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  • Adventure Time:
    • 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.
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    • Season 6 got a bit of this too, for the lack of focus on its plotlines and ending in a fairly big anti-climax. It's also the point where many fans believe the show had lost sight of what made it so much fun in the first place, with the whimsical nature of early seasons giving way to more somber, introspective episodes like "Astral Plane" and "Something Big." 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).
    • The final season became this to many, especially after seasons 7 and 8 brought back those who abandoned the series. While it has a share of good episodes, some criticize episodes like "Always BMO Closing", "Ring of Fire" and "Blenanas" for being unnecessary and pointless, the half-assed conclusion to Jake's shapeshifter plot and Gumbald being a not very interesting villain compared to the Lich. The finale, while well received, also got some flak for feeling rushed, leaving several loose ends unresolved, Finn being reduced to a secondary character and not giving him a romantic closure with Flame Princess or Huntress Wizard. It doesn't help that Cartoon Network cancelled the series mid-production and left the crew to work only on the finale, which explains why the final season has less episodes than the other seasons.
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  • 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.
  • 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, 5, and 6 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 believe that the show as a whole has improved over time.
  • American Dad!: Although many fans believe the show holds up much better than Seth MacFarlane's other shows The Cleveland Show and Family Guy, the series has been said to have a decline in the later seasons;
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    • Many state Season 7 had this for less comedy and more drama as well as some characters' traits becoming more exaggerated (especially Roger, who becomes more and more of a Jerkass 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 9 is derided somewhat for the Flanderization of some of its cast, especially Roger, who many fans consider to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon and turned into a full-fledged Hate Sink by this point, most infamously in "Love: AD Style", where he becomes a truly horrifying Stalker with a Crush to Hayley, and "Naked to the Limit One More Time" where he sends Jeff into space, thus kick-starting the infamously multi-season long arc of Jeff being in space and later temporarily part alien, the latter of which goes nowhere by being dropped instantly only to abruptly come back over a season later in an episode where Jeff becomes fully human again).
    • 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 episodes like "The Life Aquatic with Steve Smith" and 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 5 (subtitled Vice) 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-favorite Pam into The Scrappy by having her become addicted to cocaine, become extremely irritating, and constantly screw up the characters' 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 Archer's relationship.
    • Season 7 once against shook up the show's premise by having the characters become private detectives. Although this was less polarizing 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, (subtitled Dreamland) 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 9 (subtitled Danger Island), another dream season which changed the setting to that of the 1930s where Archer is a seaplane pilot in the Pacific, had received an even more polarizing reception. While many appreciated its lighter, more comedic tone after the relative seriousness of Dreamland, it was criticized by many for dragging the coma dream conceit past its expiration date, and for spending too much time setting up the new setting and character dynamics which caused the narrative to meander (it's not until the 3rd episode that the season's major story thread is established). Add to that an ending which only served as set-up for yet another dream season, this one set in space, the majority of the cast outside of Pam and Archer being left Out of Focus and accusations of the show's trademark humor growing stale and it's no wonder fans are starting to compare Archer to other shows that ran too long for their own good like The Simpsons.
  • Arthur:
    • 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 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.
  • 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 Avengers movie.
  • 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 several 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.
  • Each entry in the Ben 10 franchise has its own seasonal rot:
  • 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.
  • The fourth and final season of The Boondocks is considered a severe drop in quality from the first three seasons, largely due to the fact that Aaron McGruder left the series to produce Black Jesus with television writer Angela Nissel taking his place who obviously had no idea how to write the characters note , several characters 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 anymorenote , the increased focus on Grandad (which was already a criticism from Season 3) and the season having an overarching plot (the Freeman family being in debt due to Grandad falling for an obvious Internet scam) rather than standalone storiesnote . In general, it felt less like it was a show about black people, by black people, for black peoplenote  and more like a generic sitcom with occasional bouts of commentary on life for African-American people.
  • The Brak Show suffered this near the end of Season 2 after the Brakstreet episode. The writing continued to deteriorate in Season 3 with impossible-to-follow plots, Thundercleese being turned into an utter buffoon, Mom just wandering around, Dad becoming more of a jerk than before and somewhat of a Creator's Pet, and Zorak appearing sporadically, leading to the show's cancellation and having the show be aware of it.
  • Breadwinners was never a really popular show to begin with, but even its fans say that this happened in Season 2. SwaySway (and sometimes Buhdeuce) got shirtless in almost every episode and even naked in a fewnote , wasting various good plots, rehashing the Seasonal Rot episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and making some of the terrible ones worse, and rehashing "Love Loaf", but having SwaySway come out on top when he is clearly committing crimes, and even almost having him murdered for not committing them.
  • 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 (although the final episode, "Boxing Daria," is generally considered to be among the series' best).
  • 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.
  • Family Guy:
    • 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.
    • 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 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, along with FOX airing 3 episodes behind Seth MacFarlane's back during said strike, leading Seth to call out FOX for the network's "colossal dick move" and has grown apathetic for the series since.
    • There was a time between the 7th and 12th seasons where many said that Season 10 was the worst (and for some, it still is). Episodes that are prime examples of this include "Seahorse Seashell Party" (for having the worst example of Status Quo Is 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 it contains 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, 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.
  • Futurama:
    • Out-of-universe, the show is considered by many to have gone through this ever since it made the Channel Hop to Comedy Central. While it still has a fair number of highly regarded episodes note , it also has a large number of 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.
    • Once again, in-universe: Fry, Bender and Leela are split about All My Circuits episodes that aired after Calculon's death, replacing him with Vaxtron. Leela likes Vaxtron's acting more than Calculon's, but Fry and Bender consider him as a Replacement Scrappy for Calculon, saying that Vaxtron is the reason the show is terrible now.
  • Gargoyles fell into this after Greg Weisman left at the start of Season 3. Xanatos and Fox became full good guys and nearly 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 Vancouver. The animation's budget was much lower than Sunbow, and the plots became even sillier than the early episodes.
  • For Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch confessed his worries about this trope after he got burned out during season one, and almost considered leaving the show at a cliffhanger. Jon Stewart convinced him to finish, but Alex opted the show to have only two seasons instead of the planned three. After the ground-breaking "Not What He Seems" episode, the second half of Season 2 still received some criticism for underdeveloped or rushed plotlines, Mabel growing more divisive, and holding weaker episodes on average. Things improved by the Grand Finale, which was regarded as a great send-off, and the season was overall considered something far from a "rot".
  • The 80s revivals of The Jetsons and Jonny Quest are considered to be weaker than the original 60s runs by many. Considering the fact that Hanna-Barbera's Golden Age had ended a long time before their revival, this becomes very noticeable when the 80s episodes are placed alongside the originals. For the former, the introduction of Orbitty was a major source of gripe while the latter saw an extreme tone-down of the violence and upping of the "kid-friendliness".
  • Many Jimmy Two-Shoes fans believe the second season to be this due to a downgrade in animation quality (as the change from ToonBoom to Adobe Flash meant a change of animation studios) and writing quality, with many feeling that the show lost its original Black Comedy charm and poorly handled its characters (especially Ensemble Darkhorses like Heloise and Saffi). That said, Season 2 is still said to have its perks, namely the new intro and theme song.
  • Johnny Test: The show is infamous for it's extreme unpopularity, but the first season is generally seen as decent. After it finished its run, the show changed producers from Warner Bros. Animation to Cookie Jar Entertainment, 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 "More suited for internet than television", the sound effects became cheaper (the infamous whipcrack noises were never used in the first season), and Flanderization ran rampant to the point where most of the characters were barely likable. 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 the widely-disliked Lucky becoming a regular cast member ("Care-Takin' Care of Business"), the latter of which led to a sub-plot where he effectively contributed to Luanne reverting a great deal of Character Development she had from the first seasons. 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.
  • While Book 1 of The Legend of Korra was mostly well-liked but somewhat divisive, Book 2 is considered to be this by several fans, such as the ratings lower than Book 1, Studio Pierrot animating most of the first half instead of Studio Mir, wasting potential plots, 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, the increased focus on Mako to the brink of being a Creator's Pet and the most controversial of them all: another love triangle plot involving Mako over Asami or Korra as well as a two-parter origin story for the Avatar as a whole that many originally considered to be a fantastic addition to the franchise but has become increasingly contested for apparent continuity errors. 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. It wasn't a complete loss, as it produced many fan favorite characters such as Varrick, and had a strong character arc for Tenzin and Korra, but the flaws worked heavily against the rest and ultimately tainted the general opinion of the series as a whole, as a lot of the problems people have with the show can be traced back to this season. Fortunately, Book 3 and 4 have been better received.
    • Notably, since season 2 was the only season where Bryke had complete creative freedom (in season 1, they still had to introduce the new cast and handle the plot in 12 episodes, whereas seasons 3 and 4 where produced with the help of additional writing staff members of the original show), this season also reinforced the opinion that Aaron Ehasz, the head writer of the original show, was instrumental in the first series being as good as it was, to the point that when Netflix announced a live-action adaptation of the show overseen by the original creators it only served to divide people further.
  • Season 3 of The Loud House has seen a somewhat mixed response among the fandom. While certain episodes such as "Roadie to Nowhere," "Head Poet's Anxiety," and "Really Loud Music" have received near-universal praise for their Character Development, others are more polarized, with many fans accusing them of recycling plots from earlier episodes ("Scales of Justice" having been compared to season 2's "Frog Wild," for instance) and just not being as funny or creative as those from earlier seasons. This is likely due to the firing of series' creator and showrunner Chris Savino, as other instances of this trope happened due to the creators having little or no input like they did before.
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • 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.
    • In addition, the Phineas and Ferb plotline started to become more and more the B-story, with more of the original plot lines going to the Doof and Perry plots. This is very evident in the episodes titled after the Doof and Perry plots ("Sidetracked", "Road to Danville", "Doof Side of the Moon", "Primal Perry", "Live and Let Drive", etc.). Some saw this as an improvement, considering the relative dullness of the two main characters, while others preferred the original premise of kids building cool things in Summer.
  • 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 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.
  • The retooling of The Real Ghostbusters into "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters" (third and fourth season) was almost universally panned, being perceived as too childish and cartoonish. The Executive Meddling by Bill Murray which got Lorenzo Music kicked off the show (complaining that Peter sounded too much like Garfield, which is ironic given later developments) only helped towards the downward spiral.
  • The last season of Recess is often criticized for being too Anvilicious.
  • Regular Show:
    • 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 Love Triangle from seasons 4 and 5 that was quickly fixed in a couple of episodes later, as well as holiday specials painfully shoehorned in.
    • 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.
      • 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 Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • 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.
  • Despite critical acclaim and the series moving from cult status into mainstream popularity, Season 3 of Rick and Morty 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. In particular, episodes 2-4 of the season, "Rickmancing the Stone," "Pickle Rick," and "Vindicators 3: Return of Worldender" are polarizing among fans, some of whom dislike them for their gimmicks, the imbalances between the A and the B Plot, and the darker tone, while others like it for just that same reason. The season is generally considered to have improved afterwards, with "The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy", "Rest and Ricklaxation," and "The Ricklantis Mixup" receiving near-universal acclaim as some of the best and most insightful episodes of the series, with "The Ricklantis Mixup" in particular a contender for the best episode of the series. Sadly, the season finale, "The Rickchurian Mortydate," had torn down much of the goodwill the season had built up for many, as it served as a rushed an unsatisfying Status Quo Is God ending to the season's Story Arc.
  • Robot Chicken has three 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. Season 9 would later be seen as another step back for the series due many of its sketches coming off as unimpressive and/or having too much heavy-handed political satire.
  • While not as much as the Un-Canceled 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-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 later installments 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.
    • Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo sometimes gets lumped in there too for introducing... well, guess.
  • 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  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 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 extras).
  • South Park:
    • 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 before Donald 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.
    • Season 21, which downplayed the serialization of the past three seasons in favor of returning to the show's original episodic format, is seen as a partial return to form for long time fans, but still caught some flack for maintaining the heavy topicality which plagued the aforementioned seasons (despite Parker and Stone originally claiming that they wouldn't even bring up Garrison/President Trump; it's possible they thought he and American society would settle down once he was in office but again thought wrong), as well as the subplot revolving around Cartman and Heidi which quickly wore out its welcome.
    • While Season 22 fixed a few of the problems from past seasons, such as lessening the serialization even further and removing the Trump jokes, it replaced them with new problems: The first few episodes of the season relied on repetition of the same joke for the entire episode while later episodes seemed to rely more on "clapter" rather than actual jokes, and were completely lost on fans who were unfamiliar with the topics. The ManBearPig two-parter, while better received than most episodes of the season, had a rather jarring case of the creators backtracking on their past mistakes in the show which felt very out of place. Lastly, the show seemed very intent on cramming in as many 2018 references as they could into a single episode, making a lot episodes feel like cluttered messes as opposed to having a straightforward plotline.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants never was the same from Season 4 onwards.note  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, creepy Nausea Fuel, and overall less charm.
    • The general consensus is that Season 4 was when the rot kicked in (although that season has since been Vindicated by History to a number of fans), and Seasons 6 and 7 were the peak of the rot.note  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 
    • 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 
    • Seasons 10 and 11 likewise continue to be pretty well-regarded by the fanbase as well and has a number of new fan favorite episodes such as "My Leg!," "Moving Bubble Bass", and especially "Mimic Madness," which is a fan-nominated contender for best episode of the show, period, although the slight Art Shift to a more Denser and Wackier artstyle that these seasons employ has a bit of a Broken Base among viewers and there is still the occasional stinker (such as the infamous "Ink Lemonade").
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Season 3a note  has been received as this. In no small part, this was due to Romantic Plot Tumor and confusing Ship Tease suddenly sinking and teasing random ships, intensifying the already rather large Ship-to-Ship Combat in the show. This was specially true due to the fact that the heavily advertised and hyped Eclipsa Arc was put in the back burner in order to make more romance focused episodes, with the titular Eclipsa becoming an Advertised Extra. Thankfully, following the mid-season finale "Monster Bash", the focus shifted to the Myth Arc and season 3b was far better received.
    • The final season is lackluster in comparison to its previous seasons for a variety of reasons, starting with the continued ignoring of the Myth Arc in favor of shipping drama, the season repeatedly attempting to set up potential plot lines only to abandon them soon after. Add in episodes in which the characters come across as Unintentionally Unsympathetic and/or lacking in common sense, episodes that come across as filler in the greater narrative, lackluster writing, and the perceived Final Boss, Mina Loveberry, coming across as a Big Bad Wannabe compared to Toffee and Meteora before her, the entire season comes across as a mess.
  • 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 StevenBomb 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 5 was better received. However, several people thought the final arc was, while satisfactory, rushed, resolving so many conflicts that it didn't have much time to grow, such as completely resolving the conflict with White Diamond, new fusions appearing for a few moments and disappearing, the Corrupted Gems being healed, and everyone (including Lars and the Off-Colors) returning from space in the course of one episode.
  • Superjail!:
    • 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.
  • Teen Titans:
    • 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.
    • 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).
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • 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  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 , "Truth, Justice, and What?" note , and the infamous "The Return of Slade" note . 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.
    • Season 3 is considered to be this by fans as well due to more emphasis being put on the Titans' mean-spirited natures, overuse of ´80s pop-culture references and predictable fourth wall gags, interesting episode plots being wasted for the sake of comedy such as the episode "Two Parter" note , and the show in general becoming more self aware, with the characters themselves literally Breaking the Fourth Wall to directly mock the critics of the show like in the episodes "The Fourth Wall" and the 5-part "Island Adventure" special.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • The final three seasons of the 1987 series (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 way, 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 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?
      • While the sixth season, despite its weaker quality, does have some fans, the same can't be said about the 7th and final season, Back to the Sewers. Despite returning the show back to its present-day roots and bringing April and Casey back into the picture, it adopted a new art style that turned off many viewers, an unpopular focus on the Turtles going into cyberspace, 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 series 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, the tone of the season simultaneously going Darker and Edgier and Denser 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 2012 series halfway through the season only to later turn out to be a Kraang spy and then destroyed).
      • Many fans disliked the third season due to its Arc Fatigue (with the Turtles being stuck at April's farm), the sudden change of Leonardo’s VA, and the Romantic Plot Tumor between Donatello, April, and Casey coming back after it was seemingly resolved at the end of the second season. Not to mention the show completely ignoring the Kraang invasion plot. Most of the first half of the season was literally nothing but filler involving the characters in space, 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 fifth and final season very much so feels like a Post-Script Season. Gone is the Story Arc nature of the previous four seasons, in favor of bringing back previous villains for one more appearance. It doesn't help that Splinter and Shredder died last season, giving the series a feeling of less direction. While the latter does show up, it's only for the first five episodes and is barely relevant. It didn't help that the (intended) Series Finale was meant to effectively render any continuation of the series nearly impossible.
  • 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.
    • 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 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 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 (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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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, inconsistent continuity, 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 until Word of God said otherwise, the Big Bad being literally defeated at the push of a button, and Camp Wawanakwa sinking officially renders the entire season pointless.
    • 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.
  • Transformers:
    • 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.
  • Depending on whom you ask, VeggieTales started to decline either shortly after the first theatrical movie when the episodes became much more self-aware and filled with pop-culture references as well as focusing less and less on Biblical stories and the Flanderization of much of the cast, or around the early 2010's when the animation budget was slashed in half thanks to Big Idea being purchased by DreamWorks and outsourcing the animation to cheaper studios, and many episodes' plots were rehashed from previous episodes. The Denser and Wackier revival series VeggieTales in the House and Veggie Tales In The City haven't helped matters.
  • 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.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender:
    • While not nearly as contentious as the below examples, season 3 is where many started to see cracks in the narrative, with plot threads and hooks established in the previous seasons suddenly dropped completely or given rushed, anticlimatic resolutions, many seeing the Lion Swap as contradicting the established lore and rules about the Lions and, most contentious of all, Allura being demoted from team leader to essentially Keith's Lancer, a state she remained in for the rest of the series.
    • Season 7 got a rather cold reception due to a mixture of Bury Your Gays, the Lion Swap returning with a vengeance, and a number of weaker episodes, with many blaming behind-the-scenes trouble and the show's producers taking tighter control.
    • Season 8, the final one, had by far the worst reception of any seasonnote , between extremely messy treatment of most of its characters, the deaths of Allura and Lotor (the former for being needlessly depressing and laden with Unfortunate Implications, the latter for being needlessly gruesome and killing an Unintentionally Sympathetic character), the poor quality of a number of other episodes, and a Distant Finale that left many baffled. An attempted Author's Saving Throw for the above Bury Your Gays instance largely didn't work, especially in a year that included the finale of Adventure Time, the wedding special of Steven Universe, and the premiere of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. There are more than a few accounts of Troubled Production and Executive Meddling, to which few are surprised.
  • 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 retconning of important continuity points. A major one being that Daphne wasn't actually dead but cursed into becoming a spirit.
    • Characters are flanderized and act like children despite having already at this point graduated Alfea College. Stella, Tecna, Bloom and Riven get the worst of this, basically undoing all the Character Development they've gotten over the series and then some.
    • Unnecessary, jarring, and downright ugly shifts to computer graphics. Sure, the movies weren't ever Pixar quality, but it least didn't look like they came out of the Uncanny Valley.
    • Lastly, the villain is a petulant child having an prolonged temper tantrum, and is built up as a threat to the entire magical universe.
  • 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.

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