Debate of the Day: What “Classic” TV Shows Just Aren’t for You?


Though there are many TV programs universally recognized as being the “classics” of the medium, real life doesn’t always match critical perception. Due to either personal preference or everyone else simply being wrong, it often can be the case that you simply can’t stand something everyone else loves. 

Writing that down can result in some very nasty internet comments (as I’ve found), but I’d sort of be curious to hear what other people’s dark TV hate secrets are. I’ve had a friend tell me he hated Arrested Development because it was “slapstic humor,” and I looked at him the same way people look at me when I say “I just couldn’t get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I  know, I know, but it’s the truth.

So, how about you? What’s one show that’s been highly recommended that you honestly gave the old college try, but simply didn’t like? I predict a lot of “Lost” related answers, as that show is particularly polarizing, but I’m curious to see the spread of personal preference across other shows as well.

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  1. Brace yourself, I didn’t care for “Arrest Development”, I watched all the Seasons and sure I understood the jokes but none of them made me laugh AT ALL. It was just more of a “Hrm…okay.”. Furthermore David Cross’s mustache just bugged me the entire time. Secondly, “Firefly” sucked, there, I said it. Let the hatred come.

  2. Many. ‘All in the Family’ comes to mind 1st. Also ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ & all its’ spinoffs. ‘Room 222’. ‘Carnivale’. ‘Deadwood’. ‘Queer As Folk’ (US version; the original, UK show was MUCH better). ‘The Office’ (both countries versions; just don’t get humiliation humour, I guess!).

    I’ll stop there…

  3. The Wire. Watched the first two episodes and could barely stay awake through them. I hear it gets so much better if you stick with it but those first two episodes we too rough for me that I just dont want to keep going. Maybe ill give it another chance later on.

  4. Didn’t really care much for Arrested Development… too much of the humor that makes me feel embarrassed for the person. Does that make sense?

    Oh, I didn’t like the Battlestar Galactica remake. Not because I think the original is better or anything (never watched it) but because I hate when the camera is swerving all over the place to make it “realistic” or whatever. Too much drunken cameraman and artificial drama and overly drawn-out suspense. All that just made me irritated while watching. I really wanted to like it, and I liked the premise… just, yeah, some creative choices really threw me off it.

    Yeah, that shows like “24” could inspire presidential debate questions is hilarious to me. That show was practically a life-action cartoon in terms of realism. But because the whole draw was supposed to gritty realism, I dunno, sometimes it just felt like a joke to me.

  5. Sex & the City. I couldn’t stand them constantly whining about the men. I have no idea why Carrie was ever considred to be a fashion icon when half the time it seems like her stylist hated her. I’m still mystified why anyone would support Carrie marrying Big when he’s such a self-center asshole who was terrible to her.
    Why is there a show for women which pushes the idea that friends are great, but being married is really really important even if it’s to someone you’re not attrached to or is terrible. If something goes wrong it’s usually the women’s fault for ignoring her boyfriend’s needs (re: the first movie).
    Show wasn’t even that funny.

  6. I’m trying really hard to love 30 Rock, but it’s just more grating than it is consistently funny to be honest. Parks and Recreation is similar, but I’ve been told to at least give that a go into season 2 as it changes tone and gets much better?

  7. Big Bang Theory.

    I like it, and will watch it if its on TBS and have seen 15-20 or so episodes, but I still don’t get the hype. I’m a pretty big nerd/geek and pretty much its target audience, but I’m still typically like meeeeeeeh.

  8. Breaking Bad

    I watched the first episode and at no point was I feeling entertained. Decided to give the second a go and see if it gets better (a lot of pilots tend to be rather weak as they waste a lot of time introducing you to the characters and the world of the show) but halfway through it I had to turn it off I was just utterly bored.

  9. Every CSI and Law & Order, 24, House, Firefly, The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, The Closer, and Anything produced by WB.

    ps. Seinfeld (runs away from mob)

    1. I couldn’t do X-Files either. The first ten episodes were “Mulder thinks some crazy thing is happening. Scully and everyone else don’t believe him. Mulder is right, but there’s no definitive proof.” Repeat.

  10. Oh, good grief, I could go on … but methinks it kinda/sorta depends on what the definition of a ‘classic’ series is.

    The Wire. I think I watched the first five episodes, found it so cliched & predictable I gave up.

    I’ve tried getting into Babylon 5 twice now. Both times, I get about halfway thru the 2nd season and ask the same question: “When is something going to h-a-p-p-e-n?” and give up on it.

    Mad Men. I watched the first season, and then I discovered Ambien works just as well.

    Anything with Mary Tyler Moore. Or Bob Newhart.

  11. Not a whole lot of old series are problematic for me. I don’t really get a lot of the newer shows that have such a huge following. I can’t for the life of me see what anyone sees in Girls and Downtown Abbey.

  12. X-Files, The Sopranos and Mad Men come to mind.

    Of the three I feel only Sopranos maybe wasn’t given a fair chance, I think I only saw 2 episodes before I bailed.

    X-Files I watched most of season 1 thinking ‘This has to get better, it’s freakin’ X-files!’ Never did.

    And Mad Men.. oh Mad Men, I want so much to like this show, I’ve watched two and a half seasons waiting and yet I can’t get past the fact Don Draper is complete jerk. I’m not saying my protagonist has to be a saint, but jeez, the only redeeming quality I can recall off the top of my head is he didn’t care the art guy was gay.

  13. Arrested Development. In fact, anything with David Cross. Dude is just annoying. Don’t get his humor at all. The rest of the cast are often hilarious in other things I’ve seen, but collectively I just don’t get it.

  14. HA! oh god, let’s start the list…
    Arrested developement, lost, american horror story, game of thrones, big bang theory, how I met your mother, new girl, spartacus, rome, once upon a time…most well-loved series, really.

  15. Big Bang Theory totally. My husband loves it and I just put up with it, I think it panders too much. We’ve been watching some Six Feet Under and it’s weird in a David Lynch sort of way. I get why people like it, just not sure it’s for me. Mad Men, went through a few episodes and just couldn’t get into it. Battlestar Galactica. Parks & Recreation…really a lot of the new comedies just aren’t my style of humor so I guess I’m SOL there.

  16. Um, well this isn’t a specific show, but I cannot stand Tina Fey. I like her writing, but something about her is just unlikable when she’s on screen all the time. And the U.S. queer as folk was awful. It was like “oh, we have a few likable characters, but let’s follow the man-whore and his pet twink instead”

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