Six Shows I Stopped Watching, Part 1

22 Apr

For years, I had a serious sense of commitment about my TV.  If I started watching a show, I finished it down to the bitter end (and it was sometimes quite bitter).  Cast changed?  Head writer  left?  Show just started being all out terrible?  Too damn bad.  I was there until the finale.  I can’t make a commitment to anything else in life, but I made a commitment to a television program, and I was going to follow through on that at least.  I scorned friends who didn’t feel the same way.  Quitters, I’d say.  You owe it to the show, it might get better.  And then came the first show on my list, which got so bad, so quickly, that it simply broke my system in one fell swoop.  It made continuing watching it so painful and pointless that not only did I stop watching that show, but my sense of television commitment was shattered forever.  I still didn’t do it with ease, but now I was free to discard a show that cried out for discarding, a show that hadn’t plateaued or become simply mediocre but which had become bad or actively irritating and was counting only on my lifetime of viewing to keep me watching.  That show I could now simply neglect without feelings of regret, because screw it.  Sometimes it was a conscious instant decision to stop watching from one point, but more often it just came about because I noticed myself simply not catching up to a show even though the episodes were on my DV-r or on Hulu and every time I thought to myself, I really should catch up, and then thought, I don’t really want to and put it off for later. At some point later officially becomes never.

Without futher ado, here are the first of six shows I quit.

Heroes

We can be Heroes

The show that taught me how to say no.  Find a person who started watching Heroes in the fall of 2006, and you’ll find a person who stopped watching Heroes before its fourth season (!) ended; just ask them when and they’ll respond in a disgusted manner with when it was, and how it still took them too long to quit.  After utter obsession with the first half of the first season, which seemed like fascinating can’t-wait-for-the-next-episode new tv as characters with powers gathered together and found each other to take on villains Sylar and the mysterious Linderman, the foundation started to crack as quickly as the second half of the first season.  I remember reading that Heroes allegedly had a plan in place for five or six seasons, but if they did, boy, it was an awful one.  The ending of the first season was terrible, and it didn’t get any better from there.  I watched the first half of the second season, which was kind of structured into two halves, and I was officially out.  For the first couple of years afterwards I talked about the lost promise of Heroes, how a show that started out so strongly fell so fast, due to mismanagement of a brilliant premise.  Later on, I decided there was nothing brilliant about it at all; it was a good premise sure, but brilliance doesn’t become quite that bad, quite that fast, and my only regret was that I had gotten that involved to begin with.  My brother stuck around a lot longer than I did and would tell me tales of future seasons which only made me laugh and be thankful that I was no longer spending my time with them.

Lost

Lost

There’s probably no show I’ve spent more words of frustration on, orally or written, than Lost.  No show built me up and then knocked me down more fiercely.  I’ve always said about Lost that I despise Lost only in a way that you can only hate something that you once loved.  Lost is one of few shows I was truly obsessed with, if only for a short time.  I marathoned most of the first season and was obsessed in the second half of the second and early in the third, reading internet forums and trying to figure out what the hydra and the arrow and other stations might mean.  It’s hard to remember in hindsight exactly when things began to go wrong, but by the fourth season, our honeymoon was very clearly over.  The more Lost spiraled out of control, the more I felt I had lost what we had, and the magic was gone.  Ironically, this was at least partly because the magic was full on – time travel in particular may have been the switch that sent me over the edge.  Because I had been so in love with the show, I stayed on well after I seriously thought we had no chance of a future together.  Still, in the gap between seasons 5 and 6, even though I knew it would be the last season, I made the extraordinary decision to stop watching.  I had to.  I had no other choice.  I still read the wikipedia episode summaries, because yes, I had to know what was going on in Lost’s life, but I couldn’t be there with it. The more I read, the happier I was to be apart.  The flash-sideways were the single worst thing to happen to Lost, and that’s saying a lot.  Just for purposes of closure, I sat down with my friends, who hadn’t stopped watching like I had, and watched the finale, live.  I”m glad I did, because I got to know what everyone who hated it was talking about and was able to more knowingly complain about how stupid everything about the show had gotten.  To this day, I can rant about Lost for hours and days, and want to punch everyone who tells me it’s about the journey or the characters and not the plot or the questions being answered.

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2 Responses to “Six Shows I Stopped Watching, Part 1”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Six Shows I Stopped Watching, Part 2 | Television, the Drug of the Nation - May 5, 2013

    […] Part 2 of a brief list of six shows I actively decided to stop watching.   Part 1 and a full intro can be found here. […]

  2. Six Shows I Stopped Watching, Part 3 | Television, the Drug of the Nation - May 15, 2013

    […] list of six shows I actively decided to stop watching.   Part 1 and a full intro can be found here, while part 2 can be found […]

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