"Cash cow" : Money producing object or project, some are carefully tended and flourish. Some are bled of cash, milked dry and only then last minute revival plans, or quick sale contemplated. -- Anon Guest
It was a mystery how such a show made it to the number one position of any television genre at all, let alone the number one watched show in the entire world. The premise was daft, the characters were simple archetypes, and the plot, such as it was, was entirely predictable.
And yet it was loved by just about everyone all over the world.
It was all anyone could talk about. People wrote books about it. Analysis of a shallow show with a simple cast and an even simpler plotline. TV tropes developed its own section about it because of the sheer volume of tropers contributing to it.
World peace came closer than ever, because everyone had one thing in common.
There were toys, books, keychains, t-shirts, caps, and all kinds of merchandise. There was even a limited run of electric cars emblazoned with the show's logo.
And then, when everyone thought nothing could go wrong, the producers decided to mess with it. The show took a darker and edgier tone. Characters showed sudden depths. Controversy reigned.
And so did the conversations.
Fixer fanfictions began to rise. The discussions turned to how they hated what was happening. The appeal to a wider audience failed.
And failed badly.
The show was cancelled mid-way through the season of the disastrous departure from the winning formulae. Imitators cropped up like fungi, but they had none of the success of its forebears. Each took a single aspect of the former glory and magnified it to the extreme on the theory that more is better.
And then it fizzled out.
The reboot movie, an attempt to placate the fans with a new start, missed the point entirely and none of the cast had the pizazz to carry off their roles.
And the world went on. And went on wondering why something so obviously successful had taken such a strange course.