In the Before Times, when we were able to go places and do things, I had more patience for bad TV. I could go out into the world, and when I came back, the terribleness of Dexter was waiting for me! What better way to unwind than laughing at Michael C. Hall in a wig, pretending to be 15? It was a good time. I mean, it was clearly a horrible time, but I can laugh about it now! I will never watch one second of that upcoming reboot, but at least I understand the origin of the “Surprise, motherfucker!” meme!
But look, I don’t have that kind of patience anymore. I’m home all the goddamn time now. I go from one room to another, and then back again, in an endless loop of exhaustive futility. In the past few months, we got not one, not two, but THREE bird feeders. Sometimes I look out the window and make up little narratives about the cardinals and the starlings and the sparrows. You see, the sparrows usually all get along, but they defer to the cardinals, especially the female cardinals, so if a female cardinal lands on the bird feeder tray and knocks seeds and feed over onto the ground, the sparrows will eat the seed off the ground, but if a starling comes, then shit gets real. The starlings eat both the seed and the suet, and they fight with each other and with other birds, and the cardinals try to fly and attack them, but the starlings are universally bigger, and the sparrows all scatter. And then sometimes the doves show up, and they’re sort of like the cows of birds—slow and plodding and a little unaware of themselves—and they usually fly into the feeder instead of onto it, knocking seed all over. WE HAVE FUN HERE. IT’S A LOT OF FUN.
How do I have so much time to get weirdly into backyard bird watching? Because I’ve finally quit watching TV shows I don’t like, of course! I’m not doing this Dexter shit again! If you disappoint me, you’re out. If you bore me, you’re out. Here’s what I’ve deleted off the queue lately.
Man, I loved this show so much—at least, the first two seasons of it. It was, ahem, dark! It was twisty! Yes, it broke some of the accepted laws I thought I knew about time travel (how could one person at two different ages exist in the same time period at the same time?), but it was stylish and well-produced! But then by the time we found out who Adam was, and by the time the third season switched from being about time travel to being about parallel universes, I don’t know, man. I just lost interest! Things got too convoluted and I reached a point where I sort of forgot what everyone was fighting for? I might go back to this, but I would have to binge the remaining episodes in one go. I know, that’s what Netflix is for, I know.
His Dark Materials
[whispers] I’m sorry, I tried, I watched the first season and wrote about it for us, but the LMM/Lee Scoresby casting never worked for me and The Subtle Knife is my favorite book of the series and I watched the second season premiere and just got irritated by LMM all over again. Who thought he was a good fit for a laconic Texan cowboy? Who? I can’t return to a show that distracted me scene to scene with his casting, and I know that is my personal problem, but it is what it is. (Yes, I know about the possibilities of The Amber Spyglass, but … still.)
I blame Doc Steven Wilson for this, since his recurring mantra is “The book is better than the movie/TV show/whatever other adaptation,” and sometimes I want to prove him wrong! Back in my middle school years, I struggled through reading Stephen King’s The Stand for weeks before eventually just skipping forward a few hundred pages and finishing the book, but that’s not right! So before CBS All Access launched their miniseries adaptation of King’s work, I started the book again and was about 15% of the way in when I watched the first six episodes of the miniseries for my review at another publication. And man, the book WAS better than the series at that point! Kudos to Doc! More compelling in its characterizations, and more effective in its linear format! I thought the casting of the show was stellar—Alexander Skarsgård as the Man in Black is such a good choice—but the divided timeline absolutely sucked, and I do not understand why the show creators chose to lead the story with incel prototype Harold Lauder (Owen Teague).
At the end of six episodes, by the time Ezra Miller’s very cringeworthy version of the Trashcan Man showed up, I was done. The show struggled in those first six episodes to lay out the stakes of King’s story and build up the characters as they needed, and sure, King wrote a new ending for this, but … I just couldn’t bring myself to care very much. I’m still struggling through the book—been reading this for like 2 months and still only 700 or so pages into a 1,300-page tome!—but even that I might put aside for a while, after having hella nightmares recently. So basically what I’m saying is, you were wrong, Doc! Maybe both the book and TV versions of The Stand aren’t very good!
Oh, y’all recast Johnno? With whoever the hell the rando in the above gif is? And then you had him cheat on Elisabeth Moss’s Robin? The woman he said in season one that he would love forever? Because it would be DARKER and EDGIER to keep Robin unhappy all the time? Go fuck yourselves. Trash! I quit as soon as that episode finished, two episodes into season two, and I’m real good at expunging that from my brain. Top of the Lake only has one season! Just like Arrested Development only has three seasons! It’s very simple math!
I watched the first three episodes of WandaVision, which were made available for critics, for my review for another publication. I will honestly tell you that I thought those initial episodes belabored the “wacky sitcom hijinks!” point, and I was ready for the show to move on. Maybe I will catch up with the full season when all the episodes are available, but until then, I feel pretty good just reading Mike’s recaps.
What I should have stopped: Veronica Mars, season four (SPOILERS for anyone who hasn’t watched it yet but still might one day?)
HA HA HA. HA. HA. HA. Talk about an absolute trash season of TV that demonstrated, as the second season of Top of the Lake did, the narrow limitations of its creators in imagining the arcs of their protagonists. The only way to make Veronica Mars a show for grownups is to get even more grim? To murder off the arguably most tragic character of all (father dead, mother dead, first girlfriend dead, etc. etc. etc.) who finally had his life together and who wanted nothing more than to devote his life to being a better person, and to loving Veronica the way she deserved? Like, how dare y’all. Plus, Veronica was such an asshole this season! She was cruel, she was bad at her job, she was irritatingly nihilistic. And, uh, this isn’t the good storytelling you think it is:
Extreme yikes to this show, and extreme regret on my part for sticking with it the whole season through. Veronica Mars ends with the movie! I should have listened to Brian when he attempted to steer me away. I’M SORRY, BRIAN. FORGIVE ME.
What about you? Have you quit any TV shows this past year, or returned to give a show a second chance and been pleasantly surprised? I am willing to be convinced!
Header Image Source: CBS All Access