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TV Gone Bad: when shows make terrible decisions

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It is incredible how much Season 8 of GoT completely soured my wife‘s and my opinion of the series. We started watching it a good few years after it started, but caught up so we could watch the final season ‘live’. Now we don’t care about it. All that sticks in my mind are the missteps and bad decisions from the final few episodes, not the wonderful characters, dialogue and storylines that came before it. Such a shame.

 

I guess that was bound to happen with a long-running series to some extent, no matter how good or bad the final season was. I loved the ending to The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, but I’ve never been back. I do look back on them fondly though.

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1 hour ago, Paulando said:

It is incredible how much Season 8 of GoT completely soured my wife‘s and my opinion of the series. We started watching it a good few years after it started, but caught up so we could watch the final season ‘live’. Now we don’t care about it. All that sticks in my mind are the missteps and bad decisions from the final few episodes, not the wonderful characters, dialogue and storylines that came before it. Such a shame.

 

Indeed. There's no point in watching even good GoT any more because the last season meant that almost all of it meant absolutely nothing.

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40 minutes ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

Indeed. There's no point in watching even good GoT any more because the last season meant that almost all of it meant absolutely nothing.


It's interesting to see that much interest in a series dissipate so quickly. I feel really sorry for everybody who put real effort and passion into making it, only to be let down by half-interested showrunners that appear to have become bored of their own project.

I keep eyeing my Blu-rays of S1 and S2 and there's a part of me that knows I'll probably never watch them again now.

 

 

1 hour ago, Paulando said:

I guess that was bound to happen with a long-running series to some extent, no matter how good or bad the final season was. I loved the ending to The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, but I’ve never been back. I do look back on them fondly though.


I've started my first re-watch of Breaking Bad, five years after the series ended. It's not something I usually do- I'm enjoying it a lot but there are some interesting missteps along the way that I couldn't see Gilligan making now. BCS feels like the superior programme and I suspect that it's because they'd honed their skills on BB.

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On 16/08/2019 at 10:40, SozzlyJoe said:

The American TV show lifecycle

 

Season 1 - Awesome new show!

Season 2 - More of that awesome show!

Season 3 - Kind of running of out ideas now, still pretty good

Seasons 4-n - Pretty much treading water while the ratings hold

Season N+1 - Oh shit, no-one is watching any more, cobble together a big finale for a last gasp

 

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.

 

This is every Showtime show I've ever watched - but extend that to 7-8 seasons. I'll never forget how fucking exhausted Californication and Weeds were by their end.

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Well, Mr Robot's first season was excellent.  The second season was ... Okay.  But really lacked the focus of s1. It's not that I hated the second series, but I wasn't gripped like s1.

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Can be hard to discuss without spoilers. I’ve spoilered a more controversial and recent one.

 

Veronica Mars Season 3: screwed over by the whole college storyline.

Agents of Shield Season 1: screwed over by the timing of Captain America 2 - it’d have been great if it had been a twelve episode story starting in January, with the reveal in March.

The Good Place Season 

4.  bizarrely five episodes of filler in the real world which just didn’t land for me at all

 

its harder to name series which didn’t do this... Crazy Ex Girlfriend had a very specific four season timeline, but parts of season two, three and four still dragged.

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51 minutes ago, uglifruit said:

Well, Mr Robot's first season was excellent.  The second season was ... Okay.  But really lacked the focus of s1. It's not that I hated the second series, but I wasn't gripped like s1.

 

I haven't even bothered going back for season 3.

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3 hours ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

Indeed. There's no point in watching even good GoT any more because the last season meant that almost all of it meant absolutely nothing.

 

It makes me regret not rewatching it all against before season 8. I was so sure this was a show I going to buy the box set of but now I know I'll never watch it again because of the ending.

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1 minute ago, Chadruharazzeb said:

I did watch it all again before S8, all it did was make the last season seem even worse. 

 

Fuck, how did they drop the ball so much.

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2 hours ago, Meh said:

 

GET OUT.

I swear to God I thought there was something wrong with my DVD player it was that bad.

 

If they had put Tony Soprano in situation where you just see a gun muzzle coming into frame just behind him and the cut to black that would have been a hell of a lot better than the WTF ending we got.

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23 minutes ago, NinjaSeb said:

I swear to God I thought there was something wrong with my DVD player it was that bad.

 

If they had put Tony Soprano in situation where you just see a gun muzzle coming into frame just behind him and the cut to black that would have been a hell of a lot better than the WTF ending we got.


The beauty of it for me is, if that’s the ending you want, then that’s the ending you can have. If you want something else, you’ve got something else.

 

What is interesting is that people are still talking about it, and 13 years later I can remember that shot as if I saw it yesterday. On the other hand, I can’t for the life of me remember the final shot of Breaking Bad, or of Game of Thrones for that matter.

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Dexter:

 

Series 1: Great telly. Excellent cat-and-mouse dynamic of one serial killer baiting another, interspersed with Dexter trying to balance his cover life with his other side, with some great villains of the week (Carl from Ghost convincing people to top themselves for example!)

 

Series 2: A great expansion. The main baddie was, admittedly, perhaps too hateable in the wrong way, but this was basically series 1 but with more. Frank Lundy was such a likeable character and despite him technically being the antagonist, you found yourself rooting for him in a way.

 

Series 3: Not as good, but enjoyable. Helped to show that Dexter really isn't an antihero no matter what he tries to say.

 

Series 4: I've said it before, I'll say it again. Fantastic slab of telly. Lithgow is a disturbing and scary villain, not just when he's smashing heads in with a hammer or convincing victims to jump off of ledges, but also when he's got his nice face on. Lundy returns, Dexter has a lot of character growth (admittedly this is where his "I'm an emotionless husk" thing REALLY starts to make no sense) and everything is well-paced.

 

Massive coverage, Golden Globes and other awards, big prspects for cast and crew all at this point. However, this is also where the final two of the original three members of the showrunning/creative team leave the show. And...

 

Series 5: SEX CRIMINALS. Because fuck subtlety! These are POWERFUL BUSINESSMEN who HATE WOMEN and LOVE doing sex crimes in order to FEEL POWERFUL! Such one-dimensional villains who had all the character and articulation of a Wolfenstein 3D enemy. I'm surprised they weren't nazis too, actually. There's a lot of blatant mid-season panicking in the writing too, like bundling off Dexter's stepkids and moving him into his apartment again as if nothing had happened in the last four series. The female lead is so unlikeable too. "What do you mean you won't murder these people? I'm purer than pure, lighter than light - it's even in my name! You have to do what I say!" Yeah, fuck off love. The only shining light is Peter Weller, who plays a wonderfully shady corrupt former cop.

 

Series 6: Yet more panicking and retconning, most blatant of which is the unnerving-in-the-wrong-way "It doesn't matter that she wants to have it off with her brother, it's fine, it's her stepbrother!" which was quickly backpedalled. The baddies were interesting, and the dynamic of good vs evil-but-flipped had legs, but ultimately all I remember from this are a few visual setpieces and Colin Hanks being really good. I want to see him play a T1000 based on this performance.

 

Series 7: The clusterfuck truly sets in! Decisions and attempted retcons result in some outrageously out-of-character performances and it really feels like the show is coming apart at the seams to say the least. Also Yvonne Strahowski was so rage and-or somehow apathy inducing that I was delighted when she died in my first Mass Effect 2 playthrough.

 

Series 8: Dint watch it. Sounds even more nonsensical though.

 

It's amazing how quickly and severely the show went, as Tommy Cockles once put it, "from talk of the town to whisper of the village". You hardly ever hear it talked about now, and Michael C Hall's career, which seemed to be on a vertical trajectory, just kind of... didn't skyrocket like it should have. I reckon if Dexter ended after series 4 he'd have been massive. Like, MCU massive.

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2 hours ago, NinjaSeb said:

I swear to God I thought there was something wrong with my DVD player it was that bad.

 

If they had put Tony Soprano in situation where you just see a gun muzzle coming into frame just behind him and the cut to black that would have been a hell of a lot better than the WTF ending we got.

 

I can't believe people still go on about this, the whole POV thing when the bell rings and you look through Tony's eyes at the shop door means it couldn't be much clearer that he's dead, they even talk about it a few episodes before that everything might just go black when you're dead. 

 

It's not a cop out, he clearly gets taken out. 

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David Chase even confirms it (accidentally) in an interview from a short while back. It was done so that the ending could be left open to interpretation. Not everything needs a neat bow around it.

 

The fact people talked about it for years and years means that it clearly worked as intended.

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4 hours ago, uglifruit said:

Well, Mr Robot's first season was excellent.  The second season was ... Okay.  But really lacked the focus of s1. It's not that I hated the second series, but I wasn't gripped like s1.

 

Alright, I'll give you that the second season was a bit of a piss-take - especially if you didn't like a certain twist early on - but it was still clearly decent stuff.

 

Season 3 is absolutely faaaaaaaantastic, though. It's so fucking good.

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10 minutes ago, Meh said:

David Chase even confirms it (accidentally) in an interview from a short while back. It was done so that the ending could be left open to interpretation. Not everything needs a neat bow around it.

 

The fact people talked about it for years and years means that it clearly worked as intended.

Never saw the show but I've heard enough about the ending, one view being it works because Tony is going to be living the rest of his life in that sort of state, not knowing whether a trip to a diner could be a nice happy ending or a bullet through the back of his skull. Which sounds fucking excellent as an ending.

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9 hours ago, Spacehost said:

Never saw the show but I've heard enough about the ending, one view being it works because Tony is going to be living the rest of his life in that sort of state, not knowing whether a trip to a diner could be a nice happy ending or a bullet through the back of his skull. Which sounds fucking excellent as an ending.

 

Yep, they even say earlier in the episode that you never see it coming. It could just be his daughter coming in in this instance, but it doesn't matter if he's not killed this time because this is how it's going to happen.

 

Wonderful stuff.

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On 17/08/2019 at 18:08, Qazimod said:

Bad Willow being a sort-of arc in Buffy. In fact anything in the period where random magic spells miraculously saved the day. ;) 

 

Buffy peaked on the musical episode for me. The show wasn't perfect; Season 4 was fairly shaky, but s5 got back on track with an entertainingly shallow Big Bad and a sibling that added a new sense of mystery (one of the only times that a previously unknown family member has actually helped to revitalise a show). It was inevitable that Buffy would return and the implications of her resurrection would have an impact on the group as a whole, but the implementation was just so depressing! Buffy was clearly suffering a form of PTSD that led to her making bad decisions with Spike, and the Scoobies were constantly racked with guilt over their actions. S6 might have been saved by a credible villain, but instead we get 3 characters who are deliberately intended to be failures (awww, poor guys! They may not be evil, but at least they tried!, etc.). The rest of season 6 was a long & tedious slog to watch. Season 7 offered some improvement - I like the idea of the First Evil appearing in the form of previous Big Bads and the new slayers turning up,  but I was only watching out of habit by that point. If I had the chance to quantum leap into Joss Whedon circa 2000, I'd condense the Buffy season 6 resurrection to the first 3-4 episodes and immediately launch into the season 7 story as a 'we succeeded in getting Buffy back, but managed to release the ultimate Big Bad and break the magic that causes new slayers to be called. How can we fix this?' plotline.

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In terms of an obvious single moment or event that clearly caused an immediate and unrecoverable turn for the worse, I can't think of a better example than Niles and Daphne getting together in Frasier.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

In terms of an obvious single moment or event that clearly caused an immediate and unrecoverable turn for the worse, I can't think of a better example than Niles and Daphne getting together in Frasier.

 

 

 

well, that's just an example of jumping the shark.

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Lost became a mess quite quickly, not helped by the writer’s strike. The show had no idea what it was doing, and things took a snail pace. I recall season 3 being particularly bad.

 

Yet the show still has arguably the best episode ever seen on in TV in The Constant.

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You beat me by 10 minutes. Came here to post about Lost.  I loved the first series so much. So many endless debates with friends and co-workers about what it all means? Nothing. It meant nothing. 

 

Ben was great though, wasn't he?

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On 17/08/2019 at 21:12, RJ Badman said:

Dexter

 

[season breakdown]

 

It's amazing how quickly and severely the show went, as Tommy Cockles once put it, "from talk of the town to whisper of the village". You hardly ever hear it talked about now, and Michael C Hall's career, which seemed to be on a vertical trajectory, just kind of... didn't skyrocket like it should have. I reckon if Dexter ended after series 4 he'd have been massive. Like, MCU massive.

 

Good write up of the seasons, but I think the rot set in pretty early really, and season 4 was a blip on an otherwise relentless downward trajectory. And I'd even say that was only because Lithgow was so good; there was still plenty wrong with it.

 

Fundamentally, Dexter was one of those concepts that just doesn't stand up to that much exploration, certainly on screen rather than in written form, and inevitably the longer it went on, the harder it got to paper over the ever-widening cracks. I mean, they did a fucking awful job of it on top of that, don't get me wrong, but wrapping it up in two or three seasons would have been the practical limit to my mind.

 

It could have greatly benefited from a planned end because then there could have been a much more interesting arc, along the lines of Walter's journey in Breaking Bad.

 

On the other hand, the last few minutes of season 8 (the only part of the last couple of seasons I watched) were hilarious, and perhaps it would be a shame if that had never existed.

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Judge John Deed - Entertaining courtroom drama, each week would be a different case, add in the scheming to take down the rogue judge and you had a nice set-up... which they totally trashed in series 3 which admittedly had a couple of good episodes but ultimately it ended up turning into a dysfunctional family drama where the cases took a back seat to badly-realised interpersonal strife.

 

Prison Break - really should have ended after season one. How they managed to stretch that out is beyond me.

 

Any shows that start off procedural and move to fully concentrate on the story arc.

 

Peep Show - the last episode of series 7 was a perfect goodbye to all the characters... then they brought it back. Utterly pointless and added nothing.

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Only Fools and Horses. They had the perfect ending for the show. And they couldn't help but spoil it by bringing it back a couple of years later.

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5 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

Only Fools and Horses. They had the perfect ending for the show. And they couldn't help but spoil it by bringing it back a couple of years later.

Totally. for years they had set up the condition for that show to end, they reached that in a decent episode... then came back with that stupid Batman and Robin rubbish. It was so disappointing, in fact I was disappointed as I sat there and saw them appear, awful.

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