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When to Stop Watching a Show

November 20, 2014

Anyone that knows me knows that I have a hard time giving up a show, even if it’s only mediocre. I watch roughly 20 shows in a week and I look forward to watching most of them every week. But this week, I decided that there were two that I just didn’t care about anymore. What made it hard to make this decision is that one of those shows is in its tenth season. There’s a certain amount of loyalty I feel to a show that I’ve been watching that long.

However, it was time to cut the cord. As a friend reminded me: if the show gets good again, I can always catch back up on it later. So, with that in mind, I bid adieu to two shows in my rotation, both with the same problem: Forever and Bones.

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At the beginning of the season, I thought that Forever had promise. There was a huge mystery that they teased for a few episodes, there was always the chance that Henry (Ioan Gruffudd) would have to reveal his secret to Jo (Alana De La Garza), and the dialogue between Henry and Judd Hirsch was often charming. Unfortunately, as the show has progressed, we’ve seen very little of the ongoing storyline and instead every episode has felt like an average procedural, with the exception that Henry has flashbacks that help him solve the murders. There doesn’t even seem to be any chemistry between him and Jo anymore, which was another factor drawing me in, especially since she has a mystery of her own that needs solving: the death of her husband.

Ultimately, the show got stale. While there are several things that could entice me to watch further, the writers have decided to save those elements for special episodes, probably in hopes of drawing out the story longer. But for me, it’s not worth it. I’m not a huge procedural fan to begin with, and the supernatural element was what had me excited initially, but frankly, week to week, I’ve been bored.

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As I said, Bones is having a similar problem. Over the course of the last nine seasons, there have been many things that have kept me engaged with the show: Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) relationship, Hodgins (TJ Thyne) and Angela’s (Michaela Conlin) relationship, the rotating wheel of interns, and the occasional ongoing storyline with a masterful killer.

Right from the beginning, you knew that something was going to happen between Booth and Brennan, and it took seven seasons to get there. Once they did, the question was whether or not they’d get married, especially as Brennan was in staunch opposition to the institution. Last season, they did, and it was delightful. With that will-they-or-won’t-they storyline over, the show had to find another reason to keep fans interested, and they resorted to a device they’d used a few times before: a major villain. From Gormogon to Howard Epps to The Grave Digger to Pelant, the show has had a number of memorable adversaries to test the Smithsonian team.

At the end of last season, we had a new villain: the FBI. There was a conspiracy afoot and Booth ended up in prison over it. I was excited to see how that would play out over the course of this season, but it really hasn’t. Booth got out, Sweets (John Francis Daley) got dead, and we got a new cast member, John Boyd, who is distinctly out of place. My thought was that he was going to be part of the conspiracy, but they haven’t even touched on that storyline since the beginning of the season. In fact, there hasn’t been any storyline that’s moved forward since then. It’s just been week in, week out, typical procedural fare. And in the tenth season, that’s just not good enough.

So, even though the 200th episode of Bones is approaching, I won’t be sticking around to see it. Sometimes, a show just loses what made it great.

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3 Comments
  1. Laura Lynn permalink

    What really gets me is that they keep these procedural shows going season after season even if they lose what made the great, but they don’t give shows with the potential to be great a chance. Now I know you will probably disagree with me on this one, but I loved Selfie. The first episode was rough and not overwhelmingly good, but each episode that followed just got better. The chemistry between Cho and Gillan was great and the minor characters had fun moments as well. It saddens me that these established shows can get away with phoning it in, but we can’t give shows with potential a real chance to marinate and find themselves before we just cut the cord.

  2. lsquarednails permalink

    What really bothers me is that networks let these established shows fall into a repeated pattern of phoning it in yet they don’t give the newer shows a real chance to marinate and grow into themselves. I know you may disagree with me on this one, but I loved Selfie. While the first episode was rough, the following episodes have gotten better each week. The chemistry between Cho and Gillian has become the whole reason to watch. They are hilarious together and even steamy at times. The minor characters were also great with lots of room for development. I’m so sad that the network decided to bail out on this show and not even air the full 13 filmed episodes. I think it had the potential to grow into a fun and different rom-com that wasn’t just a repeat of the same crap like most of the procedural shows I’m watching now.

    • There are many problems with network TV, and I actually agree with you in that regard. Selfie had potential, but by the third episode I knew it was doomed, so I bailed. If they adopted the British model of just airing the show in it’s intended entirety, they’d have a better idea of whether it worked or not, but instead, if it doesn’t work right away, it gets cut.

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