A series that goes on too long can be a terrible thing; from an unnecessary deviation from the plot, through to repetition of the show. What may have had a promising start, ultimately, is turning into a slog, rather than an enjoyable show to continue watching. Naturally, a series isn’t even limited to film and TV, but rather all mediums.
You are all a strange bunch, as you all picked this Top 10 after last week’s Series That Ended Too Soon. So, from getting soppy at last week’s list, to us going “Oh god, why is/was that going on so long”, this week’s Top 10 Series That Went On Too Long is all thanks to you. Thanks, folks. Let’s begin the list!
10) The Simpsons
WHAT? How dare we cast aspersions upon televisions’ golden child, the animated family favourite that has dominated pop culture for nearly three decades?
And yes, the “first family” of television are legends and deservedly so, but after such a long time on television, missteps are not merely inevitable, but entire seasons have gone by filled with disappointment and underwhelming stories and lacklustre comedy. At times there was no story at all, just events badly strung together, old characters became tired, and celebrity guests were pandering and dull.
It’s like discovering that a beloved parent has been lying to you about Santa Clause, or that a childhood hero has gotten fat and has become kind of a douche over the years. That perfect vision shattered, and while later seasons and an excellent movie may have papered over the cracks, it’ll be a bittersweet thing to see the Simpsons end with season thirty.
9) Happy Days
And already we have picked on two staples of American television, but when you literally coined the term “Jumping The Shark” you deserve the flak you get. The ten-year series starring Henry Winkler spanned ten years with 255 episodes and a handful of spinnoffs was a comedy that “played nice”, and perhaps that’s why they occasionally found themselves short of story-lines that fit the Midwestern innocence.
Season five was when a slow decline in ratings and lack of ideas forced radical action, and perhaps it worked, as Happy Days limped on another six seasons after the Fonz performed his now historic ski-jump. Certainly it’s become a part of media terminology, but perhaps in the wrong way.
8) The Wheel of Time
What happens when you have a book series that was still being written, even after its original author’s death? That’s right, you get The Wheel of Time, a franchise that has been going on for a ridiculously long time – Not to say it’s a bad series, naturally, but my god has this gone on for quite some time? With the first title in the series published in 1990, the author’s untimely death in 2007 and the continuation going on until 2013, after the successor was to write the finale after his death.
The successor, Brandon Sanderson, deemed the finale far too big to be confined to one novel. Whilst we’ve put The Wheel of Time in this list, as it did indeed go on for far too long – Just shy of a whole thirteen years, in fact – we’re not having a go. They’re excellent high fantasy novels, well worth a read, however, dare I say it did go on and on a little bit. Nevertheless, it’s over with now… Right?
7) Final Fantasy
Just when will be the truly Final Fantasy?
Final Fantasy has graced our video game catalogues since the late 80’s; which doesn’t make it the oldest video game franchise that’s still ongoing, but it’s still a respectable length of time. Final Fantasy, from I through to the latest incarnation of XV, is a game series that likely will have no real end – And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but damn has it ever gone on for far too long?
Recently I, Timlah, have recently started the free trial of Final Fantasy XIV, so expect a review of the MMO soon. However, the franchise contains fifteen main series incarnations, plenty of spin-offs including Dissidia (a hugely successful action/fighting game), multiple movies, comics, cartoons, lots of merchandise and so much more
Should there ever truly be a final Final Fantasy?
The lesser known book series had less and less in common with the TV series as the years went on. Did you know that Dexter went on to train his children to become serial killers? Now you do.
Let me say that Dexter’s run featured three superb seasons of some of the best television, a couple of seasons that were not so disappointing that they killed off the enthusiasm, and then one incredibly bland and forgettable finale. Made all the worse for having Breaking Bad to compare itself against, Dexter simply couldn’t compete, and perhaps should have ended a season or two before it did, leaving us with an excellent series, instead of a merely adequate one.
5) James Bond
Suave, sophisticated and all together a spy genre classic, James Bond has been gracing our cinema screens since 1962, with the latest iteration being released in 2015. The sheer volume of films, books and otherwise is simply staggering; coupled with the fact that the character has had multiple changes to personality over the years.
Say what you will, but the James Bond franchise needs to be shaken, not stirred – It’s been going on for far too long. He’s an emblem of his time; the writing is doing a sprint to keep up with today’s jogging audiences. There may still be iterations of James Bond left to go through, in order to conclude all of the previous stories, but really – Do we need another James Bond film? Do we really?
4) Assassin’s Creed
Ok, here’s the count. In the ten years since the first Assassin’s Creed we have seen roughly one major title a year, which may explain why there’s plenty of us who are getting sick of seeing them, but you can’t argue with the revenue from the diehard fans, even though the original protagonist (Desmond Miles) died in 2012’s Assassin’s Creed 3. Add onto that another nine minor titles, a film adaption, and a host of other tie-in media, it’s hard to keep track of how big the series has become.
Fair enough, there’s plenty of people who still love the games and will buy the new titles on day of release, no matter the cost or how much they have to pay for that collectors edition steel-book case. You can understand why the rest of us may be getting a little fatigued by the whole thing these days.
3) Resident Evil Films
Video games and films have a bad history, but slowly but surely we can see the gulf between them narrowing. If the acceptable efforts of Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft have given you hope for peace between media nations, here’s another Resident Evil that has less and less to do with the games, and more glory ladled onto Mary-Sue-In-Chief, Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, wife of director Paul W.S. Anderson.
Six films over fifteen years, the first two of which were positively watchable, the last of which was only last year, and you know what? They’re already talking about a reboot! US Box office sank, reviewer scores coasted somewhere below mediocrity, and yet the foreign market lapped it up and funded more and more films. Pretty sure that wasn’t the UK, I don’t even think the last two made it into cinemas.
The first Saw film was good, sincerely good. A man staring death in the face, treated like a lifeless slab of meat, takes it upon himself to force people who are wasting their lives to take a good, hard look at themselves and start appreciating the time they have or simply lose it all. On the subject of wasting your life, how about all of those torture videos that took the name “Saw” and it was just some dude who liked killing people creatively? You know they’re making another one?
Saw 2 began the spiral downwards, taking up the iconic puppet, the creative torture-house setting, and the unforeseen twist ending, but removed the message, removed the hope for escape for too many of the victims, lost the claustrophobia of the one-room prison. Although to its credit, it kept the pretence, just lost any right to it. Such is the case for every Saw film to follow, and still they’re making another…
Yes, Naruto is our number one pick today, not entirely because you would have heard many people complaining about there being far too many filler episodes. No, there are plenty of reasons, but the bright orange jumpsuit wearing ninja is barely able to get through a story arc, start to finish, without getting distracted by something else, or the desire to eat even more food, or to brood over Sasuke even more.
With Naruto’s stories (in Shippūden) having finally finished in March 2017, it was a sad time for all. Ten years of Naruto Shippūden, five years of the original Naruto starting in 2002 and ending in 2007, it seems like fifteen years of Naruto might have finally been enough…
… Ahahaha, Boruto then came out. Oh. My. God. MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!!!
It feels like this list took me down such a long, twisting, winding tangent, that I’ve grown a large, grey beard in the time it took me to go through the lengths of some of these series. I feel like a great grandad! Nevertheless, we’ve still got two more honourable mentions for you to check out.
Gotta go fast! Yes, Sonic gets a slight poke on this list, but please bear in mind that we’re not yet done with Sonic.
See, Sonic is a mascot character, which typically means it’ll outlive many other franchises. Similarly, we’ll always see Pikachu popping up for as long as Pokemon exists. Sonic, whilst not as old as Mario, has had such a whalopping from the sheer quantity of bad games, that it detracts from the mascot hugely.
But, rather than going down with a whimper, Sonic has been biting back. The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter page is one of the funniest social media accounts out there, being the right quantity of sassy and promotional. Furthermore, this year, we were treated to Sonic Mania. Sonic may have suffered with some bad games, but when it’s done right, it’s still platforming greatness.
Insert opening screen here
Not really, we don’t have any cool, epic opening/preamble screen for you to watch. However, Star Wars is one of those franchises that spells out money. With the original film being released in 1977 and the latest iteration coming out in a matter of weeks, Star Wars has always been loved by geeks and non-geeks alike. It’s effectively an epic space soap opera, spanning decades.
Say what you will about it, but Star Wars has stood the test of time and has come out even better. Episode 7 was so well made, it made me, a non-fan, really enjoy it! I finally was able to get into the franchise that so many dads in the world would tell their sons to get into. Sure, it got bought out by Disney, but really, is that such a bad thing?
I guess, if you don’t like marketing, then it is a terrible thing… With these new films coming out, along with the “bonus stories”, such as Rogue One, there’s going to be a lot of Star Wars content milked out.
Man, that was a really drawn out Top 10, wasn’t it?
So many of these franchises really could or should have ended sooner, but alas they didn’t. I mean, they’ve been going on for so long, but yet, they keep on going. Like, it’s as if it was just going on and on to milk it. Almost like me milking this really long ending spiel, isn’t it? I mean, it’s almost like you should just go ahead and vote for next week’s Top 10, so that you can avoid listening to me any more. I mean it’s really like–
Whew, I got stuck in a loop up there! I really wanted to milk that paragraph for all it’s worth; to the point where it has no value any more. However, what did you think of this week’s Top 10? Were you surprised by any of our picks? Any of these you didn’t know about? As ever, let us know your thoughts and if we’ve missed any out in the comments below, or over on Facebook or Twitter.