TV delivered on many levels this year but that doesn’t mean there weren’t disappointments. In fact, we came up with a whole list of them.
When it comes to television, it’s hard not to set high expectations sometimes and with that comes the risk of being let down when a show doesn’t deliver, things don’t play out the way we want them to or we see a great show go unnoticed, leaving it to be cancelled. You’ll find a little bit of all three things in our list of TV’s biggest disappointments in 2010 below.
Jack Bauer’s Dismal Ending -24
The season finale of 24 wasn’t bad. It resolved most of the issues for the season and even delivered on a few big moments, including Jack almost being executed and a very touching final conversation between Jack and Chloe that surely made plenty of die hard 24 fans tear up. Did the finale leave a window open for the movie? Sure but as a series closer, Jack should’ve gone out in a blaze of glory, either buried in medals for his acts of bravery or just plain buried (because some great stories have to end that way). Instead, 24 ended with Jack all alone, injured, grieving and a wanted man who now has to go into hiding. Potential movie or not 24 deserved a better ending and so did we.
But They Looked So Good On Paper - Running Wilde and Undercovers
The Fall 2010 season gave us a new comedy series by Arrested Development’s Mitchel Hurwitz, Will Arnett and Jim Vallely and a spy drama by J.J. Abrams (Alias), neither of which managed to deliver on their potential. On paper, Running Wilde should have been hilarious. With the talent on the writing staff and Will Arnett, Keri Russell and Peter Serafinowicz on screen, we expected to laugh… a lot. Instead, we smiled occasionally and waited for the story and the humor to come together, which it never quite did.
As for Undercovers, Abrams’ return to the spy genre in this series about a married couple living a double life as secret agents lacked much of a spark, and somehow managed to avoid any kind of substantial intrigue. Were we expecting the pilot to rival Alias’ fantastic start? Maybe a little. We can say we shouldn’t compare but let’s face it, our expectations were high. We went into Undercovers’ pilot wanting to fall in love with Steven and Samantha Bloom as we did with Sydney Bristow after Alias’ pilot. That was not to be the case.
We all knew going in that there was no way the Lost finale would live up to our expectations, or achieve closure for all the unanswered questions still hanging over the series. StillI don’t think anyone thought they’d basically rip off the finale of Battlestar Galactica and in the process turn the whole show into a religious message, pretty much out of nowhere. We all thought it was funny during season 1 when fans speculated that the entire Island was purgatory. We laughed at those theories because, well, surely no one would write anything that stupid. They did. The Lost finale was emotional but ultimately ill-fitting and poorly conceived. There’s no bigger cop out on television than to take all the complex and twisty plot developments you’ve been building on for years and then simply throw the “hey it’s god” label on them. Lost now boils down to one big, lame, deus ex machina.
The Good Guys
I was so on board with The Good Guys before it premiered. Police officers acting a fool is one of my favorite guilty television pleasures, but for the love of God, ground it all in some sort of reality. You know how Mark Wahlberg acts like an idiot and swears at everyone in The Departed? That only works because he’s really good at his job. These two idiots couldn’t solve a Murder on the Orient Express if every car was wiretapped and filled with security cameras. Bradley Whitford is awesome as a supporting character, but the more antics per week we were exposed to, the less fascinating they became. I gave up on this show halfway through the first season, and I”m the same dude that stuck with Grey’s Anatomy long after they were having half the characters talk to dead people on a bi-weekly basis.
SyFy’s Less Sci-fi Than Ever
When Sci-Fi changed it’s name to SyFy, we all suspected it was done so they’d have a reason to abandon showing actual science fiction in favor of something, well, horrible. Well now it’s happening. 2010 saw the end of original science fiction programming on SyFy, with the unceremonious cancellation of Caprica and Stargate Universe. Now there’s basically nothing left and the network has given itself over to ghost shows and reality television. If you’re a science fiction fan you’re pretty much out of luck on television. If not for the BBC and Doctor Who we’d have nothing left.
TV Doesn’t Love A Terrier - Terriers
Not all shows are winners but it’s a major disappointment when a well written, well acted, well directed TV show goes unnoticed by the masses and is inevitably put out to that vast one-season-wonder pasture. Terriers delivered on every level. The private detective series had nothing to do with dogs, but it was funny, intriguing and surprisingly emotional. Unfortunately, no one watched it, which prompted FX to cancel it and the light of awesome TV to dim ever so slightly. Terriers is off to frolic with the fireflies, the freaks and the geeks, among others.
Bones Loves Booth - Bones
For five long years, Bones fans have eagerly awaited the day our hero would finally realize she and Agent Booth were destined to be together. It’s been nothing short of an arduous journey filled with brief kisses and extra-partner affairs. When last season’s finale ended in Booth professing his love and Bones running off to the jungle, it was widely assumed fans would be forced to endure at least another year of soul-crushing sexual tension, but then the craftiest FBI Agent this side of Elliott Ness returned with a smoking hot blonde and she started to get jealous. It was coming. We all knew it was coming. And then it did, in a strange, dream-like episode filled with hallucinations, a new night guard character and plenty of missed opportunities. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
New Directions Needs Direction - Glee
Every series experiences growing pains and Glee is no exception here. While Season 1 was an underdog story about a rag-tag gang of unrealistically pretty glee-club geeks coming together in friendship and music, Season 2 has been a mess of guest appearances and random story arcs that flicker in and out as we try to keep up with who’s fighting, who’s dating and what these kids are even working towards personally and as a group. Was the Rocky Horror episode fun? Sure. Did Gwyneth deliver some solid performances? Yup. Plus, Carol Burnett – yay! But do we feel as excited and hopeful and completely smitten with the characters as we did around this time last year? Not so much. Let’s hope 2011 brings some direction, momentum and a bit more consistency with Glee because even great music, big names and the occasional “aww” moment isn’t enough to carry the show for long.
How I Got Bored Of HIMYM - How I Met Your Mother
It’s time for everyone to admit and accept that the concept behind How I Met Your Mother had a limited shelf life. Unfortunately the show was decent enough in the early years for CBS to want to keep the best, at the time, traditional style sitcom around for years to come. Somewhere along the way we lost the charm that came with Ted Mosby, man on a marriage mission. But that was OK, because while the cracks in the show existed, we still knew that there were some fantastic side characters to excite us. Then the last year came and Barney became trite, almost a forgotten and misused shell of a character. Worst of all I’ve come to find Marshall and Lily a little too annoying as the lovey dovey quirky couple. I don’t want to live in a world where I find these two anything but adorable.