When looking back at TV’s progression over the years, it might not seem like it’s that hard to create a great TV show. (A naïve thought, to be sure, but run with me here.) Far more complications arise when one attempts to retain a great show’s top-notch quality, as evidenced by damned near every show in existence. As sad as it is, we should probably be thanking our lucky stars when brilliant shows are canceled too soon, thus not allowing them to later wallow in their own dwindling value.

Here, we’re shining a spotlight on ten of the worst offenders, shows that started off fantastic and eventually got lost in the smokescreen of their own wheel-spinning. All of these definitely have their diehard defenders who never lost faith, myself included, but the majority of audiences can usually agree on where things went wrong with them. And let’s kick it off with the biggest smoke monster of them all.

There will be spoilers, so be warned.

Point of No Return: Nikki and Paulo

While some people never bought into the resolution-less myths and legends that Lost rained down on viewers, this show was about as close as many people got to a small screen religion, and was one of the first TV series that spawned rampant Internet speculation. But despite some nice temporary reprieves, Lost could never fully recapture how blissfully ominous its first two seasons were, collapsing beneath its own mysteries, flash-forwards and myriad other plot contrivances. By the time the gang reached the Temple, the head-scratching had turned to head-bashing, and I think we can all agree that the finale was about as delicate and graceful as a drunken elephant ballet.

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