Discuss: When Did These Favs Jump the Shark? - Featured

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, "Jumped the Shark," it's a colloquialism used to "denote that point in a TV show or movie series' history where the plot veers off into absurd story lines or out-of-the-ordinary characterizations, particularly for a show with falling ratings apparently becoming more desperate to draw viewers in." (Wikipedia)

Some shows that are considered to have "jumped the shark," are listed below, not including those already listed and getting some great discussions going on our list of top 10 shows that have jumped the shark:

Top 10 Shows that "Jumped the Shark," Part 1

Top 10 Shows that "Jumped the Shark," Part 2

So when, if at all, do you think the following shows jumped the shark? At what particular point or with what completely ridiculous plotline did these shows take the leap into absurdity?

Happy Days

That 70's Show

The X-Files

South Park

The Simpsons


Buffy The Vampire Slayer


One Tree Hill


Desperate Housewives

Friday Night Lights

Ghost Whisperer



Default avatar cat
Mar 25, 2009 6:36PM EDT

I think happy days is a joke.
As for that 70s show, it jumped the shark when Eric had his third christmas but was still apparently 17.That and the characters all were very noticably 30

Default avatar cat
Mar 25, 2009 9:26PM EDT

I was actually quite surprised to notice the absence of desperate housewives in the top ten. i just can't stand it anymore .. season 4 was already a little off , but the show definitely jumped the shark with this season leap of 5 years, which hasn't brought anything new or fresh after all...

Mar 25, 2009 10:13PM EDT

With Buffy, I think it jumped the shark at Season 5/6. In season 5 they brought in Michelle Trachtenberg (sp?) to play Buffy's younger sister. In order to bring in a new younger character like this, when it had already been established that Buffy was an only child, they had to write a rather involved mystical plotline to explain the sudden presence of this new character. I found Michelle's acting in that season to be very wooden, and the overall season arc was not impressive.
Then at the end of the season, they kill off the main character in anticipation of being canceled. The show was picked up by another network, so they then had to resurrect the main character for the second time, and the main villian for season six was reduced to three rather nerdy guys living in their parents' basements.
While I loved that they brought James Marsters on as a series regular for seasons 5-7, and he displayed some brilliant acting, I would say that they should have let it go after season five was complete.

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 12:52AM EDT

itastenice, not sure if you know but Happy Days is where the term "jump the shark" originated. The specific point that Happy Days jumped the shark is when the Fonz jumped over a shark.

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 1:07AM EDT

The Simpsons? In no way will the simpsons ever be able to jump the shark cause their story line is one that is not dependent on one show leading to the next, they are all stand alone episodes.
That 70s show was still funny, but it did jump it when they introduced the randy character then tried to make jackie and fez get together. There was no reason to continue that show after toupher grace left, then ashtin kucher leaves too and the show still continues.
Alias didnt so much jump the shark as it was hurt by jennifer garner getting pregnant(damn you ben afleck) for season 5. Season 5 was the weakest season but they redeemed themselves with an absolutely perfect finale. I thought that show was able to finish and wrap everything up better than any show I had ever seen.

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 3:34AM EDT

OTH: peyton and lucas geeting together after he'd moved from peyton, to brooke, to peyton then finally decided brooke was 'the one' cue some beautiful acting by sophia bush and brilliant chemistry between the two of them. But then they had to go divorce in real life forcing a rushed break-up in the show. why couldn't the writers leave it there?? they just HAD to go back to 'oh wait it was lucas/peyton destined to be together all along! never mind their ribbish chemistry!' are there really no other girls (someone more likeable than lindsay please!). If you can't believe in the relationships in a show like this no amount of kidnappings, leg injuries and other nonsense will make it good, quite the opposite. For those that don't watch or have a clue what i'm on about, don't bother!

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 4:15AM EDT

It pains me to see several of my favorite shows of all time up there, but I do have to agree that (for the most part) they did their share of shark-jumping.
I mostly agree with Tupps_lu about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 5 was horribly awkward and, I believe, the weak point of the series. However, I feel like the show recovered well. Season 6 is one of my favorite seasons of Buffy, and Season 7 was an excellent finale for the series.
The X-Files lost it as soon as Mulder left. The two best things that show had going for it were (1) awesome creepy grossness with '90s fx and (2) the Mulder-Scully chemistry. Without one of the two, it just didn't work. Plus, when Mulder DID come back he was just...weird.
While it definitely got weird, I don't know that Alias really ever jumped the shark. Unlike ak10, I think Jennifer Garner's pregnancy worked out well and allowed Alias to go in a different direction. I believe that the closest the series ever came to jumping the shark was either when we suddenly discovered that Omg, Vaugn's alive?! or when Sloane suddenly started seeing dead Nadia. Either way, the show certainly recovered to deliver a spectacular and satisfying finale.
As for 24, I think it definitely jumped the shark for Season 6. That was unquestionably terrible by series standards. And the beginning of the current season was looking grim, but I think after Episode 10 or 11 the show really found its feet again and this season is turning out FAR more exciting and amazing than I was expecting (much to my delight!).

I just realized all of these shows have either visions of dead people, return-to-life of dead people, or return-to-life of seemingly dead people (or any combination thereof). I wonder what that says about my tastes...

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 7:03AM EDT

70s show jumped the shark when eric moved to africa and they inttroduced new peopleim sure it jumped the shark way before that but for me that was wehn i tuned out
happy days literally jumped the shark when they ran out of good story lines they had the fonz literally jumping over a shark in one episode
buffy shouldnt have lasted as longf as it didwhen willow became a lesbian and all thatgot too lazy like they were begging for me to watch
desperate housewivesthe constant new neighbours every seasonhow much bad luck can one house havethe black people who had the guy in the basementthe paedo that was groomin lynettes kidsit was all too muchbut i think theyre picking themselves up now with them being in the future now
24after season 3 i say they shouldve given upbut by the looks of things they arent

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 12:12PM EDT

Buffy was when Dawn came into. The original plot of the whole show was that a high-school girl fought vampires so when she left high-school (season 4) it got pretty ridiculous that the small town of Sunnyvale had a university in it which had a military demon fighting operation below it. They were just reaching for ideas and putting the direction of the show towards the shark. But as I said, when Dawn came into it (season 5), it damn well jumped right over it!!
24- agree with winnfield 87, after season 3 it sort of made too many story mistakes that were not even humanly possibly. Even for Jack. I still watch it though!

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 12:51PM EDT

For me, Buffy definitly jumped the shark when they killed and resurrected Buffy - for the second time... Come on, you can only die so many times...

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 1:58PM EDT

i cannot say when desperate housewives jumped the shark but i know i have not watched the past two seasons, watch a couple of episodes this season and i feel as if i haven't missed anything.
Angel truly jumped the shark with the son and the love interest turning out to be the mother of all evil, yeah jumped the shark it did.

Default avatar cat
Mar 26, 2009 5:14PM EDT

cujoquan, yes, hence me saying it was a joke.
wow, I stopped watching that 70's show at season 6, But if the lost topher and ashton then I'm really glad i didn't keep going.

Mar 26, 2009 7:28PM EDT

One tree hill jumped the shark after they graduated, It was a show about high school...not about crazy unbelievable stories of crazy nannies and etc.

Default avatar cat
Mar 27, 2009 7:56PM EDT

That 70's show jumped the shark when they made Wilmer Valderrama have lines.

Default avatar cat
Mar 28, 2009 2:01PM EDT

Well Buffy jumped the shark in the fourth season after the whole Faith thing and Angel left...after that it just wasn't good.
That 70's show was when Eric left for Africa and they tried to replace him.
Friday Night Lights is a great show but if they keep going with it after all the kids are graduating it won't be good. They'll have to bring in so many new actors that it just won't work.

Default avatar cat
Mar 28, 2009 10:28PM EDT

I actually think Alias did jump the shark in S4 with the whole giant red orb, zombie plotline. It was a little ridiculous, even for Alias. That being said, I actually thing it got back on track in season five. Yes, it had a different feel and the ending was fairly rushed, but I think it had a fitting and satisfying conclusion.

Default avatar cat
Mar 31, 2009 6:46AM EDT

The 70's show had a ticking time bomb to begin with, didn't it? I mean they start the series with the first Stars Wars movie, gives them only so many years before they should be in the 80's. Not to mention your actors were going to quickly hit an age where they could no longer portray convincing teenagers. I suppose it was more a character driven humor though and with key players gone it just doesn't work, does it?
I think it is funny to see South Park on the list. I think from the very beginning the creators were aiming to look like shark jumping on the surface. Every episode did something that, at the time, seemed completely outrageous for a television cartoon show to do. Hell, at the beginning of the second season, they had Fonzi jump a shark (well, get eaten by one) in apparent commentary of the shows plotline. But somewhere along the way, they seemed to stop jumping sharks quite as much and reveal there was something else to the show. Then again, it seemed when they stopped jumping sharks as often I became less interested. Wonder what that means...

Default avatar cat
Mar 31, 2009 9:56AM EDT

Well Angel defo jumped the shark by 3rd season and then the horrible 4th with jasmine and all her smiling, 5th was gud again thou once connor was goneBuffy i don't think jumped exactly more it teetered on the edge for all of the beginning of season 6 but willows amazing evil eps brought it bak on form.Dep House jumped with everythin revolvin around Mike like what the hell he's bin run over lost his memory, dave is tryin t kill him, on an off with susan, had some kid cn't think of his name who kept runnin off, come up wid somethin else for the love of godSimpsons has bin awful 4 the last few yrs the new one 4 paddy's day didn't hav 1 decent laugh in it i think it shoulda ended awhile ago.Oth- only revolved around basketball and Luke being deep and thoughful and impossible to stick t1 girl now its in the future an its more thoughful and deep an less basketball either way its boringHaha xfiles is sorta obvious as soon as Mulder the main character of the show left it naturally got crap though i did like agent Doggit

Apr 4, 2009 7:51PM EDT

what stupid fool put Friday Night Lights into the list??? Take it off!! NOW!!!??

Default avatar cat
May 6, 2009 3:16AM EDT

I don't think it counts as jumping the shark unless everyone (or at least 95-99% of the viewers) can agree exactly which episode and/or which moment is the moment the show jumped the shark. So the only moment I have ever truly seen since the episode this moment was named after that can be considered jumping the shark is The frog-eating clone on Lois and Clark The New Adventures of Superman.

Default avatar cat
May 6, 2009 3:25AM EDT

Also if a show gets better after the episode it isn't considered jumping the shark either. Remember that too. It has to stay bad and be considered by everyone as the worst moment.
If it just meant absurd and out of character for the storyline than every single show would have that moment and I don't think that is the case.

Default avatar cat
May 16, 2009 6:09PM EDT

Buffy was really going down hill with the whole underground military operation, there were a few redeming episodes, but all around I was just waiting for it to be canceled. Then the last episode when buffy fights adam sorta brought it back. Then came Dawn, what a terrible character, all she does is bitch, then came willow to save the day with her out of control magic use. And I really thought that the last season ended the serise on a great note.

Jul 3, 2009 10:14PM EDT

i agree- after season 3 ended it went down hill fast. once they replaced angel with riley i was like- ok- rebound guy isn't cutting it.Spike was always awesome, but Oz and Cordelia left along with angel. When they all left, it was just meh. Willow's lesbian storyline was ok, a bit random though. I ended up really liking their relationship by the musical episode(which was the brightest point of the series, post angel's departure) I thought season 5 was terrible other than the ending(god i wish dawn would have died) but the whole buff sacrifice thing was a really nice way to end it. I kind of which they would have ended it there, other than having to miss out on the musical and willow's rampage.
Season 7 was really odd(they could handle demon gods, but not bald super vamps?) the finale wrapped nicely- and gave buffy a way out- with all the other potentials now helping out. They killed my other two favorite characters(spike and anya)... but kept alive the insufferable xander and dawn... otherwise it ended alright.

Large 1333308004 bugmenot
Dec 15, 2012 3:02AM EST

Buffy crashed and burned DURING Season 5. The introduction of Dawn was rather clever - the keeping of her was a fatal, fatal mistake Jos, it killed the series. But the worst thing was the appearance of Boring Episodes. Ie. episodes where nothing of any interest happened. At the end we realized with shock we'd just watched.... a soap opera. We all looked around at each other in pointless embarassment, and then we independantly started to have little crackups: Our favourite series, the best american series on TV, was turning to shyte. Oh gods no.....
Then Seasons 6 and 7 were just unforgiveably bad, of course.

With Angel... a strange thing happened on the way to the end. It started great. Was a pile of tedious DUNG for the bulk of it. And finished with a fantastic wrap-up!! How does that happen?? The coke ran out and they all went back to work!? The one good writer got desperate for work and came back!? Could have actually handled another season after the finale I enjoyed the it so much, but after what Jos did to Buffy.... brrrr, no thanks, not taking that risk again!

Default avatar cat
Jan 4, 2013 4:30AM EST

For me, I think that The Office jumped a number of sharks, all varying in size. The first shark, the smallest one (a dwark lanternshark), was during season 3. It was another perfect season, but this season was noticeably wackier than season 2 and the show started to introduce its now cartoon like quality. Nevertheless, it was an awesome season. The second shark is much bigger (a hammerhead). Season 4 was when critics were starting to poke through The Office's previously impenetrable armour. It was very funny and enjoyable, but it was not as good as seasons 2 and 3. Another shark, a great white, was somewhere during Season 5 or Season 6. But the final shark, a megalodon, was after Season 7, when Steve Carell left the show.

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