10 Television Shows that Outgrew Their Premise

Post image for 10 Television Shows that Outgrew Their Premise

by Willam West & Howie Decker

in Lists


The show’s original premise was to follow the daily lives of six young New York City adults who were all friends. The show outgrew its premise as the main characters entered relationships and got married to each other. Paul Rudd became the unofficial seventh “Friend” just like I always envisioned John Candy or Bill Murray as the fourth “Amigo”.


A more appropriate title may have been “Coupling”, which ironically is the title of the 2000-2004 British sitcom based on Friends. Again, not saying the show ran longer than it should have, just that by the end of the run the original premise was no longer driving the main plot.


READ ALSO: The 50 Greatest Sitcoms of All Time


Perfect Strangers

This one falls into the same category as New Girl. It’s a matter of semantics- after you’ve lived together for 5 years are you still “strangers”? The title and premise worked for the first season or two, but while Balki was still a “strange” character, he and his Cousin Larry were plenty familiar by then.

perfect strangers



I feel like Community is about to outlive its premise. Community college tends to be 2 years, but some can be 4. This is season 4. If nothing else, Jeff should be returning to law, which would break up the group.



Parks and Recreation

Parks & Rec is a show that should be over this season. I blogged about it recently, but they’ve accomplished everything they set out to do.

parks and rec


Big Bang Theory

The show has evolved, it was originally a reverse Three’s Company. Midwestern aspiring Starlet Penny moves across the hall from 2 nerds, and experiences culture shock. It had the will they/won’t they relationship, but as other characters have been introduced, everyone’s arc is kinda complete. It’s still on because it’s the highest rated comedy on television, but it’s not true to its original premise.

big bang theory

The show’s original premise was a story about ultra-nerdy guys who could never hope to get a girlfriend, and now almost all of them are married or in serious relationships, some of them to super-hot women.


Shows whose titles changed to reflect a change in premise:

All In the Family became Archie Bunker’s Place – Edith died, and he bought a bar.

Sanford & Son was later brought back as just Sanford – Lamont was working on the Alaskan pipeline, so Fred takes in Cal.

The Seinfeld Chronicles changed to Seinfeld.

Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place stopped taking place at the restaurant, changed to Two Guys and a Girl.

Three’s Company changed to Three’s a Crowd when Jack got married and moved out.


William Bruce West is the William Bruce West behind WilliamBruceWest.com. He also sells toys. You buy toys. Buy toys from William Bruce West.

Pages: 1 2

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Sammy May 16, 2013 at 8:36 am

Kinda disagree on BBT but the rest are spot on


Lamar the Revenger May 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Edith DIED?? Seriously I didn’t remember that about Archie’s Place. Great post Will!


TheFran May 17, 2013 at 1:18 am

Who cares if it outgrew its title or original story? Your spot on with this, but which series going past 3 seasons has NOT done the same. Shows need to evolve. All I’m saying is as long as it is still fun, and good, evolve away…


tom June 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

The Office


Howard Decker June 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

I can agree with that


Birdy May 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

With Smallville, Lois nicknamed Clark Smallville in the later seasons. That way, the title still stuck.


caliornia cheeseburger May 31, 2013 at 9:32 am

agreed on the stupid big bang theory, like these guys are teachers at a

unversity and they spend their time buying action figures and comic books?

oh okay, how old are they?

in their 20’s or something?

screw that show, cancel it and make room for something else, something with
a story and a plot, and characters that are actually good looking and


Howard Decker June 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Absolutely. They’ll keep making eps as long as it stays highly rated though. The blue hairs love it.


Lawrence Belmont July 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

How about we cancel you and make room for you to go f*** yourself? :3


arrjay666 June 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm

you’re wrong about the big bang theory. The “Big Bang Theory” as a scientific term describes the beginning and evolution of the universe. Just as the TV series follows the beginning and evolution of the smaller yet equally complex mini universe of the relationships of it’s characters.
You cannot have it both ways. To criticise New Girl for staying the same and in the same article, criticise Big Bang for evolving and moving on


Howard Decker June 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

Fair enough! Good point. Thank you for taking the time to comment!


john beris July 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

I’m with arrjay on this- I think had the Big Bang Theory not evolved it would have sunk–It was a show I avoided when it came on as I thought the premise was absurd-Then I stumbled over it an realized how smart it was and what a heart it had and I was hooked. Nerds evolve too you know, and who on the show is married to a hot girl? only one of them is married and while cute as a bug I don’t think she comes off as hot– Perhaps your confusing their off camera looks to their on camera. As to the earlier post of I’ve run across many a ‘nerd’ who has both jobs and relationships.


Marcy June 15, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Do you know that the Smallville photo you’ve attached is not a real photo, but a photo manipulation – just look at the actors – you have cast from both Smallville and The Legend od the Seeker tv show… 😉


Robert W. June 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I think “Family Matters” would be great for the list. After a couple seasons the star of the show was Steve Urkel, who isn’t a member of the main family.


Shaun July 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I think that you’re really off about “Community.” From the very first episode (see Jeff’s monologue in that episode) the series has been about building a community of people who are friends. As such, it has always transcended the Community College setting. In principle, the show could continue on well after they leave Greendale so long as the study group continues to be a “community.”


Lily July 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Another show that’s outlived it’s original premise is Supernatural. The first five seasons are obviously connected, but in sason six it just turns into something else, during the season you see so many storylines it’s hard to know what it even is about anymore. Not saying it’s a bad show, I personally love it and I think it’s great but while it still fits the title it’s taken a turn that nobody would have ever expected, and that comes across as completely different from it’s original premise.


Howard Decker July 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

couldn’t agree more, Lily. Thanks for the comment!


Erick the Redd July 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

I’m sorry but that doesn’t make sense. If we are basing this list off the premise of a tv show that changes over time, then you would be correct. But thats not what this list is. For example, the premise of Friends didn’t change, it was 6 close people living in NY together (eventually a 7th, but not really). But they weren’t “friends” as much as family, or hook-ups. But with Supernatural, I turn the show on, and I see Supernatural stuff going on. Its dead on. It would be on this list if say, after season 5, and the devil was defeated, and all supernatural beings are gone, and the brothers are now just fighting regular crime. But its not that, it’s still very “supernatural”


David Schmitt September 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Yup. The Boys are still neck deep in the Supernatural. It’s still two brothers. Even if they are dealing more with biblical beings it’s still supernatural in it’s premise.


David Schmitt September 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm



John F. C. Taylor July 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Liked Who’s The Boss, but quit watching the last season. Really blame Danza for that. He’s the one who decided that Tony and Angela shouldn’t get married. As for Big Bang Theory, I’d like to have them end it with the discovery that Penny is a greater ghenius than any of them. The persona we see on screne should turn out to be a total fake.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: