While "rot" might be a strong term, it's a common agreement that Season 5 Part 2 (especially the first half) is not to par with the rest of the series quality-wise. Featuring the breaking up of Finn and Flame Princess (which is still spawning Fix Fics and shipping wars), the increased involvement of the increasingly creepy Lemongrabs in plots, Princess Bubblegum's moral ambiguity beginning to border on full-blown sociopathy and possible villainy, and Finn, of all people had Taken A Level In Jerkass, with his immaturity being played up to ridiculous levels to the point he was Worfed in "The Red Throne" and lost any chance of getting back together with Flame Princess. Thankfully, the season did recover in the second half with the debut of Betty and the reveal that Finn's father is still alive.
Season 6 got a bit of this too, for the lack of focus on its plotlines and ending in a fairly big anti-climax. The two-part season premiere, though, was well-received, if only for advancing the plot, Ron Perlman's sinister and chilling speech, and, after much foreshadowing, Finn losing his arm (although his arm is restored in "Breezy" only 4 episodes later).
Season 7 is considered a return to form among much of the fandom, with Finn getting a tad more mature, plots being properly resolved and three well-received miniseries airing.
While Season 2 was already polarizing, The Amazing World of Gumball is believed to have declined with Season 3. While it isn't without its good episodes, for every good episode there seemed to be a mediocre/bad episode, something that Season 2 lacked and was accused of having some major Flanderization among much of the main cast (especially Darwin and Gumball). It's worth noting that not everyone feels this way, however, as they point out that this season featured some major character development (such as for Penny and, to a lesser extent, Richard), and rocked the status quo considerably. In any case, seasons 4 and 5 are considered improvements, (they're at least considerably less divisive than Season 3, anyway) though the former does get some criticism for using Internet memes and current trends for gags more often than the previous seasons. Despite all this, overall, many people belive that the show has gotten better over time.
Although many fans would agree the show had never gone through this to the same extent as Seth MacFarlane's other shows The Cleveland Show and Family Guy, the series has been said to have a small/minor decline in Season 7 for less comedy and more drama as well as some characters' traits becoming more exaggerated (especially Roger, who becomes more and more of a Jerk Ass and an extremely blatant Hate Sink with each passing season). It's also disliked for having boring plots with glacier-slow pacing (including the multiple and repetitive Stan vs. Roger plots which would become cliche by the show's final FOX season, especially if said episode had them start conflicting with each other over the most minor and petty things), lack of central screentime for any of the main characters whose names weren't Stan or Roger and having most of the actual comedy reduced to over-the-top gore and bizarre big lipped alligator moments that you'd expect on Family Guy.
Season 10 is accused of this, namely due to the notably reduced focus on Stan in favor of the rest of the Smiths while Stan is relegated to the center of the B-plot.
Many agree that the series definitely hit a new low after its move to TBS. Reasons include Mike Barker departing from the series five episodes into its first season since the switch allegedly due to creative differences, the continued Flanderization of certain characters (such as Stan and Francine, who now feel like clones of Peter and Lois), repeating the same problem that Season 7 suffered from in regards to most of the show's humor being replaced by either bizzaro moments or needlessly over the top gore that feels like they belong on Family Guy, the show trying to prove how "Edgy" they are now with most of their attempts essentially boiling down to forced uncensored utterances of the word "shit" at least once an episode or cringeworthy episodes like "The Life Aquatic with Steve Smith" or the infamous "Kloger" and just an overall half-assed feel to many of the episodes in regards to their storytelling (especially the ones with subplots that barely last longer than a minute). In other words, the show ultimately turned into what it was accused of being back in its early days: a Family Guy clone.
Many fans of Animaniacs consider the show to have generally weakened after the Channel Hop from Fox to Kids' WB, as not only did the writing seem to take a nosedive, so did the animation — the "spark" just didn't seem to be there to make many of the Kids' WB episodes as entertaining, while the animation went to weaker studios for the most part. They also lost Pinky and the Brain, which didn't help one bit.
Season 5 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which was largely after the writers were given free rein contentwise, meaning we got a ton of overtly gross-out storylines with rotting corpses, bestiality, and Master Shake microwaving a kitten. The zany absurdism of the earlier seasons gets phased out in favor of cramming as much gratuitous shock humor in as possible, which is never really what ATHF was about in the first place.
Season 6 was just as bad if not worse. Many episodes lacked the bite that the first 4 seasons had and there were some rather infamous episodes with the most notable being "Fry Legs" and "Last Last One Forever and Ever". The latter has gotten more of a pass, but fans seem to be in agreement that the former was terrible.
Archer gets accused a fair bit of this, although fans tend to disagree on what seasons are worse, or if the show is still good:
Season 4 got some flack for having less interesting plots and leaning too heavily on Call Backs and Shout-Outs. The season got better reception as it went along, however. It's overall a fairly minor example, and is more a case of Season 3 being a Tough Act to Follow.
Season 5 (subtitledVice) shook up the premise by shutting down ISIS and having the main characters become cocaine dealers. It also was the first season to have a season-long story arc. This was obviously polarizing to begin with, and it only caught more flack due to turning the fan-favourite Pam into The Scrappy by having her become addicted to cocaine, become extremely irritating, and constantly screw up the character's plans. It also suffered from Failure Is the Only Option, since everything the main characters tried to do ended in failure. The season finale was very well received, however.
Season 6, which reinstated ISIS (although the name was dropped due to being associated with a real life terrorist group) is generally seen as a return to form, but it still caught criticism for Malory being Out of Focus and placing more emphasis on Lana and Arhcer's relationship. It also had the show's first real clunker, "Nellis". (Although, to be fair, it did also have what is considered one of the show's best episodes, "Vision Quest")
Season 7 once against shook up the show's premise by having the characters become private detectives. Although this was less polarising than Vice, the season caught flack for centering around Veronica Deane, a dull Flat Character, and for a plot that never really went anywhere and left a great deal of loose ends hanging. Unlike Seasons 4 and 5, which got better as they progressed, Season 7 started off well but ultimately got worse as it progressed.
Season 8, (subtitledDreamland) takes place in Sterling Archer's coma dream, where he is a Film Noir detective in the 1940s trying to investigate the death of his partner, Woodhouse. This season turned into a major case of divisiveness, due to the esoteric premise, being less comedic than previous seasons and for the fact that the cast tended to be separated for much of it, with Lana in particular being Out of Focus. The finale was also divisive — although it wrapped up better than the previous season, it still had a number of controversial elements, not least of which was the fact that Archer didn't wake up at the end. The short length didn't do it any favors.
Season 5 is considered a low point by many longtime fans, primarily for having what many consider a large amount of weak and forgettable episodes, with quite a few plots feeling really forced—-for instance, there's one that focuses entirely on Buster being unable to sleep, and there's another where Muffy attempts to hang out with teenagers. The one most audiences really hate, however, is "Nerves of Steal", which ends with an all-out Downer Ending. The fact it was the first season produced without Joe Fallon (the creative driving force behind the show's first four seasons, which are considered popular classics to this day) on the writing staff didn't exactly help matters. Season 6 is also considered by some of the other longtime fans to be this instead of Season 5, or sometimes both of them, due to the prevalence of episodes written by Scapegoat Creator Dietrich Smith, this being the first time Arthur's VA is replaced, and just being fairly weak overall in a similar vein to 5.
Season 9 could also be another candidate, considering this was beginning of what some fans refer to as Arthur's "reverse puberty", as his voice continually grew higher, softer, and more childlike (which it had been starting to in season 7 or 6, depending on which version of the latter you saw), and is also debated as where the show really started having too many generic plots.
Season 16 might as well be another candidate, what with the changing of production houses to 9 Story, the switch to Flash animation (to the point where petitions were made to change the animation), the addition of Ladonna, and the episode "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh", where Arthur uncharacteristically bullies Sue Ellen.
Some fans weren't very pleased with the first half of Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender due to the large amount of filler episodes. Many fan-favorites were sidelined such as Toph, Iroh, and Ty Lee while others were somewhat flanderized. Fans felt like this season wasted a lot of opportunities such as Iroh and Ozai's past, the return of Ursa, more information on Aang's old friend Kuzon, and a possible reappearance of Koh the Face Stealer. Though fans were pleased that we were given backstories for both Avatar Roku and Fire Lord Sozin, many find it to be the most blatant example of Writers Cannot Do Math ever and weren't pleased with some of the contradictions and retcons that were caused by it. However, general opinion is that the show recovered in the season's second half, though fans are still split over how Aang deals with Ozai.
While The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has several great episodes in its second season, it also suffers from having more filler than the first, especially after Jeph Loeb and Man of Action Studios came on as executive producer and creative consultants, respectively. They created so much filler that subplots the original writers set up earlier went unresolved and/or unexplored by the time the show ended. Their run also saw most of the Avengers get pushed Out of Focus, and Out of Character Moments became more frequent. Plus, the animation in this season sometimes seems cheaper, and the awesome theme song permanently got ditched in favor of recaps of old episodes and a promo for the Avengersmovie.
When Batman: The Animated Series was retooled as The New Batman Adventures, the character designs and visual style were altered to fit in with the emerging DCAU (particularly Superman: The Animated Series). Much of the hand-drawn charm and film noir flair were lost. While the final season still had some classic episodes, the writing was also rather hit-and-miss.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold ended with its third season due to the show's creators wanting to avoid decay. That being said, the third season is still considered to have taints of this trope, due to contention about the quality of the plots and Batman occasionally veering from The Ace to Canon Sue.
Each entry in the Ben 10 franchise has its own seasonal rot:
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, on the other hand, got the Seasonal Rot going in its second season, with tons of filler episodes, characters further acting like idiots, and a convoluted main arc plot involving the Forever Knights and an Eldritch Abomination that took a hell of a time to come out. It's commonly thought that it got better in the finale, where Vilgax finallygot out of his decay and was portrayed as a Magnificent Bastard, but it's still controversial.
Betty Boop went into a steep decline around 1934; first the Hays Office neutered the series raunchier elements (downplaying Betty's sexual qualities and prompting the abandonment of her dog boyfriend, Bimbo), and then the Fleischers began to incorporate ill-advised changes to the series to cuten it up, namely introducing rather dull characters such as the ever-cloying Pudgy, Betty's pet dog (who would often headline episodes by himself along with being a co star to Betty), and Fearless Fred, her one-note heroic boyfriend, and downplaying the series' once-wild animation and gags into much blander, down-to-earth premises. The series ran on fumes a few more years, and it was finally ended in 1939.
Season 4 (and so far, the final season) of The Boondocks is considered a severe drop in quality from the first 3 seasons. This is largely due to the fact that Aaron McGruder no longer works on the show and a new showrunner taking his place who obviously had no idea how to write the characters (for example Tom's wife who went from somewhat shrewish but at least faithful to Tom to just out and out unlikable), several characters's voice actors leaving the show (like Ed the 3rd, Gin Rummy, and Thugnificent) causing them to be omitted entirely, Ruckus getting flanderized to the point where he isn't funny anymore, the increased focus on Grandad (which was already a criticism from Season 3) and the season having an overarching plot (The Freemans being in debt due to Grandad falling for an obvious Internet scam) rather than standalone stories. The season aired its episodes out of production order so it seemed to normal viewers that the arc was never resolved, when it actually was resolved in "Early Bird Special", the 4th episode of the season aired. The season's final episode is about Riley who first pisses off the LGBT community, and then the mentally disabled. The series ultimately ends with a photo of Riley running from an angry mob of mentally disabled people that he personally pissed off, which was a far cry from the Season 3 finale which, while over the top, at least has a sense of closure to it (Huey being targeted by a rogue CIA agent, everything being a big misunderstanding, at least one of the Wunclers getting his comeuppance and as usual, Ignored Epiphany on learning anything from the fiasco). Fans have declared Fanon Discontinuity on this season because of the rot. Even [adult swim] seems to have picked up on this and hardly reruns episodes from the season.
The 2nd and especially 3rd seasons of Chowder are often criticized by fans thanks to Flanderization of a number of characters (such as Chowder's lack of an indoor voice and smarts, Panini's stalker tendencies reaching disturbing levels, etc.), the Fourth Wall gags becoming overused, and in general just not being nearly as clever as the earlier episodes.
Code Lyoko fans consider Seasons 3 and 4 (or if not that, just Season 3) to be inferior to the first two story-wise (though far superior stylistically). While Season 2 involved and ended with an exploration into the computer's past and the progression of the major story arcs, the next two seasons shunted that to the side in favor of episodic filler, which was more often than not dedicated to the increasingly-unfunny escapades of the comic relief characters, particularly Jim.
Clarence: Mostly for the 2nd half of the first season, has some fans that were divided with one having to enjoy the first half (the ones that was made with Skyler Page) than the second half (the ones that was made after Skyler left), as they complained how the 2nd half had caused the series to undergo from realistic, down-to-earth, and character-focused to unrealistic and imaginative, with a lack of any character development focuses, and filled with episodes that were lackluster or mixed, but however the series was meant to look as it focuses on a kid with an overactive imagination and a bizarre way of looking at the world, although that didn't help with one that doesn't seem to satisfy enough to those who want the series to focus on being realistic, until it was rectified in Season 2 that brought back what the first half had.
Ctrl+Alt+Del: The Animated Series was near universally hated to begin with, but most people will admit that the second season makes the first look like The Lion King by comparison. The animation lost all shading and any scant traces of fluidity, animation errors became more and more common, and the episodes became considerably longer, leading to great heaping amounts of Padding.
Fans of Dan Vs. consider Season 2 to be this, due to too much focus on Elise, a lack of Black Comedy, and making Dan into a Failure Hero (when one of the best parts of the show was watching him succeed). Season 3 is considered an improvement, but not by much, which is why the show didn't get renewed after that.
Season 3 of Danny Phantom suffered from this due to Executive Meddling. Nickelodeon ordered the series to be cancelled with the third season, abruptly fired all the original writers after the second season finale, and ordered only thirteen episodes for the third season, as opposed to the previous two having twenty each. This resulted in incredibly inferior writing, boring villains, a rushed plot with a rushed finale, and Danny and Sam falling in love without any development.
Daria: Fans are divided on when the rot took place.
Season 3 was somewhat scrutinized, particularly for the episodes "Depth Takes a Holiday" and "Daria!" (the former being significantly more infamous) tarnishing the show's realism. Then there's Jane's Addition which introduced the infamous Tom Sloane.
Season 5 as well for its poor character development as well as giving the fashion club an imprudent amount of screen time (to the point where it seemed like Daria and Jane were almost afterthoughts).
The third and fourth seasons of Dexter's Laboratory were made after creator Genndy Tartakovsky left for Samurai Jack. While some of the writing was still pretty good, the art (particularly the character designs) were standardized into a simplified, blander style, the animation became less dynamic, and the production values in general felt rather cheap.
While Drawn Together was a highly divisive show to begin with, even fans would not defend the first half of season 3, when the show became too dark for its own good and constantly gave Captain Hero screen time (a trend started since the middle of season 2). This, combined with an erratic airing schedule, resulted in the show dying an early death.
The Dreamstone's first season is often better-regarded due to its darker plotlines and character designs which are more loyal to Mike Jupp's original concept (along with suffering less from Executive Meddling forcing more side characters). The later seasons, however, do get credit for aspects such as more fluid animation and remedying some of the earlier episodes' flaws (e.g. giving the heroes more focus and downplaying their Unintentionally Unsympathetic facets against the Urpneys).
Duck Dodgers was originally supposed to run for only two seasons, with the finale having Mars sign a peace treaty with Earth and the Martian Queen Tyr'ahnee getting together with Commander X2 after learning that he loves her. The third season chose to abruptly restore the status quo by having Tyr'ahnee dump X2 at their wedding after deciding that she still has feelings for Duck Dodgers and she even revokes Mars' treaty with Earth when Dodgers continues rejecting her. To make things really aggravating, the final episode was just a faux-documentary with various characters being interviewed over how they felt about Dodgers rather than a proper Grand Finale.
General consensus is that "Fairly OddBaby" was the tipping point of the series. To a lesser degree, some feel the rot started sometime after "Channel Chasers", or as far back as Season 2 or 3 when Vicky made the switch from a bully of a babysitter to basically Satan in human form and for the infamous episode "Twistory" which was heavily criticized and subsequently banned from the airwaves for its negative depiction of British stereotypes.
Seasons 4 and 5 used to be this while they were still running due in part to the Flanderization of some of the characters and the infamous episode "It's A Wishful Life", a twisted and very mean-spirited It's a Wonderful Plot where an unappreciated Timmy wishes he was never born and is shown a world where everyone's lives are better off without him. Now they are considered to be a part of the show's "golden age" by many fans. That said, "It's A Wishful Life" remains the most despised episode of the show to this day. Even the creator of the show, Butch Hartman, hates this episode.
While most agree that Poof's introduction was the show's turning point, many believe Season 6's episodes aren't outwardly bad for the most part as it undid most of the Flanderization of Season 5. Then Season 7 came along, that considered as the point where the show had officially Jumped The Shark, because the writers began forgetting about side characters and focusing only on Crocker and Timmy's Dad.
Season 9 — the season where Sparky is introduced for the first time — is considered by many fans to be the lowest point of the series. Besides Sparky himself, continuity errors started popping up more and more around this time ("Let Sleeper Dogs Lie" being one of the worst offenders).
Season 10 has received a mixed to negative reaction so far. While many fans were delighted to learn that Sparky would not be returning to the show, it has still received its share of criticism. It doesn't help that the writing team for the season have never worked on a cartoon before FOP, or, in the case of Ray DeLaurentiis, worked on legitimately bad cartoons.note The fact that many since season 7, if not all of the season's episodes were written or produced by DeLaurentiis only makes this worse. It also doesn't help that there are long hiatuses between new episodes. Reasons include:
The Flanderization of several characters: Timmy is derailed into a selfish (and bratty) jerk once again to make his status as Chloe's Foil more obvious, Chloe goes from an excitable but relatively grounded girl to constantly hyperactive and prone to frequent bouts of hysterics and histronics, Cosmo and Wanda have taken several levels in dumbass and are constantly rendered helpless and unable to help Timmy and Chloe due to them losing their wands in every episode, Timmy's Dad has gone from a Bumbling Dad to a Lethally Stupid manchild who causes destruction wherever he goes, and Crocker's obsession with fairies (his defining trait since his debut appearance) is completely gone unless the plot specifically requires it, to the point that he no longer has a Freak Out! when he sees something magical nor does he say his famous Catch-Phrase anymore. The Season 8 episode "When L.O.S.E.R.S. Attack" has him being best friends with Foop despite the latter being an Anti-Fairy.
On the subject of Timmy's Dad and Mr. Crocker, they makes an appearance in practically every episode, even in ones not directly focused on them, leading many fans to grow sick of them.note For context, Season 10 has 37 episodes in total, Timmy's Dad appears in 31 of those episodes and Crocker in 30. In Mr. Crocker's case, it only got worse when the episode "Chip Off The Old Crock" introduced Kevin Crocker, Mr. Crocker's nephew, who is more or less a miniature version of himself.
Poof's perplexing and inexplicable absence from the season. While Sparky being dropped from the show was confirmed by his voice actor, Poof is nowhere to be seen due to difficulties with having too many main characters in a plot. This is made all the more strange by the fact that Foop, Poof's Evil Counterpart, appeared in the season's very first episode and continues to make appearances throughout the season, even starring as the main villain in the episode "Blue Angel". Also, in both the old and new intros, Poof is still there. Poof finally appeared in the episode "Certifiable Super Sitter".
The sudden, mid-season shift from the series' traditional use of hand-drawn animation to Flash animation.
The deterioration of the show's writing causing episode plots to become unoriginal and so generic and often being rehashes of plots from the show's previous seasons along with same continuity errors problem, like the previous season.
Some say that Season 12 is the current low point for the series, with the main reason being Brian getting killed off in "Life of Brian" only to be brought back three weeks later in "Christmas Guy" in a ratings grab so desperate and shallow that it caused several longtime fans to lose whatever respect that they still had for the show by that point. Other episodes that played a big part in why the season is so reviled include "Peter Problems" (for the scene of Peter accidentally eviscerating a live whale while trying to push it back into the ocean using a forklift), "Brian's a Bad Father" (the main plot being Exactly What It Says on the Tin and the subplot ending with an overly-gory scene of Quagmire shooting Peter in the head), "Fresh Heir" (aka "Let's See How Many Unfunny Incest Jokes We Can Force Down Your Throat in 22 Minutes"), and "Herpe, the Love Sore" (Brian intentionally gives Stewie and Chris herpes when he becomes blood brothers with them and the subplot involving Peter, Joe, and Quagmire which has one of the worst, if not THE worst Unfortunate Implication from the show).
For The Flintstones, there are generally considered to be two instances of the trope coming into play, but the one that's deemed to be the bigger instance is a subject of debate. Some consider the introduction of Pebbles at the end of Season 3 to be the show's downfall as the series became much more childish with the introduction of an infant into the cast. For others, the final season's addition of the Great Gazoo is what pulled the show down, seeing putting a goofy alien trickster in a show that was originally intended to be akin to a prehistoric version of The Honeymooners was seen as a Jumping the Shark moment.
More criticisms include the heavy Flanderization of several characters and a slight increase in Nausea Fuel that still existed but wasn't anywhere near as noticeable in the Fox episodes.
Futurama also has an in-universe example in the form of Everybody LovesHypnotoad, which has been going downhill since its third season. note This is according to someone who's immune, or at least highly resistant to, the Hypnotoad's brainwashing thanks to being his own grandfath—ALL GLORY TOTHE HYPNOTOAD.
Gargoyles fell into this after Greg Weisman left at the start of Season 3. Xanatos and Fox became full good guys and every villain was a Card-Carrying Villain with little to no depth. Not helping matters was that the season's Big Bad was basically a male, human version of Demona, but while Demona's reasons for descending into villainy were understandable, fleshed out and even sympathetic, this guy's reason for turning evil is entirely selfish on his end, runs on Insane Troll Logic, and doesn't get nearly as much detail as Demona's Start of Darkness did.
The post-movie seasons of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, which changed animation studios, writers, and replaced almost all of the voice actors from the Sunbow seasons with ones from The Ocean Group. The animation's budget was much lower than Sunbow, and the plots became even sillier than the early episodes.
This trope was a large reason why Gravity Falls only had two seasons instead of the planned 3. Alex Hirsch confessed his worries about this trope and why some of the ideas for Season 3 were applied to Season 2 (Season 2's finale would've been "Not What He Seems.") The main reason though was just because of how exhausting making the show was. (In fact, Alex considered finishing the show at Season 1 with the cliffhanger because of how tired he was, but Jon Stewart convinced him to finish.) The second half of Season 2 had still recieved some criticism for underdeveloped or rushed plotlines, Mabel growing even more divisive, and holding weaker episodes on average. Coming after "Not What He Seems" did not help. Things improved by the Grand Finale, which was regarded as a great sendoff, and the season was overall considered something far from a "rot".
The second season of Jimmy Two-Shoes is often considered worse than the first one. The main culprits were the main cast going through Flanderization, a drop in writing quality, and a massive downgrade in animation quality (as the change from ToonBoom to Adobe Flash resulted in a change of animation studios). The unfortunate part is that Season 2 is the only season to have been seen by most of the world, and not even its native Canada airs episodes from Season 1 very much.
Johnny Test: The first season is generally seen as decent. After it finished its run, the show was acquired by new owners, which led to the entire production staff working on the show being replaced and consequently the show's animation changing from traditional to Flash. It is generally agreed that the second and third seasons, while taking a hit in animation quality, are still at least watchable, but when the show was revived for a fourth season, everything went to hell. The animation went from "mediocre but passable" to "not trying at all", the sound effects became cheaper (the infamous whipcrack noises were never used in the first season), and Flanderization destroyed whatever human decency was left in the cast. It's quite easy to see why the show is universally hated when one compares Season 1's quality with Season 6.
During the third and fourth seasons of KaBlam!, the production company for Sniz & Fondue went bankrupt and more one-shot shorts were produced, with mixed to negative receptions among the fandom, though the remaining regular shorts were claimed to be even better that season.
Kaeloo: A lot of fans think that the show's third season wasn't as good as the other ones, due to the sadistic humor being turned down, Mr. Cat being nicer, and the lack of cynicism.
Many King of the Hill fans consider Season 9 the show's nadir, due in large part to the massive retcon of Peggy in the premiere "A Rover Runs Through It" and Lucky becoming a regular cast member ("Care-Takin' Care of Business"). These along with ongoing Flanderization (especially of Luanne) and a lack of well-regarded episodes make it a season few fans stick up for. While season 10 is not considered much better (it consisted mostly of holdovers from season 9's production cycle), the show is said to have recovered afterwards for its final few seasons, although fans argue how much.
The Tom Palmer-directed Looney Tunes Buddy cartoons, the first batch of cartoons rushed out of the Leon Schlesinger cartoon studio after Harman and Ising left in 1933, were so sloppily done and devoid of humor that Jack Warner himself rejected the cartoons on sight. Had Friz Freleng not returned to the studio in time to rework these Buddy cartoons into one somewhat coherent but still lousy cartoon ("Buddy's Day Out") the Looney Tunes studio as we know it would've been killed in its infancy!
The '60s: Whether the "Daffy vs. Speedy" series of cartoons (which pits Speedy Gonzales against a Daffy Duck who is reduced to a grouchy humorless foil) and "The Larriva Eleven" (a series of shoestring budget Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner cartoons made by former Warner Bros. animator Rudy Larriva) completely fall under this trope is debatable. However, almost everybody unanimously agrees that the final Daffy and Speedy cartoon, 1968's "See Ya Later, Gladiator", is horrible beyond belief. The cartoon is riddled with half-assed animation (even going so far as to reuse the exact same animation sequence twice for Daffy looking out of a window, even though he was in a completely different room both times), bad music, overuse of stock sound effects from the Hanna-Barbera library, lame and/or borderline non-existent gags, etc. PhantomStrider had a few words to say about this short.
Due to the show's Merchandise-Driven nature, the second season of M.A.S.K. switched formats from "heroic M.A.S.K. agents vs. evil VENOM terrorists" to 'M.A.S.K. and VENOM as rival racing teams." Many fans were turned off by the sheer illogic of the change.
While hardly bad, season 3 is often considered the weak point of Metalocalypse, due to a rather severe Myth Arc stall and the series not being allowed to use its traditional Gorn due to the network fearing it would be perceived as too similar to Superjail! The gap that the lack of bloody violence left was filled with a noticeable increase in Vulgar Humor. Season 4 was much more in the spirit of the first two seasons. The episodes were also twice as long (half-hour instead of quarter-hour), which while a good idea in theory, resulted in very noticeable pacing issues. Along with that the Charles Ofdensen fans weren't too happy about his severe lack of appearance.
Phineas and Ferb remained popular to the end, but there are some fans that believed that the series had started to decline:
There are many people who think that the show's quality went downhill during Season 3. More accurately, the episodes from the middle of the third season just aren't good as episodes from the second season and the first half of the third. That said, the show remained quite good - it just seems to have peaked in quality sometime around the Big Damn Movie, Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension.
Some people cite the downfall of the show as far back as Season 2, due to more emphasis on formula and redundant jokes as opposed to the show's first season which was a Slice of Life show mixed with comedy. In other words, it was Family Guy meets Hey Arnold! in its first season.
A few fans felt the show got stale around the time Season 3 came around due to more emphasis on the formula and the writers had stopped developing the characters. Coincidentally around this time, many of the show's original writers left to work on Regular Show and Adventure Time.
By the mid-1940s, the Famous StudiosPopeye shorts became increasingly formulaic and stale, and the timing and animation took a hit in quality. By the 50's, the series went through such a clear budget crunch that they were forced to make an excessive amount of clip show episodes or remakes of older shorts. Roughly 17% of all Popeye theatrical cartoons from both Fleischer and Famous Studios were either remakes, semi-remakes or clip shows; that's roughly 38 cartoons in all! However, roughly only 3% (4 total) of the Fleischer cartoons qualify, whereas a whopping 28% (roughly 34) qualify for Famous Studios.
The post-movie episodes of The Powerpuff Girls, particularly seasons 5 and 6 (or just Season 6), are considered to have some of the most ridiculous plots, Flanderization of several characters, and dropped most of the action elements to make the show a cheap gag comedy.
Season 4 is considered this by more than a few fans due to recycled and/or dull plots, the Romantic Plot Tumor of Mordecai and Margaret, and Muscle Man becoming a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad. Season 5 did resolve most of the issues from Season 4 by restarting a new romance plot with CJ from season 3, removing all Muscle Man centered episodes to give him only one or two episodes like "Tower Power", and using most new plots and giving some more character development for lots of main characters.
Season 6 has several new issues; while it thankfully had only a few recycled plots, it also had very new infamous plots, like removing Thomas from the show, Benson and Audrey breaking up for seemingly no reason, and a pointless yet Base BreakingLove Triangle from seasons 4 and 5 that was quickly fixed in a couple of episodes later, as well as holiday specials painfully shoehorned in.
Lampshaded in the final season's episode "Meet The Seer" where the gang meet the eponymous character and she discusses the aforementioned tumors that plagued the show and the recent Halloween specials becoming weaker and diluted. While she's upset that she'll miss Regular Show, it's best to end the show with a bang than drag on as a rotting zombie.
The final season where the cast went into space was accused of its problems as well, particularly for how it borrowed heavily from other animated sci-fi comedies like Futurama and Rick and Morty when the show was previously more original. Fortunately, the series had regained its edge as it built up to its Grand Finale, which fans hail as a suitably epic and emotional send off.
Rick and Morty Season 3 is quite divisive among fans: some consider it the best one yet for its character development and darker turn (especially where Morty is concerned), while others consider it the worst, due to contrived drama, Beth and Jerry remaining the show's weakest characters despite having divorced, and an increase in gross-out humor. One thing even most of the season's supporters wouldn't defend, however, is its anticlimactic Status Quo Is God ending.
The show is said to have lost much of its luster after John Kricfalusi's dismissal and his animation studio Spumco was replaced by Games Animation (later known as Nickelodeon Animation Studios) for Season 3 onwards. While the new showrunners made a valiant effort to preserve the gross and bizarre humor that characterized John K's run, the show completely lost its edge by the time Season 5 rolled around, resulting in its cancellation.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the hatred for the show's revival by Spike in 2003 as Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon". Due to a combination of Executive Meddling and John K. receiving greater freedom in writing (there are conflicting reports on just what went on behind the scenes between creator and network), the show became far too gross and vulgar for its own good and began indulging in over-the-top violence and Toilet Humor well beyond that of the original series. It also saw the Flanderization of its main characters, particularly Ren, who became abusive and psychopathic compared to his previous hot-tempered character in the original series. These factors led to the show's cancellation after only three episodes were aired, although all six produced episodes later showed up on the Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes DVD.
Robot Chicken has two fan-noted cases of this: Season 2, which is considered weaker than the sublime first season (though fan opinion of it has gotten better over time) and the infamous Season 5, which saw the show's usually witty humor go completely out the window in favor of gorn for gorn's sake, crude Toilet Humor, and too many Dude, Not Funny! moments to count. Apparently either the writers were listening or replaced, because Season 6 took a sharp turn in the other direction, much to the delight of the fans.
While not as much as the Un-CanceledSpongeBob episodes, when people say Rugrats went through this, it leads to a Broken Base. Most people say it's either after they added Dil or Kimi, some people say after it got Un-Canceled, due to more emphasis on Toilet Humor and not as much Getting Crap Past the Radar due to Arlene Klasky not letting Paul Germain (the showrunner of the first three seasons) know that the show was coming back and the show lacking his influence.
Schoolhouse Rock: Earth marked the first time in seven years that the crew released new songs. Unfortunately, almost none of them, if any, hold up against the classic songs. When counting only the seasons that aired on ABC, Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips would get deemed the weakest. It didn't even get a home video release until Disney started releasing Schoolhouse Rock songs on DVD.
Among Scooby-Doo fans, the general consensus is that two series fit this:
The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Hour, which made the bold move of completely changing the show's premise and in doing so fell flat on its face. Fred, Daphne, and Velma were inexplicably gone, the series was switched to a Three Shorts format, and the mystery-solving plots and "Scooby-Doo" Hoax were jettisoned in favor of slapstick chase scenes featuring Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy running away from real monsters for five straight minutes (the real monsters, incidentally, don't seem to have been part of the problem, as laterinstallments featuring real ghouls were received much better).
Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, which also tossed out the mystery premise and Fred, Daphne, and Velma, but not only that, got rid of the distinctive Hanna-Barbera art-style and horror elements entirely, in favor of, of all things, a spy thriller. Also, the theme song has been criticized, with YouTube critic Mr. Enter placing it number 1 on his video "Top 20 Worst Cartoon Theme Songs".
Sealab 2021, with the second half of its third season and fourth seasons. One major culprit of the show's decline was the removal of Captain Murphy (due to the death of his voice actor), who was seen by many fans to be the heart and soul of the show's Golden Age.
The Simpsons: Most fans of the show consider the first eight seasons to be the best but they have wildly varying opinions on the later seasons:
Season 8 is often cited as the last time The Simpsons created good episodes, although a lot of people feel that some of Season 8's episodes weren't all that great, except for "You Only Move Twice" (the episode with Hank Scorpio), and "Homer's Enemy" (the episode with Frank Grimes).
Seasons 9 and 10 get this, due to "The Principal and the Pauper" (the infamous episode where Principal Skinner is revealed to be a street punk named Armin Tamzarian who took on the identity of a man named Seymour Skinner so he wouldn't have to tell the man's mother that her son was M.I.A.), one of the most hated episodes in the entire series (even the show's creators hated it). Add to that the parade of celebrity cameos and the humor getting cruder and more sadistic to compete with South Park, much of the crew jumping ship to Futurama, as well as the induction of Mike Scully as showrunner. The season still features a lot of classic episodes, especially the holdovers from the Season 7-8 run, but the ratio of bad to good spikes dramatically and never really gets back in balance. When fan reviewer Mike Amato covered Season 9, it was the first one in which he was able to name five episodes he hated.
You won't find too many supporters of Season 11.note For reference, this is the season that killed off Maude Flanders, had Barney give up drinking, made Apu and Manjula the parents of octuplets, and presented whimsically self-referential episodes like "Saddlesore Galactica", "Missionary: Impossible", and "Behind the Laughter". It was the least grounded and realistic of all Simpsons seasons with more out-there plots and twist endings. For many of the original Simpsons fans, this was around the time they stopped watching and its episodes are rarely shown on TV anymore. Season 12 had similar issues, but to a lesser extent than Season 11.
Season 13, when Al Jean returned as a showrunner, was a partial return to the days of the less wacky Simpsons. However, these later seasons are often criticized for being when The Simpsons became a Franchise Zombie. The answer to which of these later seasons is considered the worst is hard to find among the fanbase as many of the Internet's most ardent fans abandoned the series around this time, as can be seen by the lack of episode guides on fansites in the later series. Most fans consider it and later series better than seasons 11 and 12 but worse than seasons 3-8. However as the series progressed, and more fans abandoned it, whether the post-13 seasons are better than 11 and 12 and how the post-13 seasons rank and compare to each other is a matter of some debate. However most fans and film critics consider the Simpsons movie, which came out between Seasons 18 and 19, as rather good and on par with the Seasons 1-8 episodes.
Season 6 is this for many viewers, largely due to the backlash against Trey Parker and Matt Stone retiring Kenny and their plans for Butters being the new Butt-Monkey being changed by Comedy Central and fans rescuing Butters from the Scrappy heap. Needless to say, ever since that season, Parker and Stone have openly threatened to quit production of the show (to the point that Parker almost bailed entirely midway through season eight). Fan opinion of it has warmed up a bit after time, but it's still considered one of the weakest "golden age" seasons.
Seasons 15 onwards have gotten this from many fans to the point of where some people actually hate everything from Seasons 5 and after for changing the character's personalities, becoming more political and almost feeling like an entirely different show.
Season 17 is seen as this by many fans due to its short length, bad characterization (especially in regards to characters such as Cartman, Kyle, and Stan), and overly topical (to We're Still Relevant, Dammit! levels) plots and humor. The only thing generally liked about it is the "Black Friday" 3-parter, but even that has its open detractors. Season 18 was criticized for the exact same reasons, though the Story Arc and better attempts at continuity got it a little praise.
Season 19, some love it for its emphasis on its Story Arc and its topicality (specifically, its jabs at political correctness), while others hate it for the exact same reasons.
Season 20, the third of the serialized seasons, had an unusually complex and topical Story Arc with Loads and Loads of Characters: Gerald becoming an online troll, Cartman becoming more "sensitive" to woo a girl, Mr. Garrison's presidential campaign, the Nostalgia Filter-inducing Member Berries, and a brewing war between Denmark and the rest of the world were the main storylines. It was already proving hard for the show to juggle all of this in just ten episodes beforeDonald Trump, whom Mr. Garrison was the SP Universe's Expy of, was elected President of the United States. As Parker and Stone hadn't prepared for that possibility, the remaining four episodes of the season had to be rethought on the fly to remain topical, culminating in a Season Finale that left major plot threads unresolved and several key characters suddenly Out of Focus. Any assumptions/hopes that the forthcoming Season 21 will tie up the loose ends seem to have died with Parker and Stone's announcement that Donald Trump won't be a target of the show anymore, as they found spoofing him via Garrison too difficult.
The show never was the same from Season 4 onwards.note When the show was Un-Canceled in 2004, due to the box-office gross the feature film adaptation (which was the intended Grand Finale to the show - Season 3 ended production back in 2002, until Nickelodeon decided to revive the show) made in addition to the high ratings the show maintained, creator Stephen Hillenburg notably changed his position in the show's production and co-creator Derek Drymon left. Once it started back up, the show became much more grotesque compared to the earlier seasons — the post-movie seasons have Vulgar Humor, massive flanderization of various cast members (with some being flanderized into ditzes and designated heroes), occasional dark humor, creepyNausea Fuel, and overall less charm.
The general consensus is that Season 4 was when the rot kicked in, and Seasons 6 and 7 were the peak of the rot.note Most notably Season 6, with episodes like "The Splinter", "Choir Boys", "House Fancy" and "Truth or Square," although the Season 7 episodes "A Pal For Gary" and "One Coarse Meal" are almost unarguably the two most hated of the entire series. Seasons 5 and 8 are... "mixed" among fans. The good episodes in them are generally better-received than the ones from Season 6 and 7, but the bad episodes in them include some of the most reviled episodes of the show.note "To Love a Patty", "Atlantis Squarepantis", "Demolition Doofus" and "Are You Happy Now?".
In turn, most people agree Season 9 is a major improvement on Seasons 5-8, with most of the episodes being praised, especially after the release of the second movie when creator Stephen Hillenburg returned along with many of the original writers.note The exceptions being "SpongeBob You're Fired", "Squid Baby" and "Little Yellow Book".
Steven Universe: Season 4 split the fandom with what is perceived by some as pacing issues. Specific problems include more episodes focused on the humans of the cast (who are generally considered less interesting than the Gem characters), a lack of development with Peridot and Lapis, and the main plot involving Homeworld coming to a hold after "Bubbled" resulting in a Myth Stall.The show was not very fast-paced and had episodes devoted to the humans from the beginning, only that was before the series revealed that it had a greater plot. Once it did, a section of fans generally wish that the series did not return to its roots in that manner. The show's long and frequent hiatuses don't help. Fortunately, the season's second half starting with Steven Bomb 5 had managed to regain fans' interest by returning to the main plot and placing the focus back on the central cast.
In-universe, both Steven and Peridot consider season 5 of Camp Pining Hearts to be garbage, despite the latter being a major fan of the show.
Season 2 is usually vocally met with scorn and invocations of this, if not just disappointment. Criticisms ranged from the animation being "too fluid", the characters suddenly having backstories revealed, some changes with the characters' personalities, and the story formulas changing. Most notably, the episodes no longer all had wild bloodbath sequences, and some had a pun or a spoof Aesop tacked on to the ending.
While Season 3 is looked at a little more fondly due to the crew attempting to merge the styles of both previous seasons, the change in animation studios (necessitated by Augenblick bowing out to work on Ugly Americans) and the Warden becoming too childish are still subjects of criticism.
Season 3 is generally considered to be suffering from this, since they changed the Big Bad from the awesomely-creepy Slade, who was Robin's archrival but still had a personal beef with the rest of the Titans, to Brother Blood, who started off perfectly menacing but spiraled into Villain Decay quickly and had limited interaction with any of the Titans besides Cyborg, and having a weak story that only got two episodes and a two-part finale worth of exposure when other arcs usually had one or two more.
The second half of Season 2 is this for many fans, due to the Titans' personalities becoming increasingly juvenile, idiotic, and obnoxious as well as the deterioration of the show's writing causing episode plots to become more bizarre with nonsensical and often abrupt endings. note Pizza causes them to go insane, their brains rot from lack of television, they revert to eggs after embracing their inner child, Beast Boy's brain literally wandering out of his head, video game worlds, making their own sound effects, etc. Even a portion of those who were fans of Season 1 have started to lose faith in the show. The season also contains some of the most controversial episodes such as "Let's Get Serious" note A crossover with Young Justice that was seen as a Take That! to criticism that the show is too silly, implying that silliness is the superior form of entertainment instead of decent writing, "Truth, Justice, and What?" note Another crossover that seemingly mocks the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the infamous "The Return of Slade" note Where the promised battle with Slade happens offscreen and the plot instead focuses on Cyborg and Beast Boy's efforts to make a clown Darker and Edgier, intentionally reinforcing the Animation Age Ghetto, as well as stating/implying that the original Teen Titans show isn't as good as its older fans remember and that any problems that they have with Go are a result of a heavy Nostalgia Filter on their brains, and implies that a more serious take on something couldn't be good if attempted. The latter of the three was particularly scorned for being both another jab at the show's critics and a shallow and transparent Ratings Stunt that shamelessly lied to its fans, causing many to lose whatever respect they had for the show by that point.
Even fewer fans liked the "Vacation in Europe" side-season, which had cheap animation and barely fit in with the series' continuity.
Season 6, Fast Forward, is generally considered the weak point of the 2003 series, due to being much Lighter and Softer than previous seasons, sending the Turtles to the future for no apparent reason, introducing a supporting cast member in the form of April and Casey's Child Prodigy great-grandson, replacing the original theme song with a generic (and badly sung) techno rap theme, and, oh yeah, the fact that, on the order of the toy company executives, the writers were forced to skip directly from Season 4 to Season 6 due to the executives feeling Season 5 wouldn't sell toys as well. This was particularly painful because Season 5 contained the resolution of the show's Myth Arc. And once Season 5 did finally come out to much acclaim, the executives' orders seemed even more nonsensical; wouldn't characters like the Acolytes, the true forms of the Foot Mystics and Ninja Tribunal, the Tengu and his demonic minions, and the Turtles' dragon forms have made great toys?
The 7th and final season, Back to the Sewers, is hated by virtually everyone. Despite returning the show back to its present-day roots, it adopted a new art style that turned off many viewers, and whatever seriousness that was still left over in the show from Fast Forward was thrown out altogether to make the show even goofier.
The second season of the 2012 Ninja Turtles cartoon has been regarded by many as weaker than the first. Grievances fans have had include all of the writers from the first season being replaced behind the scenes, Jason Biggs leaving three quarters into the season which necessitated a sudden recast for Leonardo, the tone of the season simultaneously going Darker and EdgierandDenser and Wackier making it feel very uneven, several controversial changes to the show's canon occurring such as the revelation that April has Kraang DNA and has always been a half-alien-mutant or Karai becoming a snake mutant, notable pacing problems (for example, at the end of episode 3 Splinter finally relents and reveals to Leonardo that Karai is his biological daughter, but Leo's reaction to it doesn't come up for another 10 episodes), noticeable Flanderization going on for the Turtles, a much-hated Love Triangle between Donatello, April and Casey that lasted most of the season, the toyetic nature of the show becoming much more blatant with nearly every episode introducing a new Monster of the Week to later be used in the toyline, and many characters being underutilized (such as Slash being introduced as a formidable enemy of the Turtles only to quickly become an ally in his next major appearance or Irma being introduced into the '12 iteration halfway through the season only to later turn out to be a Kraang spy and then destroyed).
The third season ended up suffering a nasty case of Arc Fatigue. Most of the first half of the season was literally nothing but filler, almost explicitly ignoring the cliffhanger from season two in favor of largely hated Monster of the Week episodes. Even when the Turtles finally returned to New York, the Kraang were barely brought up until the mid-season finale, with the whole resolution coming off as rushed to many. The second half of the season did little better; as while the Turtles again focused on combating the Shredder, little was done to advance the overarching story until the finale... which put that on hold for the Turtles to focus on the Triceratons for the following season.
The last season, season 5, very much so feels like a Post-Script Season. Gone is the Season Arc nature of the previous 4, in favour of bringing back previous Big Bad or notable villains for one more appearance. It doesn't help that Splinter and Shredder are dead and a lot of the time there is a case of Angst? What Angst?. While the latter does show up, it's only for the first five episodes and is barely relevant. The season finale is a three part crossover with the '87 turtles and Shredder and Krang, and while it's a lot better than the rest of the season, it was too little too late and the series got cancelled in favour of bringing a new series in 2018.
There are a lot of fans of Thomas the Tank Engine that have diverse opinions on when the series went downhill:
Some say it was when the show became less true to the Rev W. Awdry's original stories. Awdry himself disowned the show following Season 3, when writers took more liberties with his stories and also started created their own, which sometimes disobeyed railway code and had inaccuracies to the story mythos. After Season 4, adaptations of the original novels ended altogether.
A lot of fans were also disappointed when Britt Allcroft stopped producing the show and HiT Entertainment took its place and when the latter converted the show's format to CGI instead of using models.
A lot of fans pinpoint Sharon Miller's run as head writer (Seasons 9-16) as the low point of the show, due to stories being aimed towards much younger audiences, rampant rhyming and alliteration, the narrator always explaining the action as if the audience can't figure it out on their own, one-off characters being introduced for the sake of merchandising, the most evident amount of railway inaccuracies, very poor writing ("His smokebox was on fire" comes to mind immediately), and worst of all, it became clear that Hit Entertainment saw the series as nothing more than a marketing machine, and it effectively became a 30-minute toy commercial. Season 17, where the series was taken over by Andrew Brenner and reverted to more mature storylines, has gotten a warmer reception thus far, with several Miller-era characters being fleshed out (Paxton, in particular, has become a fan-favorite), the writing quality improving, the comedy being better-written, the animation using much more dynamic angles and clever transitions, the reintroduction of several fan-favorite characters such as Duck, Bill & Ben, and Harvey, better vocabulary and explanation of railway terminology, and overall, a better sense of respect for the viewers and fanbase.
The post-Hanna-Barbera Tom and Jerry shorts, starting with the ones directed by Chuck Jones, are accused of this, with noticeably lower production budgets and weaker storylines, some of which were recycled from earlier Hanna-Barbera shorts. The Gene Deitch-directed shorts in particular are widely hated by fans, with the animation quality having taken a nosedive and the iconic music and sound effects being replaced by generic stock sound effects and sparse music. The shorts are also criticized for Jerry having Taken A Level In Jerkass, kicking Tom's ass at the slightest provocation (or sometimes for no reason at all) and much more sadistically than in the classic shorts, to the point where it was more cringe-inducing than funny. Adding in an owner who served no purpose beyond abusing Tom even more didn't help matters much.
Every Total Drama season following the first has been accused of its problems, but only two are almost universally loathed:
The second season, Action was received quite poorly by its viewers, and half the original fan base of the original Islanddon't watch it at all. Why? Well, for starters they removed almost half of the original cast, including popular characters (at the time) Cody and Noah, completely flanderized the remaining characters, kicked off most of the fan favorites (again, at the time) such as Gwen and Bridgette (who were also flanderized, though special mention goes to Bridgette and Geoff, as the only joke throughout their first and only episode is that they make out a lot. That's it.) early, over saturated Owenagain, and had Chris become such a huge Jerkass that it wasn't even funny anymore. It was considered by many as the black sheep of the franchise prior to All-Stars and it seems that even the creators feel this way since almost all of the plots and characterizations (aside from Gwen and Trent's breakup which was the result of Executive Meddling, Chef's secret alliance with DJ, as well as Geoff's brief derailment into being a Chris clone) have not been referenced since that season ended.
On the minor side of the rots the third season, World Tour is considered by many fans and critics as a return to form (as a result of having fewer reward challenge episodes, sharper animation and more consistent character dynamics), but still received scorn for the musical numbers in the show taking up a good portion of the episode as well as a majority of the season's second half being taken up by the love triangle between Gwen, Duncan and Courtney.
Then we have Revenge of the Island which had a short length and even more over the top plot lines.
Many say that the 1st half of the fifth season, All-Stars was just as bad as (if not worse than) Action making it the new black sheep of the franchise in the eyes of many. Reasons include wasted developments like Gwen and Courtney's friendship (which is suddenly undone over the course of one episode and rendered most of the season pointless), the return of the shortened season length of only thirteen episodes (this time, pretty much every plot line was dropped after about 2 or 3 episodes) as well as introducing a chopped up version of the theme song that is only about 20 seconds long compared to the full minute long version, the Big Bad being defeated at the push of a button, characters like Gwen and Heather holding the Idiot Ball in order to justify the terms of their eliminationsnote both of which were in episodes written by Terry McGurrin, 3 episodes (one of which being "Sundae Muddy Sundae" which broke up the Gwen and Courtney friendship) were written by first time writer Ed MacDonald who has since become the most hated writer on the show, once again Flanderizing characters such as Lindsay and Sierra, putting center spotlight on Zoey, who is considered by some to be a rather undeveloped character, and the finale featuring next to no focus on any of the eliminated contestants who weren't already part of the show's Spotlight-Stealing Squad due to being trapped in fart-filled balloons and left flying off at the sun with no indication if they survived and Camp Wawanakwa sinking officially renders the entire season pointless. Fan reception proved so negative that Fresh TV came forth to request fan feedback on the season and use said feedback to play a major part in the development of season 6.
Finally there's the 2nd half of the fifth season, Pahkitew Island which while some see as an improvement to All-Stars, others called it the worst one yet. The season was produced simultaneously along with All-Stars and you can pretty much tell. Criticisms for it include the even higher amount of gross out humor (mostly due to Sugar, who was heavily reviled for essentially being the embodiment of everything that's wrong with the TD franchise), most of the cast being overly gimmicky and barley counting as one-dimensional, the petty, one-sided feud between Ella and Sugar, some of the more interesting characters either being eliminated too early or having plotlines that were either wasted and/or hastily concluded (Scarlett), the plotline of Dave and Sky's ultimately failed romance which concluded in such a way that it basically rendered most of the season pointless and once again it's short length.
Season 3 of The Transformers isn't as well remembered among fans as the first two seasons and the movie. Taking place after the movie, it is a radical departure from the previous two seasons, with most of the action taking place in space, many old characters popular with fans disappearing with new ones taking their place (a few like Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, and Starscream were outright killed off onscreen in the movie), Rodimus Prime stepping up as the new leader of the Autobots to mixed results, the already poor-quality animation largely getting worse (mainly due to most of the season's episodes being animated by AKOM, rather than Toei) and the Decepticons sometimes being downplayed as villains in favor of other villains such as the Quintessons. However, a few episodes of the season remain some of the best-written and best-animated of the series, such as "Call of the Primitives", "Webworld", "Dark Awakening", "Dweller in the Depths", and "Chaos".
Season 2 of Transformers Prime is generally considered to be the weakest out of the three. Due to the writers combing two seasons of storylines into one, the season came out very cluttered and rushed. Plotlines that were considered interesting (like M.E.C.H, or Bulkhead's near-fatal injuries) were not given enough episodes to properly develop before they were quickly resolved. Several fan-favorite characters were also killed off for the sole reason of proving that Anyone Can Die, even if there were still stories that could be mined from them (in particular Breakdown and Dreadwing). While there was enough stuff that was worth watching, overall the poor pacing really turned a lot of fans off. Season 3 was considered an improvement over Season 2, mostly for the better pacing.
Season 3 of Beast Wars is often seen as a drop in quality compared to Season 2. The mostly serious but occasionally healthily zany tone became very inconsistent, with overly dark moments leading straight to corny slapstick gags. A lot of episodes were devoted to introducing new characters or upgrading older ones, leading to pacing problems and no sense of an overarching plot. The season undid Inferno's on-screen death at the end of Season 2, without giving him a reason to continue existing (other than being Flanderized more). Optimus Primal was made too powerful and had to be written out of most episodes, making him come off as a wimp most of the time. A planned dark, story and character-centric episode was even replaced by a humorous yet pointless filler that lead to something of a plot-hole in the series finale. Despite these, and despite many fans thinking that Simon Furman's script for the final episode "missed the mark" on the show's tone, the series finale is still often regarded as one of the best in the franchise, and visually, this season had the best graphics.
Although while still good, the fifth season of The Venture Bros. was considered disappointing by some fans. It was a short season so they didn't really have a chance to flesh out some of the plot points. A part of the reason is also because the show is praised for massive changes and character development, while this season undid some of that and made certain things go back where they started. The Monarch had a smaller role too.
The Wild Thornberrys: Season 3 to the final episode began to focus less on the animals and locales. It's really evident when one compares the series premiere, "Flood Warning" which has Eliza interacting with lions in Africa, to "Eliza Unplugged", the final episode of the series, which has the plot revolving around Eliza's crush.
Winx Club: While Seasons 3 and 4 created a lot of Broken Base, Season 5 is pretty much universally reviled by the fandom. This is due to:
The retconing of important continuity points. A major one being that Daphne wasn't actually dead but cursed into becoming a spirit.
Season 3 of Xiaolin Showdown is considered weaker than the previous seasons by some, especially season 2 which is considered the highest point of the series by many. In the last season, all the main villains suffered from Villain Decay once Hannibal Roy Bean was introduced, who was never a very interesting or threatening villain to begin with and ends up being one of the most despised characters in the show. There's also the fact that most of the Shen Gong Wus introduced in this season have rather lame powers by comparison.
To some, Season 2 of X-Men: Evolution is this, due to its over-focus on romantic side plots, less focus on their battles and less action, though the ending managed to fix that by revealing The Masquerade, leading to it Growing the Beard in season 3.