Unlike last year where I complied a list of shows that I thoroughly disliked, this year I liked almost all of the shows that I watched. Now that doesn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed. Here are the shows that left me wanting. Contrary to the title, these are in no particular order and there are only five.
For the shows I loved this year, you can see both parts of that list here and here.
GLOW had a lot of promise after its first season, one that I really enjoyed. The second season, released this summer on Netflix, seemed stuck in place, like it was spinning its wheels. Sure, there was a ton of great character development and insight into the depths of some of the ladies who went a bit unnoticed in the first season, but that didn’t keep it interesting. The whole “Will G.L.O.W. get canceled or not?” that was the ostensible plot thread to tie all of the episodes together just felt too much like the “Will this ever become a show?” question of season one. All of it lacked any excitement or momentum.
I’m not so sure I gave this one its full and fair shot, but after one episode, I quickly determined that none of these characters were likable enough to keep me coming back week after week.
Don’t get me wrong. Shows can definitely have unlikable characters and still be great, but there has to be something at least somewhat fascinating about the characters in order to hold a television show together. (It would be like basing an entire show off of the character Jeremy Jamm, the weasel of Parks & Rec. Come to think of it, that would be a great show!)
Finding out that the American version of Camping came from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner comes as no surprise.
Maybe it’s the bloat of true-crime docuseries and podcasts or maybe I just couldn’t get fully invested into this one, but Evil Genius was as interesting a crime as I’d heard with a poor execution (pardon the black comedy pun): a pizza delivery guy, Brian Wells, enters a bank with a bomb around his neck and demands money or someone outside of the bank will kill by detonating the bomb. Who captured him and put the bomb on him in the first place? Was it Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong? Her friend? All three of them? Someone else? By the time the show ended, all the suspense had been sucked dry.
A lot of these true-crime shows rely heavily on some sort of resolution. That this one offered none hindered it too much. For pathos that sticks, try The Keepers on Netflix instead.
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger
Freeform, formerly ABC Family, jumped into televising Marvel shows with this hit-or-miss serialized drama about two kids who get superpowers in the same oil rig explosion and grow up in opposite ways only to reconnect as teens.
The acting and writing was just weak on this one. When the two leads, Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt, were onscreen together, the show was much better; however, the writers tried their best to keep them apart for as long as possible. On top of that, the characters’ powers stayed predominantly on the periphery for way too long. It all added to a bit of a waste that caused the season to drag. Hopefully, season two will be much improved.
Though I didn’t fully hate any shows this year, Westworld is as close to a load of shit as I’ve watched in 2018. A few tweaks here and there and Westworld could be the engaging show it thinks it is. Instead, it’s a just an empty puzzle that just so happens to be a show. It’s way too cute, begging viewers to try to figure it out rather than have writing that adheres to a coherent or compelling story. (I still blame Lost for this type of show.)
I don’t even mind that the show is so nihilistic. The reason why this was one of the most frustrating shows to watch this year, even if the cinematography is on par with many high-budget movies, had a lot to do with one of the more heralded story lines: it involved robot-character Maeve mentally reliving an attempt to save her robot-daughter who always dies. It got so tired that I was wishing that the daughter would just die permanently. Oh, those painful “memories” of her daughter’s death scene. Over. And. Over. The shame is that Thandie Newton is a great actress! She just needed a better reason to be on this show. At times, she got that reason. But it was too little, too late.
Much like Legion in 2017, when a show prides itself on its “Gotcha!” moments just for the sake of having them, I’m done. I’m sure that some of you found it much more enjoyable than I, and more power to you.