Five Shows I Gave Up On Early

Hi, my name is Paul and I’m a TV addict.

Or at least I used to be. Back when I had more time on my hands before I started writing 10,000 words a day, I used to eat seasons of TV shows like they were candy. I’d find a new show I’d heard was good, get my hands on the series, and watch them all, usually in the span of a few days or weeks, with the longer ones taking months.

More often than not, I finished, and thus added another file in my entertainment knowledge database. But sometimes, I just couldn’t, despite my best efforts. These five shows in particular are ones that I’ve been told I must see, but I just gave up on them as they didn’t catch my interest initially, or it seemed like too exhausting of a task to get through which I’d rather not do if I wasn’t enjoying myself in the process.

Check out my failures below, and prepare to yell at me.

1. The X-Files

Why I wanted to watch: One of the most beloved sci-fi shows of all time with a huge fanbase.

How long I lasted: 5 episodes

Why I quit: Fundamentally, I just hate procedurals, and at it’s core, that’s what The X-Files was. The central theme of the first few episodes was that weird shit happened, Mulder says it’s something paranormal, Scully disagrees, Mulder is right.

Some of these events tie together, some don’t, but it really just seemed like CSI: Alien Monster Edition rather than an intriguing mystery that spanned from episode to episode.

And frankly, I just didn’t buy the acting. Maybe it was early in the show, but some of the scenes in these opening episodes are just painful, especially on Duchovny’s end.

Likelihood of giving it another shot: 50% – I do believe this is a good show at some point, but my initial impression of it is going to be a big hill to climb.

2. Modern Family

Why I Wanted to Watch: Audience hit, critically acclaimed, whiffs of Arrested Development-style dysfunctional family comedy.

How long I lasted: 12 episodes.

Why I quit: When I get really, really bored on occasion I might go back and watch an episode or two of this, but it’s like munching on a stale Snickers bar when you really just want dinner.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I don’t like this show. I think most of the characters are pretty one dimensional, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a comedy, as you could really say the same thing about Arrested Development.

But unlike AD, this show has the need to have a heart, and though these people are “wacky” they all love each other in the end, and almost every episode wraps up with some cheeseball conclusion about loving each other no matter what or something like that.

Likelihood of giving it another shot: 30% – It’s tough to just burn through seasons of comedies, as even good ones will get less funny after 7 episodes in a row. At my current pace, I’ll have season one done by 2013.

3. Six Feet Under

Why I wanted to watch: Most HBO shows are worthwhile, was curious to see Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall in a different role.

How long I lasted: 33 minutes.

Why I quit: I’ve just never been so disinterested in a show so quickly. I know it’s massively unfair to not give it a chance at all, which watching half of the first episode doesn’t do, but there was just no hook for me, no reason to think that it would be worthwhile.

And also, frankly, HBO shows are exhausting to catch up on. They’re a full 60 minutes long, and there’s about 40-60 episodes to catch up on for most series. And after I’d done the same for The Sopranos, Oz and Deadwood, I just didn’t think I could handle it again, especially when the subject matter, a family owning a funeral home, is far less interesting than mobsters, convicts or cowboys.

Likelihood of giving it another shot: 5% – I just don’t think I have it in me unless people start telling me this is the greatest show ever and I must watch it.

4. How I Met Your Mother

Why I wanted to watch: NPH is awesome, and everyone always raves about this show.

How long I lasted: 8-9 episodes

Why I quit: I quickly discovered that this was a one man show. Despite other comedic actors I recognized, namely Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, it was clear that this was Barney Stimson’s show, and everyone else was just getting in the way.

Almost every line he says is pure gold, but he’s so good, the rest of the comedy on the show just falls flat. And it doesn’t help the show is in a sitcom format that ruled the nineties, but here with its sets and laugh tracks just seems horribly dated.

And it may have started as a novel concept, but the framing idea about the guy telling his kids the world’s longest story about how he met their mother gets old quick, and I’m told that it never ends even after four seasons or so.

Likelihood of giving it another shot: 10% – Maybe I’ll catch a rerun or two, but I’ll never sit down and watch them all. Friends or Seinfeld this is not.

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Why I started watching: I love everything Joss Whedon’s done that I’ve seen, but I’ve never experienced the Buffy universe which has legions of die-hard fans.

How long I lasted: 3-4 episodes.

Why I quit: I think this is the most disappointed I’ve been when trying a new series. Not with just the show, because it HAS to be good if it’s Whedon and it’s got such a devoted fanbase, but I just can’t make myself push through my discomfort to watch it.

I’m not sure what it is. Maybe I’m just so sick of vampires at this point, I can’t bring myself to go back in time and watch a long running show about them. Maybe I can’t get past how dated this show really looks in 2010, despite the fact it’s well made.

I want to like it, I do, but I didn’t find myself addicted, and nothing was particularly compelling me to stay other than the promise of a million other people that IT’S THE BEST SHOW EVER.

Likelihood of giving it another shot: 80% – I really do want to, but I just have to buckle down and plow through until I start liking it for real.

Other shows I haven’t managed to finish:

Fringe (1 season) – For all the same reasons as X-Files

Veronica Mars (5 episodes) – Very well written with a great lead in Kristin Bell, but again, not a procedural person which this usually is.

Chuck (3 episodes) – Mostly started watching for Adam Baldwin because I miss Firefly. Concept of guy with every CIA secret in his brain is too ridiculous to get past.

Weeds (3 seasons) – Was novel at first, but started getting too crazy for its own good.

Glee (6 episodes) – This show would be a lot better if it was half as long, but when there’s no singing, it drags.

Californication (1 season) – Just straight up forgot about it until now.

Smallville (6 seasons) – No show has ever needed to end more than this one, and when the cast started leaving, so did I.


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