Breaking up with a TV show you used to enjoy can be difficult. Once you’ve spent a few years of commitment in it, you may not even want to admit that the relationship is ending. Unfortunately, some shows (even those that started out great) just stay on the air too long, and either slowly deteriorate or outright jump-the-shark. Which current TV series still airing new episodes have you had to quit?
I’d been a loyal fan of ‘The Walking Dead‘ for six long seasons, including recapping episode recaps for this blog the last three seasons. I’ve not only been through storylines that seemed to go nowhere, but entire seasons (remember the farm?) that did. Yet the solid acting and occasional plot progression kept me coming back… until that disastrous Season 6 finale.
As most of you are well aware, the second half of Season 6 was completely focused on the arrival of new the Big Bad, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and the knowledge that he was going to kill a member of the main cast. This wasn’t a rumor or some closely held secret. Even if you weren’t aware of Negan’s arc in the comic books, the show-runners and cast members weren’t shy about who was coming onto the series and what he’d do. In other words, it was not a spoiler to know in advance that, in Season 6’s final episode, a) Negan was showing up, and b) he was going to kill someone.
So what happened when this highly publicized season finale finally aired? The creators pulled the rug out from under viewers by ending the episode with a p.o.v. shot of an unseen character getting whacked by Negan’s baseball bat. In other words, the show denied us the satisfaction of knowing who got offed. This isn’t the first time the writers have played fast and loose with their loyal viewership. Throughout the series, they’ve had minor cliffhangers at the end of shows, only then to use the next two or three episodes to show what was going on with characters elsewhere, leaving us hanging for weeks. They’d already pulled a similar stunt in Season 6 where it seemed like Glenn was killed by zombies, only to have him show up alive and well weeks after the fact.
Well, I finally screamed “Enough!” I’m tired of being jerked around by these storytellers, despite the fact that I really like most of the actors and I really enjoy the performances. Maybe I’ll catch up with the show someday in the future when it’s all on Netflix and I don’t have to worry so much about being manipulated, but for now I’m finished. There are just too many good shows on TV right now that treat their viewership with respect to be drawn back into ‘The Walking Dead’ anytime soon.
There was a time I thought ‘Modern Family‘ was the cleverest show on TV. Then, as so often seems to happen, it started to get repetitive and dumb. Even then, I had started buying the Blu-rays, so the collector in me thought, “I’ll go ahead and order the next season on disc anyway.” But just before the release of season 5, Fox got cheap and stopped releasing its TV shows on Blu-ray. That sort of killed it for me.
I haven’t tuned in regularly for a couple of years, but when I do, the plots all break down as: Cam and Mitchell are petty and jealous about a friend (usually at some sort of brunch or social event); Claire is unreasonable and obnoxious; Phil does something stupid; Gloria is insecure and reacts by lashing out; and Jay acts like a caveman because he’s afraid of his feelings, but then he embraces them and tears up a little. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. So lazy.
‘Gotham‘ is probably the only series that’s coming back this fall that I even care about, and that show is always floating around losing interest in my household (too many episodes per season, dead characters returning like clockwork, Barbara Kean being annoying, two dozen extras dying every episode, etc.).
‘The Walking Dead‘ and ‘Game of Thrones‘ are long out of the picture (too predictably bleak, too long in the tooth). ‘House of Cards‘ is just too soap opera-like with storylines that have little-to-no long-term impact.
Finally, it seems like ‘Orange Is the New Black‘ just has too much filler content, with too many characters and flashbacks that go nowhere.
M. Enois Duarte
If it hadn’t already been canceled, I would have voted for ‘Penny Dreadful’ as a show I started out liking but eventually lost interest in. Instead, I’m going to suggest ‘Fear the Walking Dead‘ as another that, in my opinion, maybe should be canceled. Because of my love for the original ‘Walking Dead’ series, I gave this companion prequel a chance. Early on, I thought things started great by setting the plot in the middle of the zombie outbreak.
I was initially forgiving of the fact that the main characters were not particularly interesting and were more annoying than believably engaging. I brushed it off as first episode jitters and a small hiccup in what eventually turned out to be poorly executed exposition. With each successive episode, the characters became more grating, and surviving the outbreak was more lucky coincidence than forethought or planning. Personalities clashing for dramatic effect grew more irritating, and I lost interest to the point of not finishing the first season.
I thought of revisiting the series because the idea of survivors traveling to Mexico reignited some interest, but honestly, I just don’t care enough to find out if the show has improved. It still features the same cast and characters that made me walk away from it in the first place, so I’m done with it and believe the producers should just let it die.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
My name is Adam (Hi, Adam!), and I’m a ‘Vampire Diaries‘-aholic. I’m three seasons sober, and I sure hope those dark demons remain behind me for good.
All I knew before picking up the first season to review was its title. I had zero expectations that a ‘Twilight’-with-a-LiveJournal TV series would be something I’d actually like, but sometimes the worst schlock makes for the most fun reviews to write, and that’s really all I was hoping for here. Sure enough, the first couple episodes delivered all the brooding, teen angst, star-crossed romance and, yes, diaries that I expected. It was somewhere around the third episode where ‘The Vampire Diaries’ stomped on the accelerator. For the rest of its freshman season, not a single episode misfired. The soap opera and genre elements alike screamed forward like nothing else I’d ever seen.
‘The Vampire Diaries’ routinely piled an entire season’s worth of plot twists into an episode or two, and every last one of them was well-earned and jaw-droppingly surprising. Its cliffhangers were so addictive that I devoured the entire season in just a couple of days. The pacing was absolutely perfect, never once feeling rushed or like it was spinning its wheels. No plot points were ever left dangling for long, always taking care to wrap up one thread before unveiling the next. I appreciate that Nina Dobrev’s Elena wasn’t a doe-eyed damsel in distress, and much the same can be said about the many other strong women in its ensemble. I dug that Ian Somerhalder was unrepentant about his vampiric murders but still somehow managed to be sympathetic all the way. I loved absolutely everything about that season, at least once the lackluster pilot was in the rear view mirror, from its soapier stretches to its manic bursts of horror and action. Virtually everyone ends that season either dead or unrecognizably transformed from the people to whom we were first introduced.
I thought it’d be impossible for ‘The Vampire Diaries’ to keep up such a brutal pace, but then season two rolled around to prove me wrong. The highs throughout its third season matched or eclipsed anything the series had delivered up to that point, but its valleys were far lower, struggling in particular to make the setups and payoffs equally compelling.
Season four, though… ugh. The twists were sparser and more telegraphed, mistakes the series had never made before. The endless fetch quests in the search for the cure to vampirism quickly grew tiresome. The series had run out of consequential characters to kill, so the deaths that season left little-to-no impact. Our hapless heroes’ poor choices were more directly responsible for their nightmarish predicaments than any Big Bad could ever accomplish. Seemingly every line of dialogue was mandated to either include “epic,” “feelings,” or “the cure.” You could make a drinking game out of the backstory, taking a shot every time Professor Shane started droning on about Qetsiyah for the eight hojillionth time, but you’d be trembling like Nic Cage in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ before the season was out.
I had a blast with the first and final episodes of the season, but everything in between was such a miserable slog that I wrote off ‘The Vampire Diaries’ altogether after that. I still poke my head into recaps every once in a while, but it sure doesn’t sound as if I’m missing much.
This week’s topic was spurred by the return of ‘The Strain‘ this week. As I mentioned in my recap of the third season premiere, the show never really lived up to its potential even in the first two seasons, and the latest episode felt particularly dull and pointless. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stick it out for another season. Indeed, I’ve decided that I can’t. I pulled the plug yesterday and officially canceled the series recording in my DVR. Life’s too short to waste on boring TV.
Sadly, I’ve also broken up with ‘Suits‘ on the USA Network. I used to love that show. During its early seasons, it was a very fun twist on lawyer procedurals, but it’s simply been on the air too long and has outlived its usefulness. Season 5 was kind of a mess, and as Season 6 started this summer, I had serious reservations that it could right the ship. Unfortunately, after a few episodes it was clear that things were only getting worse. The season’s big plot twist of sending one of its main characters to prison turned out to be a jump-the-shark decision that unraveled the whole premise of the show. More importantly, all of the characters, every last one of them, have become truly insufferable assholes and I just don’t want to spend time with them anymore. When I looked on my DVR this week and saw three episodes sitting unwatched, I knew it was time to say goodbye. I deleted them and the series recording.
Tell us in the Comments about any still-active TV shows you used to enjoy but can’t watch anymore.
The blog will be taking Monday off for the Labor Day holiday. Enjoy the long weekend. We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.