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5 TV Shows That Went Bad This Year

With long-form storytelling at the centre of most television series these days, and so many choices of what to watch, shows are now regularly of a much higher standard than they ever were in the past.

But with greatness comes expectation, and there’s nothing worse than watching a once-great television series become a shadow of its former self. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, with juggernauts like Game Of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale managing to maintain – and in some cases improve upon – the high standard they’ve set for themselves. But not every series can be this lucky, and more often than not the notion that one can never have too much of a good thing is a killer.

2018 has seen many great shows return for another outing, and we’ve been witness to some incredible television seasons. But, in contrast, some of television’s biggest and boldest series’ experienced pretty low points this year, with many of us questioning the decisions made by their respective showrunners. Perhaps they’ll be able to improve, or perhaps they’re damaged forever, only time will tell. Either way, let’s take a look at a few of the TV series that went bad in 2018.

5. Arrow

The CW

Somehow, the reviled fourth season of Arrow didn’t damage the show beyond repair, and the subsequent season proved that there is still some hope left for the CW superhero show. Unfortunately, this improvement didn’t continue into the disappointing Season 6. The Stephen Amell-led series struggled to maintain a strong narrative this year, and the declining viewing figures are proof that the people at home are starting to care less and less.

The conflict between Team Arrow was the main offender in the sixth season, which was contrived to say the least. A massive fallout between the original members and the newbies was meant to leave the audience divided but, much like the whole ‘Who’s In The Grave?’ storyline from Season 4, sloppy writing ruined any enjoyment we might’ve found.

Perhaps the worst part was how, in an attempt to make viewers side with the original members of the team, the writers were forced to vilify the newbies, but they did so by making them do and say things that were completely out of character, which was convenient for the plot but not believable at all for the viewers. There were also inconsistencies surrounding who was actually this year’s Big Bad, and by the time the show figured it out, there weren’t enough episodes left to fully explore the character.

It wasn’t the worst season of Arrow – that honour firmly belongs to the fourth – but the declination between Season 5 and 6 is a huge cause for concern. With the Team Arrow conflict receiving too much screen time and important characters like Black Siren overlooked, Arrow’s sixth season was a major step in the wrong direction. Is the series broken beyond repair? It’s hard to say. With Marc Guggenheim finally exiting as showrunner, there is certainly hope for the once-compelling superhero series.

 

4. Riverdale

The CW

Riverdale burst onto our screens last year in an explosive way. The CW series was surprisingly a stylistic masterpiece, with the essence of Twin Peaks running through its veins. With a compelling narrative and an exceptional cast (not to mention cinematography to die for), the Archie comics-inspired series cemented itself as one of 2017’s finest new shows. A renewal was inevitable, but fans of the show understandably became concerned when the second season was revealed to be 22 episodes long, as opposed to the usual 13.

The fears became reality, and by the time Season 2 returned to our screens earlier this year, Riverdale had lost almost everything that made it original. The supernatural undertones were practically non-existent, and the series was riddled with typical CW-esque tropes. The Greg Berlanti-helmed show became more focused on teenage relationships and sidelined its antagonist in favour of less compelling storylines.

Speaking of the antagonist, the Black Hood was a pretty weak villain, and the whole arc paled in comparison to the ‘Who Killed Jason Blossom?’ storyline from the first season. Moreover, there were plot contrivances galore, and characters changed personalities at the drop of a hat for the convenience of the narrative.

Riverdale is far from irreparable. In order to rectify the show’s wrongdoings, The CW should reduce the episode order and the writers should bring back the supernaturalism and focus on one plot as opposed to several. Additionally, the relationships should take a backseat but, considering the show is owned by The CW, that will never happen.

 

3. 13 Reasons Why

Netflix

There had been plenty of discussion on whether or not a second season of 13 Reasons Why was even necessary, and both the fans and the critics concluded that it was not. Unfortunately, Season 2 did little to convince otherwise.

The series arrived on Netflix back in 2017, and caused controversy over its portrayal of suicide. The protagonist, Hannah Baker, took her own life and then left a series of tapes for her friends to listen to, explaining why each of them played a part in her life-ending decision. Regardless of how anyone felt about the show, there is one thing that everyone agreed on: 13 Reasons Why was a one-season thing. Much like the book on which it is based, the story was wrapped up.

The second season is one big bloated contrivance from start to finish. While there are a few nice moments scattered throughout, the big takeaway from Season 2 is that the writers had to alter their near-perfect Season 1 narrative in order to create a storyline for the follow-up. A prime example is Hannah’s happily married parents, who now – out of the blue – are getting a divorce. Also, we learn that Andy had cheated on Olivia while Hannah was alive, and yet there was never any mention of this prior to the second season. Additionally, Tyler’s abuse in the finale was unnecessary, and served little purpose to the narrative.

There was really no reason for a second season of 13 Reasons Why. However, at a push, you could argue that its sole purpose was to tie up all the loose ends of Hannah Baker’s storyline. But since that has now been accomplished, why has a third season been commissioned? Not only has the show now wrapped up every bit of its original storyline, it has lost its protagonist – and yet it’s still coming back for another season. There’s no denying the fact that 13 Reasons Why should’ve remained a one season show.

 

 

2. The Walking Dead

AMC

For many viewers, The Walking Dead hasn’t been compelling television for quite a while now. The hit AMC series has been less than stellar for a few years, but that was okay because the show was playing the long game, setting up future storylines.

In fact, the eighth season was starting to show signs of improvement, however, with significantly better storytelling methods implemented. It was as if the showrunners had finally listened to the viewers, and discarded the major problems that plagued the show – namely those boring episodes which centred around less important characters. Also, the pace rapidly picked up between Season 7 and 8, with more action and more at stake for the leading characters. What’s more, Rick’s attack on Negan in the opening episode was a great way to start the season. It seemed as if The Walking Dead was finally returning to form. But when the show returned from its midseason break earlier this year, it became apparent that there was no hope for the AMC series.

A protagonist needs a goal, and Carl’s death removed Rick’s primary objective, leaving the character wandering aimlessly. Carl had been the reason Rick got this far in the apocalypse. He was fighting for his child, and would do anything to ensure his son’s survival. Losing him gives Rick’s survival less meaning. But not only does this loss effect Rick, it also effects the show. Carl’s existence provided a great plot device, whereby the show could continue with Carl as the protagonist if Rick ever died, bit losing the character means that this is no longer an option. The unpredictable death certainly made us question why executive producer Scott Gimple would make such a decision. If this wasn’t bad enough, the all out war between Negan and Rick that has been teased for several seasons proved to be a colossal disappointment.

Gimple’s departure from the show could’ve been promising, but with Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan leaving after the ninth season, there is little hope for The Walking Dead. Furthermore, Norman Reedus – who plays Daryl – is in talks to take over as the show’s protagonist, which also doesn’t bode well for the post-apocalyptic drama. A protagonist needs to be able to emote, and Daryl isn’t very good at communicating his feelings. Much like its signature walkers, it’s about time that this beloved drama bites the dust once and for all, as there’s no going back.

1. Fear The Walking Dead

13 Reasons Why 
AMC

Unlike its predecessor, Fear The Walking Dead improved significantly with each season, and the third was absolutely magnificent. A believable antagonist and a series of compelling protagonists made Season 3 one of the best seasons the collective Walking Dead universe has ever seen, and we couldn’t wait to see what Season 4 had in store for us. However, The Walking Dead’s Scott Gimple took over as Fear’s executive producer for Season 4 and, within eight episodes, he managed to ruin the show entirely.

Instead of continuing the heart-racing cliffhanger from the critically acclaimed third season, Gimple decided to disregard all that came before. The executive producer called for a time-jump so that he could shoehorn The Walking Dead’s Morgan into the spin-off a series, which was unnecessary. The adjustment didn’t work, and instead of the great conflict and strong narrative we got in Season 3, we were now objected to several confusing timelines (with no explanation given as to what happened after the cliffhanger) and several boring Morgan-centric episodes. Longtime characters like Madison and Nick became background characters in their own show and, before long, Gimple killed off the show’s two protagonists so that Morgan could officially take over as the new lead.

In spite of Morgan’s notoriety, he is half the character that both Madison and Nick were. In fact, many of the big problems in The Walking Dead’s latest season were down to the repetitiveness of Morgan’s character. It’s a real shame that we lost Fear’s two most compelling characters for no other reason than Gimple wanting to make his mark on the show.

Never in the history of television has a show went from brilliant to disappointing as rapidly as Fear The Walking Dead did. Much like The Walking Dead, Gimple’s questionable decisions have ruined Fear The Walking Dead beyond repair, and those of us who actually thought the spin-off was better than its parent series would be better off pretending Fear ended with its third season. Save for a total retcon of the fourth season, Fear The Walking Dead is irreparable.

 

 

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