I like TV. I'm not one of those people who claims they're too good for TV. Because I'm not. And, earlier this decade, TV quietly surpassed film in terms of quality entertainment. (Now, TV's declined again, and movies are still mediocre, so neither is consistently bringing the heat.)
Anyway, over the course of the past year or so, I've abandoned ship on a lot of different TV shows. Here are 11 ones that I used to watch without fail... and now, I don't even bother.
"Amazing Race" - What's really amazing here: Back in '01 through about '03, before the show was popular at ALL, it was great. It was some of the most tense, compelling stuff ever. And I dreamed of being on the show. Then the show got popular and the producers made three crucial errors.
One, they stopped casting a wide range of teams and started making at least half of the teams good-looking, hetero, personality-free couples in their 20s. Two, they started making a ton of the challenges "Fear Factor" style... aka how much of this gross local food can you eat? And three, when the teams got a choice of two challenges, the producers made it too clear which was the grueling/fast one and which was the not grueling/slow one. Basically, the couples got generic, the challenges got dumber and the show got more boring. I, along with many people, bailed... and never came back.
"24" - detonating nuclear bombs around the U.S. since '01.
"24" - I stuck with "24" through a lot of garbage. I stuck with it through Kim. I stuck with it through nukes being detonated all over this country, repeatedly. I stuck with it through the pointless Jack-in-Mexico subplot. I stuck with it through the completely illogical and contrived President Logan is a bad guy "twist." Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and I bailed midway through season 6... around when they decided to bring the President out of his coma. And I don't miss it at all.
"Family Guy" - Like almost everyone in the world, I didn't watch "Family Guy" until it was canceled by FOX and popularized on DVD and Adult Swim. So when FOX resurrected "Family Guy", I wondered if the show would return to being as strong as it was... or if it would be a watered down version.
And when it came back... yeah, it felt watered down. I just started finding the episodes more boring and less funny. And then "South Park" ran their episode about how lame "Family Guy" jokes are... which forever tainted the way everyone watched the show... and that was it for me and "Family Guy".
"Law and Order: SVU" - Early on, I really liked the show. To me, it achieved the perfect Law and Order balance. The original Law and Order was split 50-50 between detective work and courtroom. Criminal Intent was all detective work, no courtroom. SVU found the perfect balance - about 75 percent detective work, 25 percent courtroom. Love that.
Then Mariska Hargitay started getting nominated for Emmys (for some reason) and the show started turning every week into her or Elliott having some personal mental crisis. And it got so boring and up its own ass... and, on top of that, they completely abandoned their golden detective/courtroom ratio. So I abandoned ship.
"Last Comic Standing" - Most of my friends believe I bailed on this because it made me confront the fact that I basically gave up on stand-up comedy while a bunch of mediocre hacks stuck with it and now made it onto this show. Which is partially true.
But the real reason I gave up was because they made the critical error for a talent-based reality show: They casted on personality, not talent. They let crappy comedians on the show because they had argumentative, controversial or obnoxious personalities.
This decision became even stupider when they stopped having all the comedians live in a house together. It's one thing if you want to cast combustible people so they piss off their housemates... "Real World" has been doing that for 20 years. But when you cast obnoxious people for no apparent reason... then you're just foolish.
"Prison Break" - I watched season one when, ya know, they actually broke out of prison. I watched season two when they ran around the country avoiding the Feds, looking for buried treasure... and, ultimately, Michael ended up back in prison. By season three, when the season started focusing around him now having to break out of an even crazier Panamanian prison, I was just over it. And how could he break out of that prison, anyway... none of its schematics were mysteriously tattooed on his body.
I do miss David Caruso's one-liners followed by The Who screaming "Yeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!"
All three "CSI"s - Basically, I liked these. They're very formulaic, but I'm fine with that. I like the ridiculous cases, the puzzle solving, all that. And I could even suspend disbelief that crime scene investigators would get to carry guns and interrogate suspects. But I only have so much time, and my head gets enough drivel as it is. So I cut all three out.
"Two and a Half Men" - Since there's some kind of chance I'll write for a sitcom one day, I really wanted to give this, America's most popular sitcom, a chance. But I was never really able to get in to it. The characters are such generic tropes and the storylines were so repetitive that I gave up.
"Scrubs" - I almost made it to the end. I don't even know why, exactly, I bailed on "Scrubs". All I know is that after the strike ended, I TiVoed "Scrubs" every week... and now, months later, none of them has been watched. If I can't clear 22 minutes out of the past few months to even watch one, then, clearly, I'm over the show.
(For the sake of having at least one tangible argument, though, let's say I also bailed because JD became way too cartoon-y.)
"Rock of Love" and "Flavor of Love" - There were only so many times I could devote hours and hours of my life to watching the America's trashiest women fight over these two sad, sad old men. Eventually, it just got old for me.
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" - I think "Curb" has been on the decline for a while. So when last season came around, I didn't watch it. And I get the feeling like no one else did, either... since no one has ever mentioned ANYTHING about the past season of "Curb" to me.
This post was originally published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 06:28:31 PM under the category TV.