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TV Gone Bad: when shows make terrible decisions

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I've just gone done a post in the GoT thread, saying how Game of Thrones is the best-worst example of a show performing an Annie Wilkes from Misery on itself during the Golden Age/last 15 years or so of good telly.

 

I also think The Walking Dead and their ousting of Frank Darabont (even if he was a complete twat) was a desperate mistake, leading to TWD only ever being 'good' at best from mid season 2 onward where season one was not only as good as the best bits of the comic, it was superior in some ways.

 

What are the worst examples you've experienced? I'm thinking not so much about great shows that faded because they ran on to long and out of ideas, but the ones that made baffling and egregious choices when things were still chugging along nicely. 

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Thought this was going to be a thread about things like the guy dying on The Late Late Breakfast Show or the woman reporting on the hurricane getting hit by a flying road sign.

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This is going to be a controversial choice, because it's such an amazing show in many respects, but Better Call Saul.

 

After the deserved success of Breaking Bad, I just can't get my head around what they're doing with this. It's infinitely slower and more meandering than Breaking Bad ever was and that combined with the absolutely ridiculous gaps between seasons just kills it for me.

 

I know that Breaking Bad often felt like they were making it up as they went along and I can imagine they were, but over it's run it managed to tell some amazing stories which all served the bigger plot and it culminated in a great ending. BCS though just feels like they're constantly pushing ideas around and hoping something sticks that they can use to drive the plot, but it's just not happening. We're 4 (or is it 5) seasons in now and I'm still not sure what the overarching plot is supposed to be, bar a look into Jimmy's life.

 

Saying that, the individual stories are great, it looks absolutely fantastic and the acting is top notch. I just wish it had a bit more purpose and drive to it and as I said before, these ridiculous gaps between seasons are leaving me cold.

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I can't think of any show that flipped in quality quite as badly as Game Of Thrones. There's always Enterprise's finalé though, which followed a pretty decent two seasons with one of the worst Star Trek episodes of all time. Well, until Discovery at least.

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Maybe not terribly wrong but Agents of Shield is a show that started slowly, steadily picked up steam until they had a great season 4.  Season 5 was good, although not as good and Season 6 which has just finished was really quite poor and with a conclusion to the season story-line that basically made most of the season irrelevant. It probably does not help that they seem to have a reduced budget so we get a lot of scenes taking place on some fairly tired sets. 

 

Ally Mcbeal was another show that had its ups and downs but the introduction of Robert Downey Jr in Season 4 was a big boost and his firing for drug issues at the end of the season meant Season 5 was pretty much hobbled from the get go. 

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59 minutes ago, deKay said:

Thought this was going to be a thread about things like the guy dying on The Late Late Breakfast Show or the woman reporting on the hurricane getting hit by a flying road sign.

 

Good point, thread title updated :)

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For me, the Mentalist was the worst for this because of a decision the showrunner *didn't* make - i.e. not deciding who Red John actually was until the penultimate season. Weirdly, they had the kinda' perfect finalé in Strawberries and Cream but then they completely blew it by doing four more increasingly forgettable seasons aftewards.

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34 minutes ago, SozzlyJoe said:

The American TV show lifecycle

For bonus points, each season ends with a humungous game changing cliffhanger, that the first episode of the next season has to spend ages to reset.

 

NCIS does this for whichever cast member(s) are up for contract renewal.

 

so there'll be a bomb (usually) and you don't know who's coming back until the start of the season. Except Ducky. He had a heart attack on a beach.

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Season 9 of How I met Your Mother.

 

The entire season was based over a couple of days at Barney and Robins wedding. It seemed overly dragged out, and in the end it didn't even matter anyway.

 

Not only this but the final episode was cheap. It was obvious from the beginning that it was meant to be Robin that Ted get's together with. However, due to the success of the show they kept it going and going, and ruined the initial vision. When you finally do get to met Teds future wife, it's all done in the space of a few episodes. She seemed nice and all, but she should have had more screen time and killing her off to then get with Robin was lame AF.

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4 minutes ago, Waggo said:

Sliders for me once they started losing the original cast.

 

 

 

Yes. It also became increasingly nonsensical. Why are we trying to get home now? Nobody is actually from that universe any more anyway. Just have a different universe each week and move on - that worked. Adding those aliens and Quinn being some godlike lynchpin of the multiverse? No.

 

7 Days screwed with the premise too.

 

Also, not as bad, but adding being able to leap outside his own lifetime, leaping into the body of a chimp, the evil leaper, and the Lee Harvey Oswald stuff in Quantum Leap was a tilt in the wrong direction.

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I'm less enamoured with The Sopranos throughout most of its run than most people, but not the ending. The ending is genius.

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@Camel It'd be good to hear why you think I'm wrong. Like I said, I knew it'd be a controversial opinion as a lot of people seem quite happy with it simply delving into the minutiae of Jimmy's various scams, but for me it's dragging its feet. We're far too deep into it now to not have an overarching plot and it's feels like it's not really going anywhere unexpected.

 

BB was different in that not only did it do what BCS is doing by focusing on the details, but it also had a plot that kept ramping up throughout each season. BCS feels like it's spinning plates until we get to the point where it segues into BB.

 

I'll obviously watch it when it returns because of the excellent points I mentioned in my last post, but I've given up on it getting anywhere near BB in terms of a satisfying narrative.

 

 

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I think Better Call Saul is doing an amazing job at showing Jimmy's gradual slide into becoming Saul Goodman, and that's the hook for me. I'm not on the edge of my seat, waiting to see where the next twist comes from. I'm just enjoying it for the characters.

 

BCS is also a rarity for me in that it's often incredibly slow paced, but I always find it absolutely gripping.

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@JPL Everything you mention is actually why the show is so good. It doesn't feel the need to force a change in pace, to surprise us with twists or to tie all the different threads into a larger overarching plot. The slow evolution of the characters and the finer details of their lives is the show. If it tried to do those other things it'd just be a pale imitation of Breaking Bad.

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It's a character-based show and doesn't need fantastical plots and twists and turns. It's about the evolution of characters and it's unsurpassed at what it does. I could watch it running at the same pace for many more seasons.

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5 minutes ago, Marlowe said:

@JPL Everything you mention is actually why the show is so good. It doesn't feel the need to force a change in pace, to surprise us with twists or to tie all the different threads into a larger overarching plot. The slow evolution of the characters and the finer details of their lives is the show. If it tried to do those other things it'd just be a pale imitation of Breaking Bad.

I think it's the huge breaks between seasons that's killing it for me, because I do enjoy it when I watch it. It moves at such a glacial pace though that I've pretty much completely forgotten anything from the previous seasons by the time the next one lands.

 

I don't see why it'd have to be a pale imitation of BB if it followed a similar structure, as it's by the same people. It just feels like they haven't really got a story to tell this time. Which is a bit disappointing for me. It's already a pale imitation of BB.

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Better Call Saul may be more appreciated in retrospect. I certainly think that Breaking Bad is a weaker show on second viewing. With less space to breathe between episodes the amount it crams in, particularly in the final two seasons, just feels ridiculous and cartoonish. It's still a massively enjoyable trip but I'm not sure if it's the masterpiece I once thought it was.

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The Walking Dead for sure, but I thought it was great for a much longer timespan than most.

 

In hindsight the turning point was that ridiculous roulette wheel ending of who gets the baseball bat to the head from Neegan - it was an utterly transparent ploy to generate internet buzz. Plus the actual outcome, choosing the characters they did and focusing on the gory details as much as they did just took the heart out of the show.

 

I pretty much stopped caring what happened to who after that, which was the only reason I had stuck with it so long. I tried to watch for one more season but I remember a ridiculous scene with Rick and Daryl on a truck with a mounted machine gun that basically flicked the switch to reveal the man behind the curtain (i.e. the terrible writing stood out), and I couldn't buy into it anymore.

 

Same things happened with shows like Heroes and the V reboot, but those had much shorter periods of decent writing. I think the cliff they dropped off was significantly higher though, especially with V. The last season obviously had so little budget that most of the scenes consisted of the main character, sat in an HQ, describing a lot of stuff that was happening elsewhere. We never saw any of it lol.

 

 

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As mentioned, Sliders just descended into utter tripe and on my watch through several years ago I gave up after 2 episodes of the final series. No Mallory, no Arturo (who's evil doppelganger story they didn't even touch on) just made it not worth bothering with.

 

For me Greys Anatomy is a prime example of when something outstayed its welcome. I genuinely loved the show for several seasons, even with some of the outlandish episodes, it had heart, some great drama and full of really funny moments. It also had surprises that were genuinely gut punching (if you've seen the show, I'll just say George). But as it started getting on, actors left, new characters weren't as interesting, storylines just kept going round in circlesa and a fall out between Patrick Dempsey and the shows writter/producer resulted in the shitest ending for such a beloved character. I gave up around season 12, but my wife still watches and its now on season 15, renewed for 16 and 17 I believe.

 

I was getting bored by it anyway but the final straw for me was when they had this amazing cliff hanger episode and thought it was back on track, but then the next episode centred around a group of the doctors called to another hospital to help out with something. The episode didnt mean anything or touch on the cliffhanger once. It was this shitty random epsiode they stuck on that meant nothing and I just decided it wasnt worth my time anymore.

 

How I Met Your Mother dragged on way too long too, to the point that I ended up not even liking the characters anymore.

 

Friends ran out of ideas when they tried to make Joey and Rachel an item. Nah, fuck they noise.

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31 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:

Homeland. Thrilling first series about a radicalised US soldier on the cusp of committing a devastating terrorist attack against the US government, followed by a second series in which the viewer is forced to endure an absolutely pointless storyline about his po-faced daughter's love life. Should've been a one-and-done mini series.

 

There are a whole ton of Shows that worked great as a single series and because it did so well they kept on making them.

 

Prison Break

Heroes

Homeland

Once Upon a Time

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1 minute ago, Darhkwing said:

 

There are a whole ton of Shows that worked great as a single series and because it did so well they kept on making them.

 

Prison Break

Heroes

Homeland

Once Upon a Time

Lost. Enjoyed the first season, right up yo the last 15 mins of the season finale when I realised it was going to now be stretched out for years and never get a resolution. never watched it again...

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58 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:

Homeland. Thrilling first series about a radicalised US soldier on the cusp of committing a devastating terrorist attack against the US government, followed by a second series in which the viewer is forced to endure an absolutely pointless storyline about his po-faced daughter's love life. Should've been a one-and-done mini series.

 

Oh god yes, 100% this. That first season was amazing, after season 2 I sacked it off. Then I heard it basically turned into 24 and I love 24 so that's not a slight against that show, it's just not what Homeland was about.

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