Falling Out of Love…With a TV Show

It’s happened to the best of us. We find something we really like, fall for its charms, stick by it even when others say bad stuff about it, and then the day comes that you realize it just wasn’t what you thought it would be – your relationship with your favourite TV shows can end up being heartbreaking. As a TV addict, I have a number of shows that I LOVE and a whole lot more shows that I really like. Now, regardless of the degree of adoration, it hurts all the same when a TV show I regularly watch starts losing its way or begins to disappoint me with its quality, or possibly worse, bores me. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I watch SO. MUCH. TV, but I seemingly have a certain standard to what I want out of my TV shows (except for when I don’t – I know that makes no sense, just roll with it). It was made all the more clear after I came back from a two-week vacation. As soon as I got back, I started working on the backlog of TV shows I had missed while I was away. It dawned on me not only the extent to which my TV obsession lay, but I also couldn’t believe what shows I was still watching that I should’ve given up a long time ago.

Quitting a show that I once loved to watch isn’t anything particularly new. Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars – shows that are still on the air that I have pulled the plug on for some time. A lot of times, once I start feeling the inclination that things are going south, I still finish out their current season in the hopes that they will renew my interest by the finale. Let me tell you, that hasn’t happened. Only Glee has been able to reel me back in for a couple episodes after I decided to break up with it – namely the Cory Monteith tribute (for how they were going to deal with his passing) and the 100th episode (just to see the returnees). Otherwise, once I made the decision to stop watching a show, I stopped.

Things get a little more complicated for shows that I know for a fact are ending. I binge-watched Dexter halfway through its run, after hearing pretty great things about it. It was really good but somewhere between the end of season 5 and the entirety of season 6, I wasn’t so sure. Religion’s an iffy topic for me, and with S6 being so focused on it, the show started losing me. The final minute of S6 kept me going for S7, which was an improvement on the previous season, and then knowing that S8 was going to be the last I figured I would just finish it off. I kind of regret that decision now, knowing how they decided to end things. True Blood is heading into its seventh and final season, and as I sit here, I’m still debating whether or not I care enough to watch how it all ends.

Anybody still watching or anticipating the new season?

Anybody still watching or anticipating the final season? For the record, S7 premieres June 22nd.

At the beginning of this year, when the mid-season shows began premiering, that was when my epiphany (of sorts) came to me. It started with the return of The Following – a show that while very flawed, I very much enjoyed its first season and cared enough about it to go to its SDCC panel. That panel gave me hope that they had fixed their issues and were going to come back better and stronger to prove those naysayers wrong. I lasted about six episodes before I called it quits. The show started feeling like it was going to be repetitive and going in circles until the time comes at the end of the series where (SPOILER ALERT?) Ryan Hardy finally kills Joe Carroll for good and frankly, I don’t have the energy to follow along. The same can be said for Revenge, which needs an end date so the writers/producers can work towards it, because again, it’s a big cat and mouse chase right now. Sure, they’ve made great improvements over the convoluted mess of season 2, but I’m not sure it has all been enough. There are only a few episodes left, so I’ll finish it off, but if the show returns for a fourth season, I’m not coming back. I stopped caring about it and realize now that I probably should’ve stopped watching it this time last year.

L-R: James Purefoy (who made a "surprise" appearance), Valorie Curry, EP Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, EP Kevin Williamson, Shawn Ashmore

Oh how quickly things change – less than a year ago, sitting in Ballroom 20 at SDCC to excitedly hear about S2 of The Following. Now? Got bored with it.

While catching up on the shows I missed while I was away, not to mention knowing all the shows that were premiering April, it kind of made me realize that there are some shows I watch mostly because they are part of the pop culture zeitgeist and thus as a pop culture fan/enthusiast I have a weird sense of obligation to stay on top of what’s “in” or “popular.” The purpose of that run-on sentence is to say that, when it comes to shows like Scandal and Game of Thrones, I’m quite conflicted on how I truly feel. When I first heard about Scandal, I thought it was an intriguing premise (and definitely a departure from the medical shows we know of from Shonda Rhimes). I binge-watched the first season on Netflix and caught up with S2 part way through, before I was able to watch it week to week. I loved that they were going all out with the writing, giving a cliffhanger pretty much every week, just burning through stories, and then there was this soapy quality to it that made it almost like a guilty pleasure. Partway through this past season, I started thinking that everything I loved about the show was turning into the things I didn’t like about it. They keep raising the stakes so much and are so focused on giving “OMG” moments in EVERY regular episode (so that people will want to talk about it on social media), that the finale fell a little flat. Really, how long can they continue going at high speeds before they start to crash and burn? For all intents and purposes, Game of Thrones really does appeal to me with the fantasy, almost medieval genre that it is. What I came to realize over the years though is that while I do enjoy watching the show, my retention of what actually happens during an episode is remarkably low. So much going on, so many characters to keep track of, I’m at a point where I’m ready to stop, and not because it’s bad, just that I’m not that into it.

TV is super competitive these days; I get it. I also know that I can’t watch everything, particularly live or same day, because that’s just ridiculous. Plus, some shows – regardless of rave reviews by critics and the general population – just aren’t for me. As the regular TV season winds down, I’m preparing myself to cut ties with a lot of shows, be it through network cancellation or by my own accord. After all, come September, there’s probably going to be some new shows for me to obsess over and not have time for.

So friends/readers, how many of you have had to stop watching a show because it simply wasn’t the same as it used to be? What other things factor into your decision to break up with a show?

A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 2

My reason for being at SDCC, the Nikita cast.

My reason for being at SDCC, the Nikita cast.

For years, I have wanted to go to the infamous San Diego Comic Con. The ultimate nexus of all things pop culture. This year, thanks to my cousin agreeing to go with me, I made my way. This is the account of my 4-day experience at the center of all things nerd.

Friday was the day that tested me. My cousin and I went our separate ways that day, as she went to tackle Hall H to see the Veronica Mars panel, and I tried my hand at the double whammy of the Nikita signing and panel. It was an early morning to get to the convention centre for the WB autograph signings. I had read a tweet the night before saying to get in line at 6:30 A.M; turns out that meant they were going to start the ticket raffle for your chance at wristbands at 6:30. I didn’t stand a chance. After finding out that all the wristbands for the Nikita signing were taken, I still stayed in line in hopes of maybe getting something else. My plan B, C and D were all gone by the time I reached the door. Lesson learned for next year!

Early morning shot of the Hall H line wrapping around the pier, while I was waiting to get into the WB autograph signing raffle

Early morning shot of the Hall H line wrapping around the pier, while I was waiting to get into the WB autograph signing raffle

With my attempt at getting autographs a bust, I made my way over to the lineup for room 6BCF, where the Nikita panel would be taking place. While in line, I met a fellow Nikita fan who had done the Con before, and helped me in my quest to properly meet any of the Nikita cast members. The unfortunate part of lining up so early ahead of a panel you want to see is that you’ll be sitting through panels you didn’t necessarily have in your plans. On the flip side, by sitting through these other panels, you get exposed to different things you didn’t know about. The panel I took in while waiting for Nikita was Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. Yup, I got to see Stan Lee in person. Also, did I mention that I was sitting in the second row?! World of Heroes is a YouTube channel featuring a multitude of different shows, and obviously with a focus on the nerd. For me, it was really cool to see/learn the type of programming and videos on YouTube that you wouldn’t necessarily have known about. I mean, it’s YouTube – there are A LOT of videos.

Stan Lee's World of Heroes panel

Stan Lee’s World of Heroes panel

After Stan Lee, was my moment of truth – the NIKITA panel! For three years, I have tried and failed miserably to meet the cast in Toronto (and the rare time that they’ve filmed in Cambridge), so to sit no more than 10 feet away from my favourite people ever was a big deal! I was sitting there in awe of being in front of Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Aaron, Melinda, Noah, and Craig. I was so excited to hear them talk and just be in their presence that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. And then they started asking for fan questions. Let’s remember here that I am an awkward person, who doesn’t talk a lot. Before the panel (I’m talking days), I tried thinking of one REALLY good question I could potentially ask. While in that panel, my sense of fear of embarrassing myself started sinking in. Then at some point, I got up the nerve and just said to myself “F*ck this! I’m going up there! This will probably be my only chance to talk to them!” The fear and panic came back when the person in front of me essentially asked the same question I was about to, so I had to think quickly on my feet. Let it also be known that I sometimes don’t do well under extreme pressure (it’s why I always hated tests in school). So there I was standing at the mic, trying to get my words together to talk to this cast whom I have complete love and respect for. This is what went down:

Me: “Hi my name is Thi. I’m actually from Toronto and I have been dying to meet you guys for three years…”

Lyndsy (I’m fairly certain. It all seemed so surreal to be talking to them and to have them even acknowledging my existence): “And you came all the way here to see us?! Aww! ”

Me: “YES! I came here to see you!”

Melinda: “Don’t worry we’ll be back Monday!”

Me: *laughing nervously, trying to collect myself* “So we know you guys obviously love hanging out together offset, any favourite memories from behind the scenes? Offscreen?”

To which Aaron answers first by saying they’re all just on Twitter when they’re not filming and then Lyndsy and Maggie start talking about all the dogs around set. After asking my question, I stepped to the side to hear their answer and not really knowing what to do I started going back to my seat before they even finished. (Toldya I was awkward…) When the panel ended, lots of people rushed to the front to get autographs/pictures from the cast before they left. My new friend on the other hand, rushed me to get out of the panel room. I wasn’t sure why but I followed her anyway. Turns out she was leading me to the door where the cast was exiting the panel room and heading into a break room (I think that’s what it was because they weren’t in there for long?). Before I knew it, Lyndsy was standing right in front of me, and just as I was going in for a picture with her (which she was totally nice about), Jeff Tobler, their PR guy rushed her away saying that they were on a tight schedule. So we waited by the break room for the cast to come by again and when Maggie came through, my friend yells out “Can she [pointing to me] get a picture? She’s the one from Toronto!” We could honestly see Maggie thinking about it, but then she had to apologize that she couldn’t because they had to go and were being rushed out to meet with press. I understood but at the same time, I couldn’t help but think “Screw the press! You’ve got fans here who want to meet you!” (I am sorry to all those critics/journalists/members of the press whom I respect dearly. I was being a selfish fan.)

Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca having a laugh. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?

Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca having a laugh. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?

Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Noah Bean, creator/EP Craig Silverstein

Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Noah Bean, creator/EP Craig Silverstein

The whole Nikita experience behind me, I parted ways with my friend and made my way to the line for Ballroom 20, the second largest panel room. I knew ahead of time that there was no way I’d make it into the Agents of SHIELD panel (too popular for its own good, being a new show and all lol), but waited out the length of that panel to get in for what came after it. As expected, as soon as SHIELD let out (which I honestly was disappointed to not get to see that pilot), I made my way into B20 and settled in for a row of consecutive panels. The Following was first and they started it off by showing a video clip of the final minutes from the season finale and what happened after the screen went black, revealing the fate of Kevin Bacon’s Ryan and Natalie Zea’s Claire. I’m not one to spoil things for others, but I must say just seeing that end moment again, I had the same feelings I had when I watched it the first time. Then seeing it fully play out? That was a great bonus. What I love about seeing these panels is that you get some sense into not only what’s ahead for the next season, but also how the producers and cast felt about the previous season. After it’s highly buzzed about pilot episode, anyone who saw the show through its first season run can attest to a feeling of exasperation that the FBI were always a couple steps behind Joe Carroll and his cult. Executive producer Kevin Williamson admittedly said that he recognizes that the FBI were a little dumb last season and promises that in season two, with a one year time jump, the show will focus less on the FBI and more on the characters.

L-R: James Purefoy (who made a "surprise" appearance), Valorie Curry, EP Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, EP Kevin Williamson, Shawn Ashmore

The Following panel. (L-R): James Purefoy (who made a “surprise” appearance), Valorie Curry, EP Marcos Siega, Kevin Bacon, EP Kevin Williamson, Shawn Ashmore

After The Following was a panel that I was really excited about, and that is for Almost Human, a new show from Joel Wyman, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk. The panel included a screening of the pilot (which for the record, it is totally awesome to get to see something months in advance), followed by a short Q&A. My initial thought on the pilot is that like the Fringe pilot, it isn’t perfect but it certainly sets up everything needed to continue on with the series and hooks you in. Wyman even said himself that the show came about partially because he “wanted to keep Fringe fans happy.” Watching it, you do get the sense that the show was created by the same people who worked on Fringe, between the futuristic sci-fi elements and the mixture of procedural and mythology, with a dash of humour/light moments, but it is its own show. The panel talked about how the show will examine all things technical, but that for the series to work, everything comes back to the human condition, and seeing how human beings deal with the relations of the future. I would highly recommend seeing this show when it premieres in the fall.

L-R: Writer Naren Shankar, Lili Taylor, Minka Kelly, Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, EP/Creator Joel Wyman

Almost Human panel. (L-R): Writer Naren Shankar, Lili Taylor, Minka Kelly, Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, EP/Creator Joel Wyman, Moderator Damian Holbrook

Breaking from the typical show panel, next up was TV Guide’s Fan Favorites panel, their yearly tradition of bringing stars of a multitude of shows, new and old to just talk. When this panel was initially announced for this year, among the panelists were Yvonne Strahovski, Candice Accola, and Katie Cassidy, whom I was really excited about seeing (especially Yvonne!), but as it came closer, others were added and those three were unfortunately not going to be on the panel. The final crew of panelists included: Blair Underwood (Ironside), Henry Ian Cusick (The 100), Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow), Giancarlo Esposito (Revolution), Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Clark Gregg (SHIELD), Julie Plec (EP of The Vampire Diaries), and Joseph Morgan (The Originals). As far as the panel itself, it was fun hearing all these actors talk about their various characters and what not. Some fun moments:

  • Clark Gregg knowing very well of the audience in front of him; elicits cheers just from dropping names (of people, shows, movies) – Buffy, Firefly, Thor, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing. After a while, he had to stop himself from talking, just so time wasn’t wasted on us cheering at everything he said ahaha.
  • Kristin Bauer, who is honestly, always a fan fave, talks about how relationships are tested this season on True Blood. Seeing how well it worked out for Clark, she decides for good measure just to namedrop Alexander Skarsgard (It worked. We cheered.)
  • Giancarlo Esposito decides to use his time to plug the premieres of Revolution and Breaking Bad, and briefly talks about his return to Once Upon A Time, where his character Sidney will be going back to that world to win back Regina.
  • Stating the obvious, moderator Debra Birnbaum of TV Guide asks Emily Bett Rickards if her character Felicity has a crush on Oliver – “Come on, Oliver Queen. Stephen Amell.”
  • Blair Underwood, there to promote his new NBC show Ironside comes to the conclusion that “Maybe we should add some vampires or zombies”
L-R: Blair Underwood, Henry Ian Cusick, Emily Bett Rickards, Giancarlo Esposito, Kristen Bauer, Tyler Hoechlin, Danai Gurira, Clark Gregg, Julie Plec, Joseph Morgan

TV Fan Favorites. (L-R): Blair Underwood, Henry Ian Cusick, Emily Bett Rickards, Giancarlo Esposito, Kristen Bauer, Tyler Hoechlin, Danai Gurira, Clark Gregg, Julie Plec, Joseph Morgan

Last panel of the day (for me) was the Joss Whedon panel. Turns out, Whedon does this every year and it is pretty much him answering fan questions for an hour. Fun! I honestly didn’t take many notes during the panel, because I (like everybody else) was very much basking in the presence of awesomeness. I mean, this man gave us the legacy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Dollhouse, and then moved onto to pretty much controlling the Marvel movie empire when he directed The Avengers. If us nerds needed to name someone as our master/king/god, Joss Whedon would probably be it (to be fair, it’s probably a toss up between Whedon and Stan Lee, but that’s another discussion). But I digress, it was really cool to hear Whedon talk so openly answering fan questions like that. Among the topics brought up (from what I can recall):

  • Since tackling a Shakespeare adaptation, after the heavy action of The Avengers, what other film genre would Whedon like to take on? Anything, except the family drama. And yes, that does include a musical (outside of Dr. Horrible). Dance battle over a special effects action sequence? Why not?
  • On whether he’d revisit Wonder Woman (Whedon, at one point in time, wrote a script for a new WW. Nothing was made of it.)? No. He doesn’t like going backwards, and would much rather go forward doing other things.
  • On the topic of remakes/adaptations – He thinks that Hollywood needs to get more creative, put out more original content. Realizes the irony of that, being someone who just did The Avengers and Much Ado About Nothing, but talks about how if they keep going on this cycle of remake of a remake, they’re gonna run out of movies to remake.
  • On whether he can actually be a feminist, without being female – He doesn’t care. He thinks feminism is more about equality, rather than a perspective. Awesome words from the man who has given us so many strong female characters in pop culture.
Joss Whedon, no big deal...VERY BIG DEAL!

Joss Whedon, no big deal…VERY BIG DEAL!

[UPDATE] After much prodding by Nikita fans, The WB has finally uploaded the panel in full. So I get to remember my full on awkwardness forever.

Upfronts 2012: FOX Takes the Stage Unveiling Its Schedule for the 2012-2013 TV Season

Day 2 of Upfronts and it is now Fox’s turn to show us what they have in store for next season. Outside of figuring out where to place its new shows, it doesn’t seem as though there were that many changes to the schedule. The network picked-up a total of 5 shows – 3 comedies and 2 dramas.

  • MOB DOCTOR [Drama – Mondays @ 9]: As far as I’m concerned, this show could’ve used a better title. Sure it is succinct and straightforward, but it just sounds dumb. Jordana Spiro stars as the titular character, who while a promising young surgeon, must also do work for the mafia to pay off her brother’s debt. I probably should wait until I see previews for it to make judgment, but I’m not entirely sold on it.
  • BEN & KATE [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8:30]: Show #2 that could probably use a title change (and it has already changed its title once). If you didn’t know any better, you would probably think this is some relationship comedy involving a couple. Still about a relationship, but about siblings. Kate dropped out of college after giving birth to her daughter and now spends her time either with her daughter or working as a bar manager. Ben is her spontaneous + irresponsible older brother who comes and stays with her, to take care of his niece, giving his sister the opportunity to live her life a little. If the writing’s solid, I might consider giving this one a look.
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  • THE MINDY PROJECT [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9:30]: Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention to what the show is about, except for the fact that this show stars and is produced by Mindy Kaling (formerly from The Office). She’s proven how funny she is, both as an actress and a writer, so I can’t wait to see what she’ll do on her own show, outside the confines of The Office.
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  • THE GOODWIN GAMES [Comedy – Midseason]: Becki Newton, Scott Foley, and Jake Lacy star as 3 siblings who must come together and follow their late father’s wishes if they want to inherit the $20 million he left behind. This cast, plus the fact that this is coming from the same guys who brought us How I Met Your Mother, means that I am totally in! Only thing that sucks is we have to wait until the winter.
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  • THE FOLLOWING [Drama – Midseason]: A new thriller from producer Kevin Williamson, the show stars Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent, who is brought back in after a serial killer (played by James Purefoy) he put away 9 years ago, escapes from death row. Without a doubt, an interesting premise; I’ll be sure to tune in.
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Other notable changes in the schedule:

  • Raising Hope starts off the Tuesday comedies @ 8.
  • With FOX making an all-comedy Tuesday block, Glee now moves to Thursdays @ 9, following The X-Factor/American Idol results shows. In related news, it was announced that Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker are slated to guest star on Glee for multiple-episode arcs.
  • Touch now anchors the night on Fridays @ 8, leading into the final season of Fringe
  • Britney Spears and Demi Lovato have been hired as the new judges on The X-Factor. Love Britney, but not sure how I feel about it. She’ll certainly bring more to the table than Demi – Britney’s had a career for over a decade, while Demi’s still new.  I’m honestly can’t see who would take Demi seriously as a judge/mentor. Just watch, she’ll probably get the younger girls as her team.

Tomorrow, it’s on to ABC.