Monday, May 18, 2015

The Writers Guild Suicide Pact

I had a nice couple of days with my parents and then realized when I got home just how messy I'd let my house get. It's funny how you get used to things until you leave and come back to see it with fresh eyes. So I guess I'll be getting busy this week. That'll be easier because almost everything I watch on TV is over for the summer (though I have a slight backlog of OnDemand stuff to get through).

And I have to say, that Writers Guild Suicide Pact idea is looking more and more valid. Very little improved, most got worse, and just about everything got dark. So, starting on Monday nights:
Sleepy Hollow was a big "huh?" for the year, getting into that trend I've noted that the wife/girlfriend of the main character is generally the most-hated character on a show (including the villain), and too often the writers pick up on that from the fans and put it in the show. I didn't have strong feelings about the wife, either way. I think I just mostly rooted for her because of resistance to the hating the wife trend. And then they made that impossible, to the point that destroying her was the only way out. I loved the pilot of this series, but it's never really lived up to that and I'm 50/50 about whether I'll watch it again.

Gotham had great casting and interesting world building, but I reached the point a few weeks ago where I turned off the TV in mid-episode because I realized I wasn't enjoying it and I only cared about a few of the characters. Plus, a demonizing the girlfriend plot. It was very liberating to let go of it.

NCIS is my comfort food television -- not earthshattering, but I like the characters and they usually don't go too very dark for very long. They did go dark in the cliffhanger, but I'm fairly certain they won't stay there, which is why this one stays in my rotation even when it's fairly bland.

Person of Interest is a rare case where going dark actually was a good thing for the storytelling and quality, just because in order to deal honestly with the subject matter, it had to get pretty bleak. It was edge-of-the seat stuff, but it was sometimes difficult to watch. Still, the characters remained true to themselves and their principles, and there's always that dash of hope.

Forever was my bright spot of the season, so of course it was cancelled.

I didn't even try watching Chicago Fire this season. It was never a great show, but it could be fun. But they got a bad case of Mary Sue and I reached the point where I just didn't care. It's one I watched OnDemand, and I just never got around to watching it this season and didn't miss it.

Elementary is another one that falls into the "TV comfort food" category -- I like the characters and the plots are generally interesting. But it took a last-second dive into the really, really dark.

Then there was Grimm, which had what looked like it would be an interesting plot/character twist -- until they went off the deep end with it and we got yet another case of demonizing the girlfriend in a total characterization reversal and a huge plunge into darkness. I'm curious to see where they go from here, and that will determine whether I go along. This was one of my favorite shows, but I'm not sure I'll even buy the DVD of this season.

Even the Sunday PBS stuff took a downward turn. Call the Midwife got preachy in a very anachronistic way. Downton Abbey got ridiculous, plus there were some cast turnover issues that affected the plot. I turned off Mr. Selfridge in the middle of an episode this season because I just wasn't enjoying it and most of the characters I liked were gone. The bright spot was Wolf Hall, but I don't think I would enjoy that as anything other than a miniseries.

The winner of my Most Frustrating Show award goes to Once Upon a Time. When it's good, it's wonderful. There are moments that are pure gold, one of the few romantic relationships on TV that actually works for me, and some characters I love. But when it's bad, it's utterly awful. This season's overall arc made so little sense that I can't believe it came from a team of so-called professional writers. It contradicted itself all over the place and made most of the main characters look like raving idiots. They've got a really bad Mary Sue problem with a character who gets all the shinies handed to her and who has everyone fighting on her behalf for no good reason, and yet she's portrayed as the biggest victim ever who even the writers say "gets the short end of the stick." There must be a massive case of groupthink going on in that writers room so that no one has played devil's advocate or challenged any of these assumptions that fly in the face of all logic. Plus, there's some seriously screwed up morality and a bad case of the villain/hero double standard. And yeah, we got another massive dive into darkness as the cliffhanger. Unfortunately, I do love some of the characters enough that it's hard to just walk away, even if I would love to be locked in a room with their writing staff for about an hour so I could tell them where they went wrong. Preferably with shock collars. I could easily fix this show and make it amazing, which is why it's so frustrating to me that they keep making horrible decisions and never really delve into the character and world elements that they set up. There's so much potential, and they take the easy and shallow route almost every single time. And yet the premise and characters are so distinctive that there's no way to file off the serial numbers and write my own thing that fixes it.

There didn't seem to be much for me to get excited about in next season's new shows, so that should give me more writing and reading time, which is a good thing.

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