Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Festivus isn't over until you pin your father!

Thanks for all the suggestions for the Best Of list, which will run near the end of the month. Now it's time for the flipside of that. I've never done a traditional Worst Of list, in part because I steer clear of stuff that would probably deserve it. (I don't think I've seen a full episode of "The Hills" since the pilot, for instance.)

Instead, continuing a tradition I started with Matt Seitz back when we shared the beat, I do a Festivus list, rattling off the people and shows that have disappointed me in the last year, as part of that year's Airing of the Grievances. The people and shows on the list have to be capable of disappointing me, so the truly terrible wouldn't qualify. I had no expectations for "Cavemen," for instance, so it doesn't qualify, while season two of "Friday Night Lights" or, last year, Aaron Sorkin and "Studio 60" would.

Again, I have a lot of stuff in mind for the list already, but never want to miss someone or something deserving of a trip to the aluminum pole. Fire away with the suggestions.


Tom said...

Let's go with the obvious one off the bat: "Reaper." Excellent premise, funny pilot...yet they were content to make a formulaic kid's show. Very much an underachiever.

And even though I had little hopes for "Grey's Anatomy," opening the season with Izzy saving a deer has to deserve some sort of mention. Maybe "stitching the deer" can replace "jumping the shark" in the lexicon.

ps: Thanks to the miracle of TiVo, I have a late addition to the "best of" list. "Sit on You," a stupendously surreal musical number from the latest "Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job." Imagine the dancing baby all grown up. And fat. And gay. Dancing to the most virulent earworm since "The Doggy Bounce."

Anonymous said...

Probably doesn't count yet, but maybe: I'm disappointed by the ambiguous fate of The Return of Jezebel James. (Does it just suck? Did the star flake?) The combo of Parker Posey, Lauren Ambrose and children's book editorial sounded like a show tailor-made for me. Oh well.

Other than that, it's hard to say. Even the stuff that was a bit disappointing was still pretty enjoyable. The Office hour-long episodes, Weeds season 3 (didn't touch the first two seasons). And I adored Freddy Rodriguez on Ugly Betty, but thought there'd be more of it, quantity-wise.

Oh, and the million-year wait between Project Runway seasons.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't possibly be more disappointed than I am with "Bionic Woman." Maybe I never should have had such high expectations to begin with, but I did, so the terribleness of it was just that much more terrible.

Unknown said...

I'll second the nomination for "Bionic Woman": surely there's a good show to be reimagined from that concept, but this ain't it.

I'll add Jerry Seinfeld's embarassing appearance on Letterman. The sight and sound of a billionaire making personal attacks on a cookbook author on national television because she'd had the temerity to question his trophy wife's talent was sickening.

Hell, let's throw on the ubiquitous "Bee Movie" promos. Never before has so much goodwill been squandered so quickly by so many ads.

Matt said...

How about "Torchwood?" While it's found a pretty solid footing in the last few episodes (from the biplane time rift episode forward, though I haven't watched the finale yet) and the pilot was decent, the start of the season was a muddled mess. Also, negative points for stripping Captain Jack of any sense of fun.

And the fact that the writers' strike hasn't been resolved yet should go on here.

Anonymous said...

"Heroes" would definitely qualify as a TV disappointment. The spring's season finale was a huge letdown and the new season has been, at best, a mixed bag.

Eric said...

Agree on Heroes and Matt's comments on Torchwood. How about NBC for pulling their shows off of iTunes? And for not being willing to create a workable version of "The IT Crowd." Bet they wish they had 6 or 8 episodes of that in the can now.

Everyone who slagged off on the ending of the Sopranos. (I liked it, so no grievances for David Chase.)

Sci-Fi for messing with the BSG scheduling so egregiously. And most of the world for not picking up on what a fun show Eureka is.

But some props to the producers of The Amazing Race for pulling the show out of the funk it's been in the last few seasons.

erin said...

I thought How I Met Your Mother started off a little rough, but it's improved considerably. I agree with both Reaper and Bionic Woman, but I think Grey's has been surprisingly good. As has Nip/Tuck! In general, I've been pretty pleased with this year's offerings! I'm just not cranky enough, i suppose!

Anonymous said...

My nominees are Heroes. Friday Night Lights, and John from Cincinnati.

Heroes didn't have an amazing first season, but it felt like it was building to something bigger. Instead, this season regressed. The characters were scattered and reset, lame new heroes were introduced, major plots were recycled, and momentum was replaced with tediousness.

FNL had a much more amazing first season. As a result, there were probably impossibly high expectations for season two. That being said, the contrived murder plot cast a shadow over the entire show, while the decision to push the football to the background removed the show's main reason for being.

As for JFC, it was a beautiful and well acted but a complete and total mess. No amount of foul mouthed Milch-ean monologuing could balance the pain caused by Rebecca De Mornay's weekly banshee screams. It was bad enough that the show was linked to the demise of Deadwood, a modern classic; it was worse that the show never cohered into enjoyable television.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Don't forget, by the way, that stuff from last season qualifies. Just had to happen sometime in the 2007 calendar year.

Anonymous said...

For last season (this calendar year), I would say Knights of Prosperity, or more specifically ABC, and Mick Jagger for killing it in the crib, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

More network disappointments - NBC's handling of Andy Barker P.I. and Fox's handling of The Loop.

cpennylane said...

I would say that Sci-Fi's "Tin Man" was incredibly disappointing. I had high hopes, and ended up falling asleep. (Sorry, I completely ignored your review. I really shouldn't have).

What about Drew Carey on "Price is Right?" or last year's horribly long "Lost" hiatus?

Or the entire 3rd season of Veronica Mars?

Anonymous said...

The entire season of 24 last spring. A total incohesive mess. The first time I didn't look forward to the next episode.

Anonymous said...

Last season of 24 was awful.

Season 3 of Prison Break was so stupid that I finally gave up.

And, as a Brothers & Sisters fan I was pretty disappointed that the Kevin/Jason relatiionship had to be put on hold so Eric Winter could do the insta-flop Viva Laughlin

Anonymous said...

How about the undeniable turd that was "Dirt?"

The Coyote loose in the floor episode of Studio 60.

NBC suddenly deciding that ER is still on the air and trying to convince us it is relevant.

Landry "Noggin Knocker" Clarke and the Very Bad Mistake (Sounds like a Judy Blume book...)

Sci Fis "Flash Gordon"

I would have to call John from Cincinnati a dissapointment, although I enjoyed the show immensely.

"Carpoolers," as I expect at least a LITTLE comedy from one of the Kids in the Hall

Wasn't there supposed to be a "Spaceballs" animated series this year? I read about it a while back. It was going to be on G4, I think. Where is that? I am dissapointed!!

"Two and a Half Men" How many seasons does that show have to go before the kid is officially more than half a man? Does he need to be Bar Mitzvahed?

The CW. Sure, neither network had enough good shows to field seven nights of television, but somehow cutting the dead weight when they combined still left us with a heaping pile of crap.

"7th Heaven" just wouldn't die. despite the fact that they had no kids left.

Anonymous said...

Rescue Me Season 4. I believe this very blog consistently pointed out how disjointed and inconsistent the entire season was, and I wholeheartedly agree. It's a little disheartening that it got renewed for 22 episodes following such a tailspin of a season.

Of course Heroes, though I'd buy the argument that, while it was disappointing last year, having hope enough to be disappointed this year is my own fault.

And even though I generally love BSG and even last season's's kind of disappointing that the three people who heard music in part 1 (and Tyrol in part 2) were outed as the obvious, cylons, a week later.

Susan said...

Grey's Anatomy, the three-parter about the ferry accident. In particular, the third part, in which Meredith wanders the halls in a coma/dreamstate with her half-dead mother and other dead people. Then wakes up and is perfectly fine.

The season finale of Heroes. I'm STILL disappointed in that one.

Most of the 2006/07 season of "Lost," until the last three or so episodes.

Most of the 2007 fall pilots. I tried several (including Dirty Sexy Money, Chuck, and Pushing Daisies) and none of them held me for more than three episodes.

Anonymous said...

I was incredibly disappointed with The Amazing Race All Stars. From the winners being a non couple from 2 different teams to easy tasks, the whole thing stunk.

Also, while I still watch it and enjoy it as times, Dirty Sexy Money has not lived up to the pilot. I definitely think the show is suffering because it is not filmed in New York and Samaire Armstrong is just horrible.

Figgsrock2 said...

1) Bionic Woman, for reasons stated above.

2) Lost, up until the final four eps.

3) Tell Me You Love Me, for making such hateful characters that it took away from the great work by Ally Walker.

4) 24, for, well, gosh, being so awful after their best season ever.

Anonymous said...

How about the entire "Law & Order" franchise, which has far outlived its usefulness. The plots are based on predictable twists, simplistic political arguments, and uncreative rewrites of headline news (even when the headlines are from The characters have largely become mere collections of quirks (despite the excellent actors in many of the lead roles). And the inclusion of certain actresses based on their attractiveness rather than their believability continues unabated.

Nicole Marie said...

Wow, shocked that Private Practice hasn't made the list yet. That show had so much hype, a great cast and started with a great central character in Addison; it's been completely unwatchable and boring, even moderately offensive in parts. For example the episode that was all about getting it on had a subplot about a woman's reaction to being raped--that seemed like a pretty poor choice to me.

Unknown said...

Most of my ideas have been mentioned (especially Heroes), but how about:

ABC for promoting that they were bring back Six Degrees (and later burning off episodes of the Nine), only to pull them one week later. It was just mean - I had accepted they were both gone and they had to go and play with my head like that.

Big Shots: I was really looking forward to it based on the cast. Thee actors deserve better. And should have had better judgement.

Anonymous said...

Scrubs is a shell of its former self, although that revelation might be a couple years old, so maybe that doesn't qualify as disappointing.

This probably doesn't count either, but my biggest disappointment in 2007 was learning that we'd have to wait till June of 2008 for new Venture Brothers. It's been since October of 2006! The writer's strike and the subsequent threat of only 8 Lost episodes in all of 2008 would be on the same list.

Anonymous said...

Season 2 of FNL should be at or near the top of the list.

What about David Chase's condescending attitude towards the public regarding The Sopranos finale?

The Emmy award committee for not nominating The Wire or the first season of Friday Night Lights.

Fox for having Ryan Seacrest host the Emmys rather than Hugh Laurie.

Matt said...

While the "Meredith Goes To Limbo and Miraculously Comes Back" was completely and totally ludicrous, it gets points for two things.

1. The dynamite repartee at the beginning of the episode between Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyle Chandler excerpted here.
2. Another top-notch performance by Kate Burton.

(Also, Sandra Oh was very good, with her inability to say "friend" and her "99 cent store" monologue.)

Anonymous said...

The whole NFL Network nightmare. Phooey on that.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy, especially the ferry boat arc and the fact that Meredith not only survived but miraculously escaped neurological devastation and was able to practice medicine the next day. Bonus points to Grey's for the George and Izzy fiasco.

Private Practice completely blows.

In short, Shondra Rhimes deserves an elite spot in the 2007 Worst List.

Guen and me said...

I'm disappointed:

That SciFi refused to renew "The Dresden Files".

That "Heroes" didn't build on its momentum with the new season.

That the CW didn't give Rob Thomas a chance to redeem "Veronica Mars", which was still one of the best written dramas even at its worst.

That Moonlight turned out to be such a chemistry lacking, soul sucking bore.

Unknown said...

-"Men in Trees" had some promise last season, but now the plots are unbearably soapy and dumb.

-A lot of people raved about Season 2 of "The Sarah Silverman Program," but I thought only the blackface episode was as funny as anything from season 1. I think it's just sophmore slump and it'll come back, though.

-Boston Legal officially sucks. They had some promising character growth last season, and then this year decided to scrap that and go "quirky." BOO.

Shawn Anderson said...

There's a lot of consensus here... hard to find anything to bring to the party, so here's more of the same:

Bionic Woman
Shonda Rimes (Grey's, PP)
Season 2 of Heroes
The unfulfilled promise of Reaper
The bungling of The Knights of Prosperity
Rescue Me
and though it pains me to say it because I looked forward to it's puzzle every week, John From Cincinatti

Anonymous said...

I may be alone on this, but I found the overwhelming majority of Battlestar Galactica Season 3 to be dull, preachy, and predictable. I probably found the first two seasons more problematic than most, but there was still lots of great stuff then. The bulk of this past season was a chore for me to sit through.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of promos, I want to nominate the ubiquitous "Frank TV" ads that were run during the baseball playoffs as one of the worst TV marketing campaigns ever. Those clips were so painfully unfunny it was as if TBS was issuing a warning to potential viewers...

Anonymous said...

You're not alone, on the dole, in finding much of Season 3 of "Battlestar Galactica" to be subpar. The season wasn't a total washout by any means, but there were definitely several episodes that qualified as dull, preachy, and/or predictable. I really think that it was a mistake to increase the episode order from the first two seasons; there were definitely a few episodes that qualified as filler. It makes me a little worried for Season 4.

dark tyler said...

Actually, the episode order for season 3 of BSG was the same as season 2, but the overall quality is nowhere even close. An especially if you count only the 2007 episodes (therefore excluding the Iraq/Caprica masterful 4-episode opener) then it was meh, overall.

On the strength of just 2 episodes (the Baltar/Jesus Olmos-directed eppy and the double finale) it still makes my top-20, but not my ten. Definitely a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Heroes beginning with the first season's finale and continuing with the recent season. They took the easy way out. A true sacrifice to save NYC would have been Peter dying.

Grey's Anatomy beginning with the terrible 3-part episode where Meredith almost drown. Totally jumped the shark on that episode and hasn't been the same since. She should have died, but again the writers, producers, et al. chicken out.

There is a reason that I prefer programs that have an ending. HBO makes the best TV by far because they aren't afraid to suprise their audience, kill off characters, and generally speaking end programs on their own terms before they become terrible.

Stef said...

I'll chime in - though most of mine have been already mentioned. In keeping with citing only those shows that *can* disappoint because I do actually *like* them:

Grey's Anatomy: the ferry accident 3-parter of crap, and the HORRIBLE storyline of George & Izzie.

Shonda Rhimes: For taking one of the best characters of GA and making her a horny twit in her ridiculous spinoff.

Heroes: The lame season finale, and the total misuse of characters in season 2.

Lost: This won't count, cuz it ties back to 2006... but the mere existence of Nikki & Paolo. But I do have to give D&C props for recognizing their mistake and killing them dead in 2007.

The Emmys: What a horrible awards show. The winners were the usual mixed bag, but the combo of Seacrest and that stage in the round made it pretty much unwatchable.

And, of course...

The studios: For being greedy money grubbers and bringing about this darn strike!

Ellen said...

- The "Grey's Anatomy" season 3 finale. I wish I had taken the time to write down my predictions because 95 percent of them came true. And everything since then has gotten progressively more lame. Also in the "Grey's" bin, the subtraction of Addison, my favorite character from Seattle Grace, so she could be on her own inferior show. I love Kate Walsh but I can't take it any more.

- That we'll never get to see "Veronica Mars, FBI"

- "Arrested Development" not being on the air is STILL a grievance, even in pilot season.

- And the greed and arrogance of the AMPTP.

Chris Littmann said...

I've got a few Showtime rips, first:

Californication: From the moment the wacky theme song started, I wondered exactly what I had been suckered into. His weird daughter singing punk rock just capped off the suck.

Season 3 of Weeds: Brilliant in Seasons 1 & 2. Just trailed off in Season 3. My excitement was next to nothing by the end on Mondays.

On to other things:

Prison Break Went from good, to OK, to unwatchable, and the handling of Sarah Wayne Callies was the final straw for me.

24 An already ridiculous show somehow finally did enough to annoy me, and I'm guessing a lot of other viewers.

Pilot Season, Fall 2007: The only show that stuck on my DVR was Chuck, and it's not in the class of anything that stuck from last season in a stellar group.

Reality TV: Isn't this fad over yet? Just in general, please go away.

Phew, I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

Entourage for managing to be a total shtick-fest, and not in a good way.

dark tyler said...

- "Arrested Development" not being on the air is STILL a grievance, even in pilot season.

Oh yeah, that reminds me! "The Thick of It" not getting picked up by ABC because they were too busy developing "Big Shots" and "Cavemen".

Anonymous said...

The most painful thing of this TV season or any other is the toying by David Milch with our minds and hearts by leaving us wondering whether the fabled Deadwood movie(s) will come to be or not. Like a missing person, it's the not knowing that is the hardest. I've barely slept all year.

Anonymous said...

For not living up to its first 5 hours, season 3 of Battlestar Galactica. While nothing may have been quite as bad as season 2's Black Market, (and there were some high points, with Baltar's interrogation), some of the standalone episodes faltered.

Heroes. It seemed to be building to an exciting season 1 finale, and then devolved back into the hackery with which the show began. Season 2 was no improvement.

Bionic Woman. Can we rebuild it? Make it better? Stronger? Faster? More entertaining? This was done well enough to show promise, but still hasn't found its voice.

John From Cincinnati. It wasn't Deadwood.

Entourage. Both of the seasons that aired this year were awful and dreadful. I kind of remember enjoying the first couple of seasons. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

i was briefly disappointed by "chuck" — so brief that my attention didnt last the first hour.

mostly, and this is a late 06-07 reference, i am disappointed by the loss of "the daily show"'s sandbagging of unaware guests in remote locations. it was a good time in television — every nite we used to be able to watch some barely articulate town board member or oddball morality cop, but once its ratings shot up between 2004-2006 due to the political news, they lost that kind of interview, and it seems unlikely theyd ever get it back.

ever since, "the daily show" has become more formulaic. still mostly funny, but less surprising.

Anonymous said...

Worst television trend: lack of opening credits! It's not like we haven't had periods of this before, but it seems to be more pervasive than ever.

A good opening credits adds such a zing to the teaser. Yeah, we get an extra minute of show, but we lose the sense of "setting the mood." I can't tell you how it pains me to hear some great line on Brothers and Sisters only to have the wan logo fade in. And this year, I swear I might have kept up with Dirty Sexy Money if they could of cooked up a fun credit sequence with a great song that showcased the cast.

Maybe this is why I like Journeyman?

Adam said...

I'd vote Heroes as the year's biggest disappointment. Last year wasn't perfect, but the characters were interesting and the plot was intriguing. This year, numerous plot holes, gaps in logic, and dull, one-note characters took over. Peter can walk through walls, but, confronted with a steel door... uses all his might to pull it open?? Peter helped Hiro save the world last season... but now trusts a locked-up stranger (Adam) over his friend? If Claires blood can erase death... then who cares who gets killed? I could go on...

Anonymous said...

Fox's promo department for subjecting us to American Idol ads for their typical January debut as early as mid-October. Everybody, even those who don't care, knows its season starts in January.

The Isaiah Washington debacle and Shonda Rimes for just not getting it (both that and the problems with both her shows).

The CW's interference with Veronica Mars. If you knew you were probably going to cancel the show anyway, why not let the producers/writers make the show they way they wanted.

Heroes. For the many reasons already stated, but also for casting so many terrible actors in lead roles. I mean, thank god they got a clue and cast Kristen Bell even if they can't write her character consistently well.

I would put the strike on the list too; however, I find I'm looking forward to watching a bunch of TV I missed and have wanted to find time for - The Wire, Rome, and Eureka to name a few.

Anonymous said...


Heroes Season 2 - Or should that be Volume 2? - was horribly disappointing. Granted, it was a show that even during the First Season was inconsistent, but it was never less than compelling. But this season has just had far too many cringeworthy moments, not to mention horrible dialogue for me to continue any longer.

Weeds Season 3 - As somebody else mentioned, this was a show that hooked me in Season 1 and only improved in Season 2. Initially Season 3 looked set to be its darkest season yet, but within four episodes, one of the major dilemmas was resolved with very little fuss, or effort on the part of the protagonists. The introduction of an Olsen Twin was also a bad choice.

The Sopranos - To be honest, Season 6 as a whole smacked of a great show that was showing signs of decline. Don't get me wrong. Performances throughout were strong coupled with some excellent dialogue. But all in all, the end product was rather unsatisfying. Not a horrific disappointment, but a disappointment nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

My biggest disappointment was the way that "Gilmore Girls"--a magnificently quirky, funny, heartbreaking, smart story for the first five years of its run--ended in a manner that was too abrupt, too rushed, too much like an entirely different show.

I'm also disappointed in "Grey's Anatomy". Shonda Rimes has displayed amazing hubris and a total lack of respect for the intelligence of the fans. She also has some very twisted ideas on how women can work and have successful relationships. There isn't one single happy romantic relationship on a show full of attractive people looking for love. Seriously?

Random disappointments: Bionic Woman, Reaper, Weeds.

Befuddeled disappointment: How can America not be watching "30 Rock"? Or "Friday Night Lights"? Even with "the bad event" in the season opener of "FNL", it's still one of the most true, compelling, beautifully-acted shows out there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with whoever said "Entourage." The finale gave me some reason for hope for next season -- but the writing this season makes me think everything's just going to turn up roses for everyone again.

Also agree on the ending for "Gilmore Girls."