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TV Gone Bad: when shows make terrible decisions

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Homeland has been excellent from S4 onwards. Sure, it’s a completely different show now - the comparisons to 24 are apt but this is a far more intelligent show.

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It might only have 2 series so far but Patriot S2 was such a massive disappointment for me. S1 was one of the best offkey black comedy tv show's I've ever seen, it was wonderful so I looked forward to S2. When it finally arrived all the nuance and subtle humour had gone. In its place was badly written slapstick, badly written needless songs, characters behaving really stupidly just because the abysmal plot demanded it, it was just such a massive let down. Turns out that the guy behind it has a new show out called Perpetual Grace LTD which is similar in style to Patriot and has Ben Kingsley in as well as a whole load of the Patriot cast, I believe all the effort had gone into this new show and that is perhaps why Patriot S2 was so bad.

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4 hours ago, Delargey said:

I fucking loved The Sopranos ending, I get that it's not for everyone but I thought it was amazing. 

 

Why did you think it was a cop out?

 

I don't like ambiguous endings. I think the producer couldn't bring himself to kill off the main character properly so he bottled it.

 

I think a graphic violent ending would have had a lot more impact and it would have been a clean cut ending to the show. 

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Futurama after the Fry and Robot Devil hand-swap episode, S4 iirc, which was lovely. Then i just didnt click with it and gave up.

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I'm currently watching Peaky Blinder, finished episode 3 of series 2 and the series is very good but not close to the first season yet. The first season was amazing and the plot ended nicely and wouldn't have been bad to leave there. 

I've been assured it remains strong but I'm always so wary of these shows being dragged out. 

 

I found the final season of Breaking Bad was completly needless but the overall show was still excellent. 

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1 hour ago, ckny said:

Homeland has been excellent from S4 onwards. Sure, it’s a completely different show now - the comparisons to 24 are apt but this is a far more intelligent show.

 

Excellent is a bit of a stretch- I refuse to believe any show where an agent displaying as many lapses of judgement as Carrie the Irresistible can live up to the praise of being intelligent too. It's a guilty pleasure in our household, which is frustrating as it could've been a lot better. Enjoyable, but it cheated itself of lasting excellence.

 

Spoiler

I also miss Brody. His ghost looms large over the rest of it.

 

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New and obvious ones -

 

Killing Eve, the moment when

Villanelle agreed to support/work for MI5

 

Line of Duty, the moment when

Hastings started being implicated

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I'd say 24 should be in here yet at the same time, the final series in London with Jack driving through Shoreditch being chased by a heavily armed drone blasting the crap out of everything, watching the President walk out on the pitch at Wembley to be drone bombed to hell, throwing Cat Stark out of a tower block window and cutting a PRC agent's head off with a sword more than made up for the missteps of previous seasons.

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1 hour ago, NinjaSeb said:

 

I don't like ambiguous endings. I think the producer couldn't bring himself to kill off the main character properly so he bottled it.

 

I think a graphic violent ending would have had a lot more impact and it would have been a clean cut ending to the show. 

 

For me, the ending was saying that the scenario was Tony's life now, whether he was killed that night or another, every time he is out with his family he will always be watching over his shoulder, waiting for the hit. We know how he is gonna go.

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The fact that people are still discussing the ending tells you something about how great it is. If we’d actually seen Tony get mown down in a hail of bullets nothing would have been left to the imagination and it wouldn’t have had half the impact.

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6 hours ago, Mogster said:

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.

 

This, absolutely. I think one episode from an earlier season was just Mike silently disassembling his car and I was completely in his thrall for the duration. 

 

BCS is better than BB for exactly the reason that it’s more slow paced. I agree it’s sometimes painful to wait a whole week for another episode where not much plot happens (and conversely BB was a terrible show to binge because of the difficulty in following the volume of events), but it’s always filled with brilliant characters interacting with each other, saying and doing things that have meaningful consequences. There’s a reason why watching Mike disassemble a car is thrilling; because lovable Mike is such a wonderfully created and realised character. 

 

Its also a a great ‘show don’t tell’ programme, and the creators aren’t afraid to show something with no context or explanation of what’s happening, preferring to let the viewer work it out. That’s really satisfying because it’s nice to be respected by the creators in that way, but also because it actually draws you in deeper. What the hell is Mike doing? Oh, he’s disassembling his car... but why? Ohhh right, he must be searching for a tracking device. 

 

Wonderful show, but I would prefer to binge each season rather than have it teased out over several months. 

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6 hours ago, JPL said:

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.

 

What you’re saying is not wrong - the story is just ‘how did Saul and Mike become the people they are in breaking Bad’. There’s nothing else going on. 

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12 minutes ago, Popo said:

 

This, absolutely. I think one episode from an earlier season was just Mike silently disassembling his car and I was completely in his thrall for the duration. 

 

BCS is better than BB for exactly the reason that it’s more slow paced. I agree it’s sometimes painful to wait a whole week for another episode where not much plot happens (and conversely BB was a terrible show to binge because of the difficulty in following the volume of events), but it’s always filled with brilliant characters interacting with each other, saying and doing things that have meaningful consequences. There’s a reason why watching Mike disassemble a car is thrilling; because lovable Mike is such a wonderfully created and realised character. 

 

Its also a a great ‘show don’t tell’ programme, and the creators aren’t afraid to show something with no context or explanation of what’s happening, preferring to let the viewer work it out. That’s really satisfying because it’s nice to be respected by the creators in that way, but also because it actually draws you in deeper. What the hell is Mike doing? Oh, he’s disassembling his car... but why? Ohhh right, he must be searching for a tracking device. 

 

Wonderful show, but I would prefer to binge each season rather than have it teased out over several months. 

I do get all this, but there something that’s pissing me off with it. Like I said, I think it’s probably the huge gaps between seasons, but I do wish they’d ramp it up a bit. It feels more like a soap opera in its execution, in that it’s dealing with every day occurrences without any real end goal, which I’d quite happily watch, but its scheduling goes against that. Ultimately it’s a limited series, so there needs to be an end and I’d just love the stakes to be massively upped as it rolls into BB.

 

But I think I’ve given my controversial view enough now, so let’s hear some more suggestions. Good idea for a thread by the way.

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Castle.  Of course it was popcorn and mostly murder of the week, but the Castle/Beckett relationship was fun and interesting and nicely wrapped up at the end of Season 4.  It made sense.  Then the first couple of episodes of season 5 were dealing with the aftermath and then it just dropped off a cliff.  Nobody cared any more, the main story was done.

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Sherlock.  From genius detective to soap opera to turning into some sort of James Bond.  The last shot reminded me of Bodie and Doyle in The Professionals.  And Amanda watsoherface as some kind of international ninja assassin?  She had a Benny from Crossroads hat on and it looked so fucking ridiculous.

 

And that's before the writers confused "complicated" with "clever" and were reduced to a final episode where they were ripping off Portal.

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On the Sherlock theme Elementary was always well done and watchable. The start of S7 (which was never planned) is just terrible, and I’m not sure I can be arsed.

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1 hour ago, Joystick Chevron said:

I'd say 24 should be in here yet at the same time, the final series in London with Jack driving through Shoreditch being chased by a heavily armed drone blasting the crap out of everything, watching the President walk out on the pitch at Wembley to be drone bombed to hell, throwing Cat Stark out of a tower block window and cutting a PRC agent's head off with a sword more than made up for the missteps of previous seasons.

 

 

I haven't seen any of 24 beyond season 5, but I think the very first season has an example of what @Treble is talking about here:

 

Quote

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. 

 

Halfway through 24's very first season, there's the amnesia twist with Jack's wife. People go on about his daughter spending several hours of season 2 stood still, cornered by a vaguely menacing cougar, but for me it's season 1's amnesia revelation that was the early seasons' most cringeworthy moment. A perfect example of the worst kind of soap opera cliche!

 

I can't remember if the creators confirmed this or if it was just fan speculation, but IIRC it came about because the writers had only planned out the first twelve episodes, in case it got cancelled. Whatever the reason, it was indeed baffling that such a stupid plot twist happened at a point where the show was otherwise chugging along nicely.

 

It is possible to do good stories about amnesia, but those have all been things where memory loss/mind wiping was part of the core story. (Memento, Bourne Identity, Captain Marvel, Buffy's "Tabula Rasa", Red Dwarf's "Thanks for the Memory".) 

 

 

Of course, 24 recovered and improved again after that. But Treble's opening post didn't specify that the turns for the worse had to be permanent! ;)

 

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There have been a couple of good calls in here, but the obvious winner for me is Westworld. Never has a show fallen from grace like this one from Season 1 to Season 2.  From intelligent TV to an over abundance of confusing time lines. It should never had had a second season anyway. 

 

The Flash had a perfect first season and a very poor second one, but has since redeemed itself.

 

Breaking Bad is (by some margin) the most over rated TV show of all time. Better call Saul is a masterpiece 

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2 hours ago, Stopharage said:

Top of the Pops was shit after 1991. 

 

Now I'm off to shout at windmills. 

 

Jonathan Creek?

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9 hours ago, Pob said:

I think the BSG opening card that had that stuff about there being 7 Cylon models and “they have a plan” hamstrung the show right from the start. It could never move on from that initial promise of revealing who the other secret cylons were and what this amazing plan was. It would’ve been better if the events of the series unfolded organically as they made their way through space rather than getting hung up on some conspiracies and big twists that the writers had to dream up on the hoof. 

I loved BSG, such an immense space opera for it's time but man, that last season (and last epsiode) really soured it for me. Such a disappointment in so many ways.

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Dexter. After a couple of seasons it just became the epitome of a zombie show that needed shooting in the head, but stumbled on searching for brains. The whole brother / sister love story was just an awful, awful decision. 

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11 hours ago, Jg15 said:

I loved BSG, such an immense space opera for it's time but man, that last season (and last epsiode) really soured it for me. Such a disappointment in so many ways.

 

It was difficult the first time around but I find that I like the last series more with repeat viewing. The ending chokes me up a bit these days.

 

Spoiler

Roslin dying, Lee alone in the field, Gaius' voice cracking as he realises he's going to end up being a farmer. The ambiguity about whether or not history will repeat itself.

 

It's not perfect but those little moments will do for me.

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2 hours ago, ScouserInExile said:

Dexter. After a couple of seasons it just became the epitome of a zombie show that needed shooting in the head, but stumbled on searching for brains. The whole brother / sister love story was just an awful, awful decision. 

 

Series 4 was fantastic though. Lithgow was such a great villain.

 

Spoiler

They could've ended it when Dexter realised that he was never going to reconcile both sides of his life.

 

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I haven't seen the third series of The Handmaid's Tale yet so I don't know if it sorts its problems out but after an incredibly strong first season the bit in the second season where

 

they recapture June after her escape attempt and promptly stick her right back with the Waterfords

 

really made the whole series feel like it was spinning its wheels, and they had no real idea where to go with the plot once they'd run out of book material.

 

I hope it rallies because that first series is pretty much untouchable and the performances and whole visual look and style of the thing are still incredible, but it's too grim to watch if it's never actually going to go anywhere.

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