Of the TV shows that manage to reach pure greatness, however temporary, very few retain that level of quality throughout their entire runs. It’s hard to pull the plug when a series is in its ratings prime, and networks are much more likely to go well beyond the point of common sense if the audience isn’t completely absent.

Here are 13 shows that should have come to a close well before they actually did; at least for those that have ended already, as some are still airing. Such wise decisions would have stopped some series from reaching notoriously low depths, while allowing others to be solely remembered for their stellar early seasons. Alas, those decisions weren’t made, and the episodes just kept on comin’. Now find your dark passenger and read on.

dexter
Dexter
When Dexter premiered on Showtime in 2006, it boasted clever writing, a tension-filled string of situations, and the first major post-Six Feet Under role for the consistently engaging Michael C. Hall. Then as the years went by, the situations became less intense and the antagonists got goofier and goofier, while every single character dynamic got stretched out longer than it should have. Particularly the one between Dexter and Debra, which took some weird left turns. But you know what? All might have been forgotten had the serial killer drama stuck the landing, but the series finale stumbled more than almost any other episode.

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