So I heard you gave up on [Grey's Anatomy](tag:200746). No, you all out abandoned it, somewhere between the time of the awkward sex between best friends turned lovers, George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) and Izzie Stevens ( Katherine Heigl) in season 4, and the return of Denny Duquette (Jefferey Dean Morgan) with his ghost sex shenanigans in season 5.
But perhaps the biggest reason people abandoned the show [that I've personally heard], is because of the shocking/surprising death of the aforementioned fan favorite, George, in the season 5 finale.
Those final moments of the season were for me the most heartbreaking moments I can remember watching a television show and I believe the first time I cried (not ashamed) during one. So I apologize for reopening old wounds for the equally devastated.
By the time we reached the middle of the sixth season, the show that most people knew looked very different. We had lost two beloved characters, a batch of new characters had been introduced, and the show experienced a slight tonal shift, focusing on more dramatic storylines for the characters with the rom-com style hijinks taking the back seat. This is where I started to hear people use the phrase "jumping the shark", and in a way it did, but not for the sake of novelty as the definition says. It was to give the characters the rebirth they needed to grow as people.
Taking a shot
The catalyst from which this rebirth took place was the season six two-part finale "Sanctuary" and "Death and All His Friends". In it, a gunman whose wife was taken off her life support against his wishes terrorized the hospital, shooting any surgeon he crossed paths with, all while hunting down the specific surgeons who were involved in the decision to unplug his wife.The episodes have been regarded not only as two of the best of the show, but some have said it was the best two hours of television ever.
The great thing about having a cast of characters all affected by such a traumatic event is that you can essentially take them in any new direction you want. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Shonda Rhimes had this to say about the "game-changing" finale:
When you face a situation like this — when the entire hospital has turned into a crime scene — everyone you know has faced life or death. It’s an incredibly traumatic event. Everything you knew, believed, felt, and required of the characters in terms of what their stories have been or what you believed about them no longer exists. Part of what’s interesting about next season is that we can start anywhere — in any emotional state — and almost anything can happen because we just came out of this. It’s not like tomorrow they come back being the exact same characters. They’re all sort of fundamentally changed.
That is exactly what the show did. It gave viewers a reason to re-invest in the characters and to see how they would cope with such a traumatic event, and since this is Grey's Anatomy we are talking about, it wouldn't be the last.
Why Should I Give The Show Another Go?
Like most forms of entertainment, Grey's Anatomy is a show that is designed to be enjoyed on multiple levels. But for some reason, it gets placed in a box of being nothing more than a nighttime soap opera, and to be fair it is, but there is so much more to take from it.
In my search for a binge-watching guide for the show, I came across probably one of the best descriptions and reasons why the show is one of the best on TV:
"Grey’s Anatomy offers a different and perhaps more valuable idea of what it means to be strong: the capacity to suffer terribly, break down completely, and then get up again, confident that you’re bigger than the sum of the tragedies you’ve suffered—because everyone else is, too. The layers of history have grown pretty dense and rich, and the friendships that form around them as the characters suffer and survive is the glue of the series, and what—despite a few inevitable hit-or-miss patches—elevates it to something special."- Laura Hudson of Wired
The show is currently halfway through it's 12th season and is showing no signs of slowing. The decision to kill off the beloved Dr. Derek Sheppard a.k.a. "McDreamy" at the end of season 11 was met with anger and fear that the move would destroy the show. But once again it allowed the show to experience a meaningful re-birth, and it may surprise a few returning fans that the show is, in my opinion, better than ever.
If you're ready to jump back into the show or you've just been convinced to start, you can stream season 1-11 of the show on Netflix. You can catch brand new episodes of Grey's Anatomy Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.