When Good Shows Go Bad: TV Failed Me This Season


We’re approaching that time of year where most of the network TV shows are getting ready to air their season finales. Normally, this is one of my least favorite times because I hate the thought of having to go four months without my favorite shows. But this year, with a few exceptions, I am more than ready to embrace the summer hiatus because TV has been failing me left and right and frankly, it’s depressing.

Back in September, if someone had asked what my favorite shows were, I would have rattled off The Vampire Diaries, How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife and Community without batting an eye. Castle, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game would have been high on the list too. But if someone asked me that same question today, The Vampire Diaries and Community would be the only two that I still enjoy and I’d have a hard time filling out the rest of the list. Spots would probably go to Scandal or Hart of Dixie, two freshmen shows that have yet to be given second seasons and the rest would be comedies like Cougar Town, Modern Family and Happy Endings.

What has happened to TV dramas this year? I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Nearly everyone that I talk to has more or less said the same thing: Watching their favorite shows has become a chore. People are already looking for new summer shows or tuning out altogether. DVRs are overcrowded, not because people don’t want to let go of their favorite episodes, but because they’ve got four, five, six episodes backed up of what used to be their favorite show and now they don’t want to make the time to watch it.

For some shows, it might just be a matter of opinion. I still think The Vampire Diaries is the best show on TV, but I know a lot of people are not happy with the amount of air time the show gave to the Original family. Same goes for Pretty Little Liars. A lot people, myself included, felt had or lied to, when the mysterious A was revealed to be Mona, just like in the books, even though the show producers said they were doing something different. Other people enjoyed the reveal and didn’t mind that the story was taken directly from the books.

Other shows are easier to point out their missteps. Castle and The Good Wife both had extremely boring cases this season. While Castle is more of a procedural show than TGW, both shows still give a lot of airtime to the cases the detectives and lawyers are working on and if the cases are dull or they don’t make sense, viewers get bored and stop paying attention. The shows had other problems too. The Castle and Beckett back and forth grew stale and unrealistic. TGW was filled with plot holes and filler episodes and half the cast was wasted to make room for guest stars that no one really cared about. I love Matthew Perry, but I’d rather see Kalinda or Cary get a storyline that watch his arc.

Comedies weren’t much better. How I Met Your Mother was probably the worst offender of the bunch because the show is a comedy and it forgot how to be funny. This isn’t the first time the show has had a weak season, but this has been more than weak, it’s been downright dreadful. The show explored Ted and Robin for the millionth time even though we learned in the pilot six seasons ago that Robin is not the mother so we know that relationship is doomed to fail. But even worse than that, the season was filled with sad episodes including one where Robin discovered she couldn’t have children and it was probably the most depressing half hour of TV ever. Did I mention that was their Christmas episode? Comedies are not supposed to make you feel like you need to curl up in a ball and cry when you’re finished watching it. This show needs to take a lesson from Friends. If they want to do a sad arc, fine, but they’d better bring the laughs too or viewers are going to change the channel. People do not watch comedies for the drama. Also, this season has been filled with crude humor include fart jokes and stripper jokes. I am not amused.

I could probably spend all day finding more examples, but rehashing HIMYM was depressing enough. I’ve gotten good at breaking up with shows over the years that have grown stale or have changed direction, but I’m not sure this has ever happened before where so many shows that I absolutely loved have gone south all at once. It makes me sad to think that I watched HIMYM for seven seasons and probably won’t bother with the final ones. I don’t plan on watching Castle next season either. I’m willing to give TGW another chance because the cast is flawless and I need Will Gardner in my life.

Overall, I’m not sure what the problem with all the shows is or if it can be fixed. This almost reminds me of the year of the writers’ strike when episode orders were cut short and it was obvious that things were thrown together just to get them finished. This TV season as a whole has felt choppy and misguided. I can only hope that it’s a fluke and that the writers and producers will spend the summer coming up with brilliant new storylines and ideas to make all the shows great again. A girl can dream, right?

What do you think? Which show is your worst offender? Or do you disagree completely and think this TV season has been great all around? Feel free to sound off below and let us know!

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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