Fan Debate: When Did These Popular TV Shows Start to Go Sour?

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TV fans love to debate about when their favorite popular shows started to decline. Always a hotly contested issue, some think that shows can decline due to changes in the cast, changes in the production team, or changes brought about by executive middling. Here's what fans are saying about these popular series, and when and why they started to go sour.

"Dexter"

When did things go wrong? Season 5 or Season 6

Fans of Showtime's long-running series "Dexter" love to debate about when the series started to decline in quality. Most fans agree that it was in the show's Season 5 finale that things really went awry. While Dexter's love interest Lumen received mixed reviews throughout the season, even Lumen fans had to admit that the Season 5 finale was rushed and bungled Lumen's exit from the series. The Season 6 story arc involving DDK was universally panned by fans who thought that the "revelation" that Gellar was dead all along was too obvious. Fans were further frustrated by Deb's announcement that she was in love with Dexter.

"Community"

When did things go wrong? Season 4

You'd be hard-pressed to find a "Community" fan that thinks the current season of the show is as good as the past three seasons. After the highly publicized firing of showrunner Dan Harmon, the show returned for a Harmon-less Season 4 to general hatred from fans and low esteem from critics. It's hard to quantify the "spark" that the show seems to be missing this season, but plenty of die-hard fans are finding it increasingly hard to sit through episodes of the new "Community."

"The X-Files"

When did things go wrong? Somewhere between Season 4 and Season 7

"The X-Files" fandom is deeply divided about when the series started to lose its initial charms. Some fans argue that the show started to drop off in quality with the beginning of Season 4, while others feel that the show lost its charm when David Duchovny stopped being a regular main character in Seasons 8 and 9. John Doggett just couldn't hold a candle to Fox Mulder. And then there are the fans who vastly preferred the "Monster of the Week" storylines to the overarching "Mytharc" episodes.

"M*A*S*H"

When did things go wrong? Sometime around Season 5

"M*A*S*H" ran for 11 seasons and well over 200 episodes. At the start of the series, the show was much more of a comedy with occasional moments of drama. But as the show went on (and Alan Alda took over), it turned into an increasingly political and dramatic series, which turned off fans who liked the tight comedy of the first few seasons.

The reason for the shift in tone? Writer and co-creator Larry Gelbart left after Season 4, and comic actor Larry Linville left the show after Season 5.

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