For example, a TV show is very good at first two seasons, but afterward the quality starts to decline and in the end the overall rating becomes disappointing.

Then we can say this TV show is "word requested here".

  • What do you mean by "rating". Do you mean ratings? Nov 15, 2020 at 20:22
  • 1
    Declining, fading.
    – Xanne
    Nov 16, 2020 at 12:12
  • "Petered out" is used in US
    – Stu W
    Nov 16, 2020 at 17:42
  • As an equivalent to "this show is 'word requested here' " no word or phrase in English would work by itself. Your best bet would be something like "this show is failing" but that is clearly not what you're looking for. Nov 17, 2020 at 0:14
  • You have already used the most appropriate word: disappointing. Nov 18, 2020 at 13:01

12 Answers 12


to deteriorate

e.g. This, once well-received, TV show has deteriorated since the introduction of a new set of presenters.

An idiom is "to go downhill".

e.g. This, once well-received, TV show has steadily gone downhill since the introduction of a new set of presenters.


running out of steam / losing steam

This describes something that had energy at the start, but is growing tired or becoming depleted.

burning out

Again, using the metaphor of fuel being used up.

getting stale

This conveys that the thing in question is losing freshness. Or in this case, the ideas aren't as good as before.

played out

If the ideas explored in the show have been reused too many times, it could be described as "played out".

Single-word options: waning, declining, dwindling, slipping, tired


Whereas it has a more distinctive meaning, you might want to consider:

Jumping the shark

In particular, this term is popular in TV culture, since it originated from a sitcom (Happy Days, 1974–1984). It is similar to 'past its peak' in the sense that both phrases imply that the TV show in question was once successful, unlike for example 'deteriorate'. However, 'jumping the shark' is more dissing towards the creators, since it is typically used to highlight failure in maintaining successfulness, quality or popularity of the TV show as the result of having exhausted focus and good ideas for the creation of new content. Whereas the term is mostly used in response to a specific event (like in its original usage), its purpose is to point out deterioration of the show as a whole, gradual or not. See also Nuking the fridge, a term that has been coined as a reference to 'Jumping the Shark' in response to a disappointingly unrealistic scene in the 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' film.

  • 3
    tvtropes pagewarning: tvtropes!. Also, antonym: growing the beard, the moment a series starts to increase in quality.
    – gidds
    Nov 16, 2020 at 14:57
  • 1
    Wikipidea sums the difference nicely "something that was once widely popular, but has since grown less popular, makes a misguided attempt at generating publicity". In that case, Fonzie jumped over a shark on waterskis. A show can decline in quality and not jump the shark. Nov 16, 2020 at 16:41
  • 6
    How did they get the waterskis on the shark?
    – Kirt
    Nov 17, 2020 at 7:58
  • A great idea to mention this relevant phrase
    – Fattie
    Nov 17, 2020 at 15:00

Phrases include...

This TV show is...

going to the dogs

going down the tubes

going to pot

going downhill

going down the toilet

hitting the skids


to deteriorate, be in decline, degenerate, decay


All the other answers are good but played out is also a contender.

It is described by the Cambridge online dictionary as

tired and no longer having power or effectiveness

In its literal sense it applies to sports people who are no longer as good as they once were but metaphorically it is applied to many things including TV and radio shows; theatre shows; political policies and manifestos and even bands. When applied to shows in that way it means that the have lost their freshness and relevance, sometimes because times have changed but sometimes, particularly with situation comedy, because all the comic potential of the concept has been exploited.


A series that has become stale and lost its appeal can be said to be

past its sell-by date

  1. Literally, to be past the date by which an edible item should be sold before it spoils.
  2. By extension, to be past the peak of one's abilities or career.

From Farlex.
It is used generally to mean that something is not as good as it used to be, and should be got rid of. In the case of the show: cancelled or closed down.


Fizzle or fizzle out

Mercian-Webster’s definition:

to fail or end feebly especially after a promising start

Used in a sentence: The first two seasons of Prison Break were brilliant, then it fizzled out.


"A let-down is a disappointment that you suffer, usually because something has not happened in the way in which you expected it to happen."

Or, most combinations that involve the word, false. False negative (test result); false prophet; false premise; false hope.


Perhaps this idiom—

Flash in the pan

a thing or person whose sudden but brief success is not repeated or repeatable.

Our start to the season was just a flash in the pan.

  • 1
    +1 for this; as it's really the only suggestion (so far) that captures the notion of being good at first, before deteriorating, which I took to be a significant part of the question. A similar concept would be "one-hit wonder" if it were only the very first effort (episode, release, product) that was good.
    – CCTO
    Nov 18, 2020 at 22:07

Maybe 'Go off the boil' because to me that expresses the fact that it was good to begin with but not any more.


Going to seed: something that was once vigorous and growing, but now is putting its energy into something other than growth (literally reproduction)

Past its prime: Similar to one's physical prowess, it grew, peaked, and now is in decline


From the online macmillian dictionary, there are multiple words to describe something becoming worse:

worsen VERB
to become worse, or to make something worse

decline VERB
to become less or worse

deteriorate VERB
to become worse

deepen VERB
if a bad situation deepens, it becomes worse

escalate VERB
to become much worse or more serious, or to make something do this

degenerate VERB
to become worse

spiral VERB
to continuously become worse, more, or less

slide VERB
to gradually be in a worse situation than before

to become worse

come to the boil PHRASE
if a situation or feeling comes to the boil, it starts to become more serious or dangerous


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