Sunday, May 18, 2014

Two Dropped Shows

I'm one episode into the second season of House Of Cards and I'm thinking that's it for me.  The BIG MAJOR TWIST from that episode doesn't have anything to do with it, though how that big major twist goes about just adds to why I feel the show isn't worth investing any further time.

My issue is that they simply went too far over the top.  Going in, I realized that the whole point of the series is to show Frank Underwood manipulating his way through Washington, and everyone else is just a pawn in his wake.  Fair enough ---Spacey is certainly good enough to carry such a star vehicle, so if the plotting is a little thin and repetitive, his presence can still make HOC worth watching.  The problem is that I didn't quite realize *how* much everyone was going to be a pawn, as there is literally not a character on the show with an ounce of substance besides the Underwoods.  (I'm including Claire only by a bare margin, as I'm still not sure if she's supposed to have deeper levels than just a Lady Macbeth or if Robin Wright is merely a devotee of smell-the-fart acting.)  If none of the other characters have more than two dimensions, it makes it no fun to see Underwood outwit them.

The other problem is that Frank's "smartest guy in the room" reputation was almost immediately undercut by the show when they started having him just eliminate his problems with cartoonish crimes.  The first strike was the conclusion to the storyline with the teachers' union strike; instead of having Frank come up with a clever way to get his deal, you have a ridiculous scene involving him blackmailing the union rep in the dumbest way possible.  That was bad enough, and once Frank moved on to straight-up murdering people, well, that's when Fonzie Underwood jumped the shark.

There is simply too much good TV to watch these days, and I don't have the time to devote to a series that started as a B+ at best and is slowly devolving from there.  Honestly, it's a series I truly love (I'll watch the Simpsons forever, dammit), I'm finding myself more and more apt to just abandon any show that's showing signs of slowing down….

….and that includes Archer, which sounds nuts given that it's coming off its most creative season yet.  The entire spy agency premise was scrapped in favour of having the characters run a cocaine cartel, which led to some great laughs and tremendous episodes.  While I applaud the ingenuity and the balls required to upheave your entire hit show, I have to admit, the entire Archer joke-delivery system is simply starting to get old for me.  I'm not even sure if the series is declining, per se, but it just isn't doing it for me anymore. 

We could be facing a South Park situation here, and I'm not comparing Archer solely because both are animated.  While I've long been an admirer of South Park and can watch almost any random episode and find it funny, I haven't been a regular South Park viewer in probably 15 years.  I feel no compunction to watch week after week, though I have no reason to believe it isn't still funny.  Archer might be the same deal, as I might tune in for the odd episode here or there, but there's probably a better chance I'll just let the show go its merry way without me.          

So that's two shows down from my viewing schedule, and only about, oh, a couple dozen more on my "oh, I've been meaning to watch that" list.  By this rate I'll be totally caught up by the year 20Never7.

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