Turns out I wasn't far off.
This is a very funny explanation about plot devices that can be termed 'jumping the shark'. Are you guilty of any of them? (usually happens in serialised stories which have gone on and on for some time.) Do you think Harry Potter has jumped the shark at any moment? Personally, I thought it went downhill after Goblet of Fire.
"The term jumping the shark alludes to a scene in the TV series 'Happy Days' when the popular character Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli jumps over a shark while water skiing. The scene was so preposterous that many believed it to be an ill-conceived attempt at reviving the declining ratings of the flagging show.
Since then, the phrase has become a colloquialism used by critics and fans to denote the point at which the characters or plot of a TV series veer into a ridiculous, out-of-the-ordinary storyline. Such a show is typically deemed to have passed its peak. Once a show has "jumped the shark" fans sense a noticeable decline in quality or feel the show has undergone too many changes to retain its original charm.
1. Same Character, Different Actor
When a new actor is hired to fill the same role of a departed one. However, this category has also been applied to new actors hired to play the role of a new character that is essentially the same as the original.
Notes: Ha ha, this happened in 'Dynasty', 'Dallas' and practically every long-running soap. Worse yet, I remember the one in 'Dynasty' was explained by his having plastic surgery!
2. One of the characters gives birth.
Notes: 'Friends' anyone? Is there anyone who hasn't given birth on 'Friends'? (some multiple times). 'Mad About You'.
A character's departure is explained with his/her death. This can be due either to the actor/actress who filled the role leaving the show, or a real-life death.
Notes: Hah! Prison Break, guilty as hell. So is every soap opera. And 'House' has fired all his medical staff.
Children who are members of the cast enter adolescence and/or approach adulthood.
Notes: Cosby Show. I think in Harry Potter's case, adolescence was a good thing.
Non-musical members of the cast (or those never thought previously to have performing talent) sing as part of a musical number during an episode.
Notes: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the musical episode! Xena Warrior Princess.
6. Two main characters are married.
Notes: Friends again! As far as I'm concerned, Friends jumped the shark after Season 3.
7. Two main characters have sex, particularly if their sexual tension was deemed part of the show's appeal.
Notes: Every series that does this goes downhill after that. Think 'Remington Steele', 'Moonlighting'. 'Cheers'. Thank goodness no one in the 'X-Files' ever had sex. (with each other, I mean). Can people on 'CSI' be considered having 'sex'?
The main characters move from their familiar surroundings, usually to new surrounding some distance away.
9. New kid in town
When a new character (often, a young child) is added to the cast, in response to former child actors who have entered adolescence or adulthood, and/or to revive falling ratings.
Notes: Cosby show! Then again, the 'Desperate Housewives' always have new neighbours. And 'Heroes' keeps on adding people I can never keep track of.