Kill It Now: Shows That Need To Expire (And Others That Don’t)

I’m following 27 shows a week, no joke. As my TV spidey senses are tingly with midseason programming creeping over the horizon, I’ve already decided which TV ball-and-chains to boltcut out of my download schedule and what to stick with. Some of them are shameful pleasures, some of them are just shitsacks that deserve to be dumped, others I stick with because they’re in their final seasons and I’m sentimental.

Here’s the roundup of my entire watchlist – all 27 of them! – with what I want desperately axed and what can continue kicking in the doors to my heart. (Spoilers included for all episodes aired before 17 Nov 2012.)

Long ass post ahead!

Just a note before I begin:  I have this running theory that most generally well-written TV shows have a 3-season ascension period before it reaches its prime. Unless they have a watertight outline of how and when they see the program ending, the quality will start fluctuating from season 4 onwards before steadily declining, even after a shark jump. Or if it sucks extra hard, then I torture myself by sticking with it, with a blind hope that it will one day improve and be great again.

Of course, great if they prove me wrong on my theory and are constantly delivering on the awesome. It means cookies for everyone, then.

Boardwalk Empire

Series in short: Alcohol prohibition makes everyone drink harder and shoot up places to crackling 1920’s music. Confirms that human savagery is consistent through time.

Verdict: Vast improvement from the dragfest of last season, minus the finale. Great season so far. Keep.

Best bits this season: Richard Harrow, Gillian’s gross antics trying to relive her time with Jimmy by seducing his lookalike, Owen and Margaret’s tête-à-tête meetings, Nelson going postal with a hot iron on that douchebag sales guy, Gyp walking out of a massacre in nothing but blood and his kinky collar, Chalky White exercising his authority

How long more should it last?: I’ll give BE another 3 or 4 more seasons to fully flesh out the 1920s, move into the new decade until the Prohibition is over.

Why I’m holding on: I’ve complained about BE being really inconsistent with its story pace and arc developments, but I’m genuinely impressed with what’s turned out. There are still momentary sags in one or two episodes, but it keeps delivering decent surprises at regular intervals.

Every episode has an “oh shit” moment that at times, is a key turning point for a character and his/her development or background. Like Gillian banging her dead son’s doppleganger then OD-ing him with heroin. So twisted. Or most recently, Babette’s blowing to smithereens, along with Billie Kent in it. Nucky’s so gonna dive off the deep end now. The show’s actually become interesting at all angles, setups smartly constructed, and the payoffs don’t take forever. Enduring the first and second seasons to get to where we are now is worth it.


The Walking Dead

Series in short: World descends into hell and zombies roam the earth while survivors… well, survive.

Verdict: NO BRAINER (haw-haw). Etched into the heart.

Best bits this season: Hershel’s leg amputation, Lori’s death, Rick splitting Tomas’ head in half, the Governor’s head tank, every single frakking team zombie-killing scene

How long more should it last?: Honestly? I’ll never tire of the bleak zombie realism. I’ve stopped reading past the prison scenario of the novels, so I have no idea how things are going to go down from here on out. And since the novels themselves haven’t concluded yet, let it run for seasons on end until Rick has a salt and pepper beard and Carl is old enough to legally bang Beth. Or, you know, until everyone dies. I just can’t get enough at this rate.

Why I’m holding on: Like BE, TWD made some major improvements with the show that makes me overlook minor plotholes. We saw some real streamlining of characters, attempts at redemption arcs that weren’t grossly handled, a lot more Doing than politicizing. Most of all, it just keeps being brutal every week, whether it’s with the over-the-top gore or making characters suffer with their tough choices. This is the only show that draws physical reactions from me, like literally shouting at the TV or facepalming. It doesn’t hold back when it bitchslaps you with the truth of how terrible people are at the core. The continual adrenaline rush is testament to its excellence, and I’d love to see this keep going for as long as their writing is at this level of thoughtfulness and boldness.

Dexter

Series in short: Serial killer murders serial killers, because his dad is a trolljerk, even after death.

Verdict: I will watch this to its bitter end, even after the very horrible season six and its misuse of the very talented Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos. Let’s forget that ever existed.

Best bits this season: Dexter being honest with Deb about being a psycho murderer, La Guerta catching wind of Dex’s Travis Marshall glass slide, frakking annoying shit Louis biting the dust, Yvonne Strahovski’s existence

How long more should it last? Would have preferred if they concluded it with this season but network gave it one more beat to the breast.

Why I’m holding on: After sticking with it for so long, I’m along for the ride. There’s one season of Dexter left as a series, and I’m mostly in it to see how Deb and Dex’s relationship is going to crash and burn eventually. The ending I want is Dex getting caught and paying for his mistakes, because he always escapes by the skin of his teeth. The only exception lay with the Trinity Killer and Rita’s death; probably the only time he faced a real consequence, and I badly want that to happen to Dex and incapacitate him once and for all. The show needs to take bigger risks to finish on a high note.

Right now they’re doing a tricky tightrope walk that I’m not sure if I like, with its roundabout subplots that should somehow tie in to one another at season’s end by means of completely random coincidences. But hell if I’m going to give up the chance to see if my wish is granted, even if I don’t care about Quinn or Vince’s Ice Truck Killer hand or Sirko’s cocky sneer.

Revenge

Series in short: Delinquent is released from juvi and grows up to be a vengeful bitch that wreaks havoc on the Hamptonites who betrayed her father and caused his death.

Verdict: Yes.

Best bits this season: Aiden and Emanda’s super hot chemistry (UNEXPECTEDLY CRAZY GOOD, GUYS), Emily Van Camp’s mega cleavage, Nolan all the time, the world collapsing on King and Queen Grayson

How long more should it last? This is tough because I like Van Camp a lot. I’ll give it two seasons before everything goes south and we run out of interesting backstories/scheming.

Why I’m holding on: Lead actress, duh. I don’t watch with any expectations, so it’s easy to applaud. I think the show would do much better to trim the fat and keep it to 13 episodes rather than the full 22. That’s how many episodes I really appreciated or needed to watch to feel that it was a story worth telling. All the inbetween were just excuses for the viewer to ogle Emanda and her incredible dress sense. And I really love it when people like the Graysons eat dirt. The everyman will probably celebrate it.

Homeland

Series in short: Unstable bipolar CIA operative spends day and night trying to uncover and prevent terrorism threats in the USA while actually being in love with a terrorist.

Verdict: OMG I will kill anyone who stops me from watching this.

Best bits this season: EVERYTHING. Good Lord, this show is incredible. Carrie smiling to herself because she proved she still got game, Saul showing Carrie that she was right about Brody all along, Carrie searching Fatima’s house in Beirut and discovering the very vital SD card then barely escaping the clutches of Abu Nazir’s henchmen, Carrie’s soft-approach interrogation of Brody

How long more should it last? As long as Clare Danes remains magnificent in her role as Carrie. It’s really hard to beat. So maybe I’m saying… Forever?

Why I’m holding on: Out of all the shows I’m watching, this one definitely doesn’t spare the intensity. Whether it’s adrenaline-pumping chase scenes, emotionally battering character realizations (eg. Carrie changing her mind about suicide after she’s downed all her pills), or well-concealed twists, it’s always too much and never enough all the time. A bit like a rollercoaster ride, or that second bottle of dessert wine. It should never be written off as overrated because of the Emmy win – that was well deserved. Actually, it should have a bloody Peabody. Someone should do something to fix that, I don’t have the appropriate guy who knows a guy who knows a guy.

666 Park Avenue

Series in short: A sort-of young couple move into an expensive downtown apartment suite with a huge supernatural secret, owned by devilish soul-taking Terry O’Quinn (and his wife, the marvelous Vanessa Williams).

Verdict: Okay at first, but getting increasingly blah. Expected.

Best bits this season: Very little to pick from, but I’d have to say Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams for 90% of the time. That, and I get to laugh at the super cheesy horror and acting of the lead actress.

How long more should it last? Finishing up the rest of the season will do. Let’s hope that it doesn’t waste what little time they have left.

Why I’m holding on: I’m not. Actually, I fast forward a lot of this program because the dialogue isn’t compelling and the story in general is quite the yawnfest. A mishandling of execution for an above-average concept of sorts. And the grapevine says that Hurricane Sandy’s ripped through the show’s sets, so we may or may not see more of it. From what I can see, it does have the potential to makes its campiness work for it, but it’s almost as if they’re blindly feeling their way around the genre to see what works for the series. I wouldn’t be too bothered if this one got axed.

How I Met Your Mother

Series in short: A middle aged architect dude tells his kids the most long-winded story of how he met his wife.

Verdict: Not even his kids are into it anymore. What are they now, 29?

Best bits this season: Michael Trucco, Barney adopting Brover. That’s it.

How long should it last? Minus 4 seasons.

Why I’m giving up: This series knows no end. It’s a shell of what it once was, and nobody really cares about the day to day fickle-mindedness of Ted or Robin – show us the damn mother already. We know the endgame. Barney is barely tolerable. And we get what, a leg, an umbrella? Then the network extends it for no reason and the writers are so burnt out that they’re exhausting their worst jokes. Does anyone actually care anymore?

To be honest, I’m only bearing this season because Michael Trucco’s in it. Once he leaves, I’m cutting this loose forever. Yuck.

2 Broke Girls

Series in short: A snarky broke girl and her recently broke ex-rich spoilt brat friend spend their days working at a diner trying to garner enough cash for a legit cupcake business.

Verdict: Reluctant download.

Best bits this season: I canNOT remember for the life of me. That’s how disappointing its gotten.

How long should it last? 2 seasons to tie up their journey nicely, but I won’t be sticking around to see them reach their goal.

Why I’m giving up: This is the type of show that could go by way of HIMYM. Maybe it’s already descending down that path. In fact, it’s reaching disaster faster than you can say, “nagging brain tumor”. It’s just not funny anymore. I used to love listening to Max be snarky and feel attached to the girls’ fervent effort to make things work.  Now it’s just filled with Beth Behr’s overacting and lines that aren’t written for Kat Dennings. The writers probably thought, “Hey, people love the crude jokes,” when in fact, audiences just appreciated Dennings’ slick delivery of a borderline bad pun. Too bad. I really could’ve chest-bumped 2BG for last season.

Castle

Series in short: Mystery/thriller novelist shadows a detective from the LAPD and now they are making sweet love after many years of will they/won’t they.

Verdict: The quality in Castle’s dipped since Beckett recovered from her shooting, but I am going to hold on to Nathan Fillion.

Best bits this season: Ryan and Esposito finding out about Castle and Beckett sneaking around, Tahmoh Penikett getting blown to smithereens, Castle being framed for murder, Castle unable to unsee Alexis in a skimpy cosplay (haha!), Castle’s reference to Firefly at the sci-fi convention

How long should it last? Since the weightiest unresolved arc is about Beckett’s mum, we only know that this series is going to go on for as long as the resolution of what happened to her is still up in the air. I call season 7 max, before it crosses the line of going on for too long.

Why I’m holding on: I like Nathan Fillion, I do. Castle is one of the shows that I watch because not one person on the small cast makes me nauseated. Their crime-of-the-week format is formulaic but sometimes hides good surprises, and it’s way better than Bones, because we actually see Castle/Kate come to fruition. I’m only willing to stick around for just one or two seasons longer to see the conclusion to Kate’s mum’s story, and probably a little more Ryan/Espo fleshing out before it becomes a major drag.

Gossip Girl

Series in short: Wealthy Manhattanites’ personal lives are exploited by their anonymous local social media gossip witch.

Verdict: This show still gets 10 episodes?!

Best bits this season: I would rather eat my fist with a side of coleslaw. (I hate coleslaw.)

How long should it last? Good riddance. Only 5 episodes left, even if it’s 5 episodes too many.

Why I’m giving up: Sometimes I feel like the only reason I torture myself is because I want to see everyone on the show crash and burn and then think it’s exactly what the characters deserve. Because by now, everyone’s career is going to nosedive in the same way, aren’t they? There hasn’t been a scrap of plot or a flurry of scandals that haven’t already been overshadowed by what reality TV can give those looking for trashiness or cattiness. But let’s face it, people only watched because of the fashion (which is particularly lacking) and the good-looking people (which seems to grow old and lose their novelties after 5 or so years). I used to think Leighton Meester was the bomb. Now I just feel bad for her.

Revolution

Series in short: Scientists somehow cause the total eradication of electricity throughout the world (OR IS IT REALLY GONE HUH) and everyone lives like it’s the 1900’s.

Verdict: I really want to believe in this show, even if the lead actress is offputting.

Best bits this season: The mystery surrounding Monroe and Miles’ relationship, unintentional inappropriate uncle chemistry, Elizabeth Mitchell, all the moments when electricity makes a comeback

How long should it last? Hard to say, actually. If Kripke is planning a five season story, he should stick to it, and I will stick with it. I think the show’s core intrigue about the blackout itself is worth tolerating 5 seasons of Charlie.

Why I’m holding on: The concept is really compelling and I really want to find out what happened with the blackout. The way that they set up Miles and Monroe is expert – which goes to show how great Kripke is at nailing brother/friendship bonds. Their reunion is one of two things I’m looking forward to, and man, that’s gonna be angsty like whoa. That alone is enough to keep watching, even if the other components are a big fat blah.

Hawaii Five-0

Series in short: Special task force keeps the peace on the streets/harbours/warehouses/homes/nature trails of Hawaii.

Verdict: Yup. Love the cast, even if the overall story is a little thin.

Best bits this season: Steve staying with Danny during the bomb disarming, Chin Ho picking his wife, Steve not knowing the ending of Child’s Play, all the bits where doors are kicked in and, “Book ’em, Danno”

How long should it last? As long as it wants.

Why I’m holding on: The door kicking. And badass way they take down people. I started watching for Grace Park but everyone else grew on me. I’m not crazy about McGarrett’s storyline, but his bromance with Danny is classic, one for the annals of time. There really isn’t much to H50 (it’s clearly not a thinking show), but man, is that state beautiful, so I’m happy enough to see double rainbows on my screen while the scene cuts to Max doing his thing. This is really a matter of preference, because if you asked me to defend this show I couldn’t. It’s just… fun!

The Mindy Project

Series in short: An OBGYN who watches too much romcoms in her life lets her sassy mouth and attitude turn said life into romcom.

Verdict: Not crazy about it, but I don’t hate it that much either.

Best bits this season: Mindy and Danny’s bickering, some small lines. That’s it.

How long should it last? 3 seasons.

Why I’m holding on: I loved Kaling in The Office but here she’s a less ditzy version of that. I suppose it’s this self-indulgent meta thing that makes up for it with its genius snarkiness, but it sometimes sickens when it tries a little too hard for a laugh. It has good situational comedy on occasion and the real dialogue gems lie in most scenes involving Danny (with Mindy, most of the time). His act-tough gig is endearing, but it’s even better when Mindy is chipping away at it. The show classifies as adorable, but not killer.

New Girl

Series in short: Single dorkette moves in with three whack roommates and everyday is like someone smoked something.

Verdict: MOAR.

Best bits this season: Nick and the haunted house, Nick from the future, the zen pool for huge babies, Jess screwing up the auto-showroom gig, whenever Nick and Jess argue

How long should it last? I can deal with 3 more seasons of this. That’s when the jokes run out, right?

Why I’m holding on: I love the way Zooey Deschanel plays Jess. I know that there are some people who are completely disgusted with her portrayal, but I am in love. Instead, everyone else is in love with Schmidt. Who’s okay. But I dig Nick’s weirdo personality more than Schmiddy’s, and recently, the latter’s character’s being a try-hard (that episode of him actually exaggerating that point only serves to remind that the writing for Schmidt isn’t what it used to be). But you know what? It’s all better when Nick and Jess argue childishly. I have arguments that end up like that sometimes – which is okay for ridiculous things but not for serious life-related talks – and am glad that it makes it all the more easy to forgive someone or say sorry. That aside, I am perfectly fine with watching people act dumb on TV, as long as their heart is in it. I’m dumb most of the time too.

Sons of Anarchy

Series in short: A motorcycle club of a small town gets into bad business and race wars and race friendships and has internal power struggles and many, many appendages are removed along the way.

Verdict: Until the end of the road. Kurt Sutter has hinted at the series’ conclusion at season 7.

Best bits this season: Jax and Tara working together as one scary family unit, Opie shooting Clay in the chest, Opie and the laying pipe, all the character deaths, Walton Goggins as a frakkin’ transvestite

How long should it last? The showrunner says 7 seasons, and I agree. This is one of those things that just feels natural, especially with the show’s current developments. We can see a sliver of the horizon just ahead. They’re building it up for a grand finish, and we can bet that it’s going to be tragic as it is misunderstood.

Why I’m holding on: I love Sons of Anarchy so much that it’s disgusting. People look at me really weird when I say I love this drama, mainly because they prejudge its whole Biker Gang persona. Of course, on a superficial level, that’s exactly what it is, but it’s a brave interpretation of the oldie-goodie Hamlet. This is one of the few programs that has taken all their characters and made each and every single one of them abhorrent. And yet, I’m still hooked. There’s no escaping it.

I confess that I gave up halfway through season 4 because it got too dark/heavy for me, and I regret not sucking it up and pulling through because season 5 is a blast so far. It’s a kick to the nuts. It has so many callbacks to previous seasons and love letters and just-discovered truths and lies. Where The Walking Dead makes me feel like I’ve been on a rollercoaster by its end, SoA forces me to watch my most loyal friend go awry. It’s so heartbreaking, unnerving, sad, despicable, unfair. The unrelenting tendency to cause misery is what makes it so good.

Hart of Dixie

Series in short: NYC cardio-thoracic surgeon moves to suburban southern town to take over her father’s medical practice.

Verdict: So-so program. Stay.

Best bits this season: Zoe and Wade doing it, George genuinely trying to move on and being cheesy at it

How long should it last? 4 seasons total, tops.

Why I’m holding on: Simply put, this is a program that I watch to counteract all the nasty, grimy, disturbing filth that’s being projectile vomited on me prior (like with TWD, AHS:A). It’s a happy, angst-lite, don’t-need-no-brain-to-process kind of program. I give it 4 seasons because Schwartz tends to burn out badly by that mark, so he should let it exit at its high point. Or mid-high point. Or, okay, before it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Arrow

Series in short: Hooded vigilante has just returned from his Island Torture/Holiday and threatens scummy rich people with his bow and arrows.

Verdict: Only for this season.

Best bits this season: Katie Cassidy being awesome all the time, the scraggly Green Arrow before Oli, some fancy foot- and bow-work

How long should it last? One whole season. Not sure if I’ll be catching everything.

Why I’m giving up: I was optimistic with the pilot, but after 5 or so episodes I realized that it’s not going to pay off. Not many noteworthy things are happening with the characters, and I don’t get the same attachment to Oliver Queen as I did Tom Welling’s Clark Kent. It sure isn’t about looks, because they’re both very good-looking, but Queen is way too broody and one-note to get behind.

I get that they’re trying to do the “tortured soul” thing with him, but it’s not dark enough to earn the label. It’s not focusing on what it really takes to be the Green Arrow for me to invest in his superhero persona either. And all the other characters that make up the whole ensemble have very shallow (or unexplored? I don’t know) backstories that the show doesn’t seem intent on developing. Wasteful.


Modern Family

Series in short: Extended family hijinks from three generations, all day, every day.

Verdict: Watching out of habit, and my boyfriend still loves the shit out of this sitcom.

Best bits this season: EVERYTHING PHIL! Especially that misunderstanding with Matthew Broderick; classic

How long should it last? Hard for me to say, sometimes they have spurts of heartwarming, genuinely funny episodes. We know it’s not going to end soon unless the showrunner/cast starts getting greedy about their salaries. I think it should hold on for another season at least.

Why I’m holding on: Phil Dunphy is the most awesome idiot dad ever. He’s not that big of an idiot, but I revel in his himbo moments. He has such a big heart, so kudos to Ty Burrell for making his character walk the tightrope that way. The rest of it can be grating at times, like Cam’s self-centred tantrums, Manny’s unfunny fixation on being an adult, Gloria with her pregnancy. But anything involving Phil is likely to be worth bearing all that other annoying rubbish.

Supernatural

Series in short: Two brothers go on the road (to hell, to heaven, to purgatory) and hunt demons, frequently postponing the impending apocalypse.

Verdict: Why am I still watching?!

Best bits this season: Dean’s bromance with Benny, Sam’s non-irritating love interest, purgatory being a giant forest of death

How long should it last? Everyone wants to make love with the Winchesters (or want them to make love to each other, for some reason), but it needs to stop. Now.

Why I’m holding on: Supernatural is that kind of ride where you thought your destination was X, which Kripke confirmed. Let’s stop at season 5, he said. Then the CW gave them another season. And Kripke didn’t know what to do with it. We’ll end at season 7, he said. Then CW gave them yet another season, but Kripke was gone with the wind and torch was left with someone else. And somehow we’re at season 8. Is there no end to it? How will they end it? Nobody has a clue. But I watch because I like them on my screen. I watch and I remember that these are the Winchesters. The guys that found their dad, lost their dad, sold their souls and sanity for. I wished it had ended with one of them dying permanently. I hope that it still happens in the end. I know I’m holding on to the idea of them… But I just can’t let go of the brothers. They beat Salvatores pining over Dopplegangers any day.

Suburgatory

Series in short: Witty highschooler and her single dad move into the suburban twilight zone of country club-dressed Chatswin.

Verdict: I’m game for another season.

Best bits this season: Tessa meeting her mum, Dahlia every time, Dallas overdoing her sexytimes with George, and Ryan’s weird obsession with Tessa

How long should it last? I think it should go for another 3 more. One for Alex ‘s comeback, one for Tessa and her boyfriend adventures, and one more just for some buildup to a random wedding.

Why I’m holding on: I like the George/Tessa team, and Dahlia is like the Phil of Suburgatory. I like the Chatswin characters I like their wealthy people satire. Their quirkiness grows on you like ringworm. Like another not so vicious sounding fungus? Oh, and Dahlia.


Nashville

Series in short: Aging country superstar tries to find musical relevance in this age of Hayden Panettiere’s teeny bopper albums. By the way, HP is really promiscuous.

Verdict: Yes! I don’t know how or why I was sucked in, but I was.

Best bits this season: Gunner’s googly eyes for Scarlett, Raina breaking it off with Deacon, Juliet’s sluttiness

How long should it last? No less than two seasons.

Why I’m holding on: At first, I used to think country music was this terrible banjo-twanged genre that was created especially to rewire my brain and turn me into a self-mutilating junkie person. It is still banjo-twanged, but I’m not so averse to it anymore, now that genres are blending into each other. I like the music in Nashville, surprisingly. And I love Connie Britton. She killed it in Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story – I just jumped at the chance to see her again. My pal Dan thinks Juliet is too slutty and her mama drama is typical, but I think Panettiere’s performance is fun. It’s just a soapy, sensationalized version of what the country music industry is like, and I’m perfectly fine with the fact that it uses some go-to arcs to propel things forward, because the cast is capable. It’s got heart. The covers are not half-bad either. It just gets hilarious that almost everyone can sing something (whether it’s good… your mileage may vary). Including that pro-football rookie Juliet just met. Or the Bluebird waitress. And her boyfriend.

American Horror Story: Asylum

Series in short: Insane people are being cared for by sociopathic people running the mental asylum and very illogical, disturbing things happen. I still don’t really know what’s happening.

Verdict: Like heroin. I am drawn to its inherent weirdness.

Best bits this season: So many. The possession scene in episode 2. Mary Eunice housing the devil. Dr Arden trying to rape Shelley. Shelley losing her legs. Threddy Face. Sister Jude listening to Kit’s confession. The Anne Frank lobotomy

How long should it last? Since we’re in a “different story every season” format, I could watch the next story forever. And the next. And the next.

Why I’m holding on: I love that they created a whole new story and setting for this. And I believe it can work because Ryan Murphy has proven that he has a short creative attention span where he pulls brilliant pilots and first seasons out of his ass and later destroys it all with blatant self-indulgent commentary about his orientation. Yes, I’m talking about Glee and Kurt Hummel. The second season of AHS is a different kind of monster from the first because it’s much harder to tell what’s real and what’s a figment of the imagination. Briarcliff Asylum focuses on the horrors of human nature rather than the supernatural (as it was with the first season), which makes it all the more terrifying to reflect upon and evaluate. It scares me how desensitized I am to certain ill treatment of something or someone. Sure, the gore/violence makes me squirm, but the scenes/show is all over the place and truly weird, a tapestry of all the evil things that people are capable of ripped apart and taped together in a haphazard attempt to form something that’s barely cohesive. Some people will hate the frenetic pacing and scoring with a passion, but my interest is piqued. I want to make sense of it, even if it’s not meant to make any at all. More disturbing than scary, but still a must-watch for me.

30 Rock

Series in short: A TV network’s head writer and her company of self-obsessed, narcissistic colleagues try and run their satire program while winning at life.

Verdict: Last season, so watch until the end.

Best bits this season: Jenna being the swing vote, Bryan Cranston as Kenneth’s step-dad, Liz’s libido boost at the stationery store, Jack trying to make NBC absolutely terrible so it can get shut down

How long should it last? It’s the right time for it to go.

Why I’m holding on: I’m going to miss Tina Fey. 30 Rock is so sentimental for me and they’ve really upped their comedy in this. Bryan Cranston was my single most favourite guest star and I love that they kept James Marsden around. But seeing Liz Lemon be awesome for one last season is good enough to stick around.

The Office

Series in short: Mockumentary of a paper company’s office antics.

Verdict: Pretty okay.

Best bits this season: Nelly getting her adoption papers signed, Dwight being Dwight, the Asian Jim prank, Kevin being talented at accounting only when done in terms of food

How long should it last? Being the last season, it’s best that this ends when it does. Life without Michael isn’t the same.

Why I’m holding on: Final season blues. I hate that Andy is a huge douchebag, and I’m sorely missing Michael’s presence. The short cold opens of pranks at Dwight’s expense are usually the best part of the episode – that’s saying something. Nevertheless, I still have a fondness for all the silly caricatures this show has conjured up and touched me with. The memories will be in my heart forever. I’ll liken it to saying goodbye to your dying pet – best that it goes quickly rather than let it continue in agony.

Vampire Diaries

Series in short: A girl from the small town of Mystic Falls finds herself surrounded by  supernatural beasts and creatures of the night and is endangered every other week.

Verdict: I hate Elena, but hell yes, downloading it.

Best bits this season: Alaric making a cameo, Connor’s appearance and busting all the supernatural’s asses, snarky Damon, Damon still hung up over his REAL bro Alaric

How long should it last? I shan’t predict. You can’t make me!

Why I’m holding on: The supporting cast interacting with each other. The biggest problem now is that everyone worships at the freaking altar of Elena, and it makes me truly despise the character. But the story’s still picking up and when Elena’s not the centre of everyone’s universe, we get really great character interactions. Just stop with the triangle obsessions and abuse Elena a little, instead of letting her whine non-stop on that little pedestal everyone puts her on. This Five thing better not be disappointing. And I’m also into Caroline. Like whoa.

Last Resort

Series in short: An American submarine of navy personnel question their orders and suddenly they’re the enemy of the USA. How convenient that there’s an island nearby to hold hostage.

Verdict: Cutting this one loose. Even if it’s only got 13 episodes.

Best bits this season: Marcus Chaplin’s video to NATO and his superiors, Grace stepping up

How long should it last? Don’t care, because I couldn’t cut this fast enough!

Why I’m giving up: Boring, boring, boring. The drama is boring, the characters are boring, the development is boring. It feels like the writers are struggling with their stories because they’re too focused on dirtying the reputation of naval soldiers. It’s not brutal, it’s not particularly exciting. You know that none of the characters are in real danger because it’s just that sort of show. They could’ve taken so many risks with this but they didn’t because they just wanted a safe homage to the US soldier/SEAL/navy officer. The concept is riveting. I was hyped about the trailer and what it promised, but it just didn’t follow through. I’m just tired of waiting for something interesting to develop with the conspiracy itself (which was actually the main reason why I wanted to be involved in the first place), but no such luck. Pity, because the idea was fantastic as it was unusual.

Scandal

Series in short: Olivia Pope is leader to a team of professional “fixers” who solve their client’s tricky problems. Oh, and she’s having an affair with the POTUS.

Verdict: Dee-leee-shus!

Best bits this season:  Cyrus being really nasty to everyone (especially Mel), Huck killing people and going to AA to talk it out, the possibility that POTUS got to where he was by cheating and everyone is in on it

How long should it last? 3 seasons more, please. We need some huge Affair Blowout that will truly ruin Olivia and that will be enough time to cover that and the fallout after. And time to develop that whole “The POTUS may have cheated” conspiracy they seem to be painting.

Why I’m holding on: It’s just so exciting. There are so many layers to this show. Although handled in a very soapy way (I mean, Shonda Rimes did launch this) the twists and turns are handled well. And damn, is Liv and Fitz’s chemistry off the charts or what?

Elementary

Series in short: Sherlock Holmes, a recovering junkie, helps the police solve cases with his hyper-observance and is assisted by Joan Watson, his ex-surgeon sponsor.

Verdict: I’m watching only because I’m having BBC Sherlock withdrawal. I’ll take ANYTHING.

Best bits this season: Watson figuring out Holmes and proving that she’s equally capable of busting crime, the look on people’s faces when Holmes tells them their life story (though this is not different from Psych)

How long should it last? It deserves its current season, but I would rather not have this be a long-haul thing.

Why I’m holding on: For the moment, I just like the mysteries. Where BBC adapts directly from the books and reinvents it for modern times, the US version barely resembles a scratch of what the literary texts offer. It’s closer to Psych, but only that it’s less goofy with its leads. So for a crime procedural, the cases are interestingly delivered and not as easy to predict as say, Bones or Castle. But it’s definitely more fling than marriage material. Lucy Liu is hot too. Just saying.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Series in short: Five idiot bar owners get up to no good every week. They’re despicable idiots, but some of the nonsense is still funny.

Verdict: If I can get another episode like The Night Man Cometh, I’m there.

Best bits this season: Charlie’s crazy obsession with the waitress taken to another level, fat Mac, everyone becoming zombie-like during Halloween

How long should it last? Maybe a couple more seasons. I could do with it. But I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Why I’m holding on: I always thought that IASIP started off very clever about their comedic social commentary. Then it was a downward dip to toilet humour. Then it sort of got back to doing what it was before, but walking the line instead of totally reverting. Personally, I get a kick out of seeing all of them being dumbasses, and I love Charlie the most. I latched onto great experiences like The Night Man Cometh and Chardee MacDennis: Game of Games because they were genuinely awesome ideas that were executed brilliantly. I’m almost certain they can do it again.

The Big Bang Theory

Series in short: A group of very smart, socially awkward friends get together to talk about science and be geeks and ogle girls (except for Sheldon).

Verdict: I only download this because my boyfriend still thinks it’s funny.

Best bits this season: Sheldon and Amy things. That is all.

How long should it last? I didn’t think that it would still be so interesting for so many other people, and I don’t think that it should be still on air.

Why I’m giving up: I used to love it when it was actually peppered with science and geeky stuff, but now it’s just Penny and Leonard relationship drama. Or Howard and Bernadette drama. Of course, I get to catch cute things like Sheldon tricking Raj and Howard into thinking he really built a 44th wormhole or Wil Wheaton doing Fun with Flags, but I can just do a Best of Sheldon search on Youtube and get a 15 minute video with everything I need to laugh at. Most of the time, I’m doing something else while my BF is glued and snorting at their half-assed jokes about relationships. Like many shows that have run for seasons on end, it just isn’t the same kind of animal it is anymore.

Fringe

Series in short: A team of four once hired to clean up and investigate fringe events (weird, outlandish occurrences) find themselves bending time and space to eventually rescue the world somehow, even in the future.

Verdict: Amazing. This is worth it.

Best bits this season: Peter inserting the Observer’s tech into himself, Peter and Walter’s bonding, discovering Olivia, Etta’s death, Peter slowly turning into an Observer (?)

How long should it last? Ending where it should. Excellent.

Why I’m holding on: To be honest, I didn’t watch a lot of season 4, because I was tired of Olivia being the key to Bell’s plan, and I didn’t find the business between AltVerse and OurVerse interesting or compelling. The ending was pretty okay, but then they pulled a Lost and did a fast-forward. Jumping the shark? Not quite, but it changes everything. This time, there’s a lot of focus on piecing Walter’s memories together so that humankind is saved from the tyranny of the Observers. At first glance, the breadcrumb approach may seems too tried-and-tested, but it’s successfully backed up by great performances by the entire cast. They’re really pulling out all the stops with this, and you know that maybe not everyone’s going to make it. The sense of foreboding is so strong and it’s more emotional than action-oriented, though both are well-balanced. I was really shocked with how good Fringe is now. You know they’re not messing around. Peter is finally getting his storyline, and it’s going to be great.

3 thoughts on “Kill It Now: Shows That Need To Expire (And Others That Don’t)

  1. Hello, fellow TV addict (though not following 27 shows a week, which deserves RESPECT).

    You should check out Parks & Recreation, same exact kind of mockumentary production as The Office (same creator, Greg Daniels).

    Happy Endings is getting some buzz and I think it’s well deserved. An (intended) copy off the Friends concept (friends hanging out, no actual storyline) but with a slapstick, laugh-out-loud flavour (think 30 Rock). It’s pretty funny and I love my comedies. You may get turned off by the fact that the characters are almost carbon copies of the Friends cast, but beyond that it’s really good.

    Person of Interest, a creation of Jonathan Nolan (of being biologically related to Christopher Nolan fame), is a crime drama involving a vigilante duo (one of ’em played Jesus in a movie before, Jim Caviezel). It’s a new concept, different from the standard procedural crime dramas we have.

    Portlandia, an indie comedy show featuring Carrie Brownstein (played in Sleater-Kinney) and Fred Arnisen (SNL). Sketch comedy show set in hipster haven Portland, Oregon. It’s really a good, fresh series. Can get lame, but I’m a sucker for that kinda thing.

    And lastly, my favourite show of all time – Psych. Procedural crime drama but with a much needed comedic twist. It’s the show The Mentalist was based on (or so I like to think). Fake psychic with actually just hyper-observant tendencies and amazing deductive ability solve crimes in the Santa Barbara area. Again, slapstick but it’s the shows that will be a cult classic in the near future. Season 7 drops in a few months, so you have much to catch up!

    1. Hey there! Actually, I’ve been meaning to catch Parks & Recreation because of Amy Poehler. I saw bits of the first season and slowed down because it wasn’t picking up, but I’ll be looking into it again because I’ve heard that season 3 is particularly special. It’s been sitting in my To Watch folder along with Deadwood, White Collar, Suits, Big Love and The Wire, so…

      That said, I’m not exactly a sitcom person (I obviously am emotionally masochistic what with the HBO and FX), but as long as it’s got a lot of heart I’m definitely checking it out. I’ve really had enough of How I Met Your Mothers and Big Bang Theorys with their laugh tracks so I tend to stay away from that kind of programming a lot. Scared already lah.

      Person of Interest was disappointing three episodes in – at first I watched because Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel are incredible actors. I really tried to give it a chance (as I did with Alcatraz), but I just couldn’t find a hook to draw me in. I guess at that point of time the networks were overflowing with police procedurals (Awake, Alcatraz, Castle, Bones, sort-of-but-not-really Last Resort, H50 and so on) and it was tough to get through all of that at once. Maybe if someone told me what that hook was and how worth it is to stick to it, I might pick it up again.

      Portlandia sounds interesting. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it as a pop culture thing, but not really as a sustainable network show. My impression is that it’s more along the lines of Geek & Sundry.

      Psych on the other hand – YES, I’ve been following it, through and through. I can’t get enough of Gus and Lassiter, and I have a soft spot for the way the show turns hyperobservation into a joke. Technically, the very brilliant Sherlock of BBC has exactly the same amount of talent and reasoning, but Shawn is much less of an asshat (though less hot than Cumberbatch) and more of a gigantic goof. High five on that!

      Hoping to make way for some mid-season premieres soon. There are plenty now that the 12/13-episode monster blockbusters (Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Homeland, Walking Dead) are approaching their end. Phew. Gonna need gatorade/coffee injection.

      1. Yes I shy away from the laugh-track ladened shows. TBBT was never my cup of tea, seeing that the Sheldon and Penny characters is single-handedly holding up the show. It’s a show that appeases the audience who really want more of the same thing. For HIMYM, only saving grace is the fact people wanna find out who that sly bitch that’s been eluding for 7 seasons. The funny dried long ago, and I’ve never been comfortable of the iconoc pop cultural status the show has been put up to; a show promoting misogynistic tendencies and overly-hedonistic lifestyles (in one character). Really buay tahan la.

        Person of Interest hooked me in with the vigilante, Big Brother concept. It looks like a show that will eventually pan out with ideas, but for now, I’m affirmed to my fanboy status to the show.

        If I may add to your list, Criminal Minds should have expired 3 seasons back. It was a show that expounded profiling and criminal psychology in modern culture (after Silence of the Lambs, but in much detail). Its early seasons was groundbreaking as the plot, analyses of crimes and twists were well-written. The crimes were vivid and memorable (reminding of an episode where the villain was a jazz-loving Satanist which fed people human flesh). But now, the show’s writing is sloppy. Crimes are solved using the stupid trick of asking victims to “close their eyes, breathe, and remember” – and poof! There was koko krunch. And also they suddenly remember every small details – carplate numbers, sounds, smells what have you. And deus ex machinas – too much.

        (Also, another round of props to following 27 shows. I thought I was excessive with 10, but you just broke barriers. I don’t have the time and resolve, so much respect for you!)

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