December 22, 2010

Top 5 TV Let-Downs of 2010

As you can tell by this blog, I love to watch and write about TV, but I don't watch nearly enough to put together a comprehensive Top 10 of 2010 List. Instead, I've decided to put together two separate lists, one that highlights shows that pleasantly surprised me and some that were kind of a let-down. Let's go ahead and get the negatives out of the way:

5. Glee
I've never hidden the fact that I'll forgive Glee for just about anything, but even I have to admit that the show hasn't quite been itself since coming back after its initial 13-episode run. People have blamed too many guest stars, not enough story, too much story, an overemphasis on selling songs on iTunes, or just too much hype. I for one don't point to those pitfalls because the first half of season one was not perfect either (what about the fake pregnancy and "Hairography"). It was obvious with "Hell-O" that something had changed, but I blamed a rushed back-9 order and was convinced Season 2 would be tighter. It looks like I might have given the show too much credit. My theory is that Glee bought into its own hype and the creators figured they could throw anything at the fans and they'd eat it up. Too bad a lot of people saw through that trick.  Despite all of the flaws, Glee still is one of my favorite shows but I cannot absolve it from all of its sins.

4. Lone Star & Undercovers
The reason these two rookie dramas made my Let-Downs list is because I had such high hopes for them. I shouldn't be surprised that Lone Star didn't last very long since it had a cable sensibility but was being sold to a network audience. Had it been on FX, Lone Star might have had a modest yet successful first go round, but FOX did not have the time or luxury to baby this con-man drama. Just because I understand why Lone Star was canceled doesn't mean I was happy about it. Undercovers on the other hand just totally missed the mark, and I was shocked that a spy drama from J.J. Abrams failed so miserably. You'd think the man behind Alias and Mission: Impossible III could have sold a show about a couple of married spies to the masses, but it never caught on. Maybe Abrams' name doesn't carry as much clout as it once did, maybe it was the unknown leads, or maybe it was just uninteresting. Regardless, Undercovers was probably one of the biggest flops of 2010.

3. Terriers
I really, really, really wanted to like Terriers, so I don't want people to misinterpret the show's place on this list. I was able to appreciate the fact that the show was well-crafted with good writing and acting, but unfortunately it just did not resonate with me. The characters were not relateable or sympathetic, the cases didn't interest me, and sometimes the humor and dialogue was too crass. Again, creatively the show wasn't a let-down, and I understood why people fell in love with Terriers. I just couldn't get into no matter how many times I tried, which is a shame because on paper it sounded like my kind of show.

2. How I Met Your Mother
I've been pretty harsh on How I Met Your Mother since the latter part of Season 3 ("The Chain of Screaming" was the beginning of the end), but I keep coming back with hopes that the show will return to form. Unfortunately, Seasons 4 and 5 were just as lackluster, but I refused to give up hope and was encouraged when the show runners promised to right the ship. I'll admit that there have been some good episodes between then and now, but the show as a whole still hasn't recaptured its charm. A lot of fans have felt that Season 6 has been HIMYM Classic, but I'm still not seeing it. Yes, "Cleaning House", "Natural History", and "False Positive" had an old school feel to them, but I've stopped caring about the characters and I wasn't able to appreciate the handful of decent episodes. Lily and Marshal are boring, Robin's a shell of her former self, Barney's in full cartoon mode, and Ted's just unlikeable. They're no longer the characters I fell in love with during Seasons 1 and 2, so it's hard to get back on board with the show, but I'm pot-committed so I'll be sticking with the show to the end. For now.

1. Andy Whitfield's non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Spartacus: Blood and Sand quickly became my guilty pleasure show, and I was excited for season 2, but production was put on hold when Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. First and foremost, it was a bummer that Whitfield became ill and I immediately hoped for a successful recovery. Fortunately, Starz decided to give the star time to get treatment, and it looked like Whitfield was healthy and ready to get back in his loincloth. Then his cancer came back which put the show's future into jeopardy, and ultimately the show runners pushed on without Whitfield. While I'm glad the cast and crew will keep their jobs, Spartacus will not be the same without Andy, but at least he gave his blessing. We're praying for you Andy.

I'm not saying that any of these shows are or were bad, but in my opinion they didn't deliver the goods like I had hoped. So there you have it, five shows/stories that didn't quite meet my expectations or just bummed me out. Later this week I'll focus on 5 shows/stories that were nice surprises in 2010.


nick said...

I agree that How I Met Your Mother didn't keep up its original spark. I also give it the benefit of the doubt, but i just find it a bit tiresome now.

Marcos said...

@nick - What's even worse is you can still see glimpses of the show when it was great, but it just can't recapture the glory. Thanks for the comment.

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