The TV Talk Blog will be going on hiatus for a while. Hope to be talking about TV here again really soon!
For better or worse, I’m pretty much addicted to television. So for me to give up a TV show is almost unheard of, which I showed in my list of shows I really should quit watching but still have not. but it happens. For 3 seasons people would tell me how great “Fringe” was. I’d watched the pilot and a few of the mythology episodes, but I didn’t like the Case of the Week episodes. This summer, however, I gave in and started watching, only to get hooked and watch every one. So, in honor of my new-found love of “Fringe,” I thought I would talk about several other shows I simply can’t get into, no matter how great people say they are:
“Supernatural” – This is a show that just wasn’t on my radar for the first few years it was on, although I’m not sure that would have made a difference. I am not a big fan of shows with extremely small casts, let alone shows with only very few characters and no consistent love interests (i.e. the 1st season of “Human Target”). Over the years, it developed from a “monsters procedural” to something with great stakes and beloved characters. While I’m well aware that the show has a rabid fan base, it seems like the opportunity to get into it has unfortunately passed.
Every CBS procedural – Save for a brief obsession with Spike TV reruns of the original “CSI” several years ago, I am not a fan of plot over character. So for the most part, murder-of-the-week shows don’t do anything for me, and that is CBS’s specialty. Obviously these shows are huge with viewers, namely older ones, hence CBS’s huge total ratings for shows like “NCIS.” But I need more development between the characters, which I can get from “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bones,” and “House” (although that wasn’t the case when that show began). I get why they’re popular, I get why I don’t like them, and I have no problem saying “No thank you.”
“The Simpsons” – Slightly different situation from “Supernatural,” I feel as if I missed the prime years of “The Simpsons.” A few years ago, I decided that if I liked “Family Guy,” the rest of the Animation Domination Sunday Line-Up could be for me. I watched nearly an entire season of “The Simpsons” before I realized it didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t necessarily bad or anything, but it also didn’t really make me laugh or make me feel something in a way that “Family Guy” can. And while the merits of both shows can be debated, it seems “Simpsons” fans pretty much agree that the show isn’t what it used to be. The social satire of older seasons wouldn’t have the same bite now, so it seems like a lost cause.
“Breaking Bad” – This is one that is probably the biggest surprise for someone who loves TV so much, but I can only take so many of critical darlings. Simply put, this isn’t a show for me, which is why I never made it past season 2. I don’t love slow-burn shows, which is why I never made it past the pilots of “Rubicon,” “The Wire” or “Boardwalk Empire.” All of these shows fit a certain niche that isn’t for me, which is a group of incredibly dark shows that move at their own pace. The only true exception to this rule for me is “Mad Men,” which mixes in humor and dark melodrama in a way that keeps me intrigued. Now that an end has been set, maybe I’ll catch up at some point.
“Private Practice” – This is a special exception, because I actually watch this show every week for some reason. But I must admit that I DVR every episode and fast forward through all of the medical cases and only watch the character interactions. I mean, every episode is exactly the same: at least 2 of them get some kind of insanely sketchy medical case and then they all gather in a room and argue about it for 5 minutes, which doesn’t seem like good patient-doctor privilege. They even addressed this in the most recent season finale, when they were super upset that people were questioning them, even though they gossip about their patients constantly. But Shonda Rhimes does good relationship drama, so I stick around.
Which shows can’t keep you watching? Leave your answer in the comments.
Pretty much all of these shows are very popular, either among a mainstream or a small-but-insatiable fan base. I in no way mean to diminish anyone’s love for these shows, only to say that although I watch a lot of television, I simply cannot watch it all (nor would I want to). Here are a few of those shows that other love, yet I, for one reason or another, left behind:
“Castle” – I watched most of the first season, really because I’m not a fan of many procedurals, other than “Bones,” which has a sense of humor unlike any other crime procedural. So, while “Castle” seemed like a cheesy copy-cat, with Nathan Fillion’s hammy Richard Castle. The cases were standard, as was the friction (read: future romance) between the lead characters. I was more willing to look past that because I’m a fan of what the “crimedy” genre, mixing in comedy and heart with cop drama. It had all of the right elements, and no show is perfect in its 1st season, but eventually I chose to stick to the characters I’d already grown to love.
“Nikita” – One of the shows I was most looking forward to last fall, I watched the first half of the season before giving up, feeling like every episode was starting to feel the same. There was a case in which Nikita had to stop Division, along with help from Alex, and she succeeded every week. For a show about spies and double agents, there wasn’t nearly enough tension. Likewise, there wasn’t enough of the secondary characters, especially Melinda Clarke’s intimidating but seldom-seen Amanda. Of any of these shows, this is the one I regret letting go of the most, since I know most of these problems were remedied as the series delved deeper into the mythology of Division and the Black Boxes, along with some intriguing character developments.
“The Big Bang Theory” – I was a huge fan of “The Big Bang Theory” for the whole 1st season and well into the 2nd. Yet somewhere along the way, I stopped finding Sheldon’s antics funny and just found his character to be grating. One of comedy’s biggest challenges is that the characters do not evolve as easily as they do in dramas, usually because their personality flaws are what bring the laughs. While I understand this, I would look to “How I Met Your Mother,” for all of its flaws, for allowing Barney to be true to himself while also growing into a man who is ready for marriage (hopefully to Robin!). My problem with that show was when it gets too “sitcom-y,” and “The Big Bang Theory” always feels that way to me. Which is why, no matter how much I like Kaley Cuoco, I had to give this show up.
“The Middle”– This show gained a lot of critical buzz in its 2nd season as an underrated comedy gem. My problem is that I find the show and its characters cute but not very funny. Brick is adorable, as are his under-his-breath whisperings. Sue’s positive attitude, despite constant setbacks, is also amusing. But the show never really makes me laugh. Patricia Heaton’s exasperation doesn’t do much for me, and Neil Flynn, who was so great on “Scrubs,” never really gets much to do. I check in on the show periodically, usually when everything else is in reruns, and it’s always nice to see the Heck family again. But for me, “The Middle” is like an old friend that it’s nice to run into every once in a while, but not someone you need to see on a weekly basis.
“One Tree Hill”– I can’t believe this show is still on, seeing as how many times it has been on the renewal bubble, not to mention the fact that it has been on for almost 9 years. “One Tree Hill” was always an over-the-top melodrama, with a pretend-brother stalker, a limo crashing off a bridge after a teen wedding, and a grown man murdering his brother (seriously, the show’s creator Mark Schwahn must have a seriously complicated relationship with his brother), all while the characters were in high school. But I stopped watching the show after they all became famous (writer, musician, fashion designer, etc.) and they introduced their second psycho stalker in two seasons (Nanny Carrie). Although I am not apologetic about giving it up, “One Tree Hill,” something about the show ending this year has made me a little nostalgic for the early years.
So tell me, am I crazy for giving up on these shows? And what shows have you dropped from your TV line-up?
Related Post: The TV Talk’s Shows I Just Can’t Quit
No matter how hard I try every year, there are some shows I help myself from watching. Here are a few of them:
“Gossip Girl” – I know this show is still very popular, but I feel like the concept is getting very tired. It began as somewhat of a copycat of “The O.C.,” which isn’t so surprising that they had the same creator. Does this sound familiar? An outsider falls for a privileged, troubled blonde while a secondary brown-haired couple is far more interesting. Yet the show has essentially become a procedural, substituting a murder victim with a scheme (usually Blair’s) that resolves itself at a party. Every. Single. Week. The games of moral one-upsmanship are getting old, considering how none of the characters have a moral leg to stand on. Still, I return every week, and this fall it’ll be no different. Here’s hoping the exit of two peripheral characters (Vanessa and Jenny) and new blood (Serena’s not-cousin Ivy) will make for a better season 5. Now if they’d just get rid of Rufus and Lily…
“Desperate Housewives” – This show suffers from some of the same problems as “Gossip Girl,” both being soapy dramas that, perhaps to a fault, chose a storytelling device and stuck to it. In this case, the show revolves around weekly comedic shenanigans with an ongoing mystery, usually a secret a new Wisteria Lane resident is hiding. However, the season-long mysteries of the past few seasons have lost any dramatic tension. Last season got off to an intriguing start, returning to the first season by bringing back the über-creepy Paul Young and loony Felicia Tillman. Unfortunately, the story never really went to an interesting place, and even the comedic hijinks in every episode, usually revolving around Lynette or Tom doing something horrible and two of the women competing in some way. But this might be the final year, and with this season’s mystery seeming to circle back to the core cast, things could be looking up for the people of Fairview.
“The Office” – I wasn’t a fan from the beginning, and admittedly I only began to catch up a few seasons in when I was getting pressure from friends who were die-hard viewers. Steve Carell‘s brand of uncomfortable humor is not generally my speed, but the show itself was hilarious. These days, I’m lucky if I have one moment in an episode where I’m truly laughing. Jim and Pam are still great (PB and J forever!), but half the time they seem like they’re in their own show. Lots of people asked for the show to end after Carell’s departure, but he wasn’t the reason I watched. Shaking things up by bringing in James Spader and making the show more of an ensemble could help, especially for characters like Angela and Meredith who I feel haven’t really had a storyline in years. Only time will tell if “The Office” can truly reinvent itself.
“House” – To be fair, I’m not the biggest fan of procedurals to begin with. But that might say even more about this show, that was strictly medicine in the first few seasons, and I was still more than game to tune in. The show (and House himself) was funny enough for me to look past a lack of character development past the lead character and the fact that he always got the diagnosis wrong 3 or 4 times before getting it right in the nick of time. I was one of the few fans who seemed to like the season 4 storyline in which House picked a new team, although to be fair it might just be that I like Olivia Wilde. But the show was beginning to show more and more outside of the hospital, and by the time House and Cuddy got together, I was pretty happy. Yet the show has lost some of its luster, and House has seemed more like a sadsack and less of a curmudgeon. “House” seems to be reaching the end, especially since Cuddy is gone, and that might not be such a bad thing.
“How I Met Your Mother” – I, just like most other HIMYM viewers, am very curious about who “The Mother” is. But it was never why I watched the show, and it has always been obvious that it isn’t really what the show is about. Mainly, it was about this group of friends who liked to hang out at the same bar (not a great idea if you’re trying to meet new women, Ted). This past season was better than the one before it, featuring the death of Marshall’s father and the introduction of Barney’s. Yet the episodes have still seemed a little too “sitcom-y,” including my least favorite sitcom trope of all: creating character traits that only last for one episode (i.e.Lily’s loud chewing.) Depending on how you see it, the show’s 2-season pickup could be a blessing or a curse for viewers. The show, which already has seen its best days, will go on for two more seasons, and not necessarily very good ones. But it also gives the showrunners a chance to map out the end and move the story forward.
See, despite my complaints, I clearly can’t help but think next season will be better for these shows. What TV shows can you not stop watching?
Since launching The TV Talk Blog started, I’ve been too busy to really write any editorials. In order to give readers more info as to what I’m all about, I’ll be sprinkling in some posts that give my TV perspective. I think the best place to start is to tell you my favorite classic TV shows, so here goes:
Nothing can top “Gilmore Girls” for me. Those season DVDs are probably so worn out by now I’ll probably have to buy new ones any day now. I can’t get enough of those Stars Hollow residents, from Lorelai and Rory to Mrs. Kim and Miss Patty. The show had no formula, other than fast-talking and witty characters, lots of coffee drinking, and lots of zany antics from the townspeople. Yeah, the later seasons weren’t the best, but for me no show is better at blending comedy, drama, and heart. Favorite Episode: They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? – The 24-hour dance marathon episode. Need I say more?
“Veronica Mars” is my number one pick for a show that was cancelled too soon. Kristen Bell is amazing as one of TV’s strongest female characters, while also having a vulnerable side. I loved the season-long mysteries, as well as the supporting cast, like Weevil, Mac, and Wallace. Not to mention the shows great run of guest stars, from Buffy’s Charisma Carpenter, to up-and-comers Krysten Ritter and Lily Kane herself, the terrific Amanda Seyfried. It’s crazy how smart this “teen drama” was, which could have contributed to its less-than-stellar ratings. Favorite Episode: “Leave It to Beaver” – The incredible conclusion to the “Who Killed Lily Kane” first season arc was hilarious, terrifying, and a great payoff to a well-paced murder mystery.
My runner up for “Best Cancelled Too Soon” series is “Pushing Daisies.” A casualty of the Writers’ Strike, viewers didn’t return after the 9-month hiatus. That doesn’t erase the show’s 22 brilliantly crafted and beautifully shot episodes. The show featured a great story of star-crossed lovers who can never touch and a breakout performance by Kristin Chenoweth, playing Olive Snook, whose love for the Piemaker went unrequited. The show felt like stepping into a fairytale, mixing its sweet nature with darker undertones so it never seems saccharine. Favorite Episode: “Pie-lette” – Not that the show peaked during its first episode, but while watching the pilot, I knew it was love at first sight.
“That ’70s Show” could have gone so wrong. It is so high concept and trying to recapture a past time period is no easy task. Yet instead of failing, it became a “Happy Days”-style success. The gang seemed like a group of people you might really want to be a part of, like gruff conspiracy theorist Hyde to the well-meaning Kelso. This show introduced us to adorable bossypants Jackie Burkhart, played by the insanely wonderful Mila Kunis, who is finally getting the spotlight she deserves. The show only gets better with age (other than the better-to-forget 8th season). Favorite Episode: “Cat Fight Club” – The episode pits Jackie against Eric’s trashy sister Laurie (my favorite character), spotlighting their characters while furthering the Kelso cheating storyline and introducing the so-crazy-it-just-might-work combo of Jackie and Hyde.
Mainly I’m just surprised “Arrested Development” lasted so long. It was a serialized comedy with largely unlikable (but not unloveable) characters and crazy plotlines (“nevernudes,” seal attacks). But these are the things that made me love the show the most. These were some of the most flawed people on television, but I just wanted to see what trouble part-time magician Gob’s next “illusion” was going to get him in. Everything about it was ridiculous, but it featured great comic actors like Will Arnett, Jessica Walter, and Portia De Rossi. Favorite Episode: Any one featuring teenager Maeby Fünke (the always-great Alia Shawkat) being mistaken for a film executive. I loved whenever someone would question her age and she would always reply, “Marry me.” Priceless.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is one of TV’s greatest shows of all time. The show began as a metaphor for teenage existence, dealing with the horrors of high school in a more literal way with the help of “the Scooby gang.” The earlier season’s in particular are my favorites, when the show was more humorous and had characters like Eliza Dushku’s Faith, the aforementioned Charisma Carpenter as mean girl Cordelia Chase, and Seth Green as werewolf Oz. The show had some great “Big Bads,” including a sinister mayor and a sarcastic demigod named Glory. As for Angel vs. Spike, I’m not even going to touch the issue of Buffy’s true love. Favorite Episode: Everybody’s favorite is always “Once More with Feeling,” the musical episode, but personally I love “Doppelgangland,” featuring the return of Anya and evil Willow.
What are your favorite classic show? Let me know in the comments!