I remember the first time I heard of Grey's Anatomy. It was during a promo for Grey's Anatomy Season 2 Episode 16 -- the first half of the infamous bomb in a body episode. I was instantly intrigued and stayed up after the Super Bowl that Sunday to watch.
Just like that, I was hooked and have watched every episode since. There have been incredible highs and terrible lows, but Grey's Anatomy is a legend in the world of television and rightfully so. All good things must come to an end, though.
Grey's Anatomy Season 17 is already on the books, but all signs point to it being the last, although they haven't confirmed it. Join us as we discuss why it is time for Grey's Anatomy to bow out gracefully.
Grey's Anatomy comes from humble beginnings. Grey's Anatomy Season 1 was a mere nine episodes. It was soapy and sexy enough to get the show a second season, but it wasn't until Grey's Anatomy Season 2 that the show really began to shine.
Grey's Anatomy Season 2 is as close as you can get to a perfect season of a TV series.
Grey's Anatomy Season 1 allowed the cast to find their stride and figure out how to bring their characters to life, so by the time Grey's Anatomy Season 2 hit; they completely embodied their roles. Some of the most memorable storylines and moments of the entire series happened during the second season.
Denny Duquette, the LVAD wire, and his death. The bomb in the body. Derek having to choose between Meredith and Addison. The train crash and its victim Bonnie. Cristina losing her baby. Meredith breaking someone's penis. The hospital prom.
These are all storylines fans remember to this day.
As the show progressed, the great moments continued, but as the show has gotten up there in age, it has become more and more forgettable.
Looking back on the last five seasons, the moments and storylines that have stuck out to me and stuck with me have been few and far between. They almost blur together.
This is an unfortunate consequence of a show going on for such a long time. You can have the strongest writing team in the world, but eventually, ideas are going to start feeling repetitive.
There is only so much baby drama, breakups, and mysterious illnesses or life-threatening injuries for the core characters that an audience can take.
By trying to keep the drama level high and shake things up, they have ruined things that fans love about the show.
They destroyed so many of the core relationships throughout the series for the sake of drama -- Callie and Arizona, Jackson and April, George and Callie, Mark and Lexie.
There is not a single person on the show right now that is with who they were initially. While having characters break up is realistic, not everything lasts forever, after all, the fact that no single couple has been able to make it, in the long run, feels crazy.
These choices also change viewers' perception of characters, and when the viewers are no longer on the side of your main characters, you're going to have a problem.
Teddy Altman is a character that has suffered from character assassination throughout Grey's Anatomy Season 16. Teddy returned to the show, pregnant with the love of her life's baby. You would think that Owen finally deciding to be with her would be all she had hoped for.
Instead, Teddy has thrown it all away to have an affair with the man she let go of to be with Owen, all because Owen MAYBE was the father of Amelia's baby, which would have happened before they were even together.
Teddy's character has faced huge blowback from fans because of this, and it is not going to be an easy problem for the writers to fix come next season.
Amelia was also a victim of similar writing choices throughout the season. When Link found out that he possibly wasn't the father of her baby and didn't immediately tell her it was okay, she wrote him off.
That went on for multiple episodes, and it made Amelia intolerable through them all.
Having your characters make problematic choices while still allowing them to be the character we know and love is a fine line, and for some reason, the writers seem to have forgotten the importance of this.
Something that has also plagued the show is the revolving door of cast members.
Of course, throughout a show that has been on the air for 16 seasons, it would be impossible to keep every cast member, but at this point, we are down to only three of the original cast members from the series.
Losing cast members because they are ready to move on to a new phase in their life is fine, but losing them because of issues taking place off-screen feels like a slap in the face to viewers.
Viewers first dealt with this with the loss of Preston Burke following an incident that happened between Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight behind the scenes. Viewers took his exit in stride because it felt understandable under the circumstances.
Since then, though, T.R. Knight, Katherine Heigl, and Patrick Dempsey all were written out of the show due to off-screen issues involving the show's higher-ups. At some point, it begins to feel like they are punishing viewers.
Not only have cast members been let go for off-screen drama, but they've been let go without any understandable reason. Viewers got dealt a huge blow when they revealed they let fan favorites Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew go, and Grey's Anatomy Season 14 would be their last.
Both Arizona and April's characters got happy endings, but it was hard for fans to swallow losing two beloved characters just to turn around and replace them with new roles the next season.
While new characters are great sometimes and spice things up, it is not often on Grey's Anatomy that these characters become fully fleshed out and begin to feel like necessary parts of the show.
The latest casting shakeup was the loss of Justin Chambers as Alex Karev. Meredith and Alex were the last of the original interns, and losing Alex felt like the beginning of the end. The show started with the core five, and now that we are down to one, it feels time.
Even Meredith Grey herself, Ellen Pompeo, has said in a recent interview that Grey's doesn't feel the same now that he is gone.
Given that Pompeo has said in the past that they are leaving when Grey's Anatomy will end up to her, her shift in her views of the show could mean that she is ready to hang up her scrubs.
It's hard not to wonder if some of the decline in the quality of Grey's Anatomy over recent seasons has to do with the fact that there has been a greater emphasis on tying it into its sister show Station 19.
The two shows have always had a connection to each other and had crossovers between them, but this past season, it has felt like they are doing a crossover event each week.
You almost lose a part of Grey's plot if you don't watch Station 19. The One Chicago line up started this trend, and while it has been extremely successful for them, it feels like it is missing the mark here.
You can have two shows which take place in the same universe, but you should not have to watch both shows to fully understand what is going on, at least not every week.
Grey's Anatomy has not entirely jumped the shark, though. When Grey's is at its best, it is fantastic. They still know how to deliver a powerful storyline, like with Richard's mysterious ailment.
That storyline was able to deliver the emotional impact that viewers have come to expect from Grey's Anatomy over the years.
Grey's Anatomy also still manages to bring unusual medical cases of the week. Suzanne's illness that brought to light the importance of impeccable diagnostic skills was a storyline that was one of the highlights of the season as a whole.
For a show like Grey's Anatomy that has had such a stellar run, it is essential to end on high, rather than to drive it into the ground by continuing to drag it on past its time.
By wrapping up Grey's Anatomy with one final farewell season, it would be forever be remembered as one of the greatest medical shows of all time.
What do you think, Grey's Fanatics?
Do you think that Grey's Anatomy has reached its end?
Would you like to see Grey's Anatomy continue for more seasons?
Share your thoughts below, and watch Grey's Anatomy online for more proof of this point.
Meaghan Frey was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2020.