I watch a lot of television. A lot. I know there are people who say they don't own a television, and I really don't know how they do it. Maybe I am just not as strong-willed as they are, or maybe it's because it's about 30 degrees every day and I hate being outside in it. Regardless, I have to say that I love television. I watch anything from comedies, to dramas, to science fiction, and mysteries. My all-time favorite shows range from Alias, to How I Met Your Mother. From Battlestar Galactica to Pretty Little Liars. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Arrested Development.
Having said that, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of narrowing down what I love about a show, and what I really wish I could stop seeing. In my humble opinion, these are the top five mistakes that I believe make an otherwise good show, start to go stale.
The sets are switched too often:
The best part about watching a television show for me, is feeling like I know the characters. You know where they live, where they work, where they go out, etc. But when you constantly switch sets (for example they switch schools a few times, or are constantly getting a new job," you lose the continuity and you no longer feel like you know the characters.
No more I love yous!
Scenario: The two main characters swoon over each other for the entire first season. It's a huge deal for them when they finally get together in the middle of the season. Then they say "I love you," and then at the first sign of trouble (around the time of the finale) they break up. A few months later, at the beginning of season 2, they are both dating someone else and acting like they can be "just friends." Shortly after a few more ups and downs, they are saying I love you to their new significant other. And then to the next one, and then to the next one. Next thing you know, the show's been on for three seasons, and the main character has said "I love you" to four different people. Before you know it, the show becomes so incestuous you can hardly keep track! Everyone's in love, and everyone is something else's ex. It's just too much.
It becomes out and out ridiculous:
I can't tell you how many times this has happened, and fans have flat-out stopped watching a show. There's a proverbial point of no return with some televisions shows, where they just become completely out of control and unrealistic. Unless you're watching a science fiction show, an action show, or a show about some covert branch of the government, there is no reason for it to go spiraling out of hand. It's the number one reason why I have heard my friends and family say they have stopped watching things they use to watch. The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: "Did you see last night's episode of (insert show here).
My mom: "No, I don't watch it anymore."
Me: "Since when?"
My mom: "Since it became ridiculous."
The thing is, when you're watching the fourth season of a show you're invested in and love, the last thing you want to see is a new guy in town, who turns out to be a con artist. Or a character's reunion with a long lost "friend," who in a crazy turn of events, sleeps with the main character's mom.
All that build up for nothing:
Example: In season 3 of Grey's Anatomy, Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and George (T.R Knight) get drunk and sleep together. Unfortunately for them, it happens while he is married to Callie (Sara Ramirez). After a few guilt-stricken weeks, Izzie and George realize they want to be together. She becomes completely engrossed with the idea of them getting together, and wants George to tell Callie about the affair so he and Callie can get a divorce. Finally, after a few more episodes of build up, they sleep together again in an effort to get the ball rolling on their new relationship. The hiccup? Apparently they had absolutely no chemistry and could barely kiss without it being awkward. Long story short, they give up and don't end up together.
Now the show is still on and I am still a fan, but I was very disappointed when this happened. I see this a lot in television shows, and I honestly have never heard a single person say, "You know, I'm glad they ended their relationship that way. It makes a lot of sense." I almost always hear, "What was the point of all that?" It makes the entire situation between the characters seem like it happened for no reason. Mainly because a few episodes later, the show carries on as if this almost-relationship never happened.
You bring in way too many new characters, and old characters leave without any sign of where they went:
I understand that some actors only have X amount of episodes in their contract, but can you try to wrap it up a little more neatly than the audience just never seeing or hearing about them again? To add insult to injury, the shows usually bring in what I refer to as a "replacement character" way too early. This is a character who is usually the same sex as the one who has just left, and they are brought in right around the time you realize the original actor isn't coming back. I understand this is an attempt to round out the characters and keep it interesting, but when you bring this new actor/ actress in an episode after you've written out someone we've grown attached to, it makes us say "Ugh, I don't want to see her! Bring back the other girl!" Give us a little time to get over the loss of a character, before shoving a new one in our face.