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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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A to Z 2014 : SEASON 3

(An A to Z 2014 Challenge Entry)

I’m always conflicted when I proclaim I barely ever watch TV. It feels good to say, like I am somehow a better person for not being a slave to the Boob Tube (a phrase I assume originated based on intellect, but has since become anatomical). Technically I feel my statement is true. The only day I actually watch anything on TV is on Mondays while visiting my grandmother. We have our shows.

But I watch a ton of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, catching up on various shows I’ve missed over the years, on my game system. Does that count a watching TV? What about when I use those services on my laptop? Does playing my game system, since it’s hooked up to the TV? What if listening to Spotify or a CD? Are you then always listening to the radio?! GAH! So many questions, so little time. Anyway, let’s get back on track...

Back to TV. I have a long string of television series that I make an effort to keep up with, and those that have already completed their run, which I love. I definitely have my favorites, as I’m sure most do. Lately, though, I’ve seemed to notice a trend with some series that I watch: that season 3 seems to be a “make it or break it” point for me. Meaning I feel that either the storyline and/or characters begin to falter or become nonsensical within the context of what the show has previously created.

And while it’s not true of all, nor does it necessarily completely tarnish my love for a show, I believe it to be so more often than not. Many factors can contribute to this. Change in casting, writer strikes and/or simply a change of writers in general, network “bigwigs” dictating and/or suppressing creative freedoms, current writers simply not knowing what the fuck they are doing, etc etc…

I thought I would share some series that I felt began to fall apart during their third season run, barring too much detail, so spoilers are avoided. If commenting I’d appreciate the same in return.

Heroes & Prison Break

Heroes quickly became one of my favorite series when it came on the air. Eventually a friend convinced me to watch Prison Break and I was then hooked on that. My grandmother as well. I think both of these series started out really strong right out of the gate. The first seasons were great. I was worried, once each wrapped up their first season finales, where they would take the series.

I believe both of these series were hit hard by a writer’s strike. Each were forced to cut seasons short, due to this complication. Afterwards, though, I think issues continued due to a possible changing of the guard in writing departments. Prison Break stumbled some, but I feel found it’s footing and recovered (barely) from there on out. I was still disappointed, overall, with the final seasons and eventual series finale. It was a far cry from the shitstorm Heroes morphed into.

Heroes… I honestly have no idea what to say about the creeping — then rapid — deterioration of the series. From extreme character inconsistencies to implausible, nonsensical plotlines. Heroes ran the full gamut fuckery gauntlet. Over time, it became incredibly difficult for me to watch, but I forced myself to. A glutton for punishment I guess. I can’t really go into details, because they would spoil much of the series.

Oddly enough, I still would recommend the series and have. Especially the first season. If they think they can stomach the rest, I say go for it. There are a few saving grace moments. I think… Then there is this newly released teaser trailer:

I am hoping to God that they realize just how much potential they pissed on, and treat this supposed mini-series with a lot more respect. I’m guessing they will, in hopes that they can possibly reboot the series if it’s a success. Please… please don’t fuck this up!

Alias & Sons of Anarchy

Alias was another of my all-time favorite television series. In fact, I will give most anything J.J. Abrams creates a chance (currently Believe isn’t living up to my expectations). Sons of Anarchy is another great show that the Ladyfolk and I are currently catching up on. These two shows have almost nothing in common, with the exception of their Season 3 shenanigans.

It’s been a long time since watching Alias, and I actually never finished the series due to coming upon a Season 4 spoiler, but I believe Season 3 is when they introduced an out-of-the-blue, random, confusing storyline/plot twist. This took place right away in the Season 3 premiere episode. The previous seasons finale had been so intense and amazing, that this sudden transition was literally jolting for me. I was possibly even mildly upset. It eventually recovered, but like I said, due to the spoiler, I never saw beyond mid-season 4. I own the entire collection, so I guess I should get on it.

Son of Anarchy followed in the same vein. It wasn’t so much a confusing transition, but it really felt like the storyline carried throughout season 3 was not fully fleshed out. Many plotline and character inconsistencies plagued my enjoyment. As usual, there were still many great moments, but I was relieved that the final episodes of the season ended on a very strong note. If it’s one thing that Sons of Anarchy is really consistent with, it’s strong, emotional season finales. Currently on season six, the series definitely seems to be going strong, but I am hoping it ends while it’s ahead. Much akin to Breaking Bad (another series I highly recommend, and am skipping discussion on during this entry).

Supernatural

And finally Supernatural. The reason I picked this topic. This is a television series that had been recommended to me by multiple people. For a long while I avoided it. My brother is currently watching it, and that got me to give the premiere episode a watch. It hooked me. I’m already a geek when it comes to ghosts, spirits, lore, monsters, etc etc, so this was a good fit.

Come season 3, however (which we are currently on), I have found some of the same aforementioned inconsistencies popping up. Characters acting in ways in direct contradiction with earlier actions. Plot lines/plot points which were once important in context of the lore built up in the series seems secondhand and largely disregarded. It has begun to irritate me, but I am remaining hopeful that it will all smooth out. They are on Season 9 or something now, so it has to be just a brief rough patch. A bump in the road. Either that or there are a few million gluttons for punishment.

One of them being me.

What are some of your favorite television series? Have you found any specific seasons of a television series to go completely off the tracks? Changes that may even cause you to lose interest in the series? Feel free to share, but please avoid spoilers!

8 comments:

  1. I was so proud of myself when I realized and guessed what your post was going to be!

    I agree with all of the shows you mention in Season 3 I have seen (and think that is around the point where I fell off with Alias). Makes me wish I paid more attention to it with previous shows I have watched, but certainly makes me want to be more aware of it for future ones!

    For some reason, I feel like the flux in season 3 tends to be related to the fact that in season 1, the producers and writers have to prove the series is worth it, and then if they make it to season 2, they have proven their worth and likely have a bigger budget to do more and better things with the show. But in season 3, they have been "seasoned" and frankly feel like they can afford to be a little bit lazy.

    And honestly, I wonder how much of season 3 is actually pre-written in a series? Maybe the reason why they tend to fall into the category of "less than great" is because the writers and producers focused all their energy on season 1 & 2 with the hopes that the series will make it that far. If they make it past the first season, then they dedicate their time to season 2, and season 3 then becomes an afterthought --- that the show will evolve into its own.

    I don't know, just some thoughts to consider.

    Supernatural makes me want to watch Charmed all over again, and I would be curious to see if it has the similar struggles in Season 3. It was too long ago, and I was too young to bother caring at the time. I just knew I loved my show. Or I wonder if Grey's Anatomy has the same. LIke you, even if it had some struggles in season 3, it is likely I championed through the both of them because I knew I liked the show and was devoted to making it through.

    I know we have talked about it some, but I would love to start Lost over again and I would definitely give Alias another run, since I never finished it either.

    Kate at Daily discovery

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    1. Yeah yeah yeah, I shouldn't have asked my question! You were pretty excited lol

      I believe there are more shows I could have highlighted, but given the length of the post already, time left to post, and the fact I was attempting to be generic to avoid specific spoilers, there is only so much you can say.

      I believe it is true that with the first season they feel that they need to prove themselves and create something that will garnish an audience. Sometimes this is quick, other times it's a slow procession. Heroes technically began going a bit wonky with Season 2 (which may have been the season hit by the writer's strike), but the following season really plummeted downhill.

      That makes me think of one benefit resulting from the strike. Shows that would have likely been canceled (it's become even more cutthroat, usually new shows are allowed 2 to 4 episodes at most to gather a following of 3-5+mil with demographs thrown in the mix) were renewed, because there was basically a shortage of programs. Chuck was one of these series, and while I have my complaints about the series (avoided in this post, again due to time/length), it would have probably never made it through it's first season. It also helps that NBC had went from being on top in programming, to quickly losing that status with people losing interest in their frontrunner shows (like Heroes).

      Heroes I feel is an example of a show where they didn't have much plotted out beyond Season 1. Honestly, I think the original storyline could have spanned at least 2 seasons, if not 3. LOST writers I think said that they always knew the beginning and the end specifically, but that the rest was left with a lot of wiggle room to play with. While I believe that is true, there are specific transitions from S1 to S2 even, which I will mention when we watch the series, where I truly feel they changed many aspects of the show. I have always suspected this was due to their claims that no one will know/guess/expect their final revelations of what is going on come the end of the season, and that maybe they kept changing aspects solely for that sake, which is pretty cheap, in my opinion.

      Ooooookay writing a novel here... so, yeah, never seen Charmed, but I love me some loverly ladies :-) Need to get on LOST, but Supernatural being 8+ season i going to take us ages unless we marathon a lot of it. Then there are the other series...

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  2. OKAY.. lets face it you do watch a lot of TV ... just avoid commercials and at your own pace! My Binge to catch up was falling in love with FRINGE when it was already a few seasons in. I actually saw them film a bit in Vancouver and became curios that way! Enjoyed the post but most of all your oh so clever line ;) "...being a slave to the Boob Tube (a phrase I assume originated based on intellect, but has since become anatomical)" All the best, thanks for stopping by my blog, Catalina

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    1. GAH! Say it isn't so! I definitely love avoid commercials, but unfortunately Hulu and On Demand (the worst!) make you endure them. In fact, I think On Demand takes the entire aired episode's chunk of time for watching it back on their service, with the same commercials (and length of them) and all. It's so annoying. So instead of just just a 42-46 min program it's a full hour. Love NF and AIV gets around all of that.

      FRINGE is a show I loved the first season, but also fell off during S3. Everyone compared it to the X-Files, and while it shared many aspects, I feel it was quite a bit different. They did follow the whole "monster of the week" routine intermixed with an underlying conspiracy plot. I love that. I've always wanted to rewatch and finish that show.

      Thanks! I think I'm so funny in my own head, but you know... it's all relative. Thanks for stopping by again. Hope to see more of you :-)

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  3. I totally laughed with your assessment with how Heroes went. Holy crap, what the fuck happened there? I watched the first season and was like, "This show is incredible!!!" and then didn't get back into it until a couple seasons later.. saw ONE episode and I just could not believe how shitty it had gotten.

    I haven't seen the other shows. I used to be one of those people who was, "I don't own a TV, am holierest thanest thouest" but then I married a serious movie person. And I hate movies more than TV. So our compromise is TV shows on Netflix. We're on a serious sci/fi kick at the moment, just started Battlestar. Woohoo!!

    Will have to check out your other shows after this one. We're always looking for a good one for next. ;)

    But I can't subject the hubby to Heroes.

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    1. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I think that series had the quickest dip into shitsville than any other series I've watched. I still can't help but recommend the first season, but then I feel it's my duty to inform them of the dangers that lurk beyond that point. I'm assuming when coming back to watch that episode you didn't continue on lol Probably a good choice. I remain hopeful the mini series will be awesome!

      I'm a huge movie person, and was worried about this with the Ladyfolk, but if she wasn't much of a TV show watcher before (beyond Grey's and Parenthood) she is now! ACK how can you hate movies so much? I've heard it's the sitting still for so long... but treat it like... like a meditation session...

      I'm on S2 of BSG, but I don't think I'll be able to convince the Ladyfolk to partake with me since it's Sci-Fi. No Walking Dead for her either :-( I think Breaking Bad is the top of my recommendation list, and it's also all on NF now.

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  4. Re: hating movies, it's mainly the fact that I'm a hard to please movie person. Very extremely picky. I only like movies that are whimsical. They can be dark and whimsical, but I just love whimsy.

    So for 99% of the time, I'll be coerced into watching a lame movie, right? And then bam. 1.5 - 3 hours later, I'm like what a freaking waste of time. I could've completed a painting or another chapter but instead I was forced to watch this bullshit.

    So for a long long time I just stopped watching movies altogether.

    Then I met my hubs. He is a movie snob and was convinced I'd just never seen "good" movies.

    Well he was wrong. I am just extremely picky and I don't even like unanimously critically acclaimed movies if they're not whimsical.

    So now you have my movie history.

    The end ;D

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    1. Hmm that is interesting! You do seem like a whimsical sort of sorts... I can understand how movie viewing would be an issue, if not downright painful for you to endure, being that is the case.

      If I had to be honest, even as a movie/gaming buff, I think that "I could have been spending this/that time writing, or being creative".

      I love that your husband thought he could "cure" your movie woes and failed! Muahaha!

      Thank you very much for the history! Sorry it took so long to get back >.<

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