No matter how perfect a TV show is, there always seems to be that one season that showcases a certain lackluster quality. Whether it has to do with separations, going to college, friendships/love lives shifting or just plain bad writing, no show is immune to a season of horrendousness. And the trend in worst seasons always seems to happen in the sixth year.
Gilmore Girls: In spite of the continuation of clever banter, pop culture references and romantic complications, the sixth season of Gilmore Girls saw the separation of Rory and Lorelai after Rory decides to drop out of Yale and live with her grandparents. It was awful. How can you have Gilmore Girls without the repartee of Lorelai and Rory? Thankfully, the seventh and final season was there to make amends.
Dexter: Another show that did us wrong in season six, Dexter seemed to lack any sort of intrigue during this period. Watching Dexter as a concerned father appeared to negate his entire existence, rather than humanize him. And then there was that plotline about the Doomsday Killers that paled in comparison to the likes of the Icetruck Killer and the Trinity Killer.
Sex and the City: Blame it on Sarah Jessica Parker’s pregnancy if you must, but the shortened fifth season of Sex and the City saw some of the worst plotlines of the show, including Miranda dealing with having a baby, Carrie thinking about writing a column called “Socks and the City” and Samantha barely having any sex with randos. About the only worthwhile moment of the entire season was Charlotte meeting Harry.
30 Rock: What once started out as a kitschy, absurdist show about Liz Lemon, the head writer of a fledgling variety show on NBC, fizzled out into something of an annoying series of forced, uncomfortable jokes. In season seven, it seemed Tina Fey was too eager to put a cap on everyone’s story that would inevitably result in a presumed happy ending. And then there’s the ridiculous final scene where Kenneth has taken Jack’s office in the future NBC building (spacecrafts flying outside and all) and is listening to the pitch for a TV show based on stories told by Liz Lemon.
Friends: The difficulty of keeping a show on the air for a prolonged period of time stems from going too far off the map in terms of plot and character conventions. For Friends, this occurred most concretely during season nine, when the writers decided it would be a good idea to try to put Joey and Rachel together. Since essentially every other permutation of inter-friends relationship had happened, perhaps this is why they thought it necessary to pursue such a vexing plot.
Dawson’s Creek: Granted, this was essentially a teen soap and is therefore allowed a certain amount of leeway for objective badness, season six of Dawson’s Creek was especially sanguine and far-fetched. I mean, Jen dies for fuck’s sake.
Bewitched: Dick York will always be the true Darrin Stevens in our hearts, but season six (again with the curse) saw him leave the show due to chronic back pain. Maybe the casting directors thought choosing another Dick would make up for it, but it most certainly didn’t and the show was never as watchable.
Daria: One would never peg Daria Morgendorffer for a sordid minx, but her connection with Jane Lane’s boyfriend, Tom, found her sexless crush on Jane’s brother, Trent, quickly fading. Daria had kissed Tom at the end of season four, which meant season five was invariably going to be all about her new relationship. While she may have maintained her impenetrable armor of sarcasm, one could never look at Daria quite the same.
I Love Lucy: This show was, of course, perfection. But if you had to choose one season from it that was jumping the shark, it would have to be season six, when the Ricardos and the Mertzes move to Connecticut. The hijinks weren’t half as good outside of New York City (or rather, Burbank).
Nip/Tuck: Ryan Murphy’s innovative show was nothing if not Miami-specific. Changing the location of the show in season five to Los Angeles indicated a struggle for material, and prompted a total lack of cohesion.
Charmed: Yet another show that had Julian McMahon on it/was doomed to become overly dramatic because it was produced by Aaron Spelling. After the death of the eldest Halliwell sister, Prue, in season three, the writers found a way to get a third replacement in the mix for season four. Paige, their half sister, is reluctantly accepted by Piper and Phoebe. However, Phoebe’s oblivion to Cole being possessed by the leader of the underworld, The Source, is what really makes this the worst season.
Gossip Girl: Dan is Gossip Girl. Really? Now you can never re-watch the show again.