Confession: I am a TV addict.
Not every TV show, but at some point TV shows stop being a pleasure and become a chore, watched not out of enjoyment but of obligation.
It’s the weirdest thing, people have no qualms about stopping halfway through a series of books or movies, but TV seems to illicit something different in us. Perhaps it is the short-burst nature of TV, with episodes rarely taking up 1 hour (or 43 ad-free minutes).
Below are some of the TV shows I was unable to quit.
This was the very first show I was unable to quit and many ways, have yet to quit. I saw the second movie in the cinema and will probably see a third. This was a great show and as with most shows it started to decline in a serious manner after five years, but it was not until seasons eight and nine that it become pretty terrible. Trying to replace the Mulder/Scully partnership was a terrible idea and the replacement characters were just not interesting. Nevertheless, I continued to watch out of obligation until it finally came to an end in 2004. I did not learn my lesson.
This ran alongside The X-Files for most of its run and I had the same infatuation with it. Things started going downhill with the Ross/Emily wedding story and his eventual emotional breakdown, but it still had some great moments. Again, it was after season seven that things started going rapidly downhill. Nothing positive was added after that, particularly the forced Joey/Rachel romance. By the end of season ten I was glad to see the back of them.
This ran out of steam very quickly. After an excellent first season it got stupid. It abandoned any pretext at a scientific explanation (which had been a driving force initially) and crammed as many different characters into the show as possible. This then culminated in the awful circus plot from season four and an ending which literally left the show buried. No sense of closure at the end, but at least it was over.
Not quite as dramatic a fall from grace, 24 lasted two seasons before tumbling from implausibility into outright absurdity as plotlines included easily kicked heroin addiction and pretty irrelevant nuclear explosions. They keep threatening to make a 24 movie, though it seems less likely every day. Then again, perhaps we’ll see it in 10 years alongside Rocky 9 and Die Hard 27 (a quasi reboot which imagines John McClane as a fresh-faced rookie straight out of the academy who has to battle an army of LSD-crazed hippies trying to propel the earth into the sun with the power of good vibes. AKA Tie Die Hard).
This was very much a labour of love. The last couple of seasons were still enjoyable, which is quite unusual. However, the plotting just went absolutely mental. The car crashing into a house scene was just so far removed from the deeply moving House in rehab start of an earlier season as to be almost different shows. What was worse was that the final episode really failed to capture the necessary emotions, though it does get an A for effort. Despite all the positives, it has possibly the worst and stupidest planned ending to any TV show ever.
The Big Bang Theory
Now we’re getting to brass tax. This is one of two shows on the list that I watch, but don’t actually enjoy. In fact, I hate the show and hate myself for watching. It has gradually moved away from the science and geek culture referencing phenomenon that I became enamoured with to become a generic sitcom with some geek references to keep the hardcore fans happy. It is far less amusing than it used to be and after reading this article I realised what made me feel uneasy about the show. It is a criticism, not a celebration of geek culture. The geeks are the jokes. Can’t wait until it dies.
How I Met Your Mother
Last but by no means least, HIMYM is probably the most degraded show I have ever seen. The jokes aren’t funny, the characters are just caricatures of their previous selves. The plots are stupid and it has just morphed into this horrendous mess driven by this one stupid hook that I don’t even care about anymore. Yet I have committed. I have watched too long to switch it off even though watching is of no benefit. It is this show that represents more than any of the others precisely the problem with a lot of my TV watching.
The worst thing about all of this is that a lot of these shows were at one point or another, my absolute favourite TV show of all time. They keep pushing them out until every last penny has been squeezed from them and I am an enabler.
But I am glad to say that I am able to quit some newer shows, which I will write about at some future time.