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More is not always better. Contrary to what those fine folks over at AT&T would have you believe, there is a limit to the amount we can handle of most things. Remember that chubby kid from Matilda? He learned there’s such a thing as too much cake after that heinous principal force fed pounds of it to him. Remember Augustus Gloop? He learned there’s such a thing as too much chocolate after he swam in a river of it and got sucked into that tube. And remember the esteemed writers here at TV Blend? Each and every once of us has learned recently that sometimes getting more of a good TV show isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Whether by forcing out a spin-off featuring too similar of a premise, not taking a long enough break between seasons or simply airing the show for too many damn hours during the week, television networks can get a bit greedy when it comes to on-air products they think can bring in eyeballs. So, almost invariably, they add more episodes, add more time or do something to increase the exposure. For fans, those increased orders are typically a good thing, at least until they get to a certain point and the show starts feeling less like a relaxing activity and more like a chore.
After some preliminary conversations (or bitch sessions) between our writers, we quickly concluded everyone has at least one show they would love to have less of; so, we decided to each put our thoughts down in writing. Without further ado, here are five good television shows we would love to have less of…
Kelly’s pick: The X-Factor
The X Factor arrived a couple years ago, not as an alternative to American Idol, but in addition to the long-running singing competition, filling the void in the fall season where there were no singing competitions cluttering up the line-up. And that’s just what The X Factor did. Sure, it gave us a modified format to the standard Idol mix, and it gave Simon Cowell back to us, but it also filled hours of the TV line-up each week, forcing us to choose between singing and scripted programming.
As much as I love the singing competitions, The X Factor requires three hours of its audience each week, which is too much for me to give for a show that isn’t nearly as must-watch as Idol was in its better seasons, especially during the fall when there are new shows to watch and returning favorites to keep up with. In the end, I decided at some point last season to stop trying to stay up to date on The X Factor at the expense of too many other shows I was enjoying more. Now, if The X Factor was an hour -- an hour and a half max -- each week, I might be more willing to make time for it. In the meantime, I’ll stick with American Idol.
Alicia’s pick: The Voice
This isn’t so much a tirade as it is a cautionary tale: The Voice is on its way to OverDoingItVille by hopping on the same train tracks that brought American Idol to its knees. Why? Well, because after season five ends on December 17, season six is slated to pick right up again in February. Which might seem great on paper, but if The Voice isn’t careful, it’s going to overstay its welcome and ruin the good thing its got.
Singing competition shows are slowly becoming an entertainment property of the past. So much of it is the same, dull format — which is where The Voice stands ahead of the pack, given its structure and the rotating judge dynamic. It is, however, still a show where the talent comes second to the twists, turns, and dramatics. Meaning, the audience will realize — with no clear Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood level success in their midsts — that the talent isn’t really important. They’ll shrug their shoulders, figuring “eh, it’s still a fun show!” and continue watching. Therefore putting an increased pressure enjoyment on the judges’ banter and general presence. Only that’s where the trap gets set for inevitable failure and over-saturation: just look at Idol and The X Factor.
Shows like The Voice work well because they feel special — almost event-like. Take away said specialness by making it too readily available and the audience will take it for granted. And with that goes the ratings. So slow your roll, The Voice, because ain’t nobody like an overeager beaver: you’ve already got enough of that on your hands with Adam Levine.
Jessica’s pick: Once Upon A Time
Bringing fairytale characters to life on the small screen was a fun and inventive idea when Once Upon A Time first hit the schedule. It helped the drama that many of the characters appearing on the show also happen to be part of the Disney canon, which has basically proved to be free advertising for the company. Then, someone had an idea to air a limited series focused on Alice and Wonderland that would air during network TV’s winter break. That could have been a good way for ABC to get some original programming on the air during winter hiatus while maintaining interest in a popular series. Regardless, the idea was later turned Once Upon A Time in Wonderland into a full-fledged series, creating two nights of television chock full of fairy tale characters on ABC.
Unlike the original OUAT, the spinoff is a self-contained story, which means it simply feels like a side narrative from Once Upon A Time, rather than a separate idea within a completely separate world. It’s true that Wonderland its own distinct place, but since that place has also appeared on Once Upon A Time, it’s ideas don’t break the mold enough to feel like a separate narrative, despite its completely separate storyline. Beyond this, there are simply too many fairy tale characters on ABC throughout the week. The Once Upon A Time/Once Upon A Time in Wonderland duo may not be the worst offender on this list, but it’s not doing anything to improve ABC’s schedule, and if it does return for a second season, I’ll eat the OUAT Mad Hatter’s hat.
Jesse’s pick: The Walking Dead
With Breaking Bad now off the air and Mad Men about to embark on its final season, AMC decided to pick up the slack by milking its highest rated series for a spin-off. How inspired. From a business angle, creating a companion series to The Walking Dead seems like a home run (and likely will be) but it does nothing except hurt the brand. I can't see the series bringing in too many new eyeballs. And with the inevitably of the companion show getting its own companion show in The Talking Dead 2, well, that's a lot of zombie centric programming.
I haven't even addressed the fact that simply having The Walking Dead: Georgia (retroactively added location based subtitle) and The Walking Dead: Michigan (subtitle in no way based on fact, simply where I would set the spin-off... companion series) will dilute the power of the original. Just ask CSI: Las Vegas. I feel the same way about the two versions of Anchorman 2 announcement. Why not put the funniest material all in one film? AMC and Robert Kirkman should be putting all their creative efforts into making TWD even better not robbing it of potential characters, storylines and set pieces. Soon Hell on Wheels will probably be getting zombies. Same goes for Low Winter Sun. Thank God for Better Call Saul. What? At least its source isn't still on the air.
Mack’s pick: Project Runway
I love Project Runway. Love it. It’s such a snappy watch, and for me, it’s the perfect balance between actual competition and goofiness/ drama between the reality show contestants. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Tim Gunn may well be the most likeable and kind-hearted personality on television, and while the show has only produced one honest to God fashion superstar in Christian Siriano, it regularly churns out talented winners who go on to great careers dressing celebrities and making custom high end dresses. That being said, I could still use a damn break between seasons.
PR used to take a few months off between seasons. One year it even put forward a spin-off series called Project Accessory, but recently, the show has alternated between a normal season and a season of Project Runway All-Stars that begins the Thursday immediately after. I’m all for bringing people back, but it’s nice to start missing a show a little bit. It’s nice to watch the opening credits and think, “Boy, I’ve really missed this.” That doesn’t happen without a break, and contrary to what the producers might think, an all-stars season isn’t a real break.