I watch television because I love television, and I also watch television because it’s my job. With only so many hours in the day, and much of them devoted to the needs of my family, or Donald Trump horribleness, picking and choosing what shows to continue watching is a balancing act. There are so many shows on television now that I don’t even bother with most, because we can tell if we’re going to enjoy them or not based on trailers or loglines or what network will be airing it. Meanwhile, there are some shows that I continue to stick with even when I don’t necessarily love them, because they are discussed enough on the Internet that watching them becomes a job requirement (oh, Fear the Walking Dead, how I loathe you).
And then there are those shows in between, the ones that look like they have a shot at working, or look like they’ll create conversation on the Internet, which makes them worth at least checking out. After a few episodes, however, I wipe them off the season-pass list, because either there is no conversation around those shows, or it’s not even good enough to continue watching to keep up with the apparent buzz.
These are the 10 new shows that I bothered to watch in 2016 but that all ended up erased from the season pass list.
Chance — Hulu’s Chance was slow and boring, but I stuck with it for six episodes out of deference to Hugh Laurie and Ethan Suplee. Unfortunately, it never really picked up the pace, and I could see to what femme fatale ending it was leading. Moreover, despite it being a Hugh Laurie series, no one seemed to care. (Conversely, The Night Manager on AMC was little watched, but easily good enough to continue watching anyway). Chance belongs in the pile of Hulu series that, like 11.22.63, are mediocre to good, but not really worth the investment during the Peak TV era.
Feed the Beast — I’ll give any drama that AMC produces a shot, and this one had the added benefit of being David Schwimmer’s return to series television. Unfortunately, there was way too much being unnecessarily crammed into the series, it was poorly written, and David Schwimmer never left his perpetually wounded Ross mode. I made it three episodes.
Vinyl — I really tried to make this one work, because it came during a part of the year where there was so very little to talk about in television, the series had immense pedigree, I love Bobby Cannavale, and I appreciated the echoes of Mad Men. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a bad show, either (and I understand it got much better later on), but the conversation on this series faded quickly other than think pieces about what a terrible misfire it was for HBO. I probably would have caught up with it had it come back for a second season, but after it was renewed, it was later cancelled, so I never had a reason to return to it.
Flaked — Flaked was maybe the first really big bomb for Netflix, in that no one talked about, the people who had seen it hated it, and it wasn’t even widely reviewed. The pilot was terrible — aimless, meandering — but I stuck with it for four episodes before fucking off. Insanely, Netflix renewed it anyway, because Netflix will renew anything.
Easy — Easy was an anthology series about sex and love from Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) that featured a huge cast of well-known and well-liked actors. The first episode was pretty good, but Swanberg’s aimlessness began to take hold afterwards, and even the likes of Aya Cash, Malin Akerman, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Dave Franco could not keep me invested. I watched three of the six and skedaddled, feeling comfortable about skipping out on a bunch more hipster bullshit.
Roadies — This one hurt, because I love Cameron Crowe, and while I knew that Roades was bad, I couldn’t help but to see it for what I thought Crowe wanted it to be: An idealistic, Damn the Man! dramedy about the music business. It was cloying and sentimental, but I loved the music. I loved the cast, and every once in a while, there was a moment of pure magic that took my breath away. But it wasn’t enough. My attention drifted. No one was talking about it, except as that show no one was watching, and while I promised myself I’d finish it, the final episode still awaits me. With Showtime’s cancellation of the series, I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to it.
Son of Zorn — I watched the pilot. It wasn’t bad (and I understand the series had some really solid episodes), but it wasn’t for me, and since no one ever seemed to speak of the show, I never bothered watching a second episode.
Conviction — We all knew it would be bad going into the show, but we watched out of loyalty to Hayley Atwell. It was a super awful legal procedural. It fell off the radar immediately, and it has since been mercifully cancelled, allowing Atwell to pursue projects more worthy of her.
Frequency — I liked this show! I really did. And if anyone had given a damn about it, I probably would’ve continued watching, even though it slid into its procedural framework almost immediately. However, the series’ long arc was compelling, and the premise here was as entertaining as in the underrated original movie. If people suddenly start flocking to this series, I might even jump back in. As it is, I typically leave myself one space available for procedurals, and right now that space belongs to Lethal Weapon.
Quarry—- I wrote in my original assessment of the Cinemax series that it was just compelling enough to continue watching, but if I ever fell behind on it, I’d end up dropping it. I made it halfway through the first season. Sorry, budget Tom Hardy.