Grey's Anatomy is known for its longevity. It's the longest-running medical drama in North American TV history with an astounding accumulation of 16 seasons and more than 300 episodes!
That's a lot.
As a self-proclaimed superfan of the show, it pains me to say this, but Grey's Anatomy has continued beyond its peak, and the expiration date has been long since surpassed.
Patient cases have been recycled, the drama has been reiterated, and storylines have been reused again and again.
Since the heartbreaking exit of Cristina (Sandra Oh) as a series regular, the show suffered a hard loss and hasn't been the same since.
Some attribute the death of Derek as the major turning point of the show, but the Twisted Sisters heavily outweighed #Merder!
Oh's character carried a bulk of the deadpan humor of the show, and during the rare moments Cristina shed a tear, we knew there was something to seriously be sad about.
Cristina balanced Meredith's initial dullness and aided in her ultimate character development over the first ten seasons.
The two paved the way for female friendships on TV and coined the phrase "You're My Person."
Unfortunately, the show has found itself stuck in a continuous cycle of replacement.
Alex replaced Cristina's role as Meredith's person and has performed admirably. Although, again, nothing will live up to the irreplaceable bond and chemistry between Meredith and Cristina.
Nico and Schmidt have stepped up as the new LGBT couple for the show, but sadly have not lived up to the unreasonably high expectations set by Callie and Arizona.
Amelia came in as the new Shepherd, and Maggie even acted as the new secret sister replacing Lexi.
I can't think of any show that successfully stayed strong after a majority of the original cast was replaced.
And despite Grey's Anatomy's impressive history of surpassing expectations, it has sadly fallen short of this one.
There comes a point when reality hits, and a TV show cannot hold onto the same bravado it once held with replacement characters.
Grey's Anatomy Season 16 focused heavily on Meredith's insurance fraud and left a boring taste.
When a show that has established itself as a hospital and surgery-centric show turns Law and Order, it doesn't resonate too strongly.
With Justin Chambers' recent secretive and inconspicuous release from the show, what is left?
Meredith and Alex were barely holding on to the last strand of the original cast alongside Bailey and Weber.
With this hard loss, I can't imagine how Shonda plans on addressing the plot holes that are left behind as a result. Namely, Jo and the new hospital Alex was rebuilding!
A new cycle of interns every few seasons was acceptable, but once multiple heads of surgeries are replaced, that's where I draw the line.
The exponential decline has nearly flatlined this past season with the drama turning a bit too elementary.
The major push for Meredith's new love life was bound to happen. Of course, in true Grey's Anatomy fashion, it came with mounds of excessive drama and a few too many love triangles.
One might've assumed Meredith was beyond a silly love triangle, especially after years of marriage.
Teddy, Amelia, and Owen's storyline became too fictional and cringey rather than nail-biting. Don't even get me started on the new revelation of Amelia's baby possibly being Owens.
It adds an unreasonable amount of layers. There used to be a strong balance between personal storylines and patient cases, but this has since ceased.
Gone are the days of well-balanced storytelling. Now, we're left with too much back and forth.
Is Owen the father of the baby or not? When will he finally be left alone to foster his inevitable relationship with Teddy?
Our attention is overdispersed, and it becomes challenging to really grasp what's happening with each character when too many angles are in focus.
I would've hoped the 16th season would be the last, so as to finally put an end to the misery.
The show had the chance to quit while it was ahead, but with the order of Grey's Anatomy Season 17, there's still a chance for the show to end in greater disappointment leaving a sort of Game of Thrones-esque feel.
The good news is that Meredith is back in surgery, so there still remains a chance this past season was simply a hiccup in the road and a major learning curve.
Our fingers remain crossed, but in the meantime, we'll have to digest the next season mourning the loss of the other half of the OG cast. Alex, you will be missed dearly.
At this point, the continuation of viewership must be attributed to loyalty. People have dedicated 16 years of their lives to this show, so why give up now?
In order to keep up with Grey's Anatomy, don't forget you can always watch Grey's Anatomy online here via TV Fanatic!
Do you agree or disagree with the disheartening downfall of this TV show empire?
Let us know in the comments below!
Inga Parkel is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.