franchise games and 3 was still excellent. But the cracks showed. The franchise needs to rest for a couple of years and do some reinventing before it returns.

    And to be topical

    Metal Gear Solid
    Why? Why? Why? Why would they do another Solid game after 4 finished everything there is to finish? Let Snake rest and move onto to new things

    • Will says:

      It has long been established that Hideo Kojima continues to make Metal Gear Solid games for the explicit purpose of tormenting his fanbase.

      • Mersadeon says:

        Exactly. After every MGS game he says “I don’t want to make more.” Then he gets death threats. Then he makes a new one.
        I’m not saying 4 didn’t have any creative ideas. In fact, the gameplay seemed like a really good evolution of the previous incarnations, a reinvention that was necessary.

        Problem was, THERE WAS ALMOST NO GAMEPLAY. If you cut out all the cutscenes and stuff that basically is a cutscene, you get enough gameplay for maybe a little expansion pack of a game.

        So, in my opinion, the game should finally retire its STORY, but not its GAMEPLAY. The story has gone on for far too long, and has basically become Kojima meta-torturing everyone playing it.

        (Just a note: I have never played any of the spin-off games or the Metal Gear games, only Metal Gear Solid 1-4)

        • Thomas says:

          I actually liked the story to 4. It was convoluted a couple of times really pointlessly (not as bad as 2 in that respect) but I could accept that, because the world was already tangled and huge and it felt like the complicatedness was being used so that everything could actually come to an end.

          And now it’s not…

          I don’t mind them making more Metal Gear games, bu clean slate, fresh story please. The Patriots are dead, the world has changed.Don’t go back there

    • The problem with Uncharted was simply the way that story was adjusted to make room for setpieces. With villains like the ones in the first two games, this is fine because they are only deep enough for the characters to have a challenge to overcome and grow from.

      In 3, they tried a different kind of villain which ended up not really meshing with the design style of the games. It resulted in the justifications for these setpieces being much flimsier than in previous games.

      • Thomas says:

        But I also feel, with their kind of setpieces, the more you play them, the more you notice how designed they are, so sequels producing the same sort of thing can only go for so long before wearing down.

        I think my favourite Uncharted 3 moment was on the ship (in general) but specifically where you’re fighting bad guys as the room is tilting and flooding, with the water lines steadily rising. It’s just at the start of the whole sinking sequence.

        • I really liked that part, but I have mixed feelings about the ship/pirate sequence as a whole. That section could have been easily taken out without affecting the story in the least bit.

          • Thomas says:

            It’s definitely a point where the cracks are completely revealed. I don’t know why I’m on the ship, what I’m doing on the ship and then afterwards it doesn’t feel like anything happens. Even on the ship, a lot of the flood parts it becomes obvious just how pathed and ‘be cool or die’ it’s all become.

            In fact the ship is the perfect microcosm of everything about Uncharted 3. Cool set piece with flaws, villain who we don’t really know, weak plot motivation. It even has the scene where everyone spots the flaw in the combat (that ballroom bit with the snipers), but it also has some of the coolest combat moments as well.

            The only thing it’s missing is the mindscrew storytelling that they were experimenting with and the Drake backstory

            • It is telling that even the third game, which is the worst of them in my opinion, is still a very solid game. While it tried something new and failed in terms of story, the game still had a better story and game-play than most shooters of this generation.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Personally,I prefer when a series lasts too long.Then I can just stop watching when I feel like I should,and not when they decide to cancel it.Id rather have something like highlander where I can say “Ok,Im not picking up anything new,Im just rewatching this one from now on”,then something like firefly where my desire to see more was cut short so abruptly.

    With that said,however,house ran for too long.Even the awesomeness that is hugh laurie cannot carry a show past its downfall.

    • Chargone says:

      i much prefer the way most anime is done:

      it has a beginning, middle, and end. it may take one season, two, or be a mini-series, but the thing is Complete.

      not canceled in the middle, not run into the ground, but Done.

      ‘course, Dragonball Z is a prime example of something that this was NOT the case for (and bad voice acting for the english dub, and overhyped pointless battle scenes with … ok, yeah, DBZ is basically just a textbook example of what not to do… and how crap can STILL make money if you somehow manage to make it popular…)

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “it has a beginning, middle, and end. it may take one season, two, or be a mini-series, but the thing is Complete.”

        Yes,that works nicely when its planned from the beginning.Unlike lost.

      • MelTorefas says:

        Gah. The “ends” of most anime do not constitute anything I would consider an “end” by any standard but the most technically literal. Finding an Anime that was actually willing to CONCLUDE itself with some grace and closure was insanely rare. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of very few examples I can think of. Another is The Twelve Kingdoms (as long as you stop on the end credits and don’t watch the 5 or so bonus episodes that are fundamentally insulting and ridiculous). Those are two of my favorite shows.

        …I will make myself stop here. Anime is a sore subject with me these days, even though I have long since stopped watching any.

        • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

          A lot of anime start airing while the original work (light novel series or manga, usually) is still in production. If you get lucky, the original source will be completed before the animation staff needs to create filler.

          If it’s an original anime, sometimes it will get canceled and has to wrap up strangely, just like any TV show.

          Also, while a manga may end before an anime, it sometimes ends because it has been canceled by the publisher. This is what causes a lot of those crazy abrupt and not well thought-out endings.

          Also, magazines like Shonen Jump don’t want their cash-cow series to end (Naruto, Bleach, One Piece) so they are told to run their series indefinitely just like a western soap opera. This causes the double problem of having a series that is meandering or just too long AND filler episodes written by hired-on writers for the animated series. Filler is usually accomplished in two ways: First: Increase the length of the episode; make scenes take two or four (or ten) times the length it normally would be with flashbacks or just plain stalling (Dragon Ball). Second: Write new content; a few episodes here and there, a new arc (Bleach) or, in the worst case, an entire season (or four… I’m looking at you, Naruto). One Piece does a combination of these and succeeds [citation needed] because it actually gets good writers.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Avatar the last airbender.

          • LunaticFringe says:

            Oh hai Legend of Korra. Seriously though the first season hasn’t been that good, it’s starting to get better though.

          • Avatar the Last Airbender is made of awesome, and its plotting structure is at least as amazing as Babylon 5. Like B5, it was planned out with a set number of seasons and a firm structure of story arcs; unlike B5 nobody interfered so they were able to pull off the whole thing according to plan. My hat is off to everyone involved; it was an incredible show, not just in plot but in writing, art, characterization, setting, whatever.

            However, technically it isn’t anime. It looks like anime but it was made in North America. Frankly, I don’t think the Japanese could have made something like that. Don’t get me wrong, there are anime I love deeply, but fantasy anime don’t do worldbuilding anything like that good (except maybe Spice and Wolf) or plots that make anything like that much sense (um, again, except maybe Spice and Wolf).

        • Rodyle says:

          Haibane Renmei and Cowboy Bebop are two examples with (imho) graceful endings. You could count Wolf’s Rain in as well, if you include the extra episodes, though it’s still kind of weird.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            Witch Hunter Robin ended well enough. Noir. Mai-Hime. Maison Ikkoku. Chobits. Dragon Crisis. There’s lots of solid endings out there even if you don’t include the main character arguing with various aspects of his/her psyche against a monotone background as “ending”.

        • It’s a lot better when they aren’t fighting anime. Take “Nodame Cantabile” or “Emma” or “Lovely Complex”. But Westerners don’t watch a lot of that stuff.

          • Chargone says:

            Azumangai Daioh gets a good ending. which is amusing given it’s episodic nature. Planettes does too. R.O.D the TV wanders into the ‘really freaking strange’ at the end, but it’s consistent with the world that’s been set up and, again resolves itself nicely. Last Exile as well. Samurai Champloo (they’re on a journey. it’s about what happens on the way. they get where they’re going, storylines tie up, and then they split up and continue on their separate ways to get on with their lives. very well done.)

            .hack//sign ended well enough, but kind of ran afoul of the assumption that you’d buy all things dot hack. (not happening when that includes games priced noticeably above the Maximum anything was going for at the time, despite being pretty much standard RPGs… especially when you need ALL FOUR OF THEM to actually finish the game plot… oh, and the dvd movies that came with them were another side of the arc that you needed too. (and, come to think of it, for supposedly free bonus content, the extra cost per game was suspiciously similar to the price of a separate dvd movie… ) needless to say, sales were rubbish so by the time the fourth one came around you just couldn’t get it. even the Rental places didn’t get the 4th one, from memory, and you certainly couldn’t rent teh movies that went with them.)

            i probably should have said ‘most anime i have actually seen’…

            Tokyo Underground, on the other hand… it’s ending… what the HELL was that? ( i suspect it was ‘we’re supposed to have two seasons but got canceled too late in the first one to wrap it up properly. but it might just be rubbish.)

  17. PurePareidolia says:

    Painkiller arguably should’ve just stayed a standalone title. There’s a reasonable case that can be made that battle out of Hell was a decent expansion, but I found it to be a bit of a mixed bag. Then everything after that is objectively terrible.

    On that note Serious Sam. The second encounter was miles better than the first, but then you had Serious Sam 2 which felt like you were fighting kid’s toys, and in some cases you were. The HD remakes don’t count, but even they abandoned things like the gravity rooms that were really enjoyable in the originals. Serious Sam 3 took the series’ title literally with a drab, military aesthetic (presumably Croteam directly ported some assets from the unnamed military shooter they were working on) and several attempts to deepen gameplay that made it far worse (explosive only enemies and helicopter chases). On top of that it introduced two new, game changing mechanics on the last boss and was generally the opposite extreme from 2.

    And now that all’s said and done, Mass Effect should’ve finished with 1. 2 and 3 invalidate it in terms of continuity anyway. Actually 2 has a completely irrelevant position in continuity in which nothing important occurs, but even if you only made 1 and 3, there’s still parts of 3 that make 1 irrelevant, but you get to pretend the giant terminator baby never happened, and several parts of 3 make more sense. Not to mention the whole Dark Energy plot that never went anywhere. Basically, the continuity of Mass Effect after #1 is a warped and disjointed thing that only vaguely resembles a coherent progression of events, and while you could theoretically make a story from the pieces given to you, there’s so much stuck on the edges that invalidates any sequence you care to develop.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Myeah, but Mass Effect’s case is not a series running way too long after exhausting all it’s narrative and plot, but more that the series took progressively larger deviations from the optimum. As the 1st game goes and establishes, there clearly is (was) room for 2-3 more games.. It’s just that the 2nd and 3rd were not the correct ones.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        True, but the second opens with Shepard dying and being brought back to life. I highly doubt that was planned from the start, they just couldn’t think of a single in-story reason to put you back at square 1. That and Terminbaby certainly sound like the kind of thing a series would do once it’s run out of ideas.

        I think an argument could be made that after the first the story writers, though maybe not the character writers kind of entered creative bankruptcy.

        • Chargone says:

          better way to do it would be scaling. the geth/repears/whatever have new and better gear and skills and what have you, so where you should be, roughly, at the end of the last game equates to level 1 to compensate. add a second ‘background’ bit covering what happened in the first game (customizable for newly created, non-imported characters) give you some bonus levels and abilities to start with if you trained your ME1 characters up past the theoretical end point, bring across some of your gear from the end. done. the fact that you’re level 1 again or whatever is simply a matter of scaling.

          (to be fair, ANYTHING that lets me keep my HE shotgun and sniper rifle would be an improvement…)

          the original Normandy was damaged and/or destroyed? fine. tech advances. the new ship makes sense.

          also: thermal clips. what the hell was that all about? it makes a certain degree of sense right up until you realize that in the first game the guns basically had radiators Anyway. thermal clips only really make sense if you only have them kick in when the gun would otherwise Over Heat. (they’d let you dump the heat all at once and keep firing)… as is they’re just a cheap way to re-introduce ammo limits in world that has already established that ammo limits are IRRELEVANT on any meaningful scale…

          … the human-form reaper OR the ‘collecting humans to figure them out’ things would have been viable. heck, both would have been viable, if framed right. where that bit goes off the rails is when the two get linked together and somehow the reaper is made of humans…

          rant rant rant.

          on the up side: this sort of detailed but broken world, with interesting characters, is a fanfiction authors PARADISE. 2/3 of the best written fanfics you’ll find (and some of them ARE very good, contrary to popular belief) are ones where the fanfic author has basically taken the world and unbroken it. plots and reasons that make sense and such…

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But if the death was planed from the very beginning it wouldve been much better.The problem wasnt that shepard died,but that theyve died for no reason.If it happened in the end of 1,when all that rubble fell,it wouldve been great.

          As for the terminator baby,that wouldve worked if here was just a bit more thought put into it.Well ok,a lot more thought.

          • Dragomok says:

            But if the death was planed from the very beginning it wouldve been much better.The problem wasnt that shepard died,but that theyve died for no reason.If it happened in the end of 1,when all that rubble fell,it wouldve been great.

            That’s exactly how Gothic handled it.

          • Lame Duck says:

            I’ll agree that it would have been better than what we got, but having Shepard die at the end of 1 then having him/her return at the beginning of 2 would have required some pretty skilled writing to prevent it from feeling like a complete ass-pull and unfortunately my experiences tell me the writers don’t have that kind of skill.

            Regardless of how and when it happened, for Shepard’s death and resurrection to have had any significance it would also have had to actually affect Shepard’s characer in any noticeable way.

            • Tohron says:

              Besides becoming inexplicably loyal to Cerberus, that is.

            • Aldowyn says:

              I’m thinking a big part of the problem is that Bioware wrote themselves into a corner. Mass Effect 1 painted the Reapers as almost unstoppable, taking several entire fleets to defeat ONE, and only actually killed it when it was … distracted, I guess?

              But anyway, I don’t think they knew from the beginning HOW the reapers were going to be defeated. Honestly I don’t think you really could have a choice more significant than what we have now – although it would FEEL more significant if we actually knew what happened.

              • X2Eliah says:

                Honestly, if the dark matter plotline hints are true, then very likely they were not planning on having the Reeapers as something defeatable. It did progress to a “join or die”, with the games unveiling more arguments and subthreads on why jining would be a good/bad thing and why Reapers really had better motivations than KILL ALL THE THINGS SO THE THINGS DONT KILL ALL THE THINGS!

                • PurePareidolia says:

                  The resolution of the dark matter plotline was leaked at one point. Basically, using mass effect fields is equivalent to producing CO2, but instead of global warming, dark matter is slowly destroying the galaxy. The reapers kill and preserve civilizations in order to give the galaxy time to recover. The choice at the end would be to allow humanity to be reaped or destroy them, hoping our scientists would be able to come up with a better solution before the stars wither and die.

                  Not great, and thematically irrelevant to the series, but obviously better than what we got.

              • If the second game was more about strengthening alliances and bridging the gaps between different species in order to come together for the finale, then it would have been better. Then ME3 could have been purely about the war and its toll on the people and how the galaxy as a collective rose about to win, but at a tremendous cost.

                • LunaticFringe says:

                  I’ve always suggested that the most interesting way to end the Mass Effect series would be: Run. Just fucking run. Cast the Reapers as entirely unstoppable, and just make the entire game about ‘holding the line’ while everyone else tries to flee beyond the reaches of the Reapers. Basing the ending on your choices throughout the three games, it would create an outcome of total species extinction, very limited (and ultimately futile) population, a human-only fleet manages to escape the galaxy, and multi-species fleet manages to escape, etc.

                  • Chargone says:

                    that would have been shiny.

                    could even have Eventually made a Mass Effect game set some time later about actually dealing with the reapers when they finally catch up to humanity (and company) again. though such a game would be set quite some distance in the future, and probably be some sort of strategy game rather than a shooter… (i say shooter rather than rpg/shooter hybrid, because, well, the RPG elements were gutted in 2… the only Gain was ‘now i can punch people in the face when they say stuff i don’t like’ really.)

                    heck, they could probably have done another set of RPGs about the colonization effort wherever you ended up. though that would be even more hard-locked into ‘this was the cannon ending to ME3′ than a strategy game would. (the whole ‘entire species exist or don’t’ thing.)

                    all SORTS of fun things they could have done with it, really…

        • False Prophecy says:

          Most game sequels don’t even attempt a story explanation for why your character’s abilities reset. It’s just an acceptable division between gameplay and reality. The ones that do, it’s almost always a straightforward deux ex machina. Really, experience levels are already an abstract metaphor for learning and training that’s difficult to quantify in the real world, and not a particularly realistic one–that’s why few tabletop RPGs since the mid-80s even bother with them.

          • swenson says:

            That’s why I was glad ME3 didn’t bother to try to explain why you could change everything. Sure, you were in prison, but that doesn’t explain why you could change your skills! It’s an acceptable break from reality, to put it in trope terms.

    • Dragomok says:

      The real problem with Painkiller is that only the first game and Battle out of Hell were done by People Can Fly. All other installments were made by several different fresh-out-of-modding-scene teams that, apparently, didn’t really have much experience with this kind of FPS.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      I think Mass Effect’s issue was less ‘beating a dead horse’ and more ‘taking your brand new muscle car out for a spin and driving it off a cliff’. Great premise, lots of good ideas, excellent references to age-old scifi standards, a bizarre amount of Hobbesian philosophy intermixed into the villains, and a killer set-up to the next game. It’s really something they should’ve expanded on, but instead they went in a completely different direction.

  18. TMTVL says:

    Sasameki Koto, in which Ikeda Takeshi needs 53 chapters to do what most authors do in a one-shot.

    House has been mentioned, and I guess I’ll just have to agree about that.

    Alone in the Dark. Don’t get me wrong, I like A New Nightmare and Inferno, but they did feel quite weary.

    Not being a Mario fan (heresy, I know) I can’t really speak for anyone else, but to me it seems like a number of Nintendo IPs are simply being milked and not much new is being done with them.

    Avernum. The Avernum Trilogy, being basically a rehashing of the Exile trilogy, has a clear beginning (eveyone is thrown in E- I mean Avernum and goes to kill the Emperor, the Avernites meet the Vahnatai, and we finally make peace with the Empire.) Conversely, the games that were tacked on don’t really seem to have the same scope to them.

    Pokémon. The games, the manga AND the anime. See also: Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh!

    Hokuto No Ken kinda started running out of steam after Rei bit it (on the other, heads exploding! Fun!)

    And last, but not least: Spoiler Warning. No, just kidding, please don’t hurt me *runs for cover*

    • Amnestic says:

      Speaking of Pokémon, they just released a new title “Pokémon Conquest” (Japanese: Pokémon+Nobunaga’s Ambition) in the West which seems to be a crossover between Pokémon and Feudal Japan with a Fire Emblem/Advance Wars style of gameplay. I’ve not played it yet, but I don’t care if it’s bad, this is an experiment which I have to play.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Pretty sure I heard about a Pokemon Black & White 2. So apparently they ran out of colors, gemstones, or anything else vaguely symbolic.

        This Nintendo conference was … umm, particularly bad for Mario. SMG1 had quite a few interesting gameplay elements (better than FLUDD, although that wasn’t THAT bad. The turbo was fun…), from what I hear SMG2 expanded on that in a LOT of ways and actually deserved to be made. New Super Mario Bros. is starting to outstay it’s welcome without being appreciably different.

        • Retsam says:

          Agreed on Pokemon conquest.

          And, a general statement here; Pokemon is actually a rare case where the spin-offs almost validate the existence of the originals. I’m sometimes frustrated by the lack of innovation in the main series, but then they do innovate in all of the various spin-offs and sequels.

          I don’t know what to think about Black and White 2. BW had the most innovation out of the whole series since Gold and Silver (not counting Red and Blue, obviously), and so I liked it in theory, but in practice it didn’t play out. I don’t know why they went with direct sequels rather than doing the obvious Pokemon Grey (there’s even a grey legendary). But I’ve heard good thing about BW2 so we’ll see…

    • “Pokémon”
      I actually think the games were getting better for a long time. It’s not fair to hold competitors (Digimon) against it. Haven’t seen the tv series since the beginning, but I could see it getting tired. My wife still plays Pokémon, though she has commented that some of the latest games aren’t as good as Gold. Maybe it’s on a down slope, but it’s hard to mess up something as simple and effective as a story wrapped around complex rock paper scissors.

      “Spoiler Warning…please don’t hurt me”
      I was going to say “DM of the Rings” in the same spirit. But I’m not that mean…

    • Nonesuch says:

      To be fair, the first three avernum games were isometric graphic reboots of the exile games. That doesn’t excuse the corny Foglio drawings though. Haven’t really played much of the newer stuff. Geneforge probably would have made a better trilogy or standalone than what it is now.

    • Hey! Sasameki Koto is great. Admittedly there are some pacing issues . . . But in any case that’s not a case of gradual decline, it’s just slow moving from the start.

  19. KremlinLaptop says:

    I’m going to make a lot of friends.

    Star Trek.

    Yes, really. Don’t get me wrong it was FANTASTIC when TNG was on and I absolutely adored DS9 (along with Babylon 5. Space-opera type stuff. Brilliant. Over arching plot lines? Fantastic! So good) but then there was Voyager.

    I watched Voyager because it was Star Trek and it was supposed to be what I liked. It’s bad when you sort of sigh in resignation when the show you ‘want’ to watch comes on.

    After that? Enterprise. Good lord. It had SOME good episodes, and dear me I love Bakula and Quantum Leap, but the show annoyed me to no end most of the time. It’s the first Enterprise. It’s our flagship to the stars, our first contact, and the man who represents us is this petulant man-child!? Archer’s character suffered so much, I think, because the writers had no idea what to do with the character. Part of me suspects they wanted to make him more ‘human’ by having flaws but instead of flaws he just came off as being an arrogant asshole.

    For me? Star Trek hit the high-water mark with DS9.

    Dr Who (Really!)

    Matt Smith? He’s adorable. I love Matt Smith. His quirky sense of humour, being weirder than the Doctor in real life, his lanky geeky looks, everything about him is just adorable and fantastic.

    …And I’m so tired of him as the Doctor. Maybe it’s because I adore David Tennant even more and wished he could be the Doctor forever and ever but something about Matt Smith as the Doctor is so so… so… ghur! Predictable? In a bad way. Oh look. It’s the Doctor in another funny hat.

    Mind you, same goes for Amy Pond. Tired of her. I absolutely loved the first season with Matt Smith and all of that but now I wish it’d just do something else.

    Still want more Dr Who, though, just another Doctor please.

    Edit: I think part of this might have to do with the fact that with Christopher Ecclestone (I spelt that wrong, didn’t I?) and then to David Tennant you had a clear development of the character and with Tennant especially the character developed so much during the series. With Matt Smith? The Doctor from his first episode is the same as the one from latest one.

    Some Others…
    Simpsons: Please stop.
    X-Files: You stopped. Why didn’t you stop earlier? The last seasons. My lord.
    Star Wars Prequels: Whyyyyyyyy.
    Call Of Duty: Modern Borefare 8 (I AM A MASTER OF WIT): You too. Stop.
    Tomb Raider: You’ve perfected jiggle physics. And transition from dry fabric textures to wet ones. Very nice. Now please stop?
    Command and Conquer franchise: I miss Westwood.
    Saturday Night Live: YOU’RE NOT FUNNY.
    Conan, Leno, Late Night Talkshows in general: NEITHER ARE YOU. (I still like Craig Fergusson though.)
    Spoiler Warning: HEY-O. What? No one listed it yet! It’s such an obvious answer. (No seriously, I love the show still. How about a sixth cast member?)
    Questionable Content: Took me this long to realize it’s a soap-opera in webcomic form. I wish Jeph Jacques would do more with his talents. He writes funny dialogue, interesting characters and plots that never get resolved.
    Ctrl-Alt-Del: B^U
    Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: Alternative title could be “21 Books on How To Build A Mary-Sue.”

    Edit: Also one show that I REALLY wished would have had a third season (Besides the obvious cancelled ones like Firefly)? Rome. I wanted more! Such a good show.

    • X2Eliah says:

      The problem with Smith is, imo, a lot that he was cast due to presenting an even more flippant, wacky “willy wonka-feeling” version of Tennant. And it strayed far too much along those lines – a revival into a more sombre, thoughful, aged archetype would have been better.

      (Oh sod it I just want to see Eccleston as the Doctor again)

      • Newbie says:

        This! Christopher Eccleston is the best doctor (of the modern version). However his writing wasn’t the best. David Tennant on the other hand overstayed his welcome. I realised he needed to go (along with the writers of that time) when those fat children were floated up onto a alien spaceship. I thought I was watching a pre-schooler’s show and not a good one that at least has bright colours.

        Matt Smith reminds me of John Pertwee my favourite Doctor. Oh dear there is a lot of bad stuff happening I’d better think about how to save everyone… LOL I ALREADY KNEW WHAT TO DO!!! Idiotic but brilliant.

      • Searly says:

        Absolutely!!! Ecclestone was is my favourite modern Doctor. His mixture of anger, happiness and moroseness (is that even a word) was perfect.

        • Jarenth says:

          I started out intending to just sit out Eccleston to get to Tennant, story-wise, and ended up getting really attached. I don’t know why, there’s just something about his portrayal that grabbed me.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        I think the big problem with how Eleven is written is that he basically lowers the target demographic of the show by about five years singlehandedly. You had Eccleston who was pretty much aimed at adults and teenagers, then Tennant who was similar, but could get a bit goofy, and now Smith is basically all goofy all the time. So now there’s the Anakin-Skywalker-in-Episode-1 thing going on where he’s constantly encountering lovable children and helping them solve their nightmares or daddy issues so that way kids can project themselves into the show. It means at this point he’s had one line about the time war in the entire series, and far from Ten’s propensity to basically turn into the master, he’s only at risk of making taps in people’s houses dispense lemonade.

        So it means even the parts of his scenes that should be serious don’t have the same gravity as Tennant or Eccleston’s because except maybe that one time in Amy’s Choice, he’s never appeared genuinely serious. I mean,in Victory of the Daleks, which is supposed to make the new Daleks out to be threatening he hits one with a wrench and then threatens them with a jammy dodger, while standing undefended before them for about five minutes. Where Nine and Ten would be terrified or furious Eleven is maybe slightly worried or irritated.

        That said, I do think Smith does a fine job with what he’s given, if he had some more maturity and less preteen wish-fulfilment to his writing he could easily be Tennant’s match.

        • Zagzag says:

          I’ve actually started to get unconfortable when watching Doctor Who, just because it feels like a kids’ show.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Huh, I watched a few episodes of Matt Smith, and I seem to remember it being creepy as heck compared to (most of) the Eccleston and Tennant ones. They had their creepy ones (DON’T BLINK), but like 3 or 4 in a row with Smith were really creepy…

            Also, new companion. Just so you know.

            • PurePareidolia says:

              That’s because of Steven Moffat. He knows horror, and those episodes were mostly pretty good.

              It’s the non-horror episodes where the problems arise.

      • I agree. I did stop watching because well… I LIKE Smith but I feel like in general they went a direction I didn’t like at all with the writing– trying to hard with the story arch thing where each companion affects the universe and all that instead of having it be this small background thing that you notice at the end of that companion’s run like with Rose– which made us go back and watch all looking for it. Reminds me of the Stephen Cartwright children’s books with the bouse and cat and duck in each picture– it is fun to look back and FIND all those things. Meanwhile with the Matt Smith ones it is over the top and righ tout there and youa re trying to figure it out while it is happening instead of that being a backstory thing. Honestly I could give a flying fig about Amy’s hole in the wall and connection to the universe and River Song’s who the heck is she and all that. I wish they would get back to the earlier writing style where each story was a stand alone that also had a bit to fit in. Before you could watch one ep and walk away but you didn’t want to. Now you feel like you are being forced to watch them all and so I don’t.

        • MichaelG says:

          My problem with the series is that whenever the writers get stuck (or whenever they feel like it), they give the Doctor some new capability that gets him out of trouble. No attempts to work out how he’d do it with all his already fantastic powers.

          As for Matt Smith — switch to decaf already! Babble, babble, babble, whee! So sick of that character.

          I thought they really missed an opportunity with River. She was such a strong actress and they could have done great things with the story they had. Instead it just sort of turned into a mess.

          I was rooting for her to actually be a future regeneration of the Doctor, come back to mess with her past self. And then when Smith was done, she could have been Doctor for a season, with some interesting companions (male or female.)

          But they don’t have the nerve to mess with the format, I guess.

          • Searly says:

            While River is a good character I was actually hoping the the Doctors daughter (his clone from memory) would come back and be an ongoing character. She was really interesting, especially seeing she was the more impetuous side of the tennant doctor. Without that I was going to take River as a more fleshed out character but it looks like all we’re going to get is all thats there at the moment.

            • Thomas says:

              Got to admit, not a River fan. I can’t really pin it down, but in my mind she represents everything that wasn’t quite so cool about the last series.

        • Scerro says:

          Smith really should have only lasted two seasons. He’s been okay, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to last as long as Tennant did, as well as he’s had the same companions the whole time. Amy and Rory are great, but they’ve lasted two seasons, and that’s as long as Rose did.

          Tennant also explored having a new companion each season, and brought more dynamics to how the Doctor works.

          Smith however, has had no progression as a Doctor. He really hasn’t changed in the least. Same old same old.

          River Song was a wonderful character, and I wanted to see her as a running character full of suspense. However, she suddenly got stripped naked of all suspense, and turned out to be just kind of a cool character at best, a disappointment otherwise.

          Short version:
          Tennant changed and was a dynamic Doctor.
          Smith is a static, unchanging Doctor with unchanging Companions.
          River Song went from being a super suspenseful character to someone who is now just a character orbited by potentially horrific quantities of plot holes.
          There are zero connections to the previous Doctor.

          • PurePareidolia says:

            The zero connections is kind of a major one – no Jack Harkness, no Martha and UNIT – there’s literally been one occasion in Let’s Kill Hitler where the old companions are even acknowledged. I mean, River Song hardly counts because she’s a Moffat character anyway – Her episodes were more of a preview than anything.

            Also no Nobles, I mean come on – Wilf and Donna were the best characters and they haven’t even been mentioned aside from the aforementioned hologram scene.

            • Scerro says:

              Having Moffat come in wasn’t bad, I just feel like he’s really not moved the Doctor in any way, and he mostly focuses on the overall plot. I’m not particularly fond of multi-season spanning plots, but we’ll see what he does with it. Also, just the broken-up timing of the series is getting annoying. The man needs to focus on a series or two and get crackin’, before he picks up five other projects.

            • Gruhunchously says:

              To my knowledge, Jack Harkness was actually meant to return in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’ (the series Six mid-season finale), but Barrowman was off shooting Torchwood, so it fell through. A shame, really.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      I kind of agree about Doctor Who, because a lot of the fifth and sixth seasons had basically the same cast with no change-ups. In the RTD series you had Rose for two seasons, but she was with two different doctors, then there was a new companion each season. It’s been Eleven/Amy/Rory/River for pretty much the last two years straight, and as much as I love those guys, I’m glad we’re due for a change.

      I kind of think Amy and Rory should’ve been shelved or at least taken out of focus in favour of River being made a proper companion for season 6. Because the thing is, she started really suffering from her lack of screen time, with all the important relationship stuff with the Doctor happening off screen and the writers wanting to make her memorable on screen so doing increasingly ridiculous things with her. So she kind of went full Mary Sue with being able to fly the TARDIS and having the Doctor as her personal valet and somehow diving from the TARDIS door through the control panel and several labyrinthine corridors into the swimming pool. It culminated in the season 6 finale with a character who we don’t know much about, but all the interesting mysteries had been answered, but she didn’t have enough screen time to convincingly be Eleven’s Rose.

      Now that Season six is over, they’ve got a character who according to the plot is really important, but doesn’t have a lot of storyline left so she’s just going to feel shoehorned in a lot.

      • Thomas says:

        I do like Matt Smith, but I agree with this, he needs to go. Stay young forever. I actually think maybe Moffat should hand over showrunning soon too maybe. With him controlling everything his style feels less fresh

        • PurePareidolia says:

          Which is weird because having seen Sherlock I know he could make things interesting and smart and unconventional, he just doesn’t.

          • Thomas says:

            I think he still does. The problem is, when he’s running the show, instead of just writing episodes every now and then, it’s not convential because everything bows to his style. Moffat is unconvential but in a very specific, unvarying way, which is fine, as long as you’ve got other things.

            Moffat is the wacky character, and he needs straightman writers and episodes to make his episodes feel good

    • Chargone says:

      never got the voyager hate, exactly. i mean, it had it’s stupid bits, but over all it’s actually the one that comes closest to the feeling of the original (which everyone supposedly loves and which i mostly find to basically be Voyager… but with worse plots, acting (sometimes, anyway), and special effects…)

      DS9 is awesome though, yes.

      probably because it has a meaningful overarching plot for most of it’s run and doesn’t devolve into ‘monster of the week’ or ‘space-soap-opera’ like the other star-treks tend to.

      Enterprise… i liked what i saw of it, but they changed it’s timeslot so i ended up missing it. i think i saw the first half of season 1… and then i managed to catch a (the?) season final and i’m like ‘Damnit. sex scenes, no matter how low key, Don’t Add Anything To This Genre’. i think they got stuck in the trap of making it about the characters, who are just normal-to-crappy people in stressful-to-boring situations, rather than about the tech, the exploration, the history, and the first contacts.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Command and Conquer franchise: I miss Westwood.”

      Oh god,I forgot about that one.Ugh!Red alert 2 was my first rage about the game.I dont know if I should be thankful to mass effect for taking that spot.

      Also another +1 for eccleston.He was removed too soon.

      • MrPyro says:

        He quit rather than being removed; but yes, I’d have loved him to carry on for longer.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        I thought so too, but he had such a good regeneration scene – easily one of my favourite moments in the entire series so I don’t know if I’d have given that up.

        • Jakale says:

          I wish they hadn’t gotten so attached to that regeneration scene. The old doctors just changed. Now, even without being killed by the glowy Tardis stuff, like Eccleston, that explosive gold light regeneration is apparently canon for all future regens.

    • False Prophecy says:

      I stopped watching Star Trek after Deep Space 9. The few episodes of Voyager and Enterprise I did see didn’t impress in the slightest, and watching a lot of SFDebris reviews only confirms my assumptions. So we can still be friends.

    • Thomas says:

      I’m ambivalent to CAD staying or going and certainly there’s been a period of time where I wish they’d stop with the storylines and concentrate on the much much funnier one-shots

      … but he’s just run two storylines in a row where I actually cared about people?? He handed over the wintereenmas crown to another character, and had a surprisingly touching storyline about Ethan role reversing with his friends, and realising just how much he puts them through.

      It was the first time in a long time I actually checked CAD updates regularly and easily the first time it’s ever felt like character pieces might be possible with the series. I kinda want it to continue, if it ended now, it would still end in a funk, but there’s been a genuine sign of growth and I want to see if maybe things can improve

      (Also just so I’m not standout person with the worst taste ever in the planet, whilst I enjoy the SW prequels, I normally just feel CAD is too mediocre to hate. There’s not much evil, not much good. Its just something most people should ignore. And that’s with the sugar coating of being the first webcomic I ever read)

      • Destrustor says:

        I’m pretty positive that the role-reversal arc will never have any lasting effect on Ethan’s character ever. He’s gone back to being stupid enough to have literally forgotten the whole thing by the next morning.
        I don’t think it’s a good idea to get your hopes up like this. Buckley will probably stick to the status quo forever.

        • Thomas says:

          It’s not so much status quo, but the arc was actually a bit caring, and acknowledged important things about the setting. There was also a one of joke with Ethan and Lilah in bed with each other recently that was funny, but also made their relationship feel real and strong. CAD has always been at it’s worst when trying to do things with character and emotion (and when making a point :D ) and this arc was a babystep to not sucking at that

    • MelTorefas says:

      THANK you. I was worried I was the only one who thought this way. Season 6 (new series) of Doctor Who has made hate everyone in the show. I think the problem is that Moffat just cannot match Davies as lead writer. As a sub-writer Moffat was brilliant (Blink, Midnight, Silence in the Library, etc). The great thing about Doctor Who, though, is that you can replace the entire cast without breaking the story. So I look forward to never seeing Amy Pond ever again. And maybe a new Doctor. Or a new writer, whatever it takes.

    • Mari says:

      I’ve been scrolling through to see who would mention The X-Files before me. Yes, that. It was good. I loved it. Then it needed to die.

      • KremlinLaptop says:

        To my mind the X-Files (which was some of the best TV during the mid-90s) exemplifies how a good show should know when to end and how to end. I don’t think they ever expected the huge success, they rode it out and then they drove it into the ground.

        Painful.

    • Gravebound says:

      …Conan, Leno, Late Night Talkshows in general…

      Conan, Leno

      Conan

      LIIIIIIIIIEEEEES!!!!!
      Since Carson quit, Conan has been the only talk show host worth watching. He’s funny as hell, quick-witted and he seems to genuinely take an interest in his guests (most of the time, the occasional bad guest can get on his nerves). Craig Fergusson comes in second and Carson Daly third. I know, Daly is really bad as a host/interviewer but he seems like he wants to be there and wants to be better and like he’s an okay sort of guy in real life, which is more than can be said of Letterman, Leno, et alia.

  20. Halceon says:

    Ender’s game. The first book is excellent, the second and third are good enough and the fourth one is horrible blob of deus ex machina.

    • Takkelmaggot says:

      And you haven’t even touched on the Ender’s Shadow series. I feel so ambivalent towards them.

      • Phill says:

        I read a preview from Ender’s Shadow before the book was released. I thought it had to be a spoof or an April Fool’s joke, because I thought there was no way OSC would write something that obviously bad. Turns out I was sadly wrong. The 4th book of the original Ender series (Children of the Mind) was just about okay for me – some developments felt, as Halceon put it, rather deus ex machina. Jane becomes rather more of a Mary Sue. But the whole Descoladores (sp?) story was interesting and I thought there was room in that to take the series further.

        (Shudders once more at the memory of Ender’s Shadow)

        • Joshua says:

          Guess I’m lucky I never read Ender’s Shadow. I loved Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, although the latter is good in a very different way. Kind of Sci-Fi mystery. Xenocide was ok, but Children of the Mind started going downhill.

        • Khizan says:

          What, did you somehow miss everything else that OSC has ever written?

          The only decent book he wrote is Ender’s Game, and even that’s just hitting the realms of “tolerable”.

          • Clint Olson says:

            I’d actually disagree with this — his short story collection “Capitol” is first-rate hard-core science fiction in the original sense. It takes a single technological development (the ability to use a mind-machine interface to make backup copies of yourself) and follows its impact on human society through a series of vignettes set over a span of 10,000 years. It’s quite good.

            That being said, I do agree that OSC tends to not do as well with longer plots. It’s a repeated pattern — in his Ender’s Game, Homecoming, and Alvin Maker series, he consistently runs out of steam near the end and finishes things up in an extremely unsatisfying and deus-ex-machina manner. Thus, while I still read him, I tend to stick to his shorter, more self-contained works.

    • Kdansky says:

      >The first book is excellent.

      HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM! That’s an awful book, at best.

      http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

      • Alan says:

        So because an academic wrote a long, fairly ponderous, essay on Ender’s Game, with an ultimate point of… something or another, it’s an awful book. Is the point that Card is manipulative to the point of implausibility to create a protagonist who is simultaneously innocent, but a repeated brutal killer? Perhaps that it is resonates with teenagers who feel unjustly persecuted, and connect with the protagonist, and gain some measure of comfort from that connection? Perhaps because readers might take away a message of, “I can do terrible things because they were forced on me, so I remain innocent.” While a troubling message, I note a decided lack of criminal records

        Ender’s Game is well written. It’s well crafted on a moment-to-moment level. It’s highly effective at evoking sympathy for the protagonist, a fact that Kessel concedes in his essay. Interesting things happen, and they happen at a good clip. I find it hard to paint any book meeting those standards as “awful.”

        If the book has flaws, one is that it’s a young adult book, and not one of those YA books that adults can enjoy as well. As best I can tell, you either first read it as a kid and love it, or you first read it as an adult and dislike it. I’m in the first group, and I’ve never gotten a clear explanation about why people in the second group dislike it. (Probably because they’re being polite, since they know so many people do love it.) I suspect it may be because once you’ve grown past the teenaged “I’m constantly persecuted, but reject help” phase it becomes annoying and it’s much harder to sympathize. (See also: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. I loved the Harry Potter books, but OoP is just too many pages of Harry being a whining child. I was deeply sick of it, but I suspect it may resonate with the intended audience.)

        • Neil D says:

          I read it kind of midway between childhood and adulthood, and felt kind of “meh” about it, so you may have something there. Certainly didn’t like it enough to bother with the sequels. And as I was reading that essay, I found myself nodding a lot and going “yeah, that was definitely part of it.”

          • MatthewH says:

            I read it about the same time. On reflection, I realized that a great deal of the attraction of the book was that it’s subtext was “you kids are awesome and everyone should totally do what you think is best.” While I like a good ego-stroke as much as the next guy, I could never read another book in the series without feeling like I was being manipulated.

            This is pretty much why I stopped reading Heinlein around the same time.

        • Simulated Knave says:

          I was sixteen when I read Order of the Phoenix, and it was annoying THEN.

      • Fry Guy says:

        That essay is slightly better than the ender=hitler one, why would you need to be bothered by the fact that the genocide wasn’t intentional? Should this little kid have acted will full willingness to destroy the entirety of a species that had threaten his own? Well he was! He didn’t get to the end of the fight knowing the fight was going on, but he was training because he was getting ready to kill them off in the first place. He’s hardly innocent, merely put in a situation to make him the most effective.

    • Dev Null says:

      I thought the first couple of Ender’s Shadow books were actually better than Children of the Mind, but since Children was a philosophy text written by an 8-year-old on hallucinogens, I suppose thats not much of a recommendation. They weren’t terrible, they just weren’t very good either.

      Actually, I nominate everything Orson Scott Card has ever written that was longer than a single novel.

  21. Dwip says:

    I’ll bite.

    - The TV version of Highlander started fairly rocky, but by S4/S5 was going great. And then there’s S6, which is perhaps the single worst trainwreck of a series I’ve ever been witness to.

    - I can find it within me to love all seasons of Stargate SG-1, but despite a cool first season or so, Atlantis kind of ran out of cool ideas at a certain point, though certain parts of the later seasons were great. Conversely, Universe was going places. Oh well.

    - For the Ultima series, 7 is generally considered the peak. Opinions are mixed on 8. I like it, I know people who’d like nothing more than to burn it with fire, and certainly it’s a lesser game than the two 7s. What’s hard to dispute is that Ultima 9 is a catastrophe of a game that actually makes the ending of Mass Effect 3 look brilliant by comparison. And that’s not even mentioning the bit where they had to ship out new install CDs to everyone because it was that badly broken.

    - Sometimes I wonder what Mario games past Mario 3 could have done. Then I realize how silly an idea that is. I may be alone in this opinion.

    • Atarlost says:

      Ultima didn’t run out of steam, it got bought by EA. Serpent Isle has clear signs plotlines were cut and the ending rushed. Pagan has similar signs from what I’ve heard. Had Origin remained an independent developer those two, at least, would have been released later as better games.

      • Dwip says:

        Well, I dunno. I mean, the EA thing certainly didn’t help, and yeah, you can see signs of that as far back as Ultima 7, sure. Serpent Isle has cut content (though SI is my favorite Ultima and I don’t think it suffers for that), and Ultima 8 infamously lost a whole expansion.

        All that said, I think we know enough of the original ideas for Ultima 9 (and to some extent 8) to know that maybe it was never going to end well no matter who was in charge.

        • Infinitron says:

          You are correct. Ultima died mainly because the series creator, Lord British, decided he didn’t want to make classic RPGs anymore, but rather technologically advanced action-adventure games. Unfortunately for him, his design team wasn’t really up to the task and they created two terrible games.

    • Hitch says:

      SG-1… that’s a sad one for me. I wanted so much to like seasons 9 and 10 because I was happy to see Ben Browder and Claudia Black again. But they couldn’t relieve the boring mediocrity of those seasons.

  22. X2Eliah says:

    Hm. Simpsons and such being already mentioned, same with most games..

    Well, Ringworld is a series that imo should have died right after the first book. That in itself was a plodding, dull, unambitious mess of a novel, and in no way should it have merited three successively worse follow-ups.

    Voldemort should have been killed by muggle army somewhere into the 5th or very early 6th book.

    Definitely all collectible card / toy inspired anime shows [pokemon, digimon-the sequel iterations, yu-gi-oh, what else.. uhm.. beyblades (that was a thing, yes?), ... er... pretty sure there was another show about some alternate worlds and mythical animals controlled by kids through magical cards or something. It had the distinguishing feature of a male lead kid with really wild hair, some girl, a really young kid that was a complete twerp, and a pseudo-emo "cool guy". That helps narrow it down, right?].. No, in fact, all of those should never have started, their utter lack of innovativeness is completely crippling.

    The X[number]: [subtitle] series of games. I love X2: The Threat and X3: Reunion to bits (and X2 is actually the third game in that series – first being X:Beyond The Frontier), but honestly now, with Albion Prelude, the SIXTH iteration of the same gameplay, same mechanics, same lore, mostly same ships/weapons/races and SAME UNIVERSE (think game-world, levels, star systems).. It really had exhausted it’s potential at the first of the two X3 games, as far as non-newcomers are concerned. Welp, at least the next game – X: Rebirth is a reboot of sorts, going into new universe new ships new mechanics new gameplay..

    Also, in a retroactive fashion this applies to LOTR/Silmarillion. LOTR had enough depth already, and enough references – the complete grind that was Silmarillion never should have happened outside Tolkiens’s minds.

    EDIT: OH, ALSO – the infinite number of utterly terrible HHGTG/Discworld-inspired sci-fi and fantasy literature that has swamped the dirty alleys of science fiction. I don’t mean any of Adams’, Pratchett’s or Colfer’s works in those series themselves, I mean the reworded copycat fauxes and ripoffs and spiritual analogues. Why? Simply put, they try to be funny and outwit their idols, and fail horribly. Heck, a bunch of things in HHGTG and Discworld fail entirely by themselves, so what hope can unskillful rip-offs even have?

    • Destrustor says:

      Could the toy-inspired anime you’re struggling with be Bakugan?
      Little sphere toys that unfold and transform/summon huge magical beasts, and then their user throws cards around to dictate their actions and attacks and ass-pulled special defenses at random times without any kind of logic to the turn system of the actual game, if there even is one?
      From what I understood of the show, the game is played as such:
      1:choose a monster to fight with.
      2:barf your deck on the field as fast as you can to make your monster’s stats go as high as possible as fast as possible.
      3:whoever vomits his cards faster than the other wins.

    • “LOTR/Silmarillion”
      No, see, you’ve got it all backwards. The progression of Hobbit -> LOTR -> Silmarillion is one of childhood, to adolescense, to seasoned adulthood. You don’t have to like Silmarillion right now. You’ll understand when you’re older.

      And yeah, I really hope X Rebirth is as awesome as it is in my mind.

    • Phantom Hoover says:

      Most of the Silmarillion already existed in concrete form long before LotR was started. The Silmarillion is not backstory to LotR; LotR is the result of exploring further some plot threads established when Tolkien retrofitted the Hobbit into the Silmarillion’s universe.

      Also I actually found it less boring than LotR: the scope is so broad there’s no time for the bogging down with irrelevant details that makes LotR such a slog to read. Basically, Tolkien couldn’t write about where all the trees and hills were for every event, and the writing is better for it.

    • Thing about the Silmarillion is that it wasn’t a novel. It was a history book and/or myth cycle. If you want a history book about Middle Earth, you read the Silmarillion. It just so happens that LoTR is one of the very few fantasy books ever with a substantial audience actually interested in reading a history book about its setting. If you’re not part of that sub-audience it’s a bad idea to read it.
      But that doesn’t make it bad at what it’s doing. It’s just that what it’s doing is a tad specialized.

  23. There’s this anime series called Monster which goes on way, way too long and resolves basically nothing by the end. The only character who goes through some development, kind of, is Tenma, and when the whole thing ends there is no guarantee that the same events won’t just start up again. They spend like 20 episodes on some subplot which results in some of the characters having identical memories, which contributes nothing to the overall plot.

    It’s basically 70 episodes of buildup to nothing.

    • Galad says:

      That’s philosophical anime for you

    • Drexer says:

      Oh no. I mean, I don’t want you to tell you if should or not enjoy a series, but Urasawa’s work should never be taken like that and I can’t stand back when someone thinks he is a bad writer.

      It’s true that the anime was adaptated from his manga and as such does not posess the same gravitas and master-piece like work that his original work has, but it should at the very least be said that nothing of Monster was stretched out or milked in any way, Urusawa’s works are fully self contained and he plans every small detail with years of advance. If you re-read any of his works the story and details all line up in a creative line that almost no one manages.

      I would recommend you search for some of his manga works, perhaps Pluto for something quicker or 20th Century Boys when you’re in the mood for a large sprawling storyline. And then perhaps read the original Monster manga. I think you’ll find a new appreciation for the animated adaptation.

      • I don’t think he’s a bad writer at all. I thought it was very well written. I realize that all the details line up.

        The problem is that by the conclusion of the show, in terms of the overall plot, absolutely nothing has changed and very little is actually resolved. There is no guarantee that the same events will not repeat themselves.

        I used the spoiler tag there ironically because NOTHING HAPPENS.

  24. Joshua says:

    Apart from some of the other ones people already mentioned here are a couple of mine-

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer- A lot of disagreement from fans, but anything post-Season Five when it went to UPN. Season 5 was already starting to see some degradation, but at least the character arcs were coming to a nice resolution. And then they pretty much ruin them all in Season 6.

    Alias -Season 1 was great. Season 2 was pretty good too. Season 3 pretty much showed that they had no idea what they were doing, and were just making it up as they went along. Any coincidence that it’s from the creator of Lost? It just got worse from there.

    Twin Peaks -the show that originally got me hooked on the concept of arc-based television. Anything after the discovery of Laura Palmer’s killer felt horribly tacked on.

    • False Prophecy says:

      Nope, you’re completely right about Buffy. Even though there were some really memorable episodes in the last two seasons, and the seasons were bearable because the character interactions were still entertaining, 6 and 7 were just plotted poorly. The climax of season 7 took a half-dozen episodes to resolve–I felt like I was watching a bad anime.

      Meanwhile, Angel had one of the most perfect series finales I’ve ever seen.

      • Aldowyn says:

        The last season of Angel was strange, especially what happened to Gunn. It seemed like basically they had no room for his old self so he had to be completely reinvented… The finale itself was pretty spectacular.

        • Brandon says:

          Buffy could have ended after Season 3 and been great. Or Season 5. It was actually meant to be ended after Season 5, which is why Buffy dies at the end

          Still didn’t mind the last two seasons, they just weren’t great.. both were better than Season 4, though.

  25. Eruanno says:

    Death Note.

    Season one was great. A guy finds a notebook that, when he writes down a persons name in it, that person dies (and it is possible to describe how and when, if not, they die by heart attack after a certain timeframe). He decides to purge the world of what he considers “evil” through his own way, and has to fight a seriously creepy guy who is the worlds greatest detective. Leads to many interesting mindgames and other shit happening between the two.
    Season two on the other hand… same guy with the notebook, now fighting some little kid who is somehow related to creepy-detective. And all he does is sit on the floor and play with toy trains and magically guess what is supposed to happen. No mindgames, just pure stupid. Ugh.

    Oh, and also: Bleach. All of it. ALL OF IT. 200+ episodes of fuck-all happening and people whacking eachother with superpowered whatevers for NO REASON.

    • swenson says:

      I never could get into the Death Note anime, to be honest, but I did like the book. It was all mind games, all the way there (as far as I remember, it’s been a few years).

      But yes, Near’s part was far less interesting than… other parts. Curse you, Rem…

    • rayen says:

      oh there is a reason. it’s a silly contrived childish reason. but it’s there. but it has the same problem almost all anime has dragonball Z syndrome. the bad guys just keep getting stronger and stronger and the heros match it step for step. that only really works in a series like kenichi where he has zero fighting knowledge at the beginning and doesn’t get stupid strong superpowers.

    • Syal says:

      I’ll agree about Near, but I did like Mello’s “screw this mindgame crap let’s kill people” attitude in the second half. There should have been more of him.

    • OK, maybe it’s because I play paper-and-pencil RPGs a lot, but I found Death Note annoying from very early on (although admittedly the second half is worse). This guy’s supposed to be a total megagenius, and at a small-scale tactical level I guess he is and all, but at a strategic and philosophical level he’s a complete and utter moron.

      Just to start with, he gets this power, decides to make the world a better place, and how does he decide to go about it? By tackling worldwide street crime. Say what? And he decides to go about it by reverting to an 18th century approach to justice because all he has is a hammer. Centuries of thought on crime and punishment and what works to reduce crime, he throws out the window without even thinking about it because I guess being a genius he knows better than everyone else ever but mostly because it’s written for teenagers and they’re expected to lap up such a moronic approach.
      Apparently it never even occurs to him to, say, kill off unpleasant dictators, or investigate who’s pushing the buttons that cause structural levels of suffering and poverty, buying the blood diamonds, causing the wars, and either kill or blackmail them. Nope, garden variety street criminals, without a trial, based on what he reads about them in the newspaper, never even worrying that probably a quarter or more of those guys are innocent.

      And then he apparently deliberately engineers a situation where the investigators can readily narrow the target region for the perpetrator down to right around where he lives. Just so he can then, what, fool the investigators and clear himself? Yeah, because being one anonymous guy among 7 billion people would have been so much worse as a cover than being strongly suspected and then provisionally cleared. Aaauuugggghhhhh!!!!

  26. Marmakoide says:

    Dune => as said above, an original universe, painted with enough detail to make it deep, yet with enough room for the reader’s imagination. Then, the more new books, the more the recycling is increasingly showing to the point of being embarrassing.

    Starwars => The ‘modern’ episodes could have been very good, the story, the universe, the characters got all the potential for it. But by trying to please everyone, it felt on the “jack of all trade” trap.
    Prison Break => Awesome 1st season, interesting 2nd season. But at the 3rd, the same scenaristic springs are reused and its getting boring.

    Heroes => Awesome 1st season, 2nd season was cool, but after they lost themselves a bit. Writing ‘The End’ would have give them a posterity.

    Lost => After the 3rd season, too much questions opened, none resolved and ok, it’s getting cheap.

    XIII (franco/belgian comic) => The same mechanism of “ho, a conspiracy inside the conspiracy”, each time with less motivation from the authors.

    Naruto => Dragon Ball syndrome : bigger foes, the good guys are getting bigger, and… yeah, run with that.

  27. Ambience 327 says:

    This thread could not possibly be complete without mentioning the most abused, sequel-mill squeezed animated film franchise of all time – The Land Before Time. They even stopped bothering to number them. Seriously. Anything after the first one probably shouldn’t have been made (though there are parts of the second worth watching.)

    Also, The Neverending Story is a perfect example of a series that fell exponentially from one sequel to the next. The first is a fantastic film, the second is mediocre at best, while the third (direct to video) could be considered intentional griefing to fans of the original.

    • To be honest, I didn’t even like the first Neverending Story. I found it too cute, and I found it very annoying that this major character was introduced as being, though young and small, an awesome warrior and from there on in never once did he give the slightest indication of knowing how to fight. I think he won a fight once, but it was basically by accident.

  28. rayen says:

    hmmm… well not a whole lot i can add to the list… i could jokingly mention twilight or any of the other series aping it’s success.

    with the exception of Aladdin, every disney movie that got a straight to DVD sequel during the Eisner reign. So like all of them.

    Spongebob squarepants. I never liked it to begin with so i may not be the best to level criticism.

    The dark knight. Don’t get me wrong i love this movie, it is a great movie. The problem i have is that it could have been 2 great movies. There are almost no useless scenes and i feel alot was cut because some stuff needed elaboration. i was ready to walk out of the theater around halfway through. not to mention TDKR as vastly less interesting villains.

    Micheal Bay’s career.

    hmmm… looking back at this none of these are series. guess i didn’t answer the question.whoops.
    oh and normally i’d defend the star wars prequels, but i’m way to tired to try and fight fanboys so bah.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Micheal Bay’s career.”

      Ha!

    • Jarenth says:

      As a person who does watch and enjoy a lot of cartoons (remember that I have incredibly low standards when it comes to entertainment) I do agree that the later seasons of Spongebob feel like they’re running out of steam. Same thing for, for instance, Fairly Odd Parents, the most recent season (is it still running?) of which I didn’t even bother to watch whenever it was on.

    • Spongebob is a great example. For those who did like it, there seems to be a pretty clear cutoff of early seasons great, reruns for a while, decided they needed new content, new content cringeworthy and horrible and must be destroyed.

  29. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Anything related to Drizzt Do’Urden.

    The character should have been killed or retired years ago…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      What,even zz’dtri?

    • Jeremiah says:

      The best thing about the Drizzt books was the introduction of Jarlaxle. There’s a character I always wanted more books about.

      • Eruanno says:

        I honestly thought Drizzt and Jarlaxle were both pretty cool characters… the problem is that Salvatore always has to write out every single tedious little detail happening in combat scenarios. That put me off his stuff a lot…

        “Drizzt shoved the sword forward like the wind, touching the blade of his opponent. He moved his foot an inch forward, touched his left hand to his right shoulder and winked with his left eye while adjusting his hair with the right hand and blah blah blah blah… *twenty pages later*… and his opponent fell dead to the ground.”

        • MelTorefas says:

          Made me laugh in the out loud. That was basically why I had to stop reading those books.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Every once in a while I can really see the D&D showing in those combat scenes. You can practically map it out and tell exactly what they’re doing sometimes.

            I’ve only read the Icewind Dale trilogy, and those were excellent IMO, though a little loosely linked. The transitions are… umm… strange. Kind of like going from one campaign to the next, perhaps? And perhaps that series benefits from Drizzt not being the main protagonist.

            • Eruanno says:

              I suppose it is kind of cool that you can map out every move. I never really thought of it like that.
              But it is also extremely flow-breaking while reading. It’s like someone sitting in the back of the room and casually throwing bricks in your general direction. He might not hit you, but the WOOSH of a heavy rock nearly hitting you in the head is so startling it is hard to concentrate.

              All of Salvatore’s fighting scenes make me wish for the scene in Firefly when the Serenity has been captured by some bandits (or whatever it is, I can’t remember), and their leader starts making demands, and Malcolm Reynolds just draws his gun, shoots him mid-sentence and doesn’t even stop walking.

        • Dev Null says:

          “and then he rolls a 20 on his Suave Killing roll.”

          Great characters, written like a hyperactive D&D player telling you about last night’s game.

  30. Mersadeon says:

    Didn’t read ALL of the other comments, so I hope this hasn’t been mentioned yet: Sliders.

    I LOVED that show. I loved it so much. I still do.
    Although, to be fair, it didn’t really go bad because they ran out of ideas, it went bad because someone else took over and started messing with the show. The first two seasons are perfect, but after a few episodes of season three, you can almost physically FEEL the shift.

    I still need season 1+2 on DVD. I really, really loved that show.

    • carrandas says:

      Sliders indeed.

      What started as a great series ended up being horrible. The writers ran out of inspiration and just started to add alien invaders…

  31. lurkey says:

    Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

    • Destrustor says:

      Oh damn I sadly have to agree. I loved it. It was great… But I wouldn’t read it again because the middle dragged on for too long (The whole fourth or sixth book was just a huge pointless flashback to roland’s past life. The only thing of importance it introduced was that he was supposed to have his ancestral family horn.) and the ending just faded to basicaly nothing. Shame really.

    • Lupinzar says:

      I have a love-hate relationship with this series. The first four books are outstanding, and the rest are weird or mediocre. I would probably be ok if he had not done the parts where they interact with our world in the later books (Stephen King self-injection, Tet Corporation, etc), but otherwise I thought the length was ok.

      The new book The Wind Through the Keyhole is better than some of the later books though, and it’s just a side-story.

    • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      Best character in the whole series: Blaine

      As soon as it was gone, the series went downhill.

    • Milos says:

      I basically would have been happy if there was only the first book. I simply love it to bits in all of its dusty-psychedelic-western-revenge goodness. But of course it ends on a cliffhanger and then you have the other books. I enjoyed most of them too, for different reasons, as it over time grew to a different beast entirely.

      In the end I would have preferred if it never went beyond The Gunslinger, but don’t get me wrong I’m not bitter about it and the series as a whole is fine by me.

      • Khizan says:

        The ORIGINAL first book.

        His revised edition ruins everything. Takes all the magic right out of it.

        • Milos says:

          Yeah, I didn’t know about it at first but then a couple of years later I decided to finish the series so I got the audiobooks (which were great BTW) and I started to notice some things missing that I remembered from reading it the 1st time, like references to christianity etc. That made me look up the changes and I saw how much was reshaped to fit in with the rest.

          The original on it’s own has a richness of throwaway lines that weave a wonderful and unknown backdrop for the story. But then when everything gets explained to you outright it loses some, if not most, of it’s charm. These days it seems like everything has to be explained in encyclopedic detail, nothing is left to the imagination.

  32. Old_Geek says:

    Any series written by Piers Anthony? Usually the first two or three books are pretty good, but everything after that is just awful. And his series end up with many, many books in them!

    • MelTorefas says:

      Far more than length, my problem with Piers Anthony was his obsession with pedophilia and inter-species whacked out alien sex, in that order. Also his casual, off-handed treatment of rape.

      • mwchase says:

        Seemed to me like that rose to prominence within Xanth, over time. (His short stories tend to fare far worse. Have to wonder why that was in the middle school library.) Problem is, people are willing to overlook the blatantly obvious issues with his ideas, and he’s apparently willing to keep doing what he does so long as he gets paid. (35 years. 35 years. And 35 books, as well.)

    • Dev Null says:

      Ayup. Writes a good first book and never stops. When I was a teenager – more decades ago than I care to discuss – a local bookstore had a shrink-wrapped collection of every book he’d ever written, signed by the author. It was over 6 feet long, _then_.

    • Nick Pitino says:

      Oh Christ.

      I read the “Bio of a Space Tyrant” series a year or so back because a friend of mine who though the series is just the bees knees shoved them into my hands and told me to.

      PIRATES!!! RAPE!!! MORE PIRATES!!! MORE RAPE!!! CANNIBALISM!!! LAME ASS PSEUDO-PHILOSOPHICAL POLITICAL BULLSHIT!!!

      By the last book I vowed to never read anything by the man again.

  33. MrPyro says:

    NCIS: I actually enjoyed the first 8 seasons, which is pretty good going for a police procedural, but now it’s just started to drag and I’m pretty sure they’re recycling story ideas.

    Katharine Kerr’s Deverry books: the first 4 were great and told a tight storyline that could have ended there. Then there were another 10. To be honest I think part of my dislike is that the character focus shifted from a character who I quite liked to one who set my teeth on edge, which meant that I cared less about the main plot-line (although the flashbacks were still good).

    • Aldowyn says:

      Yeah, NCIS is pushing it. It’s been such a long while since there was anything new…

      And NCIS is more engaging than the various CSIs because the characters are so clearly defined. Plus the distinct injections of Clancy-esque political drama helps. And that there’s occasionally some semblance of a story arc.

    • Maryam says:

      Although I can see what you mean about the Deverry series, I thought Rhodry was a pretty fascinating character, if not quite as fun to read about as Jill or Nevyn. He went through some interesting personal journeys, and I liked his relationship with Arzosah a lot. The last few books in the series also brought a fairly satisfying end to a number of the story arcs as well, I thought, even though they felt somewhat weak overall. And like you say, the flashbacks continued to be pretty terrific.

      • Joshua says:

        But they bring this subtle plotline in that the whole reason for the political state of being is that humans came in and slaughtered the horse-kin, and so the horse-kin pushed south and slaughtered the elves. And then she throws that whole plotline away by saying that the horse-kin had simply killed the humans’ messengers, which provoked their own slaughter.

        And oh, the message from the beginning was Rhodry’s Wyrd is Eldidd’s Wyrd, but I don’t seem to recall Eldidd having hardly any place in the story at all!

        She brought up a plotline in the last four books about both Nevyn AND Jill being reincarnated, and you get the sense of “ok, NOW we’re getting to the whole point of the story.” Unfortunately, I don’t think she really did much with it.

        I do say, though, her books provide some excellent ideas for campaign backround for table-top games about points of honor or medieval protocol.

        • MrPyro says:

          I always thought the “Rhodry’s Wyrd is Eldidd’s Wyrd” thing only applied to the first quartet; that if Rhodry had died as well as Rhys, then there would have been a serious succession struggle which the Old One or another dark dweomer-master would have stirred up in order to gain influence on that continent.

          Once Rhodry had children the line of succession was secure so it didn’t matter any more.

          If “Rhodry’s Wyrd is Eldidd’s Wyrd” turns up after the end of the first quartet though, I’m wrong, but it’s been a while since I read them.

      • MrPyro says:

        Like I said, I think it’s not necessarily the quality of the writing or the characterisation, but just that I couldn’t stand Rhodry. I mean, having a character sufficiently well-defined that I feel an emotional response to them is pretty good; it’s just a shame that it was a negative response and that the books followed him for ages. I actually quite liked the last few books with the re-incarnations of Jill and Nevyn.

  34. Vextra says:

    Adding my own thoughts:

    The Warhammer 40,000 Universe.
    It’s been stuck in limbo forever and whilst I understand the need for a status quo is god setting for the products, the directions theyve taken to keep it “fresh” and, dear god, “edgy” are as creatively bankrupt and intellectually vacuous as any hamfisted attempt to keep an actual series going long past the point it ran out of steam.

    In part one could blame this on the popularity of the Space Marine archetype, especially in Videogames, which has conveyed the wrongheaded notion that Marcus Fenix-style manchildren is what sells these days.

    On a similar vein, I’d say tabletop wargaming in general. Whilst historical wargaming generally can’t change and thus can’t fall prey to this kind of thing, efforts to popularise alternate history wargaming, like Dystopia Wars, have i feel failed to gain much traction.

    The fact that so much of modern or sci-fi wargaming is basically carbon-copies of aspects of WH40K is not a good sign either.

    • ehlijen says:

      The thing is, at its core, 40k is a setting, not a story. Settings by definition don’t end or change too much.

      It’s not a story, it doesn’t have a plot, it doesn’t even truly have characters; it’s just an excuse to have many silly scifi factions at war with all others so that any potential matchup players might end up having on the table fit into the background somewhere.

      Yes, the write lot’s of stories for it, and yes, most are so basic they’re dumb. But if you remember that 40k is really just a big joke to explain why chainsaw wielding orks are running after jetbike elves…questions like ‘has it gone on for too long’ become moot. It’s like saying WW2 has gone on long enough because they keep making movies about it.

  35. Grudgeal says:

    Red Dwarf. Seasons 1 and 2 were good, I had just about had enough after season 3, and subsequent seasons only got even worse.

  36. Nick says:

    I’d have to agree on Lost from an overarching story perspective, though I thought that they continued to innovate the format – they just couldn’t make the whole mystery make sense. Still, it was nice that it had some conclusions, just needed more planning.

    HIMYM is really, really stale now. I just want a proper finishing series of it so we can learn about the mother and tie everything up.

    The Redwall series of books

  37. Mr. Guy says:

    Two I haven’t seen mentioned before:

    BOOKS: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. Started as incredibly well researched, hideously plausible spy tales. Ended with ridiculously contrived plots and crazy squeezing in of classic characters for ono reason. IMO should have ended with Sum Of All Fears.

    TV: Alias. I loved the first season or two. Very over the top jukfood thrillers, but it worked and hung together. Then they went to crazy mystical artifact land and sibling ex machine and such and just had nowhere to go.

  38. Destrustor says:

    Inu Yasha.
    I stopped caring when I realised they didn’t even try to escalate the fights like most other anime series do. When you can’t even put more effort in your script then DBZ does, you’re doing it wrong.
    The prospect of having to listen to everybody screaming KAGOME forever without making any kind of relevant progress was just too much.
    Also I agree with Lost and The Simpsons.

    • MelTorefas says:

      Hah! On that same note, what was the name… Fushigi Yugi? Something like that.

      “Miyaka!” “Tamahome…” “Miyaka!” “Tamahome…”

      *twitch*

  39. Mr. Guy says:

    So, for my next attempt for a Thread With No Bottom…

    Another “flip side” discussion would be series that have stayed around a very long time but are somehow still enjoyable/fresh/interesting, and you’re glad they kept going.

    Two examples in my opinion:
    Penny Arcade. Been going a long time with the same characters and same basic premise. But it seems like as long as the games industry keeps finding new ways to be stupid they’ll keep finding new material…

    Popular Web Series Red vs Blue. While there were a few contrived episodes along the way, I’m impressed by the transition from “ridiculous send up of Halo gamers” to “actually kind of serious character drama” that (mostly) worked.

    • Thomas says:

      I feel gaming comics without storylines are generally immune in that they’re basing their humour on current events, so they can be bad, but not because of how long they’ve been around.

      In the same way Have I Got News For You, is never going to become irrelevant and QI should last as long as there are things people think they know but don’t

    • False Prophecy says:

      Order of the Stick: It’s amazing that a stick-figure comic created to satirize a pen-and-paper RPG system that’s no longer supported developed into a sprawling epic that manages to deconstruct, parody and satirize a lot of gaming and fantasy tropes while still providing great plots and character developments, and almost every strip ends on a great gag too. I’ve always been especially impressed with Burlew’s villains. They are interesting and developed and really clever, but are still evil bastards–you completely understand them as characters, but don’t root for them.

      It looks like Burlew’s massively successful Kickstarter project has slowed the usually glacial pace of OotS to almost a standstill, so currently the plot has not moved in months, but I’m hopeful he’ll start to steer things to a conclusion shortly.

      • Nah, I stopped reading both Order of the Stick and Girl Genius because they…just…kept…going… and weren’t…getting….anywhere…fast.

        • Destrustor says:

          I actually enjoy both of those enough that it doesn’t matter whether they end up somewhere or not.

          • And I as well, but you have to wonder what makes the difference? I’d guess that, for each example in this thread, there are many people who would say exactly the same thing. Is it just a personal preference? Does it have something to do with the resonance of the worldviews of the creator and their audience? Can a series that has “gone on too long” be revived?

            Just saying “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I like that stuff.” may be true, but doesn’t particularly benefit the discussion.

            I can see how GG or OOTS could get old. For me they are progressing fast enough (and I can see the end getting nearer), but the issue of “speed of progression” is a critical one for many people. I wonder if we could begin doing iterative refinement fiction, starting with the big arc and finishing the whole story in a single work (whether a movie, book, sentence, single page comic strip, whatever) and then iteratively going over the best sections and fleshing them out with more detail. This way the story will be “done” from the very beginning, and progression becomes less of an issue. Hard to do with a traditional “finished product” of a book or movie, but easy with non-linear insertion of electronic information.

            • Destrustor says:

              The main thing I see about these two is that they are consistently advancing. They don’t feel like they are slowing to a crawl or stuck in a rut. They don’t delve on every insignificant detail for fifteen pages. They keep things moving in a way that makes the story feel like it’s actually going somewhere, no matter how long it’ll take to get there.
              And they keep the cast relatively small. GG has what, about five to ten “main” characters and OotS has the main party, the main villains and maybe some additional support roles whom you don’t need to keep track of all that much. So you rarely get moments of “wait who is that guy again?” and the answer is never something like “oh yeah it’s that dude who gave the hero an ordinary candle in his hometown one the sixth panel of the second page and was never mentionned again. Wait why is he important??”.
              It depends on personnal preferences, but for me even the art styles themselves are worth following. Both of them are pretty unique (all the OotS clones notwithstanding) and this rarity keeps them entertaining.

              • Thomas says:

                The thing about Girl Genius and Oots is they do have fixed stories (I believe that’s true of Girl Genius) and so I’m happy for it to run their course. But it can be frustrating waiting for them to get there, they’re complicated stories and so its not perfect for webcomic update schedules.

                But when they’re finished it’s going to be FreakAngels good to read.

            • See my problem is when they start deliberately pushing things and addin gin stuff in order to keep it going. When the filler starts happening more and more I am pretty much done. I spend most of my time watching for patterns. I am attracted to them but also repelled by them. When I notice a pattern of repeated stupidness/forced plot or story/etc in my entertainment I get bored and figure they are struggling and it is just going to get worse so I wander off until I am bored enough (or no longer am noticing the pattern) to finish and then I do.

              With both OotS and Girl Genius I have noticed more and more similarities to past stuff and stalling with silly side stuff and too much is enough and I am done.

        • MatthewH says:

          It’s not the “not going anywhere” that annoys me. It’s the lack of speed. The updates on OOTS are now so infrequent I sometimes go a month before I think “oh, right, I should check that…” and then there still isn’t anything new. I know the author has health problems, but my ability to retain the plot threads is getting stretched.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          The trick with those, or most web comics it seems, is to keep a list of bookmarks and dates, and when a year or two has passed, go read whatever updates have accumulated to that point, and reset the bookmarks. Even MegaTokyo seems to roll right along then…

    • swenson says:

      I was just thinking of RvB (or, as you so aptly put it, “the popular web series Red vs. Blue”) in the opposite way as well! I think it’s a good example of a show that has had a long run but was able to develop and change as it went along to keep it from becoming stale. Really, how long can you sit in Blood Gulch and complain about everyone else? The smartest thing they ever did was move beyond Blood Gulch (and beyond Reds and Blues, really). I know there’s quite a few people who don’t like RvB or don’t like the new stuff, but I love it, personally. They’ve kept the humor, they just added more stuff to the mix. It keeps it fresh.

      One of the few successful examples of comedy -> dramedy, I think, probably because they never abandoned the funny for the serious.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I need to watch that series. It’s funny, I started watching RoosterTeeth’s YT videos recently, but I haven’t watched more than.. season 2? of RvB.

        Oh, and there’s a new OoTS. That story… is so convoluted at this point.. I couldn’t remember all the parts of how they got to where they are if you had a gun to my head. Oh, for the days of just a random party of adventures in a random dungeon…

        I shall also nominate Darths & Droids in this category, for much the same reason. It helps that they get a character shuffle every movie.

    • Dr. Jekyll says:

      “Popular Web Series Red vs Blue. While there were a few contrived episodes along the way, I’m impressed by the transition from “ridiculous send up of Halo gamers” to “actually kind of serious character drama” that (mostly) worked.”
      This. Very much this. In fact I think it’s quite astounding how a bunch of guys managed to pull off something like that when supposedly professional writers can barely contain their own universe. Though it did help the original 5 seasons had no real ‘plot’ to speak of, I definitely think you could teach quite a few lessons on how to evolve a setting when you never had an ‘arc’ to begin with.

    • Neil D says:

      Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I can’t think of another series that lasted more than 15 books, never mind 40, without a marked drop in quality. On the contrary, he just seems to keep getting better.

      (I chose 15 as the tipping point because I think that’s about where Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series started to spin its wheels. Still mostly enjoyed them, but after Pastime they seemed to lack a certain underlying thrust and were just being churned out for their own sakes.)

      • X2Eliah says:

        Interesting. I definitely feel that T.P. has steadily exhausted the original main characters as the Discworld evolved. Rincewind line did not end on a high, Vimes feels like he’s been squeezed dry and written into a dead-end, the Witches.. well honestly I can’t say I liked anything in that line overmuch – it’s been steadily mediocre. The actualy ‘technological evolution’ of discworld itself is also, imo, just cutting off more and more possibilities, and just plain feels progressively more awkward. You know the threat of overly rewarding tabletop rpg players with better and better gear/exp, subsequently increasing ridiculousness & cheapness of difficulties/battles/encounters/traps? Fees like that is what’s been happening to discworld and it’s heroes, they have just improved too much to even deal with true issues that don’t seem convoluted anymore.

      • Hitch says:

        Until fairy recently the Discworld books haven’t really been traditional sequels. They shared a common setting and some characters, but the stories were entirely independent. Now the last few Sam Vimes books have been more conventional sequels building on the story from book to book. But that’s more a series of half a dozen or so sequels in a much larger collection of books.

        • Yeah, and even the Vimes books are pretty self-contained. This is actually one of the reasons I like Discworld so much.

          Ah, who am I kidding, I’ve read every one of his books I could get my hands on.

        • Neil D says:

          That’s true, and I suppose it’s a good way to keep things from getting too stale, switching between characters and background settings within the Discworld.

          Still, the fact that they all take place on the same world means that they have to adhere to a certain continuity of tone and established fictional rules, which has just as much potential to wear thin after a while. And yet he keeps building on it and just adding to the fabric and content of the world book after book, so in that way they all do form a part of a continuous whole.

      • Infinitron says:

        On the contrary, Discworld has been going downhill since around Going Postal

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          So the series has been sagging for the past, what, six novels out of forty? I really enjoyed Making Money, but I do agree that many of the others have been more “Right, then. Time to write a book. Story… story… story… I haven’t read those Asprin books in a while. I liked those. American football! That’s it!”

          • Thomas says:

            Considering the span from … to Thud! contains a ridiculous proportion of my favourite books in the series, I don’t feel that Unseen Academicals (awful) and the other four being mediocre to pretty good is statistically significant. I think it’s just a not so good run. And I think Wintersmith and Making Money were generally up to standard.

            The … is where I couldn’t decide where to measure it from. I was thinking, well we’ve got to have Monstrous Regiment and Night Watch. Oh but Thief of Time is just before that too and it’s one of my favourites as well. So that leaves… The Truth, Fifth Elephant, Carpe Jugglum? No way can I not include those! And Jingo, Hogfather and Interesting Times are my favourites as well. And you’ve got to have Soul Music, Lord and Ladies and Small Gods. But then we’ve got Eric, Guards Guards! Pyramids and Wyrd Sisters just before that, which are all his best also.

            … so I realised I was just going to be saying. Well Colour of Magic -> Sourcery wasn’t really that good. Comparatively.

            Darn he’s a good writer

    • X2Eliah says:

      Hm, penny arcade? Well.. the comic itself is still pretty fresh, yes, but everything else associated with it is pretty damn rank, imo – the authors aren’t exactly bastions of courteousness or sensibility or even being in any way able to try and present their stances in a less than offensive manner..

      • Hehe, look who’s talking.

        I agree that the PA duo are crude and vulgar. However, I respect their genuine commentary in a medium that is too often laced with undetectable biases. At least PA has biases that are flagrantly obvious, and thus can be compensated around. But yes, they are certainly not Gentlemen in the ordinary sense. Being uncouth doesn’t disqualify you from stating your mind.

        I’d be more comfortable if PA wasn’t as absurdly successful as it is. I think it’s an indication of something wrong with The Internet. But then, we knew that already.

        But I’d say PA in no way falls into “It used to be good, but it went on too long.” If you liked it at the beginning, you’ll probably like it better now. If you didn’t like it at the beginning, well, steer clear.

    • Jed says:

      While most people agree The Simpsons went downhill a long time ago, I personally still love Futurama.
      I just watched the first 2 episodes of the new season and still thoroughly enjoyed them as much as any other episodes of the series, and to be honest, I don’t think there’s really any episodes I don’t enjoy watching a repeat of.

  40. Arnold says:

    Wow, almost everything I wanted to list is already here. ^^

    But nobody mentioned Andromeda yet. I really enjoyed the first 2 seasons. After that they gave up on a pretty interesting overarching plot, started to introduce plotholes in spades and when they (presumably) ran out of money in season 4, the episodes began to look shitty and get increasingly boring.
    The entire last season plays in a system that seemingly doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the established universe and every single episode has a plot made out of stupid.

    • Rodyle says:

      I couldn’t take that series seriously from the start; I just watched it to see Space Hercules being awesome while the rest did next to nothing.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Well the Space Barbarian-Objectivist/Nietzsche fan (seriously that was the best mix of weird philosophies) bit some guy’s ear off once.

        For some reason that’s the only scene I remember from Andromeda.

    • Gravebound says:

      YES!

      It was my favorite sci-fi series those first seasons (yes, I actually enjoyed it more than TNG :P), then they change up Trance from a happy, perky, naive-type character to the super-powerful, all-knowing, oracle-type character. That was when it started going downhill, for me at least.

      But, man, that last season was terrible.

      • James says:

        Erg, god yes. Trance. The hell was even the point of changing her character up?

        Overall Andromeda was a pretty fun series that fell victim to no one knowing how to end it.

  41. Thomas says:

    I’d like to give a props to Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes for knowing the perfect length a series should last, before gracefully bowing out.

    It’s something that Lost could have done with doing.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      The end to Life On Mars left me sitting in silence for a minute or two before going, “Wow.”

      It was that damn good. Perfect way to end the show, very good show in general, great examples of knowing when to end it. Would’ve been very easy to drag on for all eternity.

  42. Vladius says:

    Spongebob Squarepants.

  43. Khazidhea says:

    For series in recent memory I’m going to nominate Chuck. Don’t get me wrong, it was a show I loved, but I felt it went on for at least one season too many.

    • MelTorefas says:

      At *least*. It was one of those going-to-be-cancelled, but saved by last minute ratings hike, things. I think. Sure seemed like it was about to end, and then it didn’t.

      • MatthewH says:

        I’ll disagree slightly. I think they managed to keep the show fresh and interesting. Creative use of guest stars, not botching the relationship upgrade, and the very final showdown with the Ring. The last five episodes were the killer, and the ending is such an incredible downer I’d as soon forget the whole season and just have it end with the wedding.

  44. Andrew says:

    Weeds – Started out really funny, each episode in the first 4 seasons was LMFAO funny , and then it started to go downhill – now it just seems like a soap opera.

  45. PhoenixUltima says:

    Harry Potter. I started off as a huge fan of the first book, read the second with a furious zeal, enjoyed reading through the 3rd while shoving that little “I’ve read this before” thought in the back of my head, slogged through the 4th while that little thought turned into a screaming chorus, and joylessly plowed through the 5th out of some misguided sense of obligation. I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the 6th – the series had pretty much died for me after the 5th.

    • X2Eliah says:

      All kidding aside, 5th was close to the worst, but 6th and the two 7ths really pick up the slack, finally dealing with more serious themes than “oh god got to finish school year and exams and something something voldemort in april/may something”.
      And unlike a LOT of series, the way 7th ends, well, there really is closure on most aspects and a very final endpoint. Just saying, if sometime later your stance on that mellows a bit and you have the time, well, I’d say it’s still worth reading through.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Yeah, the fifth book is really slow. Very little actually happens in the grand scheme of things. Well, Sirius dies

        Although I do love most of the parts with the DA…

        • X2Eliah says:

          Ah, yes, the spoilered bit was at the fifth one’s very end, and pretty much marked the turning point when the series finally turned to the serious issues at hand. It’s just that up to that, the fifth was so horribly focused on teen angst that it was a pain to get through.

          As for DA.. Hrm. Wasn’t it a bit too heavyhanded in it’s masquerading of “You need to rely on your friends, Harry!” thread?

          • PhoenixUltima says:

            It wasn’t even any shift in tone that put me off the books, it’s just that each one was essentially the same story, just with the characters rearranged and a slightly different twist. Every book (up to the 5th – if the last two broke from this formula please don’t tell me, I don’t give a shit) goes exactly the same: “Harry is with his horribly abusive aunt and uncle, someone comes and whisks him away to the magical, whimsical world of Hogwarts, where Harry uncovers an evil plot by Voldemort/his followers to take over the world, but with the help of his friends, the wise teachers of Hogwarts, and the magic McGuffin of the day, Harry finds the courage inside himself to foil the evil plot and save the day, winning the House Cup for Gryffindor in the process! Then he goes back home to his abusive family to wait for the next book the next whimsical adventure at Hogwarts!”

            Of course it didn’t help that the series got more and more dark (seriously, Goblet of Fire was some depressing shit) and the protagonists got more and more unlikeable (Hermione especially pissed me off with that E.L.F. bullshit), but that was the main reason I gave up on the series.

            • X2Eliah says:

              Well, as I already said in my reply

              if the last two broke from this formula please don’t tell me, I don’t give a shit

              Ah. Well, nevermind then, carry on.

            • I don’t think Harry Potter qua series was too long. Some of the individual books, yeah, but it has the number of books that it does for a reason.

              I found the teen angst a bit much, but well, Harry IS a teenager and I’d rather have kids acting like kids in a story than acting like mysteriously shrunken adults. Most of the character turns are suitable if not always like-able.

              Were they the best books I’ve ever read? No. Were they well worth the money I spent on them? Yes.

              • MatthewH says:

                Formula is formula. My ability to retain sympathy with Harry was greatly strained by book 5 and 6. By the end of Book 7 I was done with the series. But then she kept writing.

                • Telas says:

                  Not to keep trumpeting HP, but if you consider each book as being written for an audience of Harry’s age in that book, then it’s understandable that his early teen years are angsty and rebellious.

                  Learning that fact made the read much easier for me.

                  • Thomas says:

                    This is true (although I always supposed most of us were that, I figured a lot of us would be 20ish now, give or take) I’m definitely of the Harry Potter generation because I’m pretty sure I aged almost entirely level with the series.

                    It makes it very awkward to read/examine from a still standpoint now. I don’t know how you introduce kids to the series. Do you give them 1 and 2 when they’re 11 and then tell them to wait till they’re 15 before they get 4,5,6?

      • Eido says:

        In what way did it wrap anything up, other than saying that Harry’s generation were done with for good with practically 0% (though obviously if she wants more money that could change) of coming back?

        I agree that the Horcruxes/ Horcruxi were wrapped up and finished with, but the simple fact of the matter is that the last-minute ass-pull of making Harry a Horcrux seemed entirely convoluted and was a “wait, what?” moment. I mean, Voldemort is pretty much made out to be the world’s premier expert on splitting the soul, but doesn’t notice a portion of it inside HP? Yeah, okay, pull the other one.

        Secondly, and a key issue here – a seriously large portion of the book is spent camping out in a tent or simply on the run, trying to come up with a plan. Yes, this is incredibly realistic, kudos for going the other side of the playing field here JKR, but the simple fact of the matter is it made for an incredibly dull read. I managed to complete Book 7, but I cannot remember much of the middle of the book… because I’d see some tent BS and my attention to it would drift slightly.

        The other real stupid point is that the epilogue was apparently the second chapter she wrote. So… what, you decided way back when that your ideal conclusion was for the battle against evil to result in Harry being an average person, and then when it became a political war fuelled by bitterness, hatred and fear you didn’t change it even a little? The worst part of this situation? We don’t seem to know anything about the world after the “Final Battle”, it’s just a completely unrelated chapter which feels, if anything, like an opportunity to cash in on the series again if she wishes to in the future.

        And none of that mentions the Hallows and what a completely Deus-Ex-Machina those were…

        It’s still better than #5, what with it’s 100+ page opening sequence and 100+ page “This is a vague explanation while I think other stuff up” ending, but that doesn’t mean it can be ranked better than 2nd Worst HP.

        It’s just unfortunate because in the first book, she had a lovely little universe which had unconventional rules, and then somewhere along the line we got the mess that #4 started at the end and 6/7 had to mop up at the expense of better material.

    • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      I could not read the books. I just had so much trouble getting through them and gave up.

      Then I found Jim Dale and went through the whole series and enjoyed it very much!

    • Mari says:

      I was actually still OK with the 5th book. The 6th put me off more than a bit. By the 7th I was pretty sure “I have the ending all plotted out” was a total lie and when I finished book 7 I couldn’t even re-read the first book for several years. It just completely ruined everything for me. I feel like it would have been more aptly titled “Harry Potter and the Deus ex Machina.” I mean, like way, way, way more than any of the previous deus ex machinas.

    • Dev Null says:

      This may be a different issue; my problem with HP was more that it was stretched too thin – she kept writing perfectly good 200-page kid’s books, but some of them are 800 pages long. The one that started with like 100 pages of description about a Quiddich match – a sport so ludicrously bad that we had all tried to forget it existed – is where I lost it.

    • Clint Olson says:

      For what it’s worth, I highly recommend Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It’s a look at the series from the perspective of Harry as a rationalist/scientist who actually questions the bizarre rules of the magical world around him. It’s amazing, engrossing stuff, and hasn’t run out of steam yet.

    • Dev Null says:

      Read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

      Yes, its fan fiction.

      (No wait! Come back!)

      If you’re not crying with laughter by the time Harry works out how to entirely destabilise both the muggle and wizard economies – I believe its about chapter 4, and they’re short chapters – then I promise your money back.

      • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

        Ugh. I hate you guys.

        This is probably the only piece of fan-fiction that has ever held my interest for any length of time ONLY because I had the same reactions to a lot of the magic in the books. Especially the “SNAKES ARE SENTIENT?” part.

      • Alan says:

        Thank you for pointing this out. Reading through what is currently out ate a big chunk of my weekend.

  46. MelTorefas says:

    Friends. Should have ended by season 7, at the *latest*.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The original show effectively ended at the end of season 3, and many people thought the series should have ended there too. I lean more towards it ending in season 5. Either way, season 6 was a horrible trainwreck that is painful to watch and couldn’t even be saved by an awesome musical episode.

  47. Irridium says:

    House.

    Though that did end not too long ago, I still feel it went on longer than it should have.

  48. Jenx says:

    Yeah, I gotta go on the bandwagon for House. For me, the series ended with the end of season five when House finally went mad and had to commit himself to a mental hospital. The whole thing was so emotionally powerful, so charged that when I found out there was a season 6 my first reaction was “…but why?”. Seriously, that would have been the most perfect ending for this show.

  49. King Lysandus says:

    I am going to just leave a comment here to say that I hope they do not make any more Max Payne games.

    The first one, the second one, and then the third one ends on *Just The Perfect Note*

    The ending is brilliant and emotional, without being a trope.

    Perfect.

    • Milos says:

      Knowing the big publishers in the industry they are going to make Max Payne 4: Conviction of Payne where a rogue secret agent comes up to Max and tells him that his wife and daughter are actually still alive and that all he saw was bodies of their clones. Now he has to fight the Russians or else they are going to kill them for real.

  50. ThaneofFife says:

    Shamus,
    I’ve got to disagree about Alien & its sequels (I’m ignoring Prometheus, which I haven’t seen).

    The great thing about the Alien quadrilogy is that each movie is in a completely different genre, and is a very fun example of the genre it’s in:

    Alien is, as you said, a great horror/thriller

    Aliens is Hollywood action/thriller/comedy (“Game over, man!”)

    Alien 3 is a British art film (the Eddie Izzard version: “What is it, Simon? I’m hunting Aliens.” Simon: “Oh, it’s well… oh. I’d better go.”)

    and

    Alien Resurrection is a French art film (by the director of Amelie, no less!)

    What’s great about the series is that it got put in a completely new genre every outting, while maintaining its essential elements. I wish more movie series were that innovative.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Opinions about the fourth alien aside,what about the avp series?It is somewhat of a sequel/prequel to the alien movies.Granted,it had 2 good games,but it also had one meh game,and two awful movies.

      • Nick Pitino says:

        See if they made an AvP movie that actually had space marines, aliens and predators in it that would have a decent chance at being awesome.

        As it stands, the first AvP movie was mildly entertaining (worth a dollar getting it from the Redbox)while the second was an awful SAW-esque slaughter porn flick with aliens in it.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          The setup wasnt the problem.No gore and uninspired story and acting were.

        • Zukhramm says:

          No! No space marines! Alien should have ended after the first film, then un-ended for the third, then ended again.

        • Thomas says:

          AvP 2 was so bad, I still can’t enjoy the other films as much, months after seeing it. Just so much pointless, random, unnecessary, horrible violence

        • ps238principal says:

          As I’ve said so many times, AVP should have been taken from the Dark Horse comic books. If they’d had the budget, the next film after Aliens should have also followed the comics, with an alien infestation of Earth (thanks to another Weyland-Yutani mission) having taken place while the survivors on the Sulaco slept on their return journey.

    • Michael says:

      My take on Resurrection has always been it’s in the Joss Whedon brand of comic book action film.

      Though, I’ll go out on a limb and say I actually really enjoyed 3. Though 3 was saddled with some absolutely catastrophic managerial meddling from the studio.

      And so far as that goes, it’s biggest crime is being the next movie in the series. On it’s own it’s pretty good. It’s only once you roll it in with the first and second films that it doesn’t stand up.

      That said, I always kinda rolled Pitch Black in as being in the same setting (not counting the sequel). *Shrugs*

  51. Alex says:

    “The Simpsons” is the king of overstaying welcomes. It has been at least 10 years since that show has been anything remotely approaching comedy. It is the shambling corpse of a once-great dynasty.

    And while I will agree that maybe “House” and “Seinfeld” should have ended sooner than they did, I’m just glad they ended at all. And I think they both have a higher ratio of good episodes to bad, so I still consider them a net-win.

    “Lost”: What I like to do is watch the first two terrific seasons… and then pretend that they were ever going anywhere with it.

    EDIT: Ooh, just remembered: Red vs. Blue. Now there’s a show that’s past its’ prime.

    • Cody211282 says:

      Oh god I just finished season 7 of House, and as much as I love the show it was really bad. Wasted opportunity and bad decisions all over the place.

      Also as much as I love RvB it’s hard not to go back to the first 5 or so seasons and wonder what the hell happened to it, I still like it but something is definitely missing.

      • Hitch says:

        At least House had the saving grace of getting boring long before ending in such a way that I had no problem not tuning in. I haven’t watched it in years — after having been addicted to the show for a couple years before that. Many shows go sour, but you keep watching hoping they’ll recapture the good stuff that got you hooked in the first place. At some point, I just realized I was never going to be excited about House anymore.

  52. Mari says:

    I’m going to throw one in there that probably nobody’s ever even read but I adore the original three “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Unbeliever” novels by Stephen Donaldson. But it probably should have ended there. The Second and Last Chronicles went too far.

    Oh, and the Terry Brooks “Shannara” series(es).

    • Milos says:

      I read the original trilogy too, but I gave up on the second one. It felt like retreading old ground when Donaldson should have just left the setting and focused on something new.

      I admit I never fully warmed up to the books even though I liked the idea of it, how the main character firmly believed he’s going insane. But the incredible amount of self-loathing in him just got on my tits too often for me to enjoy the story in it’s entirety. He was like Max Payne in a fantasy setting.

    • Sephyron says:

      I agree on the Shannara series.

      Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, im not sure. I still liked all of them but at the same time it woulden’t have been that bad for it to end a bit earlier.

    • Seems to me I have read both (would hav eto see the covers to remember whethe rI have but both series sound SUPER familiar.) Wait, I KNOIW I read the Terry Brooks books and yeah, absolutely. THINK I read the other and if it is what I am remembering then absolutely.

    • Scerro says:

      I have no idea why.

      But I read Dune, and the three books after it.

      I read The first Shannara book, and the three or four after it. Maybe a spinoff as well.

      Yet I know I read them just to read them. I never really liked the characters, or really cared for the plots, or the settings. Something about those author’s style just does not capture my imagination. Maybe it’s because they describe stuff I don’t care any about. Maybe it’s because the characters are dimensionless. Maybe it was because I couldn’t identify with them. Either way, people probably think I’m crazy for not liking those series. As they kept going, I really didn’t notice the decline because I never noticed any greatness in the first place.

  53. Cody211282 says:

    Battlestar Galactica- Now people have different opinions on when this went from good to bad but for me it was the last half of season 4. They sat around and did nothing until putting out a series finally that was as bad as ME3s ending was. It felt like they wrote themselves into a corner that they didn’t know how to get out of.

    Final Fantasy- Most people think the last good one was X, I think it was IX but X wasn’t to bad so I’ll let it slide. It is clear that square is just tired of making these games and would rather make movies at this point.

    Splinter Cell- The first 3 were friken amazing, but they went downhill rather fast starting with double agent, and now it feels like they are just making third person shooters instead of a proper stealth game.

    How I Met Your Mother- Holy crap this show used to be funny, and well NPH is still good for a laugh he cant carry the entire show himself. It’s gotten horrible formulaic and they have run out of ideas so much that they pretty much just redid the first plot point in the series mid season 7. Ted just needs to settle down and get the show over with before it gets any worse.

    Also I’m just putting in a personal rule of mine, if the show had a musical number then it’s over the hill (House, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother).

    • Dev Null says:

      I don’t know if Got Bad is quite the same thing as Lasted Too Long. I thought (the new) BSG had a decent arc – slumped a bit in the middle and maybe lasted a touch long, but not too much so. The problem with BSG was that it had a decent arc that didn’t go anywhere, and a Deus Ex Machina ending that rivals the “Oh crap we’re out of money; roll credits” ending of Monty Python’s the Holy Grail. But it wasn’t so much that it lasted too long as that it was a crap ending when they got there.

      • Cody211282 says:

        That might be coloring my opinion of it, but for me it just seemed like the last season was just sitting around on a busted ship as we watch Adama shave and throw paint around.

        It’s not like they suffered from “lost syndrome” ether, they had plenty of story arcs that payed off, all of season 1, a good chunk of season 2, and the first part of season 3 are probably some of the best things I have ever seen on TV.

        The sad part is if they were told “hey you only have a half a season to get everything finished I think we could have gotten a much better ending.

        • Dev Null says:

          I may be biased (ok, I’m biased) but I think if they were told:

          “The writers have quit. We’re closing out the series by lining the walls of the monkey cage with blank scripts and feeding them nothing but ExLax-laced prune smoothies.”

          …that we still could’ve gotten a much better ending.

          • MatthewH says:

            I decided around the middle/late beginning of season 2 that “and they have a plan” was patent nonsense, the writers were making it up as they went along and jerking my chain. I considered the removal of “and they have a plan” from the opening sequence in season 4 total vindication of my decision to stop watching that show.

    • Scerro says:

      The last good one was FFX, because the company that produced the games was still just Squaresoft.

      It’s pretty obvious to me that Square Enix doesn’t make good FF games anymore. Also because FFXIII versus is just a troll game concepted by Nomura, but it’s never going to get made and finished, because they’ll want to push it onto the next gen and fail, and it’ll get scrapped. Its trailers were premiered at E3 2006, and it still wasn’t at this year’s E3.

      It makes me mad, because it was going to be a Kingdom Hearts with a more mature plot, and hopefully an awesome Action/RPG battle system.

      • Alex says:

        I was… mostly okay with XIII. Which, as you’ll recall, also had a very long development cycle. So I’m pretty sure Versus XIII isn’t in any trouble.

        Hell, even Duke Nukem Forever came out. There’s hope for anything.

        But I do agree that the last “great” entry in the series was probably IX or X. It’s not that they weren’t riddled some of that animu gibberish that’s plagued the series since, but they just seemed more like a whole product. Something a little more complete and thought-out.

        • Scerro says:

          Maybe it’s the writers, and them not being able(or being enabled by their company) to really write something worthwhile.

          My problem with FF anymore is that it relies way too much on graphics, and doesn’t focus enough on gameplay and balance. Then again, I haven’t played FFXIII, but it’s definitely a step in a different direction, of which I’m not optimistic about. At least it seems like the characters have a reason to fight together and as a party…

          • Alex says:

            I’d wager the problem is their writers are under the mistaken impression that:

            More complicated, convoluted story = Better.

            Other than that, the only thing that infuriated me about XIII was that only one character in your team had to die to count as a Game Over… even if your two other party members are still alive. It really is the worst game design choice I’ve ever seen, since even low-level foes can overwhelm the party, and the game is stingy about how much you can grind in the first half of the game. So you can’t just steamroll your way through.

            Hell of a soundtrack, though.

            • Scerro says:

              I would like to actually play FFXIII before I make any certain decisions to not care about future titles. It never interested me from the start, but I wouldn’t mind trying it out.

              The thing is that I don’t have a PS3 or 360, nor do I know anyone who has one.

              Also, I’ve fallen away from consoles a lot in the past four or five years since I built my desktop.

              • I have many, many complaints about Final Fantasy XIII, but I can safely say that I enjoyed the game. Character interactions and the battle system were some of the best I’ve seen in recent Final Fantasy games and that was enough to keep me interested for the duration. Many of it’s other aspects do leave much to be desired. XIII-2 fixed most of the problems, but it had a few of it’s own.

      • Cody211282 says:

        Personally I just didn’t like X so much, then again I didn’t like VII or VIII ether.

        Most of my dislike from the game came from just not liking the characters in it, and my hatred of the leveling system.

    • Alex says:

      Interesting rule. It reminds me of one my dad employs on a regular basis:

      “When a live-action show introduces a monkey into the plot, that’s when it’s time to go.”

      • Cody211282 says:

        I think both Scrubs and HIMYM both had a monkey it it at some point, so they hit both danger flags and kept on going.

        Also the inclusion of a “genius” or “prodigy” is a great way to kill the series as well.

      • Hitch says:

        In this case a monkey is just a variation on a “Cousin Oliver.” I’ll spare you the TV Tropes link.

  54. Milos says:

    Prison Break is definitely guilty of this. First season was great, sure there some far reaching in there but on the whole I enjoyed it. They should have just had and then they all escape to Mexico the end. Instead we get a whole season on the aftermath of the break out, only for them to end up in another, more exotic of course, prison. I stopped watching then but I wouldn’t be surprised if next they ended up in a space prison.

  55. GTRichey says:

    House definitely went too long, but it still managed to have an exceptionally good ending. The start of season 6 was really the highest point of the show, but it definitely had a couple mediocre years leading up to that season. What’s fascinating is that it seemed to me like it would’ve continued in much the same way had they not finally stopped with generally overplayed formula while occasionally reaching something that is almost great.

    Lost definitely went too long. I felt they had a plan to begin with, but didn’t expect the popularity of the show and decided to try to extend it with a lot of extraneous plot lines and just ended up watering it down too much.

    Lethal Weapon is a smart action flick that never should’ve gotten a sequel (haven’t watched anything past 2 because it was just too horrible).

    Breaking Bad is nearing this point with season 4 really stretching my patience with the show at times and especially with the ending, but I’m still hopeful for the final season and the show has done quite a lot to earn good favour.

    The Office (US) is well past it’s prime. I’m surprised it ever got past season 1 since it was really almost a copy/past of the British series, but I guess the network had enough confidence in Steve Carrell. Seasons 2 to 4 the show hit it’s stride and managed to stay fairly fresh, but since then it’s been all down hill to the point I feel almost as if I’m only still watching to see how much of a train wreck it can become.

  56. Jakale says:

    The Land Before Time The poor thing should have been allowed to be a standalone film. Thirteen movies in a consistent downhill slope of quality.

    • Cody211282 says:

      I’m still waiting for the one were an asteroid takes them out.
      Or they all starve to death because the ecosystem is so unbalanced because of the lack of predators.

  57. samalander says:

    Smallville

    Mercedes Lackey – Valdemar – every. single. bad. person. and. thing. has now somehow been tied into the prehistoric big bad (or had at the point I stopped reading). it just devalued the whole series for me. It’s awesome for the writer to have the scaffolding in their head, but the reader doesn’t need to know every detail. mystery is good.

    Tanya Huff – Victoria Nelson. First 3 were incredible. The 4th was bad enough it put me off the rest of that series and the next

    Jack Chalker – Well of Souls – the first was awesome. stop there.

    any TV series that has a really interesting premise that can/must be wrapped up within one season. What on earth are they supposed to do for a second season?

    of course, there are series that had a dip in quality in the middle but have picked up again….

  58. Dev Null says:

    So I made a list, but most of them have already been ticked:

    Dune
    Ender’s Game
    BSG (more a bad ending than went too long, IMO)
    Harry Potter (more stretched too thin – would have been fine if the Rowling had got an editor and kept every book down to 200 pages.)

    The one that no one has mentioned is Song of Ice and Fire, by Martin, and it probably belongs in the “too thin” category rather than the “too long” one.. The first two are brilliant. The next one pretty good, but the pace slows down. The most recent two – which Martin started as one book but split into two because he couldn’t fit it between the covers – should have been trimmed down and fit into one book. And dropped almost all of the new characters (some of whom I quite liked; almost none of who progressed the plot in any way.) Yes George, we get that you have written a tightly coiled political drama but are just waiting to spring the magic on us. So spring already.

    • I definitely agree with Song of Ice and Fire, but that’s what happens when you take a 10-year break from your series.

      Wheel of Time was too long. The very first book would have been perfect as a single stand-alone novel. Every book after that was increasingly pointless.

      Sword of Truth was pretty much the same way. First book was great standalone. Everything that came after was horribly contrived and pointless.

      I think that series that WEREN’T too long are far more interesting, personally. They’re certainly rarer.

      • Dev Null says:

        I blame the publishers _almost_ as much as the writers. They’ve worked out that they can guarantee sales of a 5-book series in fantasy, so they don’t want to bother selling anything else. I’m pretty sure that if Ursula K. LeGuinn popped up with A Wizard of Earthsea today, the publishers would say “Thats great love; now write us 1200 more pages to go with this prolog for book 1, and I’ll get the lawyers to do you up a contract for books 2-5.”

      • Retsam says:

        As someone who just started re-reading Wheel of Time for the third time (i.e. as someone highly biased), I’m a little mystified by the idea that the first one could have stood alone. He set out to create a large “epic” fantasy, so to say that it would have been better as one book is a little like saying that the Iliad would have been better if it had been written as a haiku. There’s something to be said for the level of detail and world building that occurs over 14 books that simply can’t occur in a single book.

        That said, some of the later books do drag. It’s pretty well accepted that little of value occurs in book 10. But for me, the first 5 books are solid, 6-8 are decent, 9 and 10 are a real struggle to get through, but then 11-13 really make it worthwhile.

        I would certainly say that the issue of Wheel of Time is not length, but pacing. I would love to see an edition of Wheel of Time that manages to cut out books 9 and 10 (working the events of those two books into the other books) and brings the series back down to 12 books.

        (Sword of Truth on the other hand was a rare example of a fantasy series where I read the first book and had no desire to keep reading)

    • Scerro says:

      Actually, I enjoyed the continuation of Ender’s Game, once it broke past Speaker of the Dead and got to Xenocide. Sure, it was long, was a little bit convoluted, but it ended, and I found that the characters were interesting, along with a little bit of interesting universe pondering along the way.

      But it ended. And ended beautifully, in my opinion.

  59. MichaelG says:

    No one is going to mention South Park?

  60. The Rocketeer says:

    Silent Hill. People gush about the second entry, and they’re right to. But the series had serious problems from the very beginning which were never addressed, and even its strengths were unreliable and short-lived. The first three entries represent competent, off-the-wall horror games with mind-ripping atmosphere, valuable subtlety, and- in its best moments- real thematic depth carried by great characters.

    AND. THEN. Silent Hill 4: The Room was re-developed from an initially unrelated project. It had its own great moments, but even as an apologist for The Room, I can say it is abominable, and the fact that it didn’t kill the series outright is sort of startling.

    Team Silent’s membership was never very stable, which probably contributed to a lot of the roughness of the early games, but every game since the fourth, both in the main series and the handhelds, has been pawned off on unrelated teams who either don’t know what they’re doing or are incapable of carrying that vision out.

    It baffles me that the series is still going on, not because I have lost interest in it but because I can’t understand the publisher’s motivations. Konami didn’t give much deference to the people making Silent Hill even in its relative glory days, but now they aren’t even making it themselves and don’t seem concerned about who gets to. That by itself wouldn’t puzzle me, but even the most famous entry was a flawed game in a niche genre, and the games’ quality and relevance has only diminished since a decade ago

    And steadily at that. Silent Hill 2 is certainly the most well-regarded entry, but did you know that it isn’t the best selling? The first one was, and still is. In fact, every Silent Hill game has been less successful than its predecessor. The latest entry, subtitled “Downpour” hasn’t been out tremendously long, but has sold less than 200k copies. My point is, are they even making any money on this series anymore?

    Why is Konami even bothering if they don’t care about the series and neither do their customers? Eyes don’t open, not getting a pulse, but just barely breathing… Why? What is keeping that series alive?!

    • Otters34 says:

      To keep a hold of their copyright? Dunno, really.

      I’d agree wholeheartedly on the Silent Hill franchise having gone entirely wrong. It’s a real shame too, it could have been something truly amazing.

  61. RCN says:

    Eh… I’m not of the opinion that series should just curl up and die after some arbitrary point.

    My opinion is that any story should go on for as long as someone is willing to listen to it. If the writers are getting low on ideas they shouldn’t just scrap it, but make smaller seasons/books/games with the new ideas they do have.

    Or have a bunch of writers on a flexible story, that works too.

    Doctor Who is a fine example of a long-running series like that. It has highs and lows, but it keeps getting those highs.

    • Neil D says:

      I have to give points for Dennis Lehane for taking a ten year break after the fifth Kenzie/Gennaro book. The demand was there, but he said (paraphrasing) “I don’t really have any more story to tell with them right now. If I come up with one someday, maybe I’ll write another one, but I’m not going to force it just to crank another one out.” Must drive his publisher absolutely insane.

      • RCN says:

        Some shows really just look like they don’t need to stop altogether, just dial down to six or so episodes a season. This gives more space to new series and make it so that it isn’t spread so thin.

        Saturday Night Live, for instance, could be much better if they could make it only once a fortnight. Also, cut some running time from it. It has half an hour edited out of it in my country, and I think it works nicely.

        As for games… it is more complicated, but I think mini-installments between full installments is better to gain a breather while keeping the publisher happy. You make a triple A 60 $ game, then expansion packs to it at 15$, then maybe a side-game on a different genre but on the same franchise at 20 $, while making sure the next installment is actually worth 60 $ again.

        But… well, what do I know. Some games can keep being the same and still selling in the millions, so…

  62. Redguy says:

    I’m still waiting for a show that ends in a nice, logical point where everything important was said and the rest is better left for viewer’s imagination:

    Dexter. Should’ve ended after his wedding. (3rd season?)

    Sons of Anarchy. I thought that the last season was last one, and that would’ve been great, the finale was amazing. However, it seems they are going for next season 8(

    And I’m quite nervous about rumors of next episodes of Doctor Horrible. The story is perfectly closed as it is and anything else can only ruin the original.

    Oh, and Glee. (should I return my man card now?) Leaving high school is the perfect finale.

    • Michael says:

      Brimstone sort of did that. It was a victim of only having half a season on Fox, and it ends rather depressingly, but it has a remarkably coherent conclusion.

  63. JPH says:

    Sonic’s problem isn’t that it went on too long. I mean, the Super Mario series has been going on longer than Sonic and Nintendo is still innovating it with each installment (Mario Galaxy 2 arguably notwithstanding).

    The problem with Sonic was that they didn’t know what to do with it when 3D became mandatory.

    With Sonic Generations they finally got it right. Speaking as someone who was never really a fan of Sonic, 2D or 3D, I have to say that Generations is a tremendously fun game.

  64. Alex says:

    “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”.

    60+ episodes of time-wasting garbage we haven’t seen since Dragonball Z. Hours of pointless fights where everyone loses swimming pools of blood, yet nobody ever dies. No ground is gained, and the plot splinters off into so many directions that it’s hard to even remember what the main goal of the story was in the first place. And all of the characters are finger-wagging pussies.

    It took everything wrong with the original series, and forgot to include the stuff that worked. And the few things it does borrow from the first series, it plays in fast-forward so that it loses some of the impact. The whole thing felt like it was made by people who didn’t understand the appeal of the franchise.

    • Sephyron says:

      Well to be fair to Brotherhood it’s made to follow the original manga storyline. So similaritys between it and the firs(IMO not very good) FMA series is to bee expected.

      Brotherhood atleast had a compleat story to work from when beeing made.

      • Alex says:

        See, that’s exactly the problem, and it’s something I talked about in my review a while back: They tried to make a show using the same guidelines as making a manga. Which is like trying to build a motorboat using blueprints for a helicopter.

        I don’t care how “faithful” something is, as long as it’s entertainment, and as long as it cuts to the chase. I have no patience or tolerance for shows that go nowhere, never resolve or wrap up plot threads and just string the viewer along for its own profit, indefinitely. The long-running nature of manga forbids a satisfying conclusion, as long as it’s still making money. Trying to make a finite show using lessons learned from a never-ending medium doesn’t work.

        That’s why I’ll always look more favourably on the first series. I’d rather watch an anime than a soap opera. I would rather a show have the nerve to end, or at least feel like it was ever leading up to an end.

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