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When Bad Seasons Happen to Good Shows
There is nothing worse than falling in love with a new series, settling into a binge stride…and then abruptly hitting a rough patch when an otherwise spectacular journey hits an episodic speedbump. Even good shows have one-off bad seasons, and the skipworthy reasons are often the departure of beloved characters, themes or creative voices. Thankfully, because they shows have already aired, long-time fans know which ones to warn new fans about avoiding. So there's no need to suffer through a series' weak spots. Here's our guide to the shows with single seasons you can skip, without missing a beat.
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Gilmore Girls: Season 7
With the departure of head writers Dan and Amy Sherman-Palladino, their secondary creative squad just wasn’t up to the task of writing Gilmore witticisms. As with other shows (like Scrubs
), this one should have cut its losses and ended sooner than later. Everything after season 6, you won’t follow. But with the upcoming Netflix revival, it'll be like Season 7 never happened...
Read More: Lorelai's Netflix Queue and Other Ways We Imagine the Gilmore Girls Revival
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Friday Night Lights: Season 2
Two big issues sidelined this season: Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) wasn’t coaching, and the show wasn’t all about football. Landry (Jesse Plemons) and Tyra’s (Adrianne Palicki) bizarre murder plot also famously dragged this season down from its otherwise glorious heights. Proceed directly from Season 1 to Season 3 with clear eyes and a full heart.
Lost: Season 3
Despite having a cast of strong main characters, the show got sidetracked by its, well, side characters. This season "lost" its focus when it left Jack, Locke, Sawyer and Kate and tried to make fans care about the annoying Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Paulo (Rodrigo Santoro). So don't feel too bad about fast-forwarding ahead. Mercifully, the show's vision soon returned to the core crew’s fascinating flashbacks, flash forwards and flash-sideways, which kept fans obsessed until the end.
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The West Wing: Season 5
Veto this season: once head honcho and political banter visionary Aaron Sorkin left, the new showrunner got stuck unraveling farfetched plot twists that took away from simple pleasures, like walking and talking in sensible heels.
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Parks and Recreation: Season 1
Skipping the first season is highly risky for new shows, but the series got off to a slow start with a vague tone and a poorly fleshed-out Leslie Knope. So in the case of Parks and Rec (and even Breaking Bad and Justified), you're better off. Go ahead and bypass the bland appetizer for the hilarious main course to enjoy the characters and plots at their best.
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Dexter: Season 6
No matter how you slice and dice it, this season took Dexter and his creepy talents way too far out of the main action. His nemesis, sweet-faced Colin Hanks, was not nearly frightening or threatening enough to engage audiences accustomed to frequent (bloody) nail biting. The heavy-handed religious themes also put the nails in the coffin of the dead-on-arrival plotlines.
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Homeland: Season 2
It’s no secret that this cerebral thriller got cheesy. The series veered away from its roots as a thinking man’s 24 and began to rely on shallow action set-ups and obvious love interests that had intelligent audiences rolling their eyes. Later seasons, thankfully, returned to the insider-y international intrigue.