7 TV show decisions someone should have been fired for
Even the most popular TV shows in the world have made some really, really terrible choices. While some shows recover, others just enter a permanent, QWOP-style stumble until they collapse in shame. We’ve found the fatal flaws in some of television’s most-watched shows. Sorry in advance.
The Walking Dead: The Negan cliffhanger
The entire sixth season of The Walking Dead led up to one moment. Comic readers had already broken the news to TV viewers: Glenn would die beneath the bloody baseball bat of Negan, leader of the Saviors. As the season entered its final moments…all we got was the world’s least satisfying cliffhanger. Did Glenn die? Was it someone else? Was it someone we even care about?
The showrunners defended the non-reveal by saying it was done in the interest of storytelling, but it wouldn’t have been quite so bad were it not for a blunder earlier in the season. For a few episodes, Dead made a big deal about Glenn being, well, dead. Which he wasn’t. The zombie epic never had to fake us out about mortality before, but the introduction of goofy camera tricks had already left a rotten taste in everyone’s mouths. Just give us the gory goods or get out of the way.
The Flash: Good guys gone bad
While entertaining, CW’s The Flash seems to use the same old gimmicks and makes a lot of really weird choices, season after season. The strangest choice of all was making Barry Allen an adopted part of the West family, making the love affair between him and his stepsister Iris especially unsettling, but things got even worse from there for the villain-du-jour drama.
The first season’s big reveal was that trusted science-guy Harrison Wells was actually super-speedy villain Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse Flash. The team feels betrayed, they fight, and the world moves on. For some reason, the exact same trick was used in season two. Super-fast alternate reality hero Jay Garrick joins the team, but is eventually revealed to be the bad guy again, this time named Zoom. After this, and a really haphazard explanation of how Flash can create “time remnant” clones of himself by running really fast, even the most hardcore fans have started to lose interest. Time to turn this show around as fast as they can.
The Big Bang Theory: Unfaithful Leonard
The writers of The Big Bang Theory have always made the nerds the guys that you root for. Even if they make dumb mistakes, they’re generally not reprehensible ogres. Even Sheldon’s obnoxious idiosyncrasies are generally charming. And the romance between Leonard and Penny is probably one of the sweeter things on TV, so the eighth season finale was the ultimate bummer. On their way to get married in Vegas, Leonard admits to Penny that he’d kissed another girl, gut-punching everyone in the audience who believes in true love.
Not only is it a weird hurdle to throw in front of the characters, but it’s also strangely out of character for the show, which never really gets heavier than the death of Howard’s mom. Turning everynerd Leonard into a lech, and making the audience marinate on it all summer long, sucked. Why can’t we just have nice things?
Gotham: Everything Barbara
Most of the frustration with Gotham stems from the fact that it isn’t a show about Batman. Instead, it’s a surrealist, over-the-top soap opera about Gotham City’s police force, a very young Bruce Wayne, and the city’s burgeoning collection of supercriminals. But it’s mostly about police detective James Gordon…and sometimes his insane fiancée Barbara. While DC Comics has never really explored Gordon’s marital bliss, Gotham literally just goes crazy.
Barb starts out simple enough, but slowly loses her mind over the course of the show. It’s not a subtle, stress-induced insanity; it’s more like the writers just decided they needed more villains. She cheats on Jim with his co-worker, starts using drugs, and eventually is totally brainwashed by the Ogre into absolute insanity, becoming one of the show’s more useless antagonists. It’s a cluster of Days of Our Lives-level stuff that never properly fits into Gotham City. And frankly, who cares about Jim’s marriage problems when you have the far more effective tragedy of Mr. Freeze and Nora in the wings?
Modern Family: Acting lessons
Early on, the stilted, weird acting of the male children in the cast of Modern Family was almost charming. After all, they’re both geeky products of excessive wealth who might not understand how real human children behave. Unfortunately, Luke and Manny just can’t seem to cut it anymore. While it’s hard to criticise a casting director for not seeing the future, the show hasn’t really made any efforts to humanize the monotone teenagers. Or at least send them off to boarding school.
The list of kid actors who never grow into their craft is a mile long, but none of those kids are on a top TV show, and most of them go off to become lawyers, like the nerds from The Wonder Years and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. We see some more law careers forming in the near future…
Top Gear: Losing the entire team
Sure, Jeremy Clarkson is allegedly a difficult alcoholic, but he’s always been an entertaining one. After 13 years hosting Top Gear, producers finally had enough when Clarkson, punch drunk from a difficult day of filming, actually punched someone on the crew. To save face, the BBC fired him immediately, and his beloved co-hosts subsequently quit in solidarity, destroying some of the most perfect chemistry on TV.
The replacement hosts, Friends’ Matt LeBlanc and a lesser-known, non-heroic Chris Evans, have zero chemistry, with LeBlanc already threatening to quit if Evans remains as host. And honestly, either one leaving wouldn’t really feel like a loss. Just show us the cool cars…with the sass of Clarkson. We’re sure he’s very, very sorry.
Agents of SHIELD – Stupid Inhumans
Marvel Comics has about five hundred original alien races at their disposal, but the Inhumans have always been one of the coolest. They’re like the X-Men, but extremely antisocial, and their powers all seem a little creepy and messed up. Their leader, Black Bolt, can tear down mountains with a whisper, and his wife Medusa has a whole lot of prehensile hair. Weird stuff.
But when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D introduced the Inhumans into their continuity, they turned out to be nothing more than a really boring cult, and clearly a really weak placeholder for the Marvel mutants still owned by Fox. The studio squabbling over characters’ rights was apparent, and the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t even make mention of Black Bolt, the Inhuman with the deadly voice, left fans wondering where the real story was happening…because it wasn’t here.