The Most Disappointing TV, Ever

(This is an extended preview to the PopRox column in the Sunday Pocono Record.)

Every, single, solitary time I see these ads for The Killing, it reminds me of just how angry the show made me last year.

That puts me in a bad mood and in need of some purging, so here are five of my most disappointing TV memories. They’re shows that I loved or wanted to love, but were thwarted by hacky writing, inexcusable creative decisions, head-scratching plots or a combination of all three:

Season 1 of The Killing

perhaps you remember this? you know, YOUR POSTER!!!

I’m still mad at myself for not calling this show out as boring right from the jump. But I can feel at least partially vindicated by being on the record a week before the finale saying I didn’t think they could possibly wrap up the Rosie Larson thing in one more episode. You know what? That’s fine. If you want to alienate your viewers and pray they come back, that’s totally cool by me. But when series creator Veena Sud uses as a defense something along the lines of, “We never said we would tell you who killed Rosie,” that’s when I lose it. Still. IT WAS YOUR POSTER!!! If that’s not misleading, I don’t know what is. Couple that with how colossally boring the show is, and I have better things to do with an hour. Like clip my fingernails. Or sort my laundry. You know, fun stuff.

Either of the two finales of Saved by the Bell

sweet. an excuse to get a kelly kapowski pic in

I’m taking full responsibility for these, I have no idea why I had such high expectations for the finales to the Saturday morning series in 1993 or the prime-time College Years in 1994. The original’s finale contains one of the most improbable moments of television history that results in our hero Zack giving the commencement speech at the Bayside High School graduation after both Jessie and Screech decline at the actual graduation. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t bother trying to wrap your head around it. Your brain might explode before you even start to figure it out. It would have been the worst graduation episode ever if Boy Meets World didn’t rip it off to a lesser degree five years later. Suffice it to say, College Years was worse, ending with a gag reel over the credits(!). Even worse the concluding Vegas wedding TV movie thing-a-ma-bob. I choose not to remember SBTB in this manner.

Dawn, the sister from Hell, on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Things seemed to be going along just fine on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, until the fifth season. Then we met Buffy’s never-before-seen-sister Dawn and all of the momentum of the series came to a screeching halt. Even Cousin Oliver thought it was a little out of left field. We know now that the appearance of Dawn was actually a satire of TV shows that just make characters magically appear, but it took us, like, half a season to get that memo. That left three months of us wondering what the frigg was going on — and that’s not fair. I was never the same with Buffy after that.

Friends spin-off Joey

cringe-worthy almost a decade later

When the spin-offs of the 80s tilted toward the side of “completely worthless and contrived,” networks pulled in the reigns. Spin-offs seemed to be reserved for only the best shows and the best ideas. (Think Frasier.) So when NBC decided to keep the Friends brand alive in 2004 with Joey, it certainly seemed like a swell idea. Some of the original creators balked, which should have been a warning. We watched anyway — for a while — until we saw the cross-country move pretty much neutered poor Joey, turning him into a helpless sap. That’s not the Joey we remembered. Those weren’t the jokes we remembered, either.

Flash Forward

It’s not enough for a drama series to be good anymore, now it must inspire the unexplainable “buzz.” In an attempt to gain that buzz factor and nab the next 24 or Lost, high-concept dramas came from every corner of the universe over the last half-decade or so. Most were trash, we could tell right away. Flash Forward, however, seemed to have promise. Then it went off the rails about a half-hour into the pilot with about 50 plot holes that couldn’t be explained. The producers obliged by not bothering to explain them. Instead, they decided to add 10-to-15 unexplainable plot points a week, following that time-honored TV adage, “Just keep confusing the audience and they won’t ask questions.” Hold on, no one ever said that, did they? No, they didn’t.

This entry was posted in Pop Culture, TV and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.