There’s something astonishing about a truly mediocre show. A great show can change your life, a terrible but successful show can make you question the state of our society, and a terrible and unsuccessful show is never important enough to notice. But a truly mediocre show is almost an art form in and of itself. Finding the perfect combination of elements that will be entertaining enough to watch without ever accidentally moving into great enough to need the show or bad enough to be annoyed by it. While a lot of shows want to say a lot of things, some shows choose to say, “I want to be firmly in the middle of the pack.” These are those shows.
I know Elementary has a strong following, especially around here, but I’m just not seeing it, guys. Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui are both completely serviceable as Sherlock and Watson, but after watching almost three seasons, I can’t remember ever being emotionally moved in the slightest. The updated character choices make room for some really interesting possibilities, but they never seem to follow through. Mycroft is a wealthy and charismatic restaurateur who (SPOILER) is also a secret MI6 agent. He’s charming enough to seduce Watson, but doesn’t know how to comb his goddamn hair?
Mrs. Hudson is a transgender “muse” to great artists with an innate perspective into Sherlock which allows her to organize his house in a way that not only does he approve of but actually hadn’t even considered before? Awesome. So she shows up once and then is only causally referred to again? Watson is still years later reeling from the death of a patient, an event which pushed her out of medicine, into a career as a sober companion and eventually being a private detective?
is all of her emoting
some level of
And Johnny Lee Miller is probably the biggest embodiment of the issues with the show. His “character development” consists entirely of him telling you exactly what’s going on with him. He’s upset about Irene, he feels vulnerable about Watson moving out, he doesn’t want to go to an NA meeting. For all of the good parts of Elementary, the problem is that CBS has a viably good show on its hands, and doesn’t trust you to realize that.
Oh, NBC. How far have you fallen that a mediocre show on your network is worthy of both notice and praise. Because as far as I can tell, they tried really, really hard to make a good show, and it’s still a piece of garbage. Well, not garbage exactly. Superstore is enjoyable enough, it’s just also completely predictable and void of any charm other than the performances of its stars. The workplace comedy with romantic elements and a slice of life flavor is completely saved by America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, and Colton Dunn. Everything else feels like The Office 2: Watering Down Time. They’ve got the social awkward boss; an overly enthusiastic second in command; a possibly workplace romance complicated by one of the members existing relationship. Unfortunately they’ve also decided to keep a lot of the same jokes. Because in NBC-land, the most cutting edge humor they’re comfortable with is from their own hit show from ten years ago.
3.)The Walking Dead
Yup, I said it. It’s mediocre at best. And unlike my friend Steven, I don’t think that means you should stop watching the show. Entertainment should be like food. Sometimes you need to eat substantial meals to keep you going. Sometimes you need to eat exquisitely prepared meals in order to broaden your perspective on the world, and sometimes you need to snack on junk food. I say you watch whatever you want to watch. But let’s stop pretending that The Walking Dead is or ever has been prestige TV. In the same way that fellow mediocre show Modern Family has created a backlash by being fawned over at the Emmys, TWD’s buzz has far outpaced its content. Because its content? It’s horror moments. Straight, uncut moments of the most insanely inhumane acts perpetrated by both zombies and humans. There might be some attempts at characters attempting to retain their humanity in an inhumane world. But the basic gist of the show boils down to “holy fuck, can you believe this shit?” Barbaric slaughterhouses for humans? A child intentionally turning another child into a zombie? Their foster mother having to kill the first child because of the horrific human that child had become? All moments of unadulterated horrific terror. But not a great show. The Walking Dead is the entertainment equivalent of pushing a bruise over and over again. You might feel it, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything there.