With so many TV shows getting cancelled far too early for our liking in recent years, it's not uncommon to see social media campaigns cropping up for a beloved series to return to our screens every few months. Less common are the campaigns to 'get that thing off our screens right now before you ruin it for all of us', which, honestly? We should really be seeing more of.
Primarily thanks to networks trying to squeeze out more money from shows that have already lost their main leads or reached their natural end, the television media boom of the 2000s has sadly seen many once-great shows remain on air long after the studio should've done the merciful thing and taken them out back for disposal.
Losing a show before its time is bad, as shown in this companion list, but there's little worse than watching a program that you used to love die slowly before your eyes, or alternatively blow up in our collective face.
Sadly, we know a killer when we see one, too - shame the showrunners for some of these struggling shows didn't until they were too late to save. Naturally, SPOILERS for the following shows lie ahead.
While it might seem brazen to put a show with barely more episodes than you can count on your fingers on this list, Sherlock deserves this spot. The early seasons were groundbreaking telly, and brought the Conan Doyle stories up to date for a modern audience with a charm and success that the Robert Downey Jr. films failed to capture. It even increased in popularity during its long hiatuses between seasons, spawning one of the most intense fandoms the internet has ever seen!
Unfortunately, where there are dedicated fans, there’s money, and where there’s money, there’s a dead horse to beat. Despite delivering a critically well-received third season that wrapped up many character arcs, it ended up bogged down by one of the most irritating tactics in media - a cliffhanger. A teased return of Moriarty saw Sherlock whisked off the plane that would have carried him out of Britain and off our screens, and into an inescapable fourth season.
Fans were naturally overjoyed at the prospect of more Sherlock, and the first two episodes were even good, teasing a brand new, grief-charged mystery for the titular genius to unravel. And then it did unravel, like a poorly knitted jumper.
The Final Problem not only retconned all backstory that had been previously set up for Sherlock, providing him with a secret sister, childhood bereavement, and a portrayal as an easily manipulable amnesiac; it also gave antagonist Eurus Holmes one of the most outright sexist and ableist depictions of mental illness seen in recent years. Thrust into a final episode that better resembled a Saw film than a Sherlock story, fans and critics alike were left wishing that Sherlock had not returned from his faked death after all.