We are living in a great era for television: we can watch whatever we want, when we want, on whatever we want. Most television shows’ production values are so high that they are movie quality while the writing and presentation gives us something to tune in for week after week.
However, there may come a time, when you decide to get off the hype train. With the glut of choices out there now what really is behind the reasoning for fans to stop watching? Is it the writing? Character development? Repetitive storylines? Below are a few shows we at PCU gave up on and the reasons why.
There are an amazing amount of shows that I have quit over the past few years. When I think of shows like Blindspot, Arrow and The Blacklist, it just got to the point of feeling like I was watching these shows for the sake of watching them. The Walking Dead however is the show that sticks out in my mind as a huge show that I just had to quit. I watched the show since season 1 and I wasn’t even mad that they deviated from the comics; in fact I welcomed it. I think the issue for me was, as time wore on for this show, the more I felt like Rick and company were making questionable decisions that, even after reading how they played out in the comics, felt even more wrong watching it play out on television. A few times, I tried to stop watching but, then Terminus happened and I wanted to see what that was about. I tried again but then the creepy hospital popped up. I finally got my fill right before Negan was introduced and I even watched the first episode where he beat Glenn to death just to see how it was done and I felt like I saw all that there was to see. I think what happened for me was there were too many times I found myself screaming at the TV for certain characters to take certain actions (I am sorry but Eugene and Denise annoyed the hell out of me!) and when they didn’t, I was disappointed. A few times some of those actions were seemingly out of character. Don’t get me wrong, the show is still good, as legions of fans can attest to, but I think I had enough of torture porn.
The foremost example in my mind of a show that I quit with no regrets was Game of Thrones. Everyone has their own variation of why they quit and the usual reasons apply in my case too. Even if you factor out the so-called “PC complaints”, it came down to the show just being too much of a drudge to follow. What’s essentially nihilism porn after a point stops being charming, especially when the show is consistently trapped in a holding pattern to avoid spoiling the source material, or because Martin hasn’t finished writing the novels yet. Either way though, the plot had the feeling of having outraced itself, and I’ll willingly admit that having not watched the show in a while that may well have changed. Given where the show was when I left it, I’m not feeling particularly sad about it.
OK, technically my wife and I watched this one clear to the end of the show. The problem is that, as with everyone else, we felt like the show’s final episode flipped the rest of the series on its head. Barney went back to being an asshole, Ted’s relationship with his long-awaited wife became meaningless, and he really ended up with the girl he’d been chasing through the entire series in what amounted to the world’s biggest fake-out. We haven’t been able to watch any reruns. We know where it’s all going now–nowhere good–so why bother trying to relive old episodes?
I really tried to like the CW superhero shows, but I just can’t commit to them. It all started with Arrow. As has been discussed previously on this site, Arrow is a soap opera incapable of doing justice to its characters, especially the supporting cast. I have repeatedly watched, quit, and gone back to Arrow, and I have been continuously let down. Legends of Tomorrow, the latest spinoff, is possibly even worse. The size of the cast is cumbersome and the writers just cannot figure out how to make the characters likable. I couldn’t get through the first season. The Flash and Supergirl are definitely the better shows. They’re lighter and more fun, and the supporting casts are much stronger. They have well-written, likable characters, and the actors put in solid performances. The crossover event between the two shows was one of the best episodes of any TV show that I’d seen in years. That said, I quickly became bored with the “bad guy of the week” format for the first season of The Flash and the time traveling in the later seasons just makes the show convoluted and bloated, with so many different versions of the same characters. Supergirl can be cheesy to a fault and got stuck in the “bad guy of the week” format, but in all honesty, superhero fatigue is probably my biggest reason for not sticking with the show. Superheroes are everywhere these days, and I think I need to find some TV shows or movies that aren’t superhero related for awhile. However, I’ll be sure to catch the musical crossover that airs in March. Mostly because I want to hear these people sing.
We were pulled in by Modern Family from the beginning—it was silly and heartwarming all at once, it had a diverse cast of characters (Latinos! The gays! Divorcees!), and most importantly—it didn’t have a laugh track (you’re not the boss of me, Laugh Robot!). The wide array of characters made it easy to peek into their lives without having to spend too much time on any one couple and over-analyzing the flaws (does everyone in LA live in such fancy houses…oh, wait—we’ve established that Gloria and her son lived in poverty before she married Jay…so I guess all of the white people in LA live in fancy houses). As the seasons wore on, however, it was reported that the two show runners had a rift, and were no longer working together for that magic mix of funny and family—they worked on episodes separately, so that you could have a complete slapstick (what type of wackiness will <insert character name> get into THIS week? episode, followed by a super sappy episode (“Of course I’ll give up my dream of going to a fancy east coast college because I can’t BEAR to be without this amazing family…even though the past four seasons I had established independence and a complete disdain for them”…that was probably paraphrasing…)
If that rollercoaster of tones wasn’t enough, rather than character growth, we began to see characters declining into their worst traits—anything involving Claire was going to result in her being an awful person, but somehow we were supposed to feel sorry for her because she didn’t fully understand everything that was going on (white women’s tears are REAL, y’all); Cameron and Mitch went from being a relatable couple to a parade of gay stereotypes (and don’t even get me started on how Lilly’s “precocious sassiness” made every scene unbearable); and Gloria’s heritage went from being something that was proudly celebrated to something that was a weird grab-bag of a poorly conceived “Latino-ish” scenarios (because it made so much sense for her to dress the men in her family as mariachis to go to a wedding for her cousin in Mexico…even though she’s Colombian. Yup. Everyone in Mexico definitely wears sombreros as their form of “fancy top hat”).
We hate-watched the show for about a season more—it was an easy thing to put on the TV while we played on our iPads, but at some point we realized: there were so many good shows out there that saying “gosh—wish we had the time!” didn’t make any sense for us. Especially not wasting 22 minutes of our TV time on something that we were barely paying attention to anyways. Modern Family—you got the boot!
When 12 Monkeys debuted on Syfy in 2015, I wasn’t convinced that the series would have the ability to translate the time-traveling mindscrew 1995 movie into a full series, but after the first episode, I was in. The series mirrored the strangeness and unraveling conspiracy of the movie incredibly well, with its own twists. A criminal is sent back (and forth) in time to save humanity by discovering and preventing the origin of a virus “plague” that kills seven billion people. With the show actually putting the post-plague world front and center, it gave context and a sense of gravity for James Cole to travel to the past, find virologist Cassandra Railly and prevent the plague. Each episode’s reveal made me feel like this was a complex, but solvable, conspiracy. Other players, such as Cole’s BFF José Ramse and time machine creator Katarina Jones, gave strong, relatable – sometimes opposing – points of view as season one drew closer to revealing the Army of the 12 Monkeys.
And then season two happened….
I was amped up for the second season, but coming back, everything that made the characters relatable was gone. Cole, who once seemed like a desperate man on an impossible mission, was made simply clueless and unsure. Ramse needlessly, and constantly, reminds everyone what a wild card he is. Stuck-in-the-future-for-six-whole-months Cassie has become hardened and somehow even more ruthless, cunning and skilled in self-preservation than anyone who spent their entire lives in that same world. And, oh yeah, the conspiracy to start a plague has somehow morphed into a plot to undo the fabric of time/space using some sort of dormant genes and red trees. After three episodes, the only unraveling mystery became why I was still watching!
So, as can be seen here, there are a lot of reasons why people might leave a show, just as there are many things that can trigger what we consider quality or lack thereof, it all depends on your limits.
Which shows have you washed your hands of? Let us know in the comments!