Five Shows I Was Shocked to Learn Are Still On

I watch a lot of TV, it’s my job, but even I can’t get around to every show and every bit of news that happens in the medium. I don’t watch commercials anymore, ever, so it’s a bit tough to realize what shows are still on the air, and what has passed on, and recently I did some homework to discover that a bunch of shows I thought had been canceled ages ago, are actually still on the air.

The problem is, quality doesn’t have to do with it. I may not watch any CSI or Law and Order installments, but I at least understand the appeal, and why those shows have lasted eons. These on the other hand? I can’t name one person I know that still watches them, and I have to wonder why exactly they’re on the air.

Desperate Housewives (Season 7)

I remember when Desperate Housewives first came out. It was a time when “MILF” was just becoming a phrase and “Cougar” wasn’t even on the horizon yet. But the show was scandalous for its time, a soap opera with higher production values and a more talented cast. There was death, sex, drama, everything a prime time hit needs

But then Grey’s Anatomy came along and stole all the Housewives’ thunder, and on their own network too! No one was talking about the ladies of Wisteria Lane anymore, it was all McDreamy and McSteamy.

Then came the invasion of the Real Housewives, which currently makes up 90% of the programming on the Bravo network today. These “real” women and their “real” drama were more entertaining, and believable than the desperate plot twists the desperate housewives had to pull to keep people entertained.

But somehow, the show survives, and even hostage taking, tornados, massive fires and a plane crash can’t break loyal fans’ spirits. Now in its seventh season, these really are some tough old broads.

Smallville (Season 10)

Every year, I’ve been saying “What? Smallville’s still on?” but in the last few I’ve forgotten about it entirely, and assumed it disappeared from the CW with a whimper.

But no, recently I realized the show is now entering its TENTH season. I gave up around season six when every episode seemed to be a new excuse for a superhero cameo, but now I learn that two of the major players, Lex Luthor and Lana Lang aren’t even around anymore, and practically the entire goddamn JLA has been assembled on the show now.

I did love this show for a long while, but I couldn’t handle the insane plot developments that the showrunners forced in to keep things “fresh.” Smallville is one of those shows that would have been perfect as a 4-season arc, focusing on Clark’s journey to become Superman, but when you get to year ten, you have to say, what the hell are they waiting for.

This is the promised last season, and I might tune in to see how it all turns out, but I cannot believe this story needed an entire decade to be told.

American Dad (Season 6)

I watched American Dad a few times, back in my youth when I still religiously tuned into Fox on Sunday nights. I liked The Simpsons, and it was cool to like Family Guy, so I thought I’d give American Dad a chance.

It was a clone of Macfarlane’s other show, with only slight character tweaks in appearance and voice. But it wasn’t nearly as funny, so I turned it off, never to return. And I never, ever heard anyone speak of it since then.

But here we are, and doing research for this post, I found that American Dad is now entering its SIXTH season. I have to wonder out loud here whether this show actually has a fan base (if you’re out there, please speak up), or if it merely survives because people are too lazy to change the channel after a show they likes ends, and one almost exactly like it comes on.

I have to wonder if the same thing will happen with the equally ill-conceived Cleaveland Show, and in five years it’ll be celebrating its sixth season, along with season 11 of American Dad.

Survivor (Season 22?)

There are a million reality shows I could put in here, but I had to go with the one that started it all. And  I cannot believe how many installments this show has been running in the last decade.

When Survivor first came out, it was a revolution. A game show but more, “reality.” The concept of trying to survive on an island is inherently cool, but the fact that this concept remained intact for TWENTY more competitions is mind boggling to me.

What are you going to see in the 22nd season that you haven’t seen in the first five? Someone betraying someone? A hot girl in a bikini? A guy walking around naked? At this point, it’s all been done, and a new remote location isn’t fundamentally going to change anything about the show.

I know this is on CBS, who believes that killing any show, no matter how tired the concept, is a mortal sin, but it’s time for Survivor to be put to bed.

Two and a Half Men (Season 8 )

This show represents the death of the modern sitcom. Now that According to Jim ended its unfunny run at last, Two and a Half Men steps up to take the reins as the three camera sitcom that must die.

Sitcom’s aren’t funny anymore, despite what too many rabid How I Met Your Mother fans would have you believe. Something snapped after Seinfeld and Friends where shows like that just don’t exist anymore. Two and a Half Men may use their laugh track, but share nothing with the genius shows that came before it.

But that doesn’t stop it from running just as long as them, and now the show is in its eighth season. Again, CBS has the propensity to produce bad shows that stick around forever, though I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than Fox’s propensity to produce good shows and kill them immediately. Some executives need to be swapped around.

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