How Do You Stay Loyal to a Show Once It’s Not Good Anymore?

public domain image, cool link: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/01/24/the-embalming-jars-of-frederik-ruysch/

My friend Jim tweeted earlier about how he’s over House.

The disappointment in his tweet was real.  It was like reading him talk about losing a friend–or at the very least, a pet.

I feel that way about the show Bones, which used to be–at least partially–different from all the other crime shows, insofar as it had this academic edge.  It takes place in The Jeffersonian in Washington, D.C.  The characters are, almost without exception, savants in their chosen fields, particularly Dr. Temperance Brennan, or Bones, to Seeley Booth.

It’s based on a real person.

I’ll spare you the plot synopsis, and I feel like it’s necessary to tell you that I’m not purporting that this show is especially brilliant or revolutionary or special.  Pushing Daisies was special.  Louie is special.

But I was charmed by the very bright characters, I enjoyed the hell out of the sexual tension between Brennan and Booth, and I was vaguely aware that the show jumped the shark at the end of Season 4 when Booth had a head injury and a really vivid dream of an alternate reality in which he and Brennan are partners (business and romantic).

The show had survived two other moments that should’ve been shark jumpings, though.   These were when (1) Dr. Brennan’s original assistant, Zack, wound up getting apprenticed by a serial killer.  That should’ve killed the show.  And it did get a little weak after this rotating cast of interns came on the scene, but I was still engaged enough to keep watching; and (2) Brennan and Dr. Hodgins got buried alive by a different serial killer.

The reason it circumvented the shark, though, was that in both cases, the show was not exactly the same after.  The tense and incredible moments affected the show’s world.  That’s how the show stayed charming all the way through four seasons.

The fifth season was ok, but kind of self-congratulatory.  I’m watching season six on Netflix, and season 7 is airing right now.  I am, like Jim, disappointed and bored.

Here’s what’s happened in season six: the show has set up shop in a maple tree and is now covering every single episode in maudlin sappiness.

The season opens with all of the characters re-convening in D.C. after year-long trips to archaeological digs, Paris, Afghanistan, Body Shops, Mental Hospitals, etc. There’s all this weepiness and hugging, and Brennan, whose character grew through a lot of social awkwardness in the first five seasons, was back to the character she was in season 1.  Angela and Hodgins are finally married, and pregnant, and Dr. Sweets gets back together with his difficult and ridiculous lover, and UGH.  It’s just so silly.  There’s no more edginess.  Just all this seeping love.

So I am sad.  My interest in pop culture wanes another notch with the narrative demise of a show I like(d).

Shouldn’t there be laws?  TV shows should only be allowed to go for 3 seasons, and can get permission to go a fourth if they can prove that they’re not going to commit narrative suicide.  Or we could adopt the neato British miniseries model.  I like those.  They tell big, complex stories.  But when they’re over, they’re over.  And they’re almost never disappointing.

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Author: April Line Writing

Writing about whatever the f*ck I want.

1 thought on “How Do You Stay Loyal to a Show Once It’s Not Good Anymore?”

  1. I am on season 2 of bones and loving it. I guess that’s an exaggeration because Aaron and I are getting to a place where we can look at the characters and come up with a motive, etc and solve the whole dang episode. I did just look at him yesterday and say..”Man, this is getting so predictable.” Zach…apprentice a serial killer? I haven’t gotten there yet. I should have stopped reading this if I was going to keep watching the show. But my disappointment has already begun at season 2. Maybe I should stop watching now? Can you atleast tell me if they finally bang? Wait nevermind–dont tell me.

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