Friday, May 12, 2017

The Network Reading Conspiracy

The network renewals and cancellations are starting to come out, and it looks like the networks want me to have more time to read and write.

I wasn’t so sad about Emerald City being canceled. I liked the concept, and it had beautiful imagery, but by the end of the first/only season, I pretty much loathed most of the characters, had no clue what was going on (in spite of having watched it all), and kind of wanted everyone but the dog to die. The dog could come live with me. Everyone else, I was ready to see go. But I have to admit, that if it had been picked up for another season, I was curious as to where they’d go with it.

But they also killed Timeless, which was my favorite new series last year. It was fun and a bit silly, and I loved all the characters. Even the villain had his sympathetic moments because he wasn’t entirely wrong. He was just going about the entirely wrong way of dealing with things. There were time travel twists and turns and great costumes. So, of course, it had to go because we aren’t allowed to have nice things and probably the world needs more reality shows.

I have very mixed feelings about Once Upon a Time getting renewed. This show seldom lives up to its potential, and the writing in the past two seasons has been utterly terrible. Like, it comes across like an ugly first draft when you’re just throwing out ideas without giving them any thought or looking back at what you’ve already written for continuity purposes. The characters aren’t allowed to act like any actual people, plot threads are set up but not really resolved or resolved with a handwave, and resolutions come out of nowhere. Right now, they’re setting up for what’s supposed to be the Final Battle between good and evil, but the “evil” side is a character we only just met, and there’s absolutely no motivation for this battle to take place, other than Because Evil. ARRGGGGGHHHH.

The musical episode was cute, with good music and mostly excellent performances, but the writing for it made absolutely no sense. I liked the framework of why these characters were suddenly singing, but most of the musical scenes didn’t actually fit the framework, and I wanted to bang my head against the wall because it was yet another wasted opportunity, given the talent they were working with.

And then the actress playing the main character announced she was leaving after this season. She got her happy ending with a big wedding (with an inexplicable musical number — fortunately, she married a tenor who could pick up a song and go along with it when she started singing during the ceremony for NO REASON WHATSOEVER!), although there’s still the finale with the Final Battle to go, which seemed like a natural ending point, and I was okay with the series being canceled. But now it’s renewed with a drastically reduced cast, but that cast includes a character  who just got married whose wife won’t be on the show anymore. I’m worried we’ve got an Aliens thing going on here, where we spent all this time leading up to an outcome that’s now going to be undone between seasons.

Really, my issue with this show isn’t just the terrible writing. It’s that they keep talking about it being about hope, while it’s actually a non-ending black cloud of doom and gloom. In the past few seasons, our heroine spent a story arc knowing that the villain was trying to turn her dark, then got turned into the Dark One when she took on the free-floating Darkness to save everyone else, then spent half a season being psychologically tortured by having this darkness within her, then her boyfriend got mortally wounded and she used her power to try to save him, turning him into a Dark One, and when he was able to fight that off, she still had to kill him to try to end the Darkness for good, only it didn’t because it got hijacked, so she then spent half a season in the Underworld trying to save her boyfriend, only to fail, and then when he managed to get a second chance at life and they were going to get to be together, she got a prophecy that she was doomed to die. But the writers talk non-stop about how this is a show about hope. I can see why the actress wanted out. She must want to slit her wrists after spending the last few years that way.

So, whether or not I come back with the show will depend on what the concept for the reboot will be. I like one of the confirmed returning characters, loathe the other two. I don’t know who else will be involved.

Otherwise, I’m mostly down to PBS and limited-run series (the half-season series, like The Magicians, Game of Thrones, etc.). I have to say, it’s kind of liberating. I am reading a lot more, which is good for me.

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