TV Shows I’ve Given Up On

I have an awful completist streak in me but, as I get older, I find that I do not have time for crap, particularly in the form of TV shows which could consume days or weeks of my life. So, of all the art forms I consume, TV is the one in which my completist streak has been most beaten down by stuff I cannot finish. This is actually a good thing, as it’s (sort of) convincing me to drop some novels too. (Not many, though.)

Anyway here are the shows I could not finish for your perusal.

 

The Affair – Showtime

What?

A family goes on vacation to Long Island and the husband has an affair with a local. Hijinks ensue.

 

How Far?

I can’t remember; maybe 1 episode.

 

Why?

I didn’t write anything down and it was a long time ago, but I think I gave up because of an over-used trope involving the female protagonist.

 

American Crime Story – FX

What?

A series of self-contained mini series about notorious criminal cases in American history.

 

How Far?

Part of one episode of one season 1, the first episode of season 2.

 

Why?

I may eventually watch season 1, as we intended to but I never got around to it. But after the hyper-stylized, poorly paced and oddly edited first episode of season 2, it’s safe to say I will not be watching season 2 unless
I’ve run out of better TV.

 

American Horror Story – FX

What?

A series of self-contained seasons of supposed ghost stories, each with a different plot and (mostly) different cast.

How far?

1-2 episodes

Why?

I am a strong believer in the maxim that, 99% of the time, the human imagination is more terrifying than anything a make-up artist, costume designer and / or computer graphics artist can create.

But the people who created this show don’t necessarily agree with that. In the first episode we are introduced to the ghosts. In the first episode. Why will I be scared of ghosts that I already know? Will I be scared of ghosts as characters?

Ridiculous.

 

Arrested Development – Fox/Netflix

What?

A family of real estate developers in decline.

 

How Far?

4 seasons

 

Why?

I watched the initial run of this show years ago, when it initially aired. And not entirely in order, I don’t think. It’s been so long that I don’t know that I can do it justice in a review. It’s a classic comedy that managed to create its own style that I’m sure has been emulated in later shows, though I haven’t seen enough network comedies since to know.

The fourth season is a little more hit and miss than the original, but the format is pretty neat and it has its moments. It’s not so weak that it ruins the memory of the original seasons, and I think in retrospect we may look at it as something pretty novel.

2018: I have yet to watch the 5th season and no desire to as far as I can figure.

 

Ascension – CBC/SyFy

What?

A (mini?) series about people sent into deep space in the early ’60s, who are forever trapped in that era.

How far?

1 season.

Why?

After one episode:

I like how it takes a bit to reveal that the show is set on a ship, but the acting is pretty soap opera-ish and the dialogue really doesn’t seem period-appropriate, particularly that of the teenagers (not the mention the casting – black XO, female doctor…). Within 10 minutes, a scene is repeated, so you know you’re in trouble. And a show this reliant on PG13 sex is pretty much doomed already.

Why would they be watching a film about their mission on their ship? That’s how they celebrate their anniversary? I guess its acceptable. But then there’s some Prison Break-esque stupid camera movements and the CGI is as shitty as that show’s, or worse.

This is a pretty B-level cast and the plot gets ridiculous quickly:

  • a guy with a “PhD” tries to convince the protagonist of the existence of the spaceship by using no evidence;
  • the “Chief Safety Officer” doesn’t think there should be an investigation into a murder because it’s his family,
  • etc.

Lots of expository dialogue.

After one season:

Some of the worst parts of the first episode turn out to be red herrings, so I guess that’s excusable, maybe.

But the new twists are ever more ridiculous and the as the show gets more and more complicated, it just introduces more red herrings to cover its own nonsense.

 

At Last the 1948 Show – ITV

What?

A sketch show that acted as a kind of launching pad for Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Goodies.

How far?

5 episodes, as only 5 were available to watch at the time I watched them. There are now 11 available to watch of the 13 filmed.

Why?

At Last the 1948 Show hasn’t held up that well, so it is mainly of historical interest for anyone seeing the birth of a pretty ridiculous generation in English comedy (Python etc).

There are some skits that are simply amazing, however there are probably only 3-5 in the entire 5 episode run.

The rest of them are mostly either ideas that just don’t work that well (Python would do better) or of the kind of stuff that the Goodies later did (and if you like the Goodies, you’d probably like this).

It’s definitely worth viewing if you are a fan of any of the leads, but it’s pretty hit or miss.

 

Banshee – Cinemax

What?

SPOILER ALERT:

A newly freed thief tracks down his ex-girlfriend and gets the opportunity to impersonate the new sheriff. He becomes the sheriff of Banshee, PA and hijinks ensue.

How far?

5 episodes.

 

Why?

Like far too many other shows – Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Murder She Wrote and numerous others – this show places most of its events in a small town in the US. This town instantly becomes a war zone, but nobody outside of the town seems to notice that the murder rate – and violent crime rate rate – is practically Colombian.

But where the series really falls off the rails is in an early episode where our thief-turned-sheriff fights a world champion boxer. Not only does the sheriff beat the boxer – which is already highly dubious – but nobody gets sued out of this.  Remember, a white law enforcement officer fights a black public figure in a public place and the boxer is later supposedly successfully jailed. (Though we never find out if the case succeeds.)

But the other thing is that there is no media, mainstream, social or otherwise: nobody bothers to make a big deal of this. The biggest threat to our sheriff’s credibility is that somebody has a video. Ooh.

This show is made in willful ignorance of our society. Therefore, it should be set in a different era…

Every episode breaks our suspension of disbelief, often really early in the episode. And despite what esteemed TV critics say about this show, I just cannot take it any more.

 

Bedlam – Sky

What?

Someone thinks it’s a good idea to build condos in a former insane asylum. Of course it’s not a good idea! Hijinks ensue.

How far?

1 season

Why?

Let me be clear: I didn’t want to make it one season. However, since I got the show from the library and I figured since I had it, I might as well…

But from the very first episode I knew this was not for me: silly interpersonal drama and ghosts – in the very first episode! (Of course, it’s a new ghost every episode, so that’s necessary…) This is just one of those shows where we’re expected to get attached to all the characters – though one of them is rather awful – and then enjoy their adventures every week, with guest-stars and guest-ghosts (and the mysteries therein).

As I said, had this been on a streaming service, or had I other movies from the library, I wouldn’t have watched another episode after the first one. But it was something stupid to have on while I uploaded podcasts and did maintenance on this here website.

PS The things this show thinks are creepy are rarely, if ever, creepy, as they’ve already been used a bunch of times in better movies.

 

Being Human – BBC 3

What?

A supernatural dramedy about 3 roommates: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. Hijinks ensue.

How Far?

5 episodes or so.

Why?

This show doesn’t know what it is. (I sure hope they figured it out before Season 5…Jesus.) It tries to be philosophical (about fictitious creatures) and tries to be seriously dramatic, and tries to be funny at the same time. And it really doesn’t find a balance.

I’m surprised it’s so popular, to be honest.

 

Big Love – HBO

What?

A polygamist is living among us normals but he still has 3 wives! (Not to mention 3 houses!) Hijinks ensue.

 

How far?

Two seasons.

 

Why?

I just finished the second season of Big Love, and I am giving up. I don’t need to watch the other three seasons.

I’m not sure the people who made the show really knew what they wanted it to be. At the times the show seems to be an attempt at making a less profound, polygamist version of Six Feet Under, but at other times the show feels like a farcical dark comedy or dramedy. And the tone seems to swing wildly from episode to episode, or even within individual episodes.

But the other issue is the excess of characters and plot: there is so much going on in the show and I’m not sure to what purpose. Bill is unlikeable, but it’s almost as if they try extra hard to make him unlikeable by involving him in all sorts of polygamist mafia type stuff that I’m sure doesn’t actually happen.

It just got repetitive and not very interesting. I finished this season because of my insane completeness impulse and not out of any interest to find out what happened, I simply didn’t care any more. I didn’t care enough about any of the characters in part because there are too many characters for the scope of the show.

Anyway, I’m done with it.

 

Bloodline – Netflix

What?

The prodigal son of a rich Keys family returns and opens up the old wounds that have been buried but haven’t healed. Hijinks ensue.

How far?

1 season.

Why?

This is one of the innumerable shows on “TV” with a stellar cast but not enough substance. The show’s central mystery – which is hinted at in the opening episode and nearly every episode after – is not strong enough to support 13 hours and so additional mysteries are added (which is common enough).

Unfortunately, much of the drama of the show is around the central mystery and the family’s relations, and not around the crime mystery that is the main supporting plot. There’s too much focus on how the family isn’t getting along with each other and not enough of a focus on things we actually care about.

 

Broadchurch – ITV

What?

A troubled detective takes a job in the country to escape from his past. But instead he has to solve the murder of a child, not dissimilar from a case he screwed up years earlier.

How far?

1 season

Why?

This is, on the whole, a pretty good murder mystery. It features a compelling storyline that unfolds slowly, perhaps at the speed of a real police investigation, and universally great performances. Also, unlike American shows – and I’d be willing to guess, unlike the American remake – it features people who look like real people, which is always so refreshing.

For the most part, it transcends the cliches of the British murder mystery. Whereas usually, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, this time there is enough going on, enough backstory, enough mystery that you don’t really notice that, for the most part, the same formula is being played out: brilliant-but-troubled detective, numerous suspects, only Our Hero will be able to solve it, etc.

Unfortunately the final reveal reeks a little too much of the genre, but I won’t go into that because it would contain spoilers.

I must say that when I learned of a second season I was severely disappointed. We can’t leave well enough alone.

 

Broen / Bron (The Bridge) – DR1/SVT1

What?

A body is found exactly in the middle of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark. The plot thickens pretty much instantly.

How far?

1 season

Why?

It’s starts off reasonably great but drops off a cliff at the end of the first season. See my review.

 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Fox

What?

In a precinct where not much crime happens, cops are bored. Hijinks ensue.

 

How Far?

2+ seasons, if I remember correctly

 

Why?

I mostly enjoyed this show but, over time, I just go bored of it. It felt like I was watching the same thing over and over.

 

Cadfael – BBC

What?

A 12th century monk knows more about corpses than anyone else so he must solve the murders nobody wants to solve.

How Far?

1 episode.

Why?

Much like the later Foyle’s WarCafael takes the British mystery formula and deposits it into another time. We’re supposed to think it’s different but the formula is the same: smart detective whom the higher authorities don’t believe solves murders some people don’t want solved with the help of lovable sidekicks. The wardrobe is different but nothing else is.

 

Californication – Showtime

What?

Troubled novelist attempts to write more and not further fuck up his life.

How far?

1 season

Why?

I found the ending to the first season ridiculous. My ex told me the rest of the show was like that. I gave up.

 

The Crown – Netflix

What?

The King of England is clearly ill and soon dies, leaving his unprepared daughter as Queen. Hijinks ensue.

How far?

6 episodes.

Why?

I got bored. Read my review of the first six episodes of The Crown.

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm – HBO

What?

George from Seinfeld taking to his logical extreme.

How far?

1 season

Why?

Read my review.

 

Damages – FX

What?

A woman goes to work for a notorious lawyer and finds out she didn’t learn anything in about the real world in school.

How far?

1, maybe 2 seasons

Why?

A show with multiple plot twists per episode is not my kind of show. I don’t remember when I stopped, but I just couldn’t handle it any more. I would claim that Damages has more red herrings per episode than any other show ever made but, unfortunately, it seems to have spawned numerous shows competing for that honour.

 

Daredevil – Netflix

What?

A blind man with heightened senses tries to stop criminals in the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood of New York City.

 

How Far?

2 seasons

Why?

SPOILERS

Though I understand why some people like this more than the Avengers films, I still found much that was problematic in this show, nothing more than how Kingpin controls so much of New York City as to be absolutely laughable. Literally everyone is in on it, save a few key people. This is just utterly over-the-top and I don’t know why it’s necessary.

The second season lacked this problem but had others; including some subplots I really didn’t care about.

 

Dead Like Me – Showtime

What?

Reapers collect souls and contemplate the meaning of life.

How far?

Most of the show

Why?

A unique show back when TV was just starting to get interesting, I watched it sporadically, often out of order, before I had access to better shows. I never felt interested enough to make sure I watched the whole thing. I suspect it has dated rather awfully in the interim and what seemed thoughtful for TV back then would now seem shallow.

 

Dexter – Showtime

What?

He’s a serial killer, but he works for the police! What a conceit!

How far?

2 seasons

Why?

Dexter was always a pretty goofy show, but at least it was fun to begin with if you could put aside the premise. At the end of the second season, Dexter outwits the only decent police officer in the department in an absurd finale:

Normally I would reserve my thoughts about a TV show until I have seen more of it, but I finished the second season of Dexter last night and I gotta say that I’m having a hard time convincing myself I should watch any more. I am already quite annoyed about how he constantly gets away with it – I knew I would from the beginning – but now the show is just getting absurd. The finale felt like it belonged on a different program: a big climax that stretched my already stretched credulity to new heights.

I complained and was told it goes on like this. People tell me some seasons are good, and some are pretty terrible. Why would I bother? (Though I bothered with Treme.)

So I asked about the ending and was told how terrible it was. Glad I didn’t waste my time.

 

Downton Abbey – ITV

What?

A period piece about the changing role of the British aristocracy at the beginning of the 20th century.

How far?

1-2 episodes

Why?

I felt like I was watching a soap opera. Everyone tells me I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll eventually give it another chance.

 

Eastbound and Down – HBO

What?

A former major league baseball player tries to teach physical education.

How Far?

1 season, I believe

Why?

So this was more than a little over-hyped for me, I must say. And I guess that’s why I’m a little underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s funny. Sometimes it’s hilarious.

But it’s also often obvious, telegraphed, and too reliant on the “hahaha he’s swearing when he shouldn’t!” trope.

And certainly this style has been done before, and subtler.

 

Enlightened – HBO

What?

Woman has major breakdown at work, goes to a “wellness center,” comes back seemingly better but not, really.

How far?

1 season

Why?

This is a moderately amusing satire of modern concepts of Wellness and recovery and the like, along with a satire of corporate America. The best satires are ones where you cannot tell all the time whether or not it’s a satire, and I strongly believe that.

But I’m not sure that’s the problem here. I think the problem here is whether or not White has the balls to make his characters the butt of the satire. I think sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t. See, there’s an earnestness here that I think undermines the satire at times and I cannot always tell whether or not the show is sincere in its satire or sincere in its message that attitude can make a world of difference.

And it’s because of what I feel is this mixed message, and because I didn’t laugh as much as I hoped, that I will not be watching future seasons unless somebody I know is absolutely raving about them.

 

Entourage – HBO

What?

Mark Wahlberg’s life is the inspiration for this dramedy about trying to make it in Hollywood, surrounded by your friends, so I hear.

How far?

A few random episodes.

Why?

Much like how I felt about Friends at the time – though this is not meant to compare the two shows, as Friends seems infinitely better to me – I kept hearing about how great this show was, and then I’d see an old episode and it make pretty much no impression on me. I really never knew why anyone liked it. And yet it was on forever.

 

The Fall – BBC Two

What?

Northern Ireland’s police are unable to solve a crime so a top detective from London is brought in and she figures out it’s a serial killer.

How Far?

Two seasons.

Why?

I just figured the show was over. Read my review of the first two seasons of The Fall.

 

Foyle’s War – ITV/STV/UTV

What?

A detective in WWII Britain still has to solve crimes even though there’s a war on.

How far?

A few sporadic episodes. Maybe 4 or so, over a few seasons.

Why?

Setting a standard British mystery during World War II doesn’t make it less of a typical British mystery drama, where you can practically set your watch to the plot.

 

Funny Or Die Presents – HBO

What?

Inspired by the hit website, this is a sketch show produced by said website. Hilarity ensues.

How Far?

1 season.

Why?

I was under the mistaken impression that this was a collection of the best of Funny or Die. However, upon watching the show, it feels like much of this content was either made exclusively for the show, or was made for both the show and site, regardless of how well it did on the site. I say that because I feel like there is no way most of these reached “Chosen One” status online; too many of them are simply too hit-and-miss, or in some extreme cases, not at all funny. In particular, there is too much Mike O’Connell and too much Rob Riggle. Both of these guys are one-joke artists and if you don’t find them funny, then you’re stuck.

At least there was “1000 Cats” and “The Adventures of David and Jennie.” Oh and “Drunken History.”

I will not be watching further seasons.

 

The Goodies – BBC / ITV

What?

A British comedy series contemporaneous to Monty Python but which continued much longer than Python.

How Far?

I think the first “series” (i.e. season) but I watched it in 2012 so I don’t quite remember. It could have been some kind of highlights collection I watched.

Why?

This British comedy show is mildly amusing now. I can imagine that it was significantly funnier at the time, but I still can’t shake how much better – i.e. funnier, cleverer – comedy Monty Python was making at pretty much the exact same time. There’s certainly some satire here, but it’s fairly tame, and the physical (and tape-manipulated) nature of much of the comedy undermines much of whatever satirical edge there might be.

 

Happy Valley – BBC One

What?

An aging police sergeant with a dead daughter has to confront the fact that the man who murdered her is out of jail. At the same time, a bitter accountant sets up a kidnapping plot to get back at his employer. Amazingly, the two plots are connected within the first episode.

How far?

30 or maybe 40 minutes

Why?

I certainly believe that I should give any show at least an episode, but I couldn’t even make it through one.

The first episode is shockingly boring: more about your local British people than the mystery at the bottom of it. And then, when the paint-by-numbers twist about the kidnapping happens – in the very first episode: his boss isn’t a dick after all!!! – I gave up on the sub-sub-late-Hitchcock kidnapping plot and the not particularly interesting human drama and moved on.

 

Hell on Wheels – AMC

What?

A western about the building of the railroad right after the Civil War, seemingly rife for allegory.

How far?

2-3 episodes

Why?

The greatness of the Western as a genre is that it is prime allegorical territory.

But unfortunately for these folks, Deadwood set a new standard in TV westerns – and, arguably, movie westerns as well – and these people, who are content in telling the story as if there is no allegorical potential at all, can’t even begin to compete with Deadwood.

I mean, this is better than Briscoe County Jr, but that was a goofy comedy. This is a serious show and I have no idea why I’m supposed to care about it.

 

Hinterland (Y Gwyll) – BBC Wales/S4

What?

The first show to be partly in Welsh – so they tell me – this is about a troubled detective who moves to the country to escape his past. Sound familiar?

How far?

1 episode

Why?

I was hoping this was going to be the Welsh Broadchurch.

But, at least in the first episode, there’s no Welsh and, more importantly, this is just a typical British mystery drama – you know, the episodic kind with resolution in every episode that has been made for years and years and years, and is pretty much ubiquitous.

The great thing about TV is that it can support serials. And, honestly, once you’ve seen one formulaic British mystery series, you’ve seen them all.

 

House of Cards – Netflix

What?

American remake of the British show.

How far?

3 seasons.

Why?

The British show lasts three seasons. The American show, alas, does not.

 

House of Lies – Showtime

What?

A team of management consultants bullshits everyone. Hilarity ensues. (Based on a memoir.)

How far?

Beginning of the second season.

Why?

Nobody is likable in this show which isn’t a problem when a show’s funny.

Unfortunately, this show uses the same jokes over and over again and they cease to be funny after a while. (I think I laughed out-loud 4-5 times during the first season, tops.)

Now, in the second season, I’m supposed to stay interested – with the same assholes and the same jokes – because two of these assholes may or may not hook up. Why the fuck do I care?

 

In Treatment – HBO

What?

We essentially live with a psycho-therapist as he sees his various patients.

 

How Far?

1 season

Why?

In Treatment is a really neat concept: real time, huge emphasis on character development, and a great way to show off Acting.

But 43 episodes is a lot to sit through, and if one is going to sit through it, there should be some kind of payoff. There are some pay-offs, but they are not consistently worthwhile and they are somewhat scattered across the later episodes. The show requires huge commitment, particularly if you are watching on DVD via zip.

And I’m not sure it’s entirely worthwhile. I think I don’t want to watch seasons two and three.

 

Justified – FX

What?

A US Marshall belongs in a previous century and just cannot seem to understand the modern rules regarding justice.

How far?

2-3 episodes

Why?

The ex wasn’t feeling this much and nor was I.

I have heard good things and I will likely give it another chance.

 

The Killing – AMC

What?

American adaptation of a Danish show about a female police detective haunted by the dead girl she investigates, and her odd partner.

How far?

1 season

Why?

Though there’s a lot to like – the acting particularly – there are too many red herrings and the second half of the first season contains two clear fuck-yous to the audience. Read my review.

 

Luther – BBC One

What?

A troubled senior detective constantly skirts the thin blue line as he struggles with cases and his demons.

How far?

1 episode

Why?

The Wire spoiled me for all these types of shows.

A cop this volatile wouldn’t last very long anywhere. I just can’t handle these shows where the cop needs to interact daily in the life of the suspect and vice versa.

Why does anyone fall for this stuff?

 

Manhattan – WGN

What?

A dramatization of the lives of the scientists behind the Manhattan Project.

How far?

5 episodes

Why?

Here is a show with a fantastic premise which cannot help being a soap opera instead.

It’s shocking, in this day and age, the gap between network and cable show quality, still. Network should have caught up by now. But this show is a perfect example of how they haven’t.

A show with better writers would have either stuck to real characters or attempted to create believable characters – and an overarching plot that doesn’t have a story of the week – instead of whatever the hell they’re doing here:

  • everyone hates everyone else,
  • every thinks everyone is out to get everyone else,
  • and new, important facts emerge each episode just in time to create conflict, which will of course be resolved before the end of the “hour.”

 

Masters of Horror – Showtime

What?

An anthology horror TV series, with individual episodes directed by prominent (male) horror directors.

How far?

4 episodes

Why?

Here are reviews of three of the episodes as I seem to have lost my review of “Home Coming”:

“Incident on and off a Mountain Road,” directed by Don Coscarelli

I suspect that the original 16-page story by Joe R. Lansdale has something to do with the concept of evil begetting evil, but I have no idea, having not read it. But there is very little of that idea of “evil begetting evil” in this episode.

Like so many of these Masters of Horror episodes – all of them perhaps, though I don’t know, having not watched all of them, by any means – the reveal is way too early – though there is a reason in this particular episode. The reveal is very important in mysteries but so many horror films appear to not care about the mystery half of their genre, even though it’s often the mystery that causes the fear.

Also, the twist feels pretty blah and also feels somewhat forced and not genuine. Oh well.

5/10

“Home-coming,” directed by Joe Dante

Lost my review.

“Cigarette Burns,” directed by John Carpenter

This had me for the first 20 minutes. With the exception of the creature it was about as compelling of any 20 minutes of this series I’ve seen.

Unfortunately a pretty amazing concept goes off the rails a little bit with a little too much mystical silliness.

There is some pretty amazing actual horror near the end. Solid for what it is.

6/10

“Pro-Life,” directed by John Carpenter

It’s hard to get excited about a show that gives interesting opportunities to horror filmmakers to try something a little shorter when the result is something that looks like it would fit right in on Space. Aside from Ron Pearlman everything about this smacks of “Made for TV.”

Additionally it’s not scary and rarely funny.

But I guess it pays the bills…

4/10

 

Narcos – Netflix

What?

A show about Pablo Escobar and the cops who tried to bring him to justice.

How Far?

4 episodes, I think

Why?

Not only is the show too American-centric for a show about Colombia, but there is a whole host of nudity for no reason that we could figure out.

We felt like there was an air of seriousness and ambition not supported by what was actually on screen. We have been told to give it another chance, but I don’t know if we will.

In the interim, we actually went to Colombia, which likely means we will never watch this. They, um, don’t love it in Colombia.

 

The Oblongs – The WB

What?

An animated sit-com about a family set in a polluted valley next to a richer, healthier town.

 

How far?

1 season, I think. (Not 100% sure I watched the whole thing, actually.)

Why?

I don’t know what I would have thought about this when I was 20, but now it feels like a missed opportunity. There is a lot to work with here, but instead we get a typical situation comedy, hiding behind animation and a really wacky premise. (I felt like I was watching the logical conclusion of one of the “Premise Beach” ideas from Kids in the Hall.)

It’s only mildly amusing – I think I laughed, on average, once to twice an episode – and I just feel like there is so much potential here. It’s really too bad.

 

The Office – NBC

What?

The American version of the British show.

How far?

4 or 5 seasons, I believe

Why?

The British show knew when to end. That in itself makes it superior. Eventually I just got kind of frustrated that the thing kept going.

Orange is the New Black – Netflix

What?

A woman is sent to minimum security prison for transporting the proceeds of drug sales. Hijings ensue.

 

How Far?

3 seasons, if I remember correctly.

 

Why?

I genuinely enjoyed the first season of this show and parts of the second and third seasons. But somewhere in the third season (I think) the whole “Here we go again!” aspect of this show became too much. I also feel like some of the non-prison stuff might have been grating on me.

 

Reno 911! – Comedy Central

What?

A parody of COPS, sometimes just that, sometimes much more.

How Far?

One season.

Why?

This is an entertaining show, but it is rather hit and miss. It is a one note concept and, because of that and because of the fact that it is improvised, some episodes are hilarious and some are  not funny at all. (Somewhat surprisingly the Pilot is perhaps the weakest of the entire season.)

I can’t really imagine watching the other seasons at this point, unless I knew something was going to change, as it really does seem to depend on whether they were able to luck into a good idea during the process. The ones where it is just a parody of COPS, with nothing else happening, usually fall flat.

It does make me laugh more than it doesn’t, though.

 

The Shield – FX

What?

A group of corrupt LA cops try to balance enforcing the law while profiting off it.

How far?

Most of 5 seasons

Why?

When it first premiered, The Shield had a refreshingly realistic view of law enforcement only outmatched by The Wire.

But the inherent problem with the show appeared in the very premise – the cops have to get away with too much from the very beginning. Back in the early ’00s, it was easy to take this, though, because the acting was so good, the situation novel, the issues thought provoking. But that premise was just too much.

Incidentally, I watched this show in a really strange order: seeing bits of the first few seasons, then watching most of season five out of order then, years later, watching the first four seasons before I couldn’t take it any more. (I was dreaming of the show in my sleep.)

 

Sons of Anarchy – FX

 

What?

The step-son of the head of the local biker gang begins to discover secrets about his mysterious father. Hijinks ensue.

 

How Far?

Two, if I remember correctly.

 

Why?

I had heard good things about Songs of Anarchy from various people before the ex and I finally got around to watching it sometime last year.

The ex liked the first season a lot more than me – I found it over the top, soap opera-y, but at least it was entertaining.

But the second season feels like a complete retread of the first, with more drama – this time internal – that is resolved in the most ridiculous Deus ex Machina kind of way. (I guess it’s technically not Deus ex Machina, since we the audience new about it from many episodes earlier, but the problem is that we are supposed to believe this revelation resolves everything internal. It’s as if the whole Clay-Jax conflict never even happened – not to mention the Opie thing.) It’s just retarded. And the over the top drama had already made the show not very entertaining the but the reveal is just so, so much worse.

 

Spartacus – Starz

What?

An attempt at turning the Spartacus legend into a TV show instead of a just a movie.

How far?

Four episodes.

Why?

I have never encountered a “prestige” TV show that was so terrible before. Also, I don’t think I have ever been compelled to “hate watch” something before seeing this show.

If there is one word I could use to describe Spartacus, it’s “fake”. This is the fakest 21st century show I think I’ve ever seen.

Now, some of that is put on – it at times wants to be a comic book movie, like Sin City. But it’s not consistent in this design, and the rest of the time the fakeness of the show is just overwhelming. And that’s too bad, because there are some decent actors in this show.

I mean, it’s gotta be among the worst things to ever be renewed for multiple seasons since the Golden Age of Television began.

 

Terra Nova – Fox

 

What?

It’s AD 2149 and human pilgrims are sent to a “parallel time stream” on a different earth, during the cretaceous period. Hijinks ensue.

How Far?

I believe I made it through 9 or 10 of the 13 total episodes

Why?

I haven’t made it through the entire series and I doubt I ever will, because this thing is horrible. I can imagine the conversation that started it…

“You see, we put these future humans back in time, on an earth with dinosaurs. And then we introduce standard TV drama cliches into every episode – murder mysteries, parenting challenges, alpha-male head-butting – instead of building drama out of character development and the real challenges that people would face, were it ever possible to be in that situation. And of course the cliche plot devices will be resolved within 44 minutes. They must be! It’s brilliant! Give me the largest budget ever given to a TV show! Don’t worry, the CGI will still suck.”

That is apparently how Terra Nova happened. I can barely conceive of how someone decided that an idea such as this – with such a large budget – should be a vehicle for third-rate TV cop-drama plots and the like. It makes no sense.

 

True Blood – HBO

What?

Vampires live among us and openly, at that.

How far?

1 season

Why?

Pretty goofy to begin with, apparently they keep adding more and more fantastical creatures and the whole thing becomes sillier and sillier.

 

The Tudors – BBC Two

What?

A soap opera about Henry VIII.

How far?

Much of the first season and parts of later seasons.

Why?

The style of the show is announced by the title sequence, which is essentially that of a soap opera. The show never, ever moves beyond this, no matter how much I wanted it to.

And worse, in later seasons, Rhys Meyers utterly fails to physically resemble the king.

 

Vikings – History

What?

One particular viking Earldom, and one farmer in particular, are portrayed in the earliest days of the viking expansion.

How far?

1 season

Why?

Constantly did not live up to the huge potential of its setting.

I find the characterizations change for the sake of the plot and also found that plot rather paint by numbers for such a unique (for TV) premise.

No matter how amazing I find Winnick and her character, I just couldn’t care about anything else.

 

The Walking Dead – AMC

What?

Ach! Zombies!

How far?

1 season and a couple episodes

Why?

I didn’t dislike the first season all that much, it’s a little boring but it’s not terrible.

But the second season started off horribly and I just couldn’t handle it.

I have been told that the beginning of the second season is the worst of the show but I am hard-pressed to understand why I should bother with the rest.

People keep watching this show while they complain about it. Stop watching it!

 

Wallander – BBC One

What?

A less-troubled-than-usual, less-brilliant-than-usual detective solves murders in his sleepy Swedish province/county/whatever.

How far?

1 episode

Why?

My father, who reads the novels, says Branagh is horribly wrong for the part. I have no idea either way, but I found the first episode boring.

It’s a relief to see a show about a normal person who happens to be a cop, but I couldn’t figure out why he’s so damn angry, and I stopped caring after a while.

 

Weeds – Showtime

What?

A suburban mom sells pot to make ends meet.

How far?

2, maybe 3 seasons

Why?

This was a show that I just watched because there wasn’t much else on at the time (on Canadian cable). I was always mildly amused but that’s all.

Don’t remember how far I made it at this point. It’s been a while since I gave it a try.

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