Shows that still got it and shows that lost it (like Lost) [by will]
It’s just a fact that season by season the vast majority of shows go downhill. Sometimes TV shows age and improve like wine. The percentage of shows that actually do this, however, is probably comparable to the small minority of beverages among thousands that DO improve with age. I’m stuck at only wine… any help here? These shows are so rare that I can’t think of any right now.
So why is it that most shows start to suck after the first few seasons? Well, one of my theories is that starting a new show is like starting a new relationship. You’re in it for that initial chase, and it’s fun to learn about this person (or characters). Once they’ve been around for a while you can re-evaluate this person to see it’s working out or not. And if it’s not, well, that ends that. Probably the more prominent and realistic theory I have is that writers just run out of ideas. Most TV shows that actually make it are probably only GOOD ENOUGH to last one, two, or maybe three seasons. It’s sad to see a show you once enjoyed being helplessly butchered, but that is the way of things.
There is, however, a third status of TV shows. If they aren’t dying, and they aren’t improving, they’re staying consistent. Shows that are remaining consistent are probably the shows that you’ve been watching for years that you still get pumped up for every time there’s a new season. Shows like The Sopranos or Seinfeld, for instance, are shows that maintained their quality.
Now that we’re still in January and the TV holiday hiatus is coming to an end, now is as good a time as any to discuss shows that are still on air that are going strong and shows that aren’t. If you’re thinking of picking up a new show with your Netflix, I’ll list my personal recommendations and opinions on six shows I care, or once cared about.
Still got it: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Take this one with a BIG grain of salt since I’m not entirely up to date. I was late on the ‘It’s Always Sunny’ train as I just started watching it episode by episode in December. I’ve seen all but the most recent season (which I actually heard is a little worse, but I can’t confirm/deny) but through the first three seasons, the show is hilarious. It’s gotta be saying something about the quality of a show if it usually has me laughing BEFORE the episode title card even appears.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – There’s no doubt in my mind that this isn’t the funniest show on television today. It is. I don’t care if you loved or hated Seinfeld, there’s no reason not to appreciate Curb. When I first started watching the first season, I felt more uncomfortable by the awkward situations Larry got himself into than amused. But that’s because Curb isn’t a show you instantly ‘get.’ You need to watch a few episodes to understand Larry and his personality. Once you’re a few episodes deep into this series… you’ll be hooked. Larry David and his writers are genius. If you have a sense of humor, watch this show.
Dexter – This is my favorite show. After three awesome seasons of Dexter, there’s no remote indication for decline. If you appreciate complex characters (Tony Soprano anyone?), then this is a series for you. It’s extremely well written and well acted, and the main character’s (Dexter’s) voice over is always great and allows you to step inside his head. The head of a serial killer. As it’s a show about a blood spatter expert for the Miami police department, you gotta expect some violence and gruesome themes. If you like, or can handle, a dark show… this is a must-watch.
Lost it: Lost: It’s really a shame. The first season of Lost is some of the best television I’ve ever seen. I could re-watch entire episodes back to back and still be entertained. The second season was a well-done and worthy supersession (is that a word?) to the first season. Not quite as good, but nearly there. By the time the third season began… thing were getting grim. The fourth was an atrocity. The sad thing is, I’m so vested in this show that I’m probably going to watch it until it’s off the air. Plus, it’ll be hard to sink lower than it is.
Heroes: I never wanted to watch this show to begin with. It just seemed like an X-Men ripoff. A few of my friends were highly recommending it to me, so when I finally got around to watching the first season I was expecting mediocrity. I was wrong. The first season was amazing. Really an entertaining show with so much promise. Unfortunately the second season wasn’t able to keep up. I gave the third season a chance since the second was held short by the writer’s strike, but after just finishing it… this show is now dead to me. I refuse to watch it when the new season starts. Dammit Hiro Nakamura, you take something good, and you spoil it.
The Office: Alright, stop being offended. I realize that a lot of people might disagree with me on this. First of all, The Office isn’t a BAD show. It’s just gone downhill progressively since the second season. (Save Andy Bernard who is the best) Secondly, unlike Lost and Heroes, I’d still recommend this show, but know that it’s on it’s way out. If you turned on this show having never seen it before and watched an episode, you’d say to yourself, “Gee, who in this show isn’t in a relationship with someone else in the office?” It’s taking away from the simple way things used to be when 90% of the conflicts in the show center around relationship issues. This is a comedy show not a drama. It’s still funny, but plot-wise, man they need to kill off some characters or something to get this show back to the way it was.
Wow.. thank God we are over the whole election thing and can finally agree on some stuff.
Love Always Sunny… although it took me a bit to get it and of course my girls have the never ending DVD collection so I was stuck with it over break. Hooked!
Heroes..Liked it at first at then I just could not keep up. Too many heroes..too much work.. sorry. Happy George Takei is working.
Never, ever watched Lost but it is now a lead in for a GREAT show… Life on Mars so check that out.
Will, you didn’t mention Mad Men.. or the Bunt (well 2 out of 3 Bunt) girl favorite, Nip Tuck. Total sleeze and never disappoints.
[Jackie] I still havent ever watched Lost, but I heard that this new season is ridiculous and just dumb. So maybe I will just rent the first couple seasons and be done with it. I think that Always Sunny is ALWAYS FUNNY! The last season was just as funny as the others sooo you should check it out boy
I know a lot of people who love Nip Tuck. Truth is I’ve never seen an episode. Except a clip of Rosie O’Donnell on one. That scene made me afraid to ever watch it.
And Jackie, YES get the first two (maybe three if you feel like pushing it) seasons of Lost and enjoy it. Just have the willpower to know to stop.
[Alicia] Nip/Tuck has stayed consistent; it’s just a matter of taste. Do you like shameless mediumcore porn and outlandish plots centered around plastic surgery, greed and lust? Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
Also, Always Sunny is my fave.
Curb is funny sometimes. I used to really love it, but I got tired of Larry like getting into these ridiculous situations. These comic misunderstandings. I grew bored with it – although sometimes I’m in the mood for an episode or two.
I like Burn Notice, too – Michael Weston is like the hip, hot new McGuyver.
Wow Will, thank you for being the first one to call out the Office on it’s vicious downhill turn. It’s about time someone said it.
It’s fucked up when ppl think that Michael Scott was the first person to ever use the “That’s what she said” joke
Mmk, well… Curb is ALWAYS funny, for starters. And you can’t say “comic misunderstandings” like this is an episode Three’s Company. Curb just shows what it’s like for a person to be honest in an awkward situation. It’s not Mr. Furley overhearing a conversation Jack is having on the phone and thinking Jack is gay. Larry’s character just says what everyone else really thinks. He isn’t stifled. He’s PERFECT for Buntology.
he’s not stifled but he’s socially retarded.
Curb is brilliant. It gets old to some (much like Seinfeld) because the characters stay the same, but that’s the beauty of the show. Consistent and hilarious. Much like Seinfeld, it’s a show you’ll watch reruns of at ANY time of day.
The Office has gotten weaker but not so much because of the relationship angles. Imagine how lame the show would be if Jim and Pam weren’t dating yet and still flirting and pretending not to be in love? The show is running its course because there’s really only so many things you can do with a show that revolves around one setting.
And can we talk about how tragic it is that Arrested Development got canceled, yet clowns like Jay Mohr and Charlie Sheen have network sitcoms. ….
And…it’s no coincidence all these great shows (Curb, Office, Always Sunny, Arrested Development) have no laugh track. That shit is lame. Do we really need to hear a recording of people laughing to know when something is funny. COMMON!
I’m 110% with you on that stuff. I’m just saying, I can only watch Larry be nonchalantly inappropriate so many times. But Charlie huffing glue? That NEVER gets old.