Many TV shows over the years maintained a high level of quality from pilot to finale, with no overtly embarrassing dips causing viewers to permanently stitch their palms to their foreheads. But the same cannot be said for all shows, and there is a certain subset of series whose mostly inarguable downfalls came from the loss of one or more main characters, be it through an onscreen death, an offscreen exit or any number of other reasons. A chain may only be as strong as its weakest link, but removing the strongest link from a successful TV show makes everything else weaker in comparison, and here are some of the most glaring examples, minus butchered metaphors.

General spoilers are present for certain series, given the subject matter, so be warned.

scrubs

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Scrubs

For eight seasons, ABC's Scrubs was the delightfully silly, clever and emotionally poignant balance to the many melodramatic hospital dramas that are now permanent TV staples. But, instead of getting cancelled as planned, Scrubs was granted a new season with a huge makeover that scrapped the well-established location and regular appearances from most of the hilarious original ensemble. Season 9 took place at a medical school, and the narration switched from Zack Braff's J.D. to Kerry Bishé's Lucy, which meant that (fill in the blank with one of many complaints). Had this been a completely different series, this final season might not have felt so terrible, but trying to seriously compare this to previous seasons is markedly funnier than most of the episodes.

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