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Five Shows That Struggled Without Their Creators

Meet the new boss. Unfortunately, they really weren't the same as the old boss, which caused nothing but problems for these five classic shows.


Following a dispute with the studio, Aaron Sorkin left the White House drama after its fourth season. Because Sorkin wrote almost every episode and had such a distinctive writing style, his absence was immediately felt. John Wells, who took over as showrunner, and the new writing staff did eventually find their own rhythm during the show’s final two seasons, which shifted the focus onto the campaign trail for the next president, but The West Wing was just never the same without Sorkin at the helm.


An enormous letter campaign by fans saved Star Trek from being cancelled after season two. But even that wasn’t enough to prevent NBC moving the show to a Friday night death slot and slashing its budget. Angry with the network and increasingly exhausted, Gene Roddenberry reduced his direct involvement in the day to day running of the series and was replaced by Fred Freiberger. The show suffered a massive ‘Spock’s Brain’ sized drop in quality before the network finally cancelled it for good.


Daniel Cerone, Clyde Phillips, and Melissa Rosenberg were the main creative force behind Dexter during the show's early days. Cerone left after season two and both Phillips and Rosenberg left after the show’s acclaimed fourth season. After one good, but nor great, season with Chip Johannessen in charge, Scott Buck (the man responsible for Inhumans and the first season of Iron Fist) took over as showrunner for season six and the show's quality quickly nosedived, culminating in one of the worst series finales of all time.


Creator Dan Harmon was fired after filming of the acclaimed college comedy's third season was complete. David Guarascio and Moses Port took over as joint showrunners for the show’s fourth season. Like Sorkin, Harmon had a very distinctive voice that Guarascio and Port tried to copy and failed miserably. Harmon was eventually reinstated the following year and season four was written off as “the gas leak year”.


Unable to come to terms with newly created CW network, creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left Stars Hollow at the end of season six. The show's seventh and final season was… well, let’s just say we don’t talk about season seven. Ever! Luckily, Sherman-Palladino got the chance to end the series the way she'd originally planned, with those famous final four words, in 2016 thanks to Netflix.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. That awful third season of Star Trek saved it, though. If they'd stopped with two, it would have been a flash in the pan. No syndication, no stripping it five nights a week during the dinner hour creating millions of fans...

  2. When I read the title of this list, I immediately thought of Gilmore Girls. That final season was a struggle.


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