Look, it’s a TV post! I haven’t written a TV post in… a while. I’ve never written about TV on this blog, so it’s a first as well! I took a bit of a break from fiction this year — I’ve always had trouble dividing my emotional focus, and working on my business hoarded all of it. That means the only TV show I’m close to up to date with is Elementary (which I adore!). But this time last year I was watching a considerable amount of TV, and I intend to pick a lot of it back up.
This post, though? This post is about the TV shows I’ve cut ties with — deliberately stopped watching — and the reasons why I did.
1. The Good Wife
This show was one of my absolute favorites for the first two seasons. It was excellently written and it focused largely on women. Alicia Florrick is one of my favorite character ever — Julianna Margulies does an amazing job with her and the writing for her is so honest and layered that it’s frankly refreshing. She’s not perfect, she doesn’t have all the answers, but you still find yourself rooting for her — you’re encouraged by the writing to root for her.
The first two seasons were just really strong and cohesive, a storyline here or there excepted (e.g. Scott Porter’s character, an arc better forgotten), and then the third season happened. I stuck with it, but I felt I was losing interest and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as before. The writing felt a little wishy washy, like the writers were throwing things together to see what stuck instead of building a plan. I wasn’t sure where they were going with most things, I was wary of their storyline for Kalinda, and I wasn’t even loving Alicia as much as usual. Even having Cary — who I love beyond measure for reasons I can’t even explain — back at Lockhart Gardner wasn’t doing it for me.
So I decided to take a break.
Likelihood of me watching again: Pretty high, actually, given how super into Cary/Alicia I’ve always been, both as a hypothetical romantic/sexual pairing and within the relationship they have on the show. The two of them starting a firm together is my fangirl’s heart’s dream come true. That stuff doesn’t come by often, y’all.
2. How I Met Your Mother
I had a lot of fun watching this for about four seasons. Then Barney/Robin happened in a completely disastrous way, and then I just… got bored. There’s not much more to it. I wanted their storylines to lead somewhere and I wanted to meet the mother and get to know her and see Ted get to know her, and that wasn’t happening. I didn’t want to see Robin decide to get married, and that was happening. The episodes were increasingly lackluster and the annoyances (e.g. Barney’s misogynistic behavior, which has always been played for laughs even when it crossed the line from douchebaggery to outright handwaving the importance of consent and the consequences of his actions and reflection on him as a person — don’t fight me on this, it’s not up for debate) stuck around longer than the good things. So I stopped watching.
Likelihood of me watching again: Pretty much none. I know they’re doing stuff with the mother this season, but it’s just not calling to me in the slightest.
3. The Sitcom Trifecta: Happy Endings / Modern Family / Parks and Rec
I stopped watching Happy Endings because they were exaggerating the characters for the sake of the storyline to such an extent that I couldn’t relate to Jane anymore, which was the main selling point of the first season for me.
I stopped watching Modern Family because they exaggerated the storylines to the point of hitting my embarrassment squick in every episode, and I wasn’t getting enough Haley and Alex time to make up for it.
I stopped watching Parks and Rec because half the storylines hit my embarrassment squick and none of them had Ann in them. Ann — and Leslie’s friendship with her — was always the gravity center of my interest in the show, and the show just dragged her around instead of giving her something real to do. They had plenty of opportunity, and instead she got stuck in terrible romantic storylines with terrible — for her — dudes. This was very much a case of my interests and the show’s not aligning.
Not going back to Happy Endings; Rashida Jones is leaving Parks, so I’m out for good; and there’s about a 50/50 chance I’ll pick up Modern Family again sometime, in a casual way. I watched a lot of it with my sister and she likes it, plus the episodes are short. Not planning on it, though.
4. Game of Thrones
The real mystery here is why I ever began watching it despite my overwhelming aversion to character death, gore, and complete indifference to historical fantasy. I guess the answer is I had the flu and it was there. This show is sad and hopeless and gross in its approach to nudity and rape and there’s a lot of slashing and it’s just not for me. I still love Sansa and Arya and I’m weirdly fond of Jaime Lannister, but it’s just not happening for me. I’m not reading the books either, partly because of the reasons above and partly because they’re longwinded as hell.
Likelihood of me watching again: God, no. Maybe very, very far down the road, if Sansa and Arya ever meet again.
5. Doctor Who
Some of you are going to want to disown me for this. Sorry about that. But I’ve stopped watching Doctor Who twice. I initially marathoned the first three seasons and liked them well enough; I loved Nine and Martha, I liked Rose, and I tolerated Ten. I tried to follow the fourth season in real time, but I got bored four episodes in.
Then the show changed hands to the writer of Blink, which is an incredible episode any way you slice it, and something about it took the tint of a fairytale. I went back, and enjoyed the hell out of the fifth season. I fell in love with Eleven, I absolutely loved Amy, and Rory wasn’t in it enough to bug me.
But then season six happened. Oh, season six. What a fucking mess. The entire River storyline was strangled in Moffat’s attempt to make everything more “complex” (which he apparently equates to “convoluted”), Amy became a human incubator and was never given a chance to have feelings about it, Rory kept being there, being needy despite constant reassurance and stifling and policing Amy’s interaction with the Doctor, and then Lorna Bucket and Rita both died.
I kept watching for a while to support my friend Annemari, but eventually I said fuck it. I hate Moffat and I hate everything he chooses to be or do with the show. I still love Eleven and Amy and Matt and Karen and even Jenna Louise Coleman, but Moffat can cannibalistically eat a bag of dicks.
Likelihood of me watching again: About 1 on a scale of 10. But probably not.
See above re: Moffat being a dickbag who likes to make everyone adore his main — white, male, able-bodied, straight — character, and add: queerbaiting fans of Sherlock/John, Benedict Cumberbatch being a pretentious douchebag with the face of a cucumber, and Martin Freeman being racist.
Also, Irene Adler being a lesbian but then falling in love with Sherlock anyway; Sherlock besting her and completely missing the point of her character; and frankly, the second season being boring as hell. Also, the second episode of the first season was super racist.
Likelihood of me watching again: hahahahahaha no.
7. Downton Abbey
I loved the first season of this show so much, and then it went so downhill. Deeply, profoundly downhill. The will-they-won’t-they with Mary and Matthew was dragged on for no reason other than presumably Julian Fellowes thinking he should keep them apart as long as possible regardless of how little sense it made; at one point Robert cheated with a maid and it was terribly acted and written because it made no sense; and Branson kept telling Sybil that she loved him even though she showed absolutely zero signs of that being true. Then she somehow ran off with him anyway! What the frick.
I was pretty done with the show by the end of season two — did they seriously allude to Lavinia’s ghost and psychic powers? — but I watched the Christmas special and the first episode of the third season anyway… then just let it fizzle out.
Likelihood of me watching again: Zero. Like I said regarding Game of Thrones, my aversion to character death — especially pointless character death played for drama when there are a million other things that would be more interesting — is significant, and I know what’s been happening in there lately. Not here for that. Not here for that at all.
This was a while ago, but it kickstarted my wariness of British television. Skins is weird as hell, and I guess that’s part of its charm, but I really dislike the format it has going. The first series of a generation is fairly good and makes you care for the characters; it follows storylines and it’s an interesting teen drama. The second series of a generation is a mess and a half, introduces unnecessary new characters and picks up and drops storylines at the pace of five per episode… and then somebody dies tragically. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Likelihood of me watching again: I did watch two half episodes of the third generation for Rich and Grace, and I watched (or maybe just read about?) some of Naomi and Emily’s scenes. With that said, about zero.
9. The Vampire Diaries
I saved the most complicated, emotional affair for last, as one does. Oh, The Vampire Diaries. It was so good for a while. Then it was still good, and it hurt how invested in the characters I was. Then the writers started making all the wrong choices — more wrong choices than good, because they’d made choices I disagreed with before. The originals took over, and the plot became larger and more present than the characters and their relationships. They gave Stefan his long-awaited ripper storyline and it was terribly handled and ruined Stefan for me; they kept torturing Caroline and ignoring Bonnie except when they needed her magic to undo a fuck-up; Jeremy cheated on Bonnie even though he’d always come across as incredibly in love with her in their scenes together; and women and characters of color kept getting killed.
It was awful, and it caused me actual suffering. I was — am — so, so in love with the first season of that show; those characters still have a place in my heart. Elena was and is my forever girl, I will always love Vicki, and I still remember Caroline and Bonnie and Tyler and Jeremy and Jenna and everyone with so much fondness. I wanted so much for them, so much about them, but again, the show’s priorities and mine didn’t line up. And I was so disheartened and it hurt so much to see them follow the wrong storylines, to see the plot get bigger and bigger instead of focus on the lives of these lovely characters in this small town who had to deal with supernatural elements being real and there being vampires around them.
I kept watching through season three because I couldn’t quit it, but it was so taxing I eventually had no investment left. I had no energy left to care for the show. I couldn’t do it. So I let it go.
Likelihood of me watching again: Medium-high, scarily enough. I get such pangs of longing for this show and these characters, and with the originals off in their own spin-off, I think about it. I miss Elena. But I mostly miss what the show never became.
And that’s a wrap! Have you quit anything recently? Ever stopped watching a show in a fit of rage? Am I the only person who’s become so invested in a show they ran out of emotional energy for it? Let’s talk TV that’s disappointed us!