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Seasonal Rot: Western Animation
  • Season 5 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. 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 cat.
  • 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, 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 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 worst part? The arc is ultimately never resolved. The season's final episode is about Riley who first pisses off the LGBT community, and then the mentally disabled. It and so far the series ultimately ends with a photo of Riley running from an angry mob of mentally disabled people that he personally pissed off. Fans have declared Fanon Discontinuity on this season because of the rot.
  • Winx Club, seasons 3 and 4:
    • Season 3 is generally hated for wasting many good plots, like the Stella vs. Chimera feud, Aisha's arranged marriage, and the possibility of seeing the girls' home worlds (we only saw Andros, Solaria and a bit of Linphea). There's also Valtor's massive Badass Decay.
    • Season 4, like season 3, also started really strong, but then they started to introduce many subplots that were obviously for merchandise purposes and had nothing to do with the main plot. The consequence of this was that they had to rush the last part of the season in order to clear all the loose ends, resulting in the weakest season finale.
  • The final three seasons of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show (Seasons 8, 9, and 10, also known as the "Red Sky Seasons"), which retooled the show, removed many characters, replaced the main villains, and was Darker and Edgier in many ways. Though some considered the Red Sky seasons an improvement over season 7.
    • Even fewer fans liked the "Vacation in Europe" side-season, which had cheap animation, had loads of They Just Didn't Care when it came to European culture and history, and barely fit in with the series' continuity.
    • Season 6 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, 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 virtually hated by 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 leftover 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 Edgier and Denser and Wackier making if 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 very 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).
  • Drawn Together, 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.
  • South Park:
    • Season 6 is this for many viewers, largely due to the backlash against Parker and 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.
  • 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 romance 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.
  • Season 3 of Danny Phantom suffered from this due to Executive Meddling and all the original writers being abruptly fired after the second season finale.
  • Every Total Drama season following the first has been accused of its problems:
    • The second season, Total Drama Action was received quite poorly by its viewers, half the original fan base of the original Island don'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 early, oversaturated Owen again, 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.
    • The third season World Tour got hit by this to a lesser extent, due to repeating almost all of the same problems that Action suffered from as well as creating a few new ones such as the introduction of characters like Alejandro and Blaineley and the highly controversial love triangle between Duncan, Courtney, and Gwen. The latter was allegedly done to make Fan-Preferred Couple Gwuncan canon which lasted almost all of the second half of the season, at the cost of causing what is possibly the biggest Ship-to-Ship Combat in the history of the fandom. As a bonus, it also included/started a rather pointless "Gollum Ezekiel" subplot that seemed to only serve to troll Ezekiel fans, which did not go well considering his lack of focus earlier in the series and how this season had implied to finally bring him to light.
    • The fourth season Revenge of the Island was hit by this as well even though in comparison to the others suffered the least. The reasons include the length of the season being cut by half leading to characters not being developed properly and plotlines that were either rushed or dropped altogether, Scott the season's main antagonist having an Insane Troll Logic strategy of getting further in the game by sabotaging his own team as well as being an Elimination Houdini which made him viewed as one of the show's worst villains, the early eliminations of fan favorites like Dawn and Brick, the introduction of characters like Mike, Zoey, and Cameron who would become major Base Breakers in the following season, and ultimately culminating into the first finale in the series to break the traditional male vs. female Final 2 for a male vs. male Final 2 which caused several fans to accuse Fresh TV of being sexist since to date no female has ever won a season in Canada (the show's origin country).
    • Both halves of Season 5 suffered this too:
      • Many say that the 1st half 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 plotline 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 , 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, Camp Wawanakwa sinking, and the winner not being able to keep the million dollars which 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.
      • Some say that the second half Pahkitew Island was just as bad as (if not even worse than) All-Stars. This season was made at the same time as the aforementioned and it clearly shows that there was little to no direction here either. Plots are abruptly dropped after specific characters are eliminated (Jasmine's friendship with Samey after the latter is eliminated), there's no set villain and the one who is considered the arguable villain gets no form of punishment (aside from elimination), and characters like Dave go through record-breaking character derailment.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force was contested as is, but its third and final season, featuring an ungodly villain decayed Vilgax as the Big Bad, is considered much weaker than the first two, which both shared the Highbreed arc.
  • 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 toward the finale, where Vilgax finally got out of his decay and was portrayed as a Magnificent Bastard, but it's still controversial.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse, which already broke the fanbase even further than Alien Force, got its first Seasonal Rot in the third story arc, which was criticized for being excessively Denser and Wackier, with the comical Incurseans as the main villains (whereas the previous two story arcs depicted very popular Malware as the Big Bad), Ben being further Flanderized into an unlikable obnoxious Idiot Hero, a huge Series Continuity Error in the finale and a blatant Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • Family Guy:
    • Season 7, due to the amount of episodes focused on Brian's political views, as well as a few awkward episode premises, massive Flanderization of the whole main cast (i.e. Peter's reckless behavior in "Baby Not on Board"), and, of course, a three-minute long Conway Twitty cutaway. Part of the reason for this can be attributed to the 2007-2008 WGA strike that plunged a lot of shows into getting canceled, going on hiatus, or suffering through seasonal rot.
    • Season 4 was this when it first aired, but is now considered by many fans to be the show's best season (Mainly by people who started watching when the show returned).
    • Season 3 was also this when it originally aired and for a few years, but is now considered to be a part of the show's golden age by many fans.
    • There was a time between the 7th and 12th seasons where many said that Season 10 was the worst (and to some still is). Episodes that are prime examples of this include "Seahorse Seashell Party" (for as Mr. Enter pointed out, having the worst example of Status Quois God), "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q" (portraying domestic violence totally straight on a show that makes a living out of doing it for laughs both before and since), "The Blind Side" (all blind people are gullible), "Be Careful What You Fish For" (mostly for the subplot with Brian and Stewie), "Tea Peter" (the plot can easily offend anyone who's studied politics and containing a joke saying that Autism is an excuse for kids to act ill-mannered), and "Internal Affairs" (for having Joe and Bonnie nearly break up, thanks to Peter). There's another side of the fandom that does say that it is (or was before season 12) the worst season but only because most of the episodes were completely forgettable.
    • Some say that season 12 is the current low point for the series. 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 show's worst Unfortunate Implications).
  • Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of Sponge Bob Square Pants have the least fans, due to the show never being the same from that point onwards. note  After season 4, the show became much more grotesque compared to the earlier seasons-season 5 and 6 have Vulgar Humor, massive flanderization of various cast members (with some being flanderized into ditzes and designated heroes), occasional dark humor, creepy Nausea Fuel, and overall less charm; while season 7 was season 6 taken Up to Eleven and on top of that was also Darker and Edgier compared to past seasons. Season 7 also featured the series' most reviled episodes such as "One Coarse Meal", "Stuck in the Wringer", and "A Pal For Gary".
  • The Simpsons: Fans of the show have wildly varying opinions on which seasons were good and which ones sucked, but these are considered the worst:
    • You won't find too many supporters of Season 11.note  It was the least grounded and realistic of all Simpsons seasons with more out-there plots and twist endings. Seasons 10 and 12 also suffered from this, but to a lesser extent than season 11. Seasons 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 criticised for being when The Simpsons became a Franchise Zombie.
    • Season 9 gets this too, due to "The Principal and the Pauper" (the infamous episode where Principal Skinner is revealed to be a street punk named Armin Tamazarian 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 humor getting cruder and more sadistic to compete with South Park, 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.
  • Futurama is considered by many to be going through this ever since it made the Channel Hop to Comedy Central. This is largely because of all the Anvilicious episodes that basically turned the show into a cleaner South Park, lampooning current issues with ham-fisted attempts to show the writer's side of the argument (the episode "Proposition Infinity," an obvious Expy for gay rights, comes to mind).
    • 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 Loves Hypnotoad, which has been going downhill since its third season. note 
    • Also in-universe: fans of All My Circuits are split about Bender's run as Calculon's son. Younger viewers loved his glamorizing views on smoking and burglary while parents despised him as an antisocial role model.
  • Teen Titans fans generally consider season 3 to be 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.
    • And, to a lesser extent, Season 5, probably due to it coming directly after the extremely well-received Season 4. It's still generally accepted, though, mainly due to its awesome Grand Finale (the two-part final battle, not the controversial Mind Screw of an actual last episode).
  • To some, season two of X-Men: Evolution is this. Over focus on romantic side plots, less focus on their battles and less action. Thought the ending managed to fix that by revealing The Masquerade, leading to it Growing the Beard in season 3.
  • 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.
  • The Fairly OddParents has been criticized by the fandom since its comeback in 2008, with the addition of Poof to the main cast. Fans claim the quality has gone downhill since then, and they've jumped the shark to the point of making two live-action movies and adding a talking dog to the main cast.
    • Seasons 4 and 5 used to be this while they were still running. Now they are considered to be a part of the show's "golden age" by many fans.
  • Phineas and Ferb is still popular, though there are many people who think that the show's quality has been going downhill during season 3. More accurately, the episodes from the middle of the third season just haven't been as good as episodes from the second season and the first half of the third. That said, the show is still 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 actually 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. Ironic that Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh pretty much wrote every episode of season 1 and wrote less for the show after that.
    • 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.
  • Among Scooby-Doo fans, general consensus is that two series fit this. Firstly, 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 later installments featuring real ghouls were received much better). Second, 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. The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show sometimes gets lumped in there too for introducing... well, guess.
  • 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 become 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 Avengers movie.
  • 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 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 lack of gorn was replaced 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 over-the-top violence, 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.
  • The last season of Recess is often criticized for dropping two Ensemble Darkhorses and for being too Anvilicious.
  • 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. Audry's original stories. Awdry himself disowned the show following Season Three, 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 Four, adaptions of the original novels ended altogether.
    • Others say it was when the show became overwhelmed with the addition of new characters as well as some Replacement Scrappies replacing popular minor characters.
    • Later seasons of the show are also disliked by fans of the original series because of many continuity errors, Flanderization, and the writers' lack of knowledge of how railroading works.
    • A lot of fans were also disappointed when Brit 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 focused aimed towards much younger audiences and the most evident amount of railway inaccuracies. Season 17, where the series was taken over by Andrew Brenner and reverted to more mature storylines, has gotten a warmer reception thus far.
  • The second season of Superjail! 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.
  • While the Superfriends series was probably never "good", the nearly-universal consensus is that it gradually got better as it progressed, with the first season being particularly dire. (How dire? The introduction of the Wonder Twins and Gleek was a step up.)
  • 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 in 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 retooling of The Real Ghostbusters in "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters" (third and fourth season) was almost universally panned, being perceived as too childish and cartoonish.
  • Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was generally not as well-received as the prior two, due to several reasons.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold ended with its third season due to the show's creators wanting to avoid decay. That 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.
  • While not as much as the uncancelled SpongeBob 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-Cancelled, due to more emphasis on Toilet Humor and not as much Getting Crap Past the Radar and due to Arlene Klasky not letting Paul Germain (the showrunner of the first 3 seasons) know that the show was coming back and the show lacking his influence.
  • Most fans of All Grown Up! say that it declined after Season 2 due to more drama and less comedy, Flanderization, an Art Shift, and more unrealistic plots.
  • American Dad!, while not as much as Family Guy has been said to have a small/minor decline in Season 7 for less comedy and more drama as well as some character's traits becoming more exaggerated (especially Roger). It's also disliked for having boring plots with glacier-slow pacing 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.
    • The following two seasons provoked many mixed reactions with divisive episodes like "For Blood Crieth Unto Heaven", "For Black Eyes Only", "The Boring Identity", "Minstrel Krampus", and "Rubberneckers" for repeating the same problems that Season 7 fell victim to except worse in some cases.
    • Some fans say that the rot began as early as halfway into Season 5. Episodes like "A Jones for a Smith", "Merlot Down Dirty Shame" and "Bully for Steve" as prime examples of this.
  • Season 2 of Sonic Sat AM is commended for its more developed continuity-based plot, but has multiple story criticisms compared to season 1, often concerning both Sonic and Robotnik's increased incompetence, overabundance of cheesy comic relief and the inexplicable introduction of Dulcy The Dragon. Also season 2 was written near entirely by Ben Hurst, making for a more consistent dynamic, albeit to the point of being streamlined greatly, with Hurst's preferred characters and interpretations taking over (eg. Sally and Antoine were prominent in every episode, and were simplified to their positive and negative traits respectively, while fan favorites such as Rotor and Bunnie were Demoted to Extra).
  • The Super Mario Bros. cartoons.
  • 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 (eg. giving the heroes more focus and downplaying their Unintentionally Unsympathetic facets against the Urpneys).
  • 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 4 of Regular Show 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.
  • While "rot" might be a strong term, it's common agreement that season 5 (especially the first half) of Adventure Time is not to par with the rest of the series quality-wise. Featuring the breaking up of Finn and Flame Princess, the increased involvement of the increasingly creepy Lemongrabs in plots, Princess Bubblegum's moral ambiguity beginning to border on full-blown sociopathy, and Finn, of all people had Took a Level in Jerkass. Thankfully, the season did recover in the second half with the debut of Betty and the reveal that Finn's father is still alive.
  • Book 2 of The Legend of Korra is considered to be this by several fans, such as the ratings lower than Book 1, switching of studios to animate the series from Studio Pierrot to Studio Mir and from Studio Mir to Studio Pierrot, wasting potential plots, such as possible hints to Bolin and Asami becoming a couple until Michael Dante DiMartino Jossed the theory, the reduced role of Asami, the Grey and Gray Morality political intrigue of the first half of the season being cast aside in favor of a generic "save the world" plot, the Big Bad being derailed from a Visionary Villain who actually raised several valid points about the Water Tribe to a generic Evil Overlord, then the split of Mako and Korra and the most controversial of them all: another love triangle plot involving Mako over Asami or Korra. The creators were also given very little time in between seasons to actually try to craft a complete story, and thus production was very rushed. And Book 1 was originally supposed to be the only season of the series, and so the writers were also trying to find their footing by expanding a story that was originally supposed to be self-contained, while simultaneously working on a massive time crunch. Fortunately, the premiere of Book 3 has been better received.
  • 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, the already poor-quality animation largely getting worse and the Decepticons sometimes being downplayed as villains in favour of other villains such as the Quintessons.
  • Season 3 of Beast Wars is often seen as a drop in quality compared to S2. 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 S2, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The final season of Chowder is often cricticized by fans thanks to Flanderization of a number of characters (such as Chowder's lack of an indoor voice and smarts, Panini's stalkerness reaching disturbing levels, etc.), the Fourth Wall gags becoming overused, and in general just not being nearly as clever as the earlier episodes.
  • The seasons of Arthur from 16th onwards are disliked by fans because of the use of Flash animation instead of the traditional drawn animation used since the beginning of the series. Petitions have been made to change the animation.
  • 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.
  • 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 abandon 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.
  • By the mid-1940s, the Famous Studios Popeye 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 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.

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