The TV season of 2011-2012 concluded last month, leaving behind waves of screaming fans that are desperate to get the next dose of their favourite shows, and a gaping hole in the television schedules. Some shows are destined to return for another outing come September whilst others have been discarded into the trash can of cancelled failures. Good or bad, cancelled or renewed, the discussion continues as to what excelled and what was unsuccessful in entertaining the masses.
In the first part of this five-part post, I discussed at length what I considered to be the biggest successes from this past season, whether a show on the whole or certain storylines within. In this second part, I will look over the opposite side of the spectrum and discuss my choices for the least successful elements of this past season. There are likely to be a great number of other disappointments from this season that aren’t mentioned in this post but these are the one’s I feel the strongest about.
As always, these choices are not derived from any public poll or otherwise; they are of my own choice and your thoughts on whether you agree or disagree are always welcomed.
What Didn’t Work?
Bones Season Seven
It’s no secret that Bones is getting on in age. Seven years have passed by and, naturally, one begins to wonder when the end will beckon and the show will be cancelled or allowed to come to a natural end. If season seven is taken as any indicator as to the show’s remaining lifespan, I hope it’s not a long one.
The seventh season of Bones disappointed on so many levels, at least for me. Bones is a show that’s relied heavily, and continues to rely on, its characters, rather than the stories. It’s unfortunate that besides Booth and Brennan, the two main stars of the entire thing, the rest of the characters are take ’em or leave ’em. Whilst this year saw the continued development of Booth and Brennan’s newly-formed relationship, which progressed significantly with the birth of their child, the other characters enjoyed a stagnant, non-developmental season where they went nowhere new and did nothing new. For a show that depends on its characters like Bones does, and one that’s now approaching its eighth season, it’s not good that only two of them actually did anything of interest in an entire year’s worth of episodes, albeit shorter due to Emily Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy.
Besides the stagnation of the characters, the stories didn’t go anywhere either. Earlier seasons employed the use of the Gravedigger mystery that spanned several seasons but that concluded a while ago, leaving nothing in its wake. That being said, this season did introduce the arc involving hacktivisit/psychopath Christopher Pelant but compared to the aforementioned mystery, it fell far wide of the mark. What succeeded with the Gravedigger arc was the unknown entity committing the atrocities, whereas this new plot has already introduced us to the miscreant doing the crimes. That mysterious element is no longer there and neither is the interest.
Whilst the majority of Bones’ seventh season underwhelmed, the finale wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. Brennan’s decision to go on-the-run from the law will inevitably be wrapped up within the first episode but it does introduce some degree of development to the ongoing relationship between her and Booth. Other than that, something needs to happen to the cast to introduce some movement and therefore some interest. I don’t want to watch Cam disagreeing with who her daughter dates. I don’t want to see Angela and Hodgins endlessly cooing over their child. I want to see something significant happening that will alter these characters, change the course they’re on and move the show beyond just another procedural. Failing that, I can’t see the show living beyond a ninth season.
The ‘Let’s Kill Klaus’ Arc of The Vampire Diaries
Anybody that watches The CW’s vampire-a-thon will be aware of how fantastic and addictive the second season was. Introducing Katherine, the big-bad Klaus and dealing with the myriad of plots thrown into the fold because of them created an extremely tense, exciting and surprising season that far exceeded my expectations and likely those held by others. Whilst season three largely failed to maintain those high standards, its biggest downfall is easily the repetition of ‘Let’s Kill Klaus’.
I want to start off by saying that I do not dislike the character of Klaus. I think Joseph Morgan adds the necessary amount of bad-assery and creepiness to make the character seem stronger, older and more dangerous than the rest. Plus he makes me swoon but that’s beside the point. That being said, the show is dragging the guy through as many bushes that I can deal with, resulting in me not caring one iota whether he lives or dies.
The majority of the third season has utilised the following formula for each episode: gang finds a way to possibly kill Klaus, gang obtains weapon, gang loses weapon/Klaus steals weapon, Klaus lives, episode ends with another way being discovered. Rinse and repeat this formula and you have the basis of almost 75% of the entire season already nailed down. This is a huge problem not only for making the characters look like complete imbeciles but also for the pace of the story-telling. It’s ridiculously repetitive, tedious to watch and single-handedly contributed to making season three almost a disaster.
I wish the writers would make their minds up as to what it is they want to do with the character. If they want to keep him in full-time, do that, and introduce a new villain to take his place. If they want to kill him off entirely, feel free. Right now, I don’t think they have a clue what they want to do with him and it’s dragging everything else down as a result.
Season three could have been as good as, or even better than, the second season but the main arc that formed the spine of the season fractured and crumbled due to the repetition forced upon it. The season ended with Klaus escaping death yet again but I sincerely hope the writing team evolve from writing the same scripts for every episode during season four. The show can’t possibly progress any further until they do.
Debra Realising Her Love for Dexter
Dexter’s sixth season can be taken with a positive attitude or otherwise. You either enjoyed the obvious plot twists and the character development (or lack thereof), or you didn’t. Personally, I thought that it could’ve done a better job of twisting the plot in a less obvious way but on the whole, it was still enjoyable, albeit not even coming close to the brilliance of season four. However, then the final scene happened and instead of leaving the season eager for the return, I was left simply thinking “What in the hell?”.
Basically, as if from nowhere, Debra has suddenly come to the realisation that she’s in love with her half-brother. Yes, in love with him. Bare in mind that she’s shown absolutely no prior evidence of this in the previous five seasons and continued not to show it up to the season finale. That alone increases the level of absurdity to astronomical levels but when you really look at their past relationship (as brother and sister, I might add), that’s when things start to get icky.
Firstly, it has to be mentioned that if a sexual relationship was to occur, there would be no incest committed as they are not biologically related. That being said, they are still brother and sister in every other sense of the term; they’ve grown up as such and continue to act that way, and that is exactly how it should remain. The two work best together when they look out for each other in the way family members should. To go and completely obliterate that element with a forced romance is hugely detrimental to the show. I mean, it’s not as if these two are the two main characters. Oh wait…
As I said before, Debra and Dexter are not blood-related and therefore not actually brother and sister (Dexter is adopted so he’s barely even her half-brother) but they have acted very much as family to the point where they may as well be. To be honest, damage has already been done to their relationship just by Debra realising she has feelings for him. If this actually evolves into a full-blown love affair that’s reciprocated by Dexter, I will have enormous issues with any and all seasons remaining in the show’s life. These two characters are great, especially so when together; if you take that away and ruin them both irreparably, the show will suffer as a consequence.
With any luck, however, she’ll find somebody else to fawn over now that she’s discovered that Dexter likes to slice up criminals in his spare time.
The Police Procedural Element of Grimm
I have to start off by noting that I did not dislike Grimm’s first season. I initially gave up on it due to not feeling like it would offer me much of anything, but I returned earlier this year and found myself surprised at what was there to see. That being said, I can easily divide the show into two separate categories: the supernatural side and the police side, and the supernatural wins every time, with the other dragging down what has the potential to be a fantastic show.
Grimm is a very procedural show by nature, choosing to intertwine the mythical nature of the Grimm concept with the police environment. It’s understandable as to why it’s been done, as it gives Nick the chance to come across these mysterious events (and the beasts that committed them) whilst exploring the case with resources and normality riding behind him. That being said, these sections of each episode are what drag on the most and result in the show not being what it could be.
When Nick goes off and unravels the secrets pertaining to the mythical beast he’s pursuing, things get interesting, along with the characters he interacts with. When he returns to his desk at the precinct, the excitement winds down significantly. It doesn’t have to be this way. Look at Supernatural – the show shares similar concepts to Grimm but it isn’t bogged down with unnecessary and tedious police procedural aspects. Sam and Dean explore their next hunt on their own terms and it’s fun to watch them manoeuvre around the law and evade it as much as they evade imminent death. There is still somewhat of a procedural component that continues through each episode but the lack of the tedium of the police environment makes it less of an issue. This is what Grimm could be like.
This focus on the procedural element is also holding the show back in terms of its story-telling. The show chooses to have each episode revolve around a new case, usually involving a new creature for Nick to find, with little connectivity to the next episode or the one before it. I feel that Grimm could benefit massively from having multiple story arcs to explore as the season progresses, as opposed to random stories that are concluded and forgotten about after forty minutes. The show has a massive amount of lore and back-story that would make this a success and it won’t achieve its full potential until it expands beyond the precinct, of that I strongly believe.
Foreman as Dean of Medicine – House.
Lisa Edelstein’s impromptu exit after the conclusion of House’s seventh season left a gaping hole in the hospital’s management department. We were told that somebody we had already been acquainted with would be filling the position, as far as being given a list of candidates that included Wilson, his ex Sam and even two of House’s current team-members. Ultimately, the job was given to Foreman, which was neither a genius move nor a particularly interesting one either.
I surely cannot be the only one who considers Foreman to be one of the dullest, most tedious characters in television? Taub previously occupied that position but he actually went a little further in the final season, so much so that I stopped considering him an insufferable bore. Foreman, however, went nowhere and his new position of authority made him look foolish and out-of-place when matched against House’s wit and manipulative skills, which is a problem when House requires somebody to keep a hold of his reins to stop him doing something destructive.
Cuddy worked well as House’s boss as she didn’t stand for his nonsense but she appreciated his genius in solving the trickiest of diagnostic conundrums. Whilst Foreman was almost the same, it was as though he was holding a grudge for the entire season and using his new position as a means to hold his power over House’s head like a guillotine. This feeling eventually faded out as the season came to an end but for the most part, the choice of who to fill Cuddy’s position, I feel, would’ve been better going to somebody else – somebody who didn’t have a previous affiliation with House and therefore held no prior judgement of him. House’s team dynamic worked much better when it was them vs the boss but when the boss suddenly became one of their own, things changed, and not for the good.
On the scale of issues arising from this season, Foreman becoming the boss hardly even compares to some of the things I’ve mentioned in this post but I did feel that it made the show suffer slightly. It’s perhaps not an opinion that’s widely shared with others but still it remains.
Every TV season has its highlights and its downfalls and unfortunately, some of the things I highlighted in this post significantly reduced the possible enjoyment I could’ve had from each show in question. As I said before, there are many more disappointments that arose from this past year that did not make this list but rest be assured they’re still out there. For example, The Walking Dead’s first half of season two was full of filler material and dragged far more than it should have. Also, Alcatraz’s rapid move from having an encouraging pilot to becoming a stupendous failure which eventually resulted in its deserved cancellation (I’ll have more on this later in a later post). Then there’s also the case of Castle’s fourth season and several severely underwhelming, borderline absurd, episodes and so much more. To talk about them all would be to write several tens of thousands of words, of which I’m sure you’d grow tired of!
In the third part of this post, I will discuss not the shows or the storylines but those acting within them. Several actors have given astounding performances from this past season and some have largely disappointed.
To conclude, as before and as always, your comments are thoroughly welcomed. Do you agree with any of the above? Do you have your own personal disappointments from this season? Let me know below!
Click here for part three