Some of TV’s biggest shows are on the way out in 2019
Happy new year; now let’s talk about endings. A number of high-profile TV series will be departing forever in 2019 — although forever doesn’t always mean forever anymore when it comes to TV, which has been reviving old shows with a vengeance lately.
The departures will leave fans bereft; we do tend to get attached to our favorite series, as they come into our homes sometimes for years and years. You were 11 years younger when “The Big Bang Theory” first appeared, and if you’re 20 now, you grew up with it, in the way previous generations grew up with “Full House” or “The Brady Bunch.”
So here are some of the shows leaving. And may I say I’m sorry for your TV losses.
“Game of Thrones”
Winter is here, and the HBO epic blockbuster will return in April for its eighth and final season. The drama based on George R.R. Martin’s books has been HBO’s biggest sensation since “The Sopranos,” and its end game is, of course, top secret. The last season will include only six episodes, but each one will be supersized. By the way, an HBO prequel set thousands of years before “Game of Thrones” is already in the works from Jane Goldman and Martin, and it will star Naomi Watts.
“The Big Bang Theory”
Now it’s time to say goodbye to Sheldon and the gang . . . Actually, it will end in May. Chuck Lorre’s CBS megahit turned geek culture into a craze, and it helped Jim Parsons take home not only about $1 million per episode but also four Emmys. With 12 seasons, it is the longest-running multi-camera series in TV history, and no doubt we will be seeing syndicated reruns of it for eternity. It has already spawned a spinoff, “Young Sheldon.”
After its seventh term as the funniest show on TV, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s dark political comedy will be stepping down. The HBO show went on hiatus due to Louis-Dreyfus’s breast cancer treatment, and it will finally return with seven new episodes at some still-unannounced point this year. Some say “Veep” has lost its edge during the Trump administration, as reality undermines the satire; others, like me, still savor every scene. So far, Louis-Dreyfus has won six Emmys for her work as Selina Meyer, and the show has won three for best comedy.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
The Netflix comedy, from the sharp team of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, has lasted for four seasons, getting more laughs and cultural humor than you might have expected out of a woman’s escape from an underground bunker. The second, final half of season four is due on Jan. 25.
The Showtime drama told an old story — an extramarital affair and the resulting destruction of two marriages — in a new way, with segments shown from specific characters’ points of view. The 10-episode fifth season will give us the end of the reverberations of the affair, but without two of the four leads, Ruth Wilson and Joshua Jackson. Instead, the action will jump ahead a few decades and feature Anna Paquin as the adult daughter of Wilson’s Alison and Jackson’s Cole.
The first season of Showtime’s terrorism drama was its best, as we tried to figure out if Damian Lewis’s Brody was a terrorist or not. Since then, the explosive drama has been wildly uneven, alternately breathtaking and absurd. Later this year, the 12-episode eighth season will end the story of Claire Danes’s Carrie Mathison with a return to an overseas setting and a big time jump. Also, showrunner Alex Gansa promises that the plot will not be some kind of allegory for the Trump administration.
“Orange Is the New Black”
So long, Litchfield Penitentiary. Along with already finished “House of Cards,” Jenji Kohan’s prison dramedy helped Netflix enter the original series market with a bang. Since its premiere, the series has been both a breath of fresh air — featuring a remarkably diverse cast and dozens of finely wrought individual stories — and a bit of a slog. The seventh season, due later this year, will be the last one.
After the Jeffrey Tambor sexual misconduct scandal, Jill Soloway decided to end the Amazon series later this year with the fifth season — without Tambor’s Maura Pfefferman. The show has been groundbreaking in its portrait of a 70-year-old trans woman and her complicated family. Now the focus will presumably turn to her ex-wife and adult children. All we know for certain is that the show — which has included a number of significant musical sequences, will conclude with a two-hour musical. “It will hopefully feel like ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ mixed with ‘La La Land’ mixed with ‘Flight of the Conchords’ with something more Jewish thrown in,” Soloway told the New York Times. “A little ‘Yentl.’ ”
This Comedy Central gem from Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson has been a little bit of New York City heaven, as two kooky, loving friends living there find their way through their 20s. The fifth season, which begins on Jan. 24, will be the last — which is just right. Good shows that overstay and degrade are the real enemy of the people.
“You’re the Worst”
The fifth and final season of this endearing FX series is currently airing, and it appears to be building up to a wedding. Are our favorite cynics actually going to be so uncool as to tie the knot? This anti-romantic comedy managed to be romantic, and moving, too, as Aya Cash’s Gretchen dealt with serious depression.
Also on the way out:
“Gotham”: Fox’s Batman origin story ends with the current season five.
“Jane the Virgin”: The twisty CW show ends with its fifth season, due in March.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: The CW’s musical comedy wraps with the current season four.
“Mr. Robot”: The murky USA drama will return for its fourth and final season later this year.
“The Deuce”: HBO’s look at the porn industry ends with season three, expected later in the year.
“Elementary”: The reimagining of Sherlock Holmes ends late this year after the 13-episode season seven.