“House of the Dragon” is the latest show to nail a good time jump.
Time jump: 10 years
Everyone knew the “House of the Dragon” time jump was going to happen from the outset, which made adjusting to it quite easy.
In the sixth episode of the first season of the “Game of Thrones” spinoff, audiences saw new actors take over the roles of several characters as the story picked up 10 years after the wedding of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (played by Milly Alcock before the time jump and Emma D’Arcy after) to Ser Laenor Velaryon (played by Theo Nate before the time jump and John Macmillan after).
“Fringe” had one of the biggest and best-executed time jumps we’ve seen on television.
Time jump: 24 years
The final season of “Fringe” jumped ahead a whopping 24 years to deliver a truly wild finale that took place in the year 2036 where the Observers rule over mankind and have initiated their plan to modify Earth’s environment to better suit themselves.
Walter (John Noble), Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv), Astrid (Jasika Nicole), and William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) purposely ambered themselves before the invasion, meaning that they were completely oblivious — like audiences — about what had truly gone on.
Ultimately, the time jump brought a whole different level of mystery to the show, ensuring that viewers would see the show through to the end.
We’ll never forget the surprise time jump that happened on the “Lost” season three finale.
Time jump: several years
While there’s debate on whether “Lost” managed to stick the landing with its series finale, there’s absolutely no question over the brilliance of the two-hour season three finale, which delivered a major — and majorly unexpected — time jump.
The realization that the scenes viewers had been watching of Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and John (Terry O’Quinn) carrying on their lives in the real world were not the usual flashbacks we had become accustomed to but flash-forwards just about blew every audience member’s minds.
“Hannibal” jumped forward three years in its third and final season, which allowed it to introduce a new villain into the storyline.
Time jump: 3 years
The final season of NBC’s critically acclaimed drama “Hannibal” was boosted by its shift forward, which caught up with our favorite television cannibal several years later while living under a new identity in Europe.
It was a welcome way to freshen up the show’s format before flawlessly weaving in the much anticipated Red Dragon storyline in a unique and unexpected way.
The “Parks and Recreation” time jump laid the groundwork for more comedic situations.
Time jump: 3 years
The final season of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” was undisputably improved by its shift forward, which saw Leslie (Amy Poehler) promoted to regional director of the National Parks Service and become a mom to triplets with husband Ben (Adam Scott).
It also added a bit of intrigue by revealing that Leslie had fallen out with her former boss, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), since season six and kept viewers on their toes by not revealing the source of their feud until halfway through the final run of episodes.
On top of that, the time jump also allowed the writers to bring the storylines of the show’s supporting cast to a satisfying end without feeling especially rushed before featuring an even bigger time jump in the two-part season finale. It flash-forwarded to 10 years into the future to give viewers a glimpse into what each of the characters was up to.
“One Tree Hill” shifted ahead four-and-a-half years in season five, denying viewers the chance to see the gang’s college days.
Time jump: 4 ½ years
14 years later and we’re still not sure why the writers on “One Tree Hill” ever thought it would be a good idea to skip over some of the gang’s most important life events, including their high school graduation, collegiate days, and first forays into the adult world.
The season five premiere, aptly titled “4 Years, 6 Months, 2 Days,” caught up with all the major characters and left us feeling a little bit disappointed at how dark some of the storylines had gotten.
Nathan (James Lafferty), for instance, is shown struggling to come to terms with the fact that he has to abandon his hoop dreams as he is in a wheelchair. Similarly, Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) isn’t coping so well following the breakdown of their marriage.
Maybe we’re wrong but as a “teen” show, we would’ve preferred to have seen more of the character’s adolescent years.
The time jump in “Riverdale” isn’t the main reason we stopped watching, but it didn’t help.
Time jump: 7 years
Like “One Tree Hill,” viewers of “Riverdale” also missed out on seeing their favorite high schoolers make the transition from teenagers to adults as the CW drama decided to shake things up by leaping forward seven years halfway through season five.
However, it was just as unsuccessful and ended up highlighting some of the bigger problems with the Archie Comics-inspired show, namely its lack of a consistent and cohesive storyline.
“The Affair” jumped the shark when it attempted to introduce a new storyline and character in its final season set 30 years into the future.
Time jump: 30 years
What do you do when your two main leads decide they want to call it a day? Well, you could also decide to call it a day, but if you’re “The Affair,” you could also try to squeeze out one final season in which you shift forward some 30 years to tell a brand new, but interconnected story.
As such, the final season focuses on Alison (Ruth Wilson) and Cole’s (Joshua Jackson) daughter Joanie (Anna Paquin) as an adult, where the questions surrounding her mother’s death still weigh heavy on her mind.
We understand what they were trying to do here, but can’t say we found the final season in any way necessary.
“The Walking Dead” was meant to soften the blow of Andrew Lincoln’s exit but didn’t manage it.
Time jump: 6 years
“The Walking Dead” is another instance in which showrunners thought the best way to deal with a major actor’s exit is by kind of rebooting the show with a new timeline and new cast.
While the show continued to feature familiar faces like Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride), after Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) decision to bow out in season nine, the show arguably went downhill and never recovered.
However, it’s pointing out for those fans who did decide to give up at this point that Rick made a reappearance in the show’s finale earlier this year.