In no particular order...
season 3 finale and...kept going. Only now it was about time travel and something.
It isn't that seasons 4-6 were bad, per se; it's just that show lost its focus and went on tangents that eroded the sense of wonder developed in the first 3, while never quite replacing it with something of equal value. Instead we watched that rarest of rare birds--the 'A' grade network TV drama--slide into 'B-' range.
4. The Simpsons
5. Law & Order
I used to watch a LOT of this, and by a LOT, I mean the new one every week and a shit ton of episodes in syndication per week. There was a formula: cops discover scene of crime; cops investigate crime; early suspect turns out to be wrong; second suspect turns out to be right; lawyers build case; lawyers often but not always get a conviction. The high point, in my opinion, were the Briscow/Green and McCoy/Southerlyn years. But the formula was plug-and-play--you could pick any number of cop and lawyer combinations, and provided the formula remained (and the show remained physically in New York, not some fake-ass "New York" set at Universal Studios), you could be guaranteed a watchable show. Yet in the later years, the showrunners evidently thought we really wanted more plot twists, because that's what we got. Twist after after fucking twist. So many, in fact, that Law & Order was cancelled after an epic 20-season run--the vast majority of which had not involved said unwanted twists. Oh, and SVU? Same as above, only worse with the twists...and inexplicably still on the air! Occasionally I get the urge to watch it. This is invariably a very bad life decision.
6. True Detective
absolute pinnacle of small-screen achievement to midway down the $5 bargain bin at Best Buy. No, scratch that--if there is any justice in the world, Best Buy will refuse to sell you a DVD of season two on principle. So what went wrong? Well, think on this: season one worked because creator Nic Pizzolato had a singular vision, which was then executed to perfection by director Cary Fukunaga and actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It featured: (a) a complex narrative structure; (b) haunting visuals; and (c) absurdly good performances. And that stuff was so good that we not only forgave the hokey, "dude in college who took philosophy 101 and hangs out in cafes trying to impress girls with how deep he is" dialogue, we ate it right up! So how do you follow that up? With a story that lacks all of these things, and worse, replaced its auteur with...the guy who directs Fast and Furious movies. Now try pairing that with "dude in college who took philosophy 101 and hangs out in cafes trying to impress girls with how deep he is" dialogue, and see what it gets you. As far as I'm concerned, well, now now I want to punch that dude in the face. I have never, and probably never will be, as disappointed with a TV show as I was with season two of True Detective.
Oh, and future showrunners note: when the thing you're putting out there is hot garbage, you *might* want to reconsider taking that cheap shot at the guy who made people want to watch it in the first place. Truly embarrassing.
POSTED BY: The G--purveyor of nerdliness, genre fanatic and Nerds of a
Feather founder/administrator (2012).