Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 Edition: 43-40

26 Jan

Let’s kick if off – here’s a link to the introduction to our annual ranking of shows that I watched last year. This is our first batch of shows, and it contains the only couple shows I didn’t really enjoy watching last year along with a show that ended without quite living up to its potential. Here we go.

43. Helix – 2013: Ineligible

Helix

For almost every show on this list, I’m going to struggle to explain how it was ranked so low, and make sure that it comes across clearly how much I enjoy the show despite its relatively low ranking. Not here. Nearly every year, there’s one show I keep up with for far too long before it disappoints me and comes apart so much that I have trouble remembering why I kept up with it that long to begin with. In 2013, that show was Under the Dome. Last year, it was Helix. Like Under the Dome, Helix had an intriguing sci-fi premise. It was also from Ron Moore, who was behind the buzzy and worth-watching, if often overrated Battlestar Galactica remake. Helix was about a team of government scientists sent to a remote artic base outside of any government’s jurisdiction where a team of scientists and researchers work on top-secret projects. At its best, it had horror-suspense intrigue; think The Thing. Unfortunately, the characters and writing were weak and didn’t get stronger, and on top of that, the story scaled up way too quickly – so much that halfway through, it turned out the base was being run by a secret cabal of immortals. By the finale, it felt like I had been sold a bill of goods in the pilot and I left fairly disgusted, writing off any chance of my watching the second season.

42. House of Cards – 2013: 39

House of Cards

My opinion about the second season of House of Cards is similar to my opinion of the first season, but even more so. House of Cards is such an apt name for the show because it captures the plot from the viewer’s perspective – if you deign to think about any plot element for any amount of time, the entire plot of the show simply crumbles. This makes House of Cards ideal for marathon watching; the less you think about the show, the more enjoyable it is, which is generally not a great recommendation for a series. The second simply makes even less sense then the first, and Kevin Spacey’s protagonist Frank Underwood can get tiresome.  It often feels like his character has little depth or anything other than ambition and a mediocre southern accent to keep us peeled. The show is nonsensical, and lacks characters worth caring about. It’s lazy, sloppily written, and the dialogue is often silly and stupid – if I ever have to hear about “back channeling” something again, I’m not sure how I’ll react. How the president is so incompetently naïve to get manipulated by Spacey time and again makes one wonder how he ascended to the office in the first place. Admittedly, I may well watch the next season, as long as I do it in less than two days and never have to think about it again thereafter.

41. Downton Abbey – 2013: 42

Downton Abbey

Every year I forgot whether I qualify Downton Abbey season-wise by the time of its original British airing in the autumn, or its American airing in the following spring. A thorough search history tells me I chose the latter, so this blurb is for the show’s fourth season. Downton Abbey, to be frank, hasn’t been a very good show since its surprisingly enjoyable first season. It’s a melodramatic soap that sometimes acts as if it thinks it goes deeper, which it doesn’t, and the show suffers because of these pretentions. Every year I strongly consider not watching the next season. I’m currently leaning towards not watching season five, but ever year I’ve relented so far so I can’t be sure of myself. Every year, after I finish the season I wonder why I watched. Downton Abbey is less culturally relevant than it has ever been and is rightfully a show whose cultural relevance has declined at the same speed as its quality. On a positive note, for what it’s worth, the theme music is still as great as ever.

40. Wilfred – 2013: 34

WilfredSeason41

Wiflred was the little show that could, an adaptation of an Australian show that pushed on towards four seasons even though it could never quite become the cult favorite it wanted to and very occasionally deserved to be. The fourth and final season was largely less than satisfying, particularly the ending, and the show was as up and down and inconsistent as ever. At its heights, Wilfred, the story of a man and his best friend, a dog who looks like a human in a dog suit to him and only him, was warm, funny, irreverent, and weird. In its lesser moments, Wilfred was flat, somewhat boring, and repetitive, especially because most episodes followed a very similar pattern in which the man doesn’t listen to Wilfred, before coming around to his advice. The show, unwisely I always thought, decided to take on the big question of whether Wilfred was real or whether Ryan was simply crazy, and while those mythology episodes worked surprisingly well in earlier seasons, in the fourth season, they didn’t. The disappointing ending was only a small part of the last season, but it was emblematic of the season’s failure to convert of its potential. I’m glad I watched Wilfred, but redone with a number of edits, it could have been a lot better.

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12 Responses to “Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 Edition: 43-40”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 Edition: 39-36 | Television, the Drug of the Nation - February 6, 2015

    […] Intro here and 43-40 here. […]

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    […] here and 43-40 here and 39-36 here and 35-32 here and 31-28 […]

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    […] here and 43-40 here and 39-36 here and 35-32 here and 31-28 here and 27-24 here and 23-20 […]

  7. Ranking the Shows I Watch – 2014 edition: One-offs and Otherwise Ineligible Shows | Television, the Drug of the Nation - April 6, 2015

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  8. Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 Edition: 15-12 | Television, the Drug of the Nation - April 13, 2015

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  11. Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2014 Edition: 3-1 | Television, the Drug of the Nation - June 8, 2015

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    […] here and 43-40 here and 39-36 here and 35-32 here and 31-28 here and 27-24 here and 23-20 here and 19-16 […]

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