There comes a point in the life of a TV series where, no matter how good it is, things start to drag on. Now, don’t get me wrong, this can still continue as a win-win relationship: producers and distributors keep making money, and loyal fans are constantly offered their necessary dose of yearly episodes that give meaning to their lives. This can create a rather vicious circle, which sees series entering their 12th season, where they should have really ended after the 4th. Other times, quite the opposite can happen: the production of wonderful series with so much more to give inexplicably stops, either due to scheduling conflicts, financial constraints or declining viewership figures. We’re exploring both sides of the coin with a few recent examples.
Prison Break was one of the most popular series of the late 2000s, offering a perfect combination of ingenuity, action and strong character building. It was equally remarkable for deciding not to milk its success to the last drop – the story was closed with the 4th season, which coincides with the death of the main character, Michael Scofield. For some reason, 8 years later, the creators decided to revive Scofield with a cheap twist for at least one more season, but actually did a great job with it, exceeding almost everyone’s expectations.
‘I’ll see you in 25 years’, Laura Palmer told Special Agent Dale Cooper’s character in the Season 2 finale, which, due to declining viewership figures (for the time), seemed to have been the final entry in the amazingly delicious series penned by David Lynch. That is, until 25 years later, when Season 3 came out. Who would have thought that Lynch had been so literal when he wrote the last episode back in 1991? Well, Twin Peaks did return, and a Lynch unburdened by the shackles of cable television censorship, offered us all a lesson in storytelling, cinematography and sound design, to name but a few.
Heroes dragged on for quite a bit. I was really not picky with my series as a teenager, but as excited as I was about the first couple of seasons, the last two bored me quite a lot. So much that I was happy to see it all end when it did. Five years later, however, I halfheartedly took notice of an attempt to revive the series. Lacking its original charm and substance, Heroes Reborn should never have been, at least in my eyes.
I think each and every one of us has seen at least a few episodes of 24. After all, they’re kind of hard to miss, spanning over almost 10 seasons, and almost always containing… guess how many episodes per season – yes, 24 indeed! While the terrorist plots started to repeat themselves over and over again after a while, the action and drama was always top notch, and the brief revival for a 12-episode season set in London offered avid fans their long due fix of Jack Bauer.
X-Files was one of the defining pieces of television, as far as my childhood is concerned, so when last year I got the chance to once again hear the eerie theme song while watching the UFO-heavy credit sequence, with the anticipation of brand-new material involving agents Mulder and Scully, I was absolutely ecstatic. The mini season had its ups and downs, serving more as an up-to-date summary of everything that the old seasons stood for back in the day, while paving the way to a hopefully more coherent season 11 (!) in 2018.
Until recently, I knew Black Mirror as that fantastic dystopian technology-based one-episode-one-story series that unfortunately only sported two season under its belt. Then, while trying to remember my preferred episodes on an IMDb trip, I was overjoyed to see that two more seasons had been added, without having known a thing. I know it’s not such a long break, but it did take me by surprise, and thus I included it on this list.