8 TV Shows That Successfully Mastered A Time Jump Plot Line

Ah, the plot twist known as the time jump...one of television's greatest magic tricks. Whether its purpose is to ease the blow of a major cast member's departure, shield an untimely IRL actor pregnancy, or simply to inject some new life into a series storyline, employing the trope in a television show can be a risky step. If not done correctly, it can be one of the easiest ways to sign a show's own death warrant. But, when done correctly, it can shake up the conventions of television dramas and sitcoms by providing us with more beloved characters and years of investment.

Case-in-point: Tuesday night's nail-biting series premiere of Pretty Little Liars . The episode propelled us all five years in the future, and so far, it seems to be doing the whole time jump thing correctly. Here's hoping that Season 6B will successfully get us up to speed for the past four years we missed with our PLL gals — pulling off this time jump plot twist can be tricky, after all.

In honor of PLL's Season 6B premiere and my eternal miserable hope, of course, I complied a list of a few other shows that successfully mastered the time jump during their run on television.

1. One Tree Hill

When Did It Happen: Season 5

Time-Jump Period: Four years, six months, two days

Why It Worked: I don't think there is any other show that transitioned its characters better than OTH did (the show did its flash forward so smoothly, it tried it again by shifting the series a whole 14 months ahead in Season 7). This super specific time jump let us speed through the often awkward and sticky college plotlines, and let us see the beautiful and uber metamorphosis of Brooke Davis (played by Sophia Bush). Not to mention, we got to fall in love with Leyton all over again — and little Jimmy Jam (aka, Nathan and Haley's genius son) becoming a mini-Lucas gave me life.

2. Desperate Housewives

When Did It Happen: Season 5

Time-Jump Period: Five years

Why It Worked: At the time, Wisteria Lane needed the update — and it also allowed the series to introduce newer and better storylines that added four more seasons to the show's roster. Highlights? Gabby's hilariously spoiled daughter, Juanita Solis:

3. Parks And Recreation

When Did It Happen: Season 6

Time-Jump Period: Three years

Why It Worked: There is only so much that can happen in one episode of a 30 minute sitcom — and though the show was always all sorts of flawless, Parks and Rec really breathed new life into its plotlines with its Season 6 finale jump. Leslie landed her dream job, got new hair, too-cute-for-TV kids, and total boss status.

4. Ghost Whisperer

When Did It Happen: Season 5

Time-Jump Period: Five years

Why It Worked: OK, this time jump really worked for me. It was even more darker and scarier than previous ones — and when a kid who can see ghosts was added in (See: Melinda's five-year-old son Aiden), it supplied huge Sixth Sense flashbacks.

5. Dawson's Creek

When Did It Happen: Season 6

Time-Jump Period: Five years

Why It Worked: Um, yes, hi, hello, as if there weren't a better way to end an already perfect show?!? The time jump proved there will always be more feels to be given. If you didn't cry buckets of tears as a result of Jen's death, or feel some satisfaction from the ultimate love triangle FINALLY being solved, then my only question is: Are you even HUMAN?!

6. Breaking Bad

When Did It Happen: Season 5

Time-Jump Period: Three months

Why It Worked: Come on, it's Breaking Bad. Of course, it worked.

7. Lost

When Did It Happen: Season 3

Time-Jump Period: Three years

Why It Worked: Flashbacks were a long time ingenious make-up of Lost's DNA. However, Season 3's finale not only changed the game, and revealed that all the flashbacks may have actually been flashforwards. Still, it gave viewers a beacon of hope that some made some it off the island... but they were also trying to get back? Don't even bother asking who, when, or how.

8. Mad Men

When Did It Happen: Season 2

Time-Jump Period: Two years

Why It Worked: This was the series' first of many series premiere time jumps, but it was also one of the most notable as it included Peggy going from insecure secretary to confident copywriter. #WERK. It's also safe to say this was the first time we as viewers got comfortable with filling in the blanks of what we missed — especially when Don Draper was involved.

Needless to say, in these cases, the time jump can be the ultimate plot twist to any television series... when carefully planned, of course.

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