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(Onion AV Club)   Sixteen shows that managed to recover from shiatty seasons   (avclub.com) divider line 93
    More: Interesting, Carlton Cuse, The OC, human beings, Damon Lindelof, Jeri Ryan, Rachel Bilson, campaign, love triangles  
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11437 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 04 Mar 2013 at 1:32 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-04 01:36:40 PM
The third season of Wizards of Waverly Place was weak, but the fourth season was a triumph.
 
2013-03-04 01:40:01 PM
The OC didn't recover, but they were right on a lot of those shows.  FNL seasons 3-5 are greatness.  Also throw The Walking Dead season 2 up there for bad seasons.
 
2013-03-04 01:40:29 PM
Glad there was no mention of Dexter, as it managed to dive deep into a funk since the awesomeness that was Season 4. (But in reality, Season 4 was a recovery from the lameness that was Season 3).
 
2013-03-04 01:41:05 PM
24 comes to mind.  Season 6 was shiatty and drove away many viewers for good, but season 7 (Washington DC) was probably the best one in the series.  That White House storyline was intense.  I wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming movie, "Olympus Has Fallen", was inspired by those episodes in season 7 - way too many similarities.
 
2013-03-04 01:42:50 PM
Six Feet Under had maybe the greatest final season of all time after about 2-3 seasons of meandering.   It's one of my favorite shows of all time, and IMHO part of the HBO lineup that ushered in the "Golden Age" of television serial drama.   It saddens me that it's seemingly evaporated into the ether and doesn't even get a passing mention anymore.
 
2013-03-04 01:43:21 PM
Parks and Rec didn't have a stellar first season, though I remember enjoying it, and probably could have been cancelled but instead has survived as one of the top sitcoms on TV...

Bring back Bert Macklin!!!!
 
2013-03-04 01:54:16 PM
I would never have thought Breaking Bad would become as great as it has after the strike-shortened first season.  It wasn't helped by ending in the middle of a story line, but even still, it didn't grab me at all.  An interesting concept, but I felt like all the characters were pretty two-dimensional.  Decent, but nothing special.  Then, after being told repeatedly that I had to give it another chance a couple years back, I watched the second and third seasons in about 10 days and haven't looked back...
 
2013-03-04 01:54:44 PM
Came for Lost season 2, leaving satisfied.  FYI, even if you didn't like how Lost ended, you HAVE to admit that it was a fantastic journey.  The story that they were telling with the amazing characters that show had was well worth the 6 years I spent watching it.  Remember, it is about the journey, not the destination...
 
2013-03-04 01:59:32 PM
They got 24 correct. Season 5 was great. You can always spark a good Season 1 vs Season 5 discussion with any fan of the show.
 
2013-03-04 02:00:26 PM

The Banana Thug: 24 comes to mind.  Season 6 was shiatty and drove away many viewers for good, but season 7 (Washington DC) was probably the best one in the series.  That White House storyline was intense.  I wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming movie, "Olympus Has Fallen", was inspired by those episodes in season 7 - way too many similarities.


Hard to say if 24 ever "recovered".  It kinda went slowly downhill after seaon 4 or so.  Not hating on it, I watched every episode of every season.  And it was always better than most TV.  But because of the limitations of its plot device, it wore out its welcome.

And they used the killing of of important characters far, far too much.  That plot device lost its luster pretty quickly.
 
2013-03-04 02:02:47 PM
upload.wikimedia.org

Despite having "Hush", season 4 was awful. AWFUL.
 
2013-03-04 02:03:06 PM
List fails without ST:TNG Season 2.  The series was in no danger of cancellation, still the 2nd season pales in comparison to later seasons.  1st season gets a pass as the series was finding its legs, but not S2...it was just bad pretty much all around.

But oh boy, did it get better later on.
 
2013-03-04 02:06:26 PM

downstairs: The Banana Thug: 24 comes to mind.  Season 6 was shiatty and drove away many viewers for good, but season 7 (Washington DC) was probably the best one in the series.  That White House storyline was intense.  I wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming movie, "Olympus Has Fallen", was inspired by those episodes in season 7 - way too many similarities.

Hard to say if 24 ever "recovered".  It kinda went slowly downhill after seaon 4 or so.  Not hating on it, I watched every episode of every season.  And it was always better than most TV.  But because of the limitations of its plot device, it wore out its welcome.

And they used the killing of of important characters far, far too much.  That plot device lost its luster pretty quickly.


Anyone remember the 24 threads and the badges?

I miss Rack Bauer
 
2013-03-04 02:07:46 PM

Jim from Saint Paul: [upload.wikimedia.org image 250x323]

Despite having "Hush", season 4 was awful. AWFUL.




Season six is the worst because of dark Willow. I loved the evil nerds.
Also season 7 because of Xander ditching Anya
 
2013-03-04 02:16:43 PM

rcantley: I would never have thought Breaking Bad would become as great as it has after the strike-shortened first season.  It wasn't helped by ending in the middle of a story line, but even still, it didn't grab me at all.  An interesting concept, but I felt like all the characters were pretty two-dimensional.  Decent, but nothing special.  Then, after being told repeatedly that I had to give it another chance a couple years back, I watched the second and third seasons in about 10 days and haven't looked back...


Breaking Bad has been pretty awesome throughout its run. I haven't watched season 1 in a while, but I usually tell people to watch through the second season because Gus really drives the plot from that point forward. Plus, Saul is awesome as the shyster lawyer towards the end of season 2.
 
2013-03-04 02:17:59 PM
I'm assuming this list was inspired by the amazing season of The Office this year compared to last years which I think is severely overblown. Last season had some great episodes.
 
2013-03-04 02:18:35 PM

Mid_mo_mad_man: Jim from Saint Paul: [upload.wikimedia.org image 250x323]

Despite having "Hush", season 4 was awful. AWFUL.

Season six is the worst because of dark Willow. I loved the evil nerds.
Also season 7 because of Xander ditching Anya


Season 7 was pretty good. Not great, yet a fitting end. 6 gave us tons of Spike and the evil nerds. Both were great.
 
2013-03-04 02:22:44 PM
I'm not sure about season 7 of West Wing being better than season 4, but I'll allow it.  I liked the campaign, but it still wasn't as good as the first three seasons.
 
2013-03-04 02:32:10 PM
"Buffy" never really recovered after season 4. Season 5 was incredibly dull, but it wasn't embarrassing. Season 6 was *almost* a recovery, but it didn't quite happen. 7 was a disaster. Even worse than season 4.

"The West Wing" was never the same after Sorkin left. Season 4 was...passable. Season 5 was absolutely awful. 6 and 7 were essentially a different (and lesser) show, but it was watchable.

I'm a huge fan of both shows, and in both cases, I generally skip over everything after the third season.
 
2013-03-04 02:34:17 PM

Malcolm_Sex: I'm assuming this list was inspired by the amazing season of The Office this year compared to last years which I think is severely overblown. Last season had some great episodes.


...Really? I mean, it has been better than last year, but "amazing"? When they've turned Andy into an unrepentant douchebag? When they suddenly threw one of the documentarians into the mix out of nowhere just to Fark with Jim and Pam's marriage?
 
2013-03-04 02:36:08 PM
I disagree with their choice for Frasier.  The 2 seasons leading up to Daphne and Niles getting together were the worst IMO.  They ditched a lot of the more cerebral comedy and long set ups in favor of simpler, Three's Company style miscommunications.  9 and 10 weren't the height of the shows comedy, but they were still a better return to form.
 
2013-03-04 02:46:55 PM

Now That's What I Call a Taco!: Malcolm_Sex: I'm assuming this list was inspired by the amazing season of The Office this year compared to last years which I think is severely overblown. Last season had some great episodes.

...Really? I mean, it has been better than last year, but "amazing"? When they've turned Andy into an unrepentant douchebag? When they suddenly threw one of the documentarians into the mix out of nowhere just to Fark with Jim and Pam's marriage?


A lot of pro and con.  Pro - a lot of the background characters have been brought to the forefront, and they are really carrying the show.  The show was always meant to be a cast ensemble, unlike in the past when Jim, or Andy, or Michael, would monopolize entire episodes at a time.  Con - Andy's character is just absolutely annoying now.  Back when they had that second Stamford branch storyline when they first introduced Andy, he was hilarious (has a sleeping bag to sleep in the office overnight).  Sending him away for a few episodes on a boat was the best thing they could do... then they had to bring him back.

The most egregious offense in the show was introducing Catherine Tate ("Nellie") as this annoying, irrational power-hungry chick trying to usurp the boss title.  Now that the writers reinvented her as a more laid-back staff employee, she has become a surprisingly fun character to watch.  I like this season, and will keep watching until the finale.
 
2013-03-04 02:49:07 PM
Chalk me up as a fan of Law & Order's early seasons, when the hairdos were as 90s as could be, and the plots totally procedural/crime driven. I honestly don't care what the lawyers and detectives do in their free times, at least not with this show. In retrospect having Fred Thompson as DA was a bad idea. It stopped being good after Dianne Wiest left.
 
2013-03-04 02:49:38 PM
I don't know if I agree with the ER bit, I thought Noah Wyle did fine as the leading man, though the Croatian guy did help when he came in.

I gave up on CSI (and the clones) years ago, and NCIS last year or the year before, I'm just proceduraled-out at this point.

I'm very excited to see what happens to The Newsroom for the second season.  I know the first season left a lot of people cold (though I absolutely loved it), so I hope it can pull enough people back in to last for a good long while.

It's probably harder to recover from a bad first season than any other, Dollhouse was worlds better in Season 2, but it was too late to keep it off of the chopping block.  I just hope it hasn't put Whedon off of TV for good.  There are a ton of great TV writers who I'd love to see back in the field, but Bradley Wright and Bryan Fuller would probably be next on the list after Whedon.
 
2013-03-04 02:51:28 PM

Tarl3k: Came for Lost season 2, leaving satisfied.  FYI, even if you didn't like how Lost ended, you HAVE to admit that it was a fantastic journey.  The story that they were telling with the amazing characters that show had was well worth the 6 years I spent watching it.  Remember, it is about the journey, not the destination...


I had no major problems with season 2, but that could be because I didn't start watching until midway through season 3 already airing, so I marathoned the first 2.5 seasons rather than have to wait week to week for new episodes.  I also was able to breeze through the Others island subplot that made the show Jack/Kate/Sawyer centric for the first six episodes of season 3, so that didn't bother me as much as it apparently did those who went through it in "real time."

And yes, fantastic journey and all, but season 6 still kinda unraveled until the finale was just a major disappointment.  I think too many characters got short-changed in favor of making Jack the ultimate hero of the story, when by that point there were at least a half dozen or more interesting characters that got glossed over or brushed aside.
 
2013-03-04 02:59:13 PM
Regarding Buffy --  Season 5 was a great recovery after Season 4.  High points:
1) Getting rid of Riley. Dull as a bowling ball. Was not a fan. (incidentally, the Buffy/Spike thing in S6 was just wrong...)
2) We really got to know Tara as a character, person. She became more than just Willow's friendly neighborhood lesbian.
3) The Dracula ep was as contrived as it could be, because that is *what it was meant to be*. No qualms about being super campy.
4) Ummmm, "The Body"?
5) The season ending chunk of 5-6 episodes were some of the most frantic of the entire series.
6) Xander finally "grow'ed the fark up" (plus "The Replacement" was fantastic)

The double edged sword of "Dawn" - could have been a *lot* better than it was. So much wasted potential (no pun intended). The bratty kid sister thing was annoying, true, but I understand why they did what they did. The character never really grew that much until the 7th season (Watcher in training and the like). I think she was introduced too late into the series to be a believable character. Also... for a show that had some of the best writing for teenage angst in the history of television, they really did a terrible job on writing Dawn. Props to Michelle Trachtenberg for sticking with it.
 
2013-03-04 03:00:57 PM

Aezetyr: Regarding Buffy --  Season 5 was a great recovery after Season 4.  High points:
1) Getting rid of Riley. Dull as a bowling ball. Was not a fan. (incidentally, the Buffy/Spike thing in S6 was just wrong...)
2) We really got to know Tara as a character, person. She became more than just Willow's friendly neighborhood lesbian.
3) The Dracula ep was as contrived as it could be, because that is *what it was meant to be*. No qualms about being super campy.
4) Ummmm, "The Body"?
5) The season ending chunk of 5-6 episodes were some of the most frantic of the entire series.
6) Xander finally "grow'ed the fark up" (plus "The Replacement" was fantastic)

The double edged sword of "Dawn" - could have been a *lot* better than it was. So much wasted potential (no pun intended). The bratty kid sister thing was annoying, true, but I understand why they did what they did. The character never really grew that much until the 7th season (Watcher in training and the like). I think she was introduced too late into the series to be a believable character. Also... for a show that had some of the best writing for teenage angst in the history of television, they really did a terrible job on writing Dawn. Props to Michelle Trachtenberg for sticking with it.


FTFM:  adding 7) Glory *really* grew on me as a villian. I loved that she was completely bat-shiat insane. Plus Clare Kramer is a hottie.
 
2013-03-04 03:02:48 PM

realmolo: "Buffy" never really recovered after season 4. Season 5 was incredibly dull, but it wasn't embarrassing. Season 6 was *almost* a recovery, but it didn't quite happen.


Season Six had the benefit of having one of the best episodes in the entire series though.

/Once More With Feeling
 
2013-03-04 03:08:29 PM

verbaltoxin: Chalk me up as a fan of Law & Order's early seasons, when the hairdos were as 90s as could be, and the plots totally procedural/crime driven. I honestly don't care what the lawyers and detectives do in their free times, at least not with this show. In retrospect having Fred Thompson as DA was a bad idea. It stopped being good after Dianne Wiest left.


I actually agree with their opinion of the last few years of L&O. I liked the cops and the lawyers in the last few seasons. Considering how bad the Fred Thompson years were (more for Rohm and bad cop pairings including Farina) the last few years were quite good. It's been 3 years and I still can't believe they cut it for Law and Order LA.
 
2013-03-04 03:09:33 PM
The Walking Dead

The plot slowed to a crawl as the show all but abandoned any sense of danger from zombies and became a tiresome slog through the capricious soap-opera dynamics of a group of abrasive morons trying to coexist on a farm.

So much this... I almost gave up at the show by the end of this. That farm shait was unbearably boring. Not only no zombies, but flat, boring story development. It all woke up at the end there, though.
 
2013-03-04 03:12:56 PM
Got as far as The O.C. and decided the article was too stupid to live.
 
2013-03-04 03:16:18 PM

Martstar: Tarl3k: Came for Lost season 2, leaving satisfied.  FYI, even if you didn't like how Lost ended, you HAVE to admit that it was a fantastic journey.  The story that they were telling with the amazing characters that show had was well worth the 6 years I spent watching it.  Remember, it is about the journey, not the destination...

I had no major problems with season 2, but that could be because I didn't start watching until midway through season 3 already airing, so I marathoned the first 2.5 seasons rather than have to wait week to week for new episodes.  I also was able to breeze through the Others island subplot that made the show Jack/Kate/Sawyer centric for the first six episodes of season 3, so that didn't bother me as much as it apparently did those who went through it in "real time."

And yes, fantastic journey and all, but season 6 still kinda unraveled until the finale was just a major disappointment.  I think too many characters got short-changed in favor of making Jack the ultimate hero of the story, when by that point there were at least a half dozen or more interesting characters that got glossed over or brushed aside.


I went through that in real time and when they had the huge break after S3 Ep 6, I never went back.  I just assumed it'd be more "Jack's been captured and he means so much, I have to rescue him...Oh, no she's been captured now and she means so much, I have to rescue her...dammit, he's been captured and he means so much..."

Screw all that.  If I want to watch a bunch of idiots implementing stupid plans on an island then Mary Ann damn well be there somewhere.
 
2013-03-04 03:23:19 PM
Agree on 30 Rock and the Office, I pretty much wrote those shows off the last couple years but both have been strong this season to go out on top.

Always Sunny briefly wavered in that season with Franks Brother and a few others, but this most recent season has been amongst the best IMO.
 
2013-03-04 03:25:06 PM

The Banana Thug: Now That's What I Call a Taco!: Malcolm_Sex: I'm assuming this list was inspired by the amazing season of The Office this year compared to last years which I think is severely overblown. Last season had some great episodes.

...Really? I mean, it has been better than last year, but "amazing"? When they've turned Andy into an unrepentant douchebag? When they suddenly threw one of the documentarians into the mix out of nowhere just to Fark with Jim and Pam's marriage?

A lot of pro and con.  Pro - a lot of the background characters have been brought to the forefront, and they are really carrying the show.  The show was always meant to be a cast ensemble, unlike in the past when Jim, or Andy, or Michael, would monopolize entire episodes at a time.  Con - Andy's character is just absolutely annoying now.  Back when they had that second Stamford branch storyline when they first introduced Andy, he was hilarious (has a sleeping bag to sleep in the office overnight).  Sending him away for a few episodes on a boat was the best thing they could do... then they had to bring him back.

The most egregious offense in the show was introducing Catherine Tate ("Nellie") as this annoying, irrational power-hungry chick trying to usurp the boss title.  Now that the writers reinvented her as a more laid-back staff employee, she has become a surprisingly fun character to watch.  I like this season, and will keep watching until the finale.


Not really.  The show was always meant to be about Jim and Pam first, then their ridiculous boss, and the rest of the office regulars.    The supporting cast could carry an episode occasionally, but it's when they started to rely on them that they became cartoonish.  They really worked best in small doses.  The show really started to go downhill once the Jim and Pam will they/won't they wrapped up.  Last season was brutal and I finally gave up on it, though I have seen a few from this season and it is better (the Andy character notwithstanding).
 
2013-03-04 03:27:11 PM
TuteTibiImperes:  I'm just proceduraled-out at this point.

THIS
 
2013-03-04 03:28:50 PM
I never understood what they were doing with scheduling during the first season of FNL. I'm almost certain it debuted in the fall on Friday nights at 8. What the hell? Your main demographic is gonna be busy Friday nights at 8. And this was before a lot of people had DVR.
 
2013-03-04 03:36:26 PM

verbaltoxin: Chalk me up as a fan of Law & Order's early seasons, when the hairdos were as 90s as could be, and the plots totally procedural/crime driven. I honestly don't care what the lawyers and detectives do in their free times, at least not with this show. In retrospect having Fred Thompson as DA was a bad idea. It stopped being good after Dianne Wiest left.


I disagree Fred Thompson was great because it gave them some new material since he was a Pub whereas all the other DAs had been philosophically aligned with McCoy. As far as cancelling it without a sendoff, that was fine. The appeal of L&O in syndication is that you can drop in on any single episode and not have to know any backstory. There was nothing to wrap up really. An episode that wrapped up the stories of Vanburen, McCoy and Co would be out of place in the shows format. just one more case was the right way to go.
 
2013-03-04 03:38:11 PM

Mikey1969: The Walking Dead

The plot slowed to a crawl as the show all but abandoned any sense of danger from zombies and became a tiresome slog through the capricious soap-opera dynamics of a group of abrasive morons trying to coexist on a farm.

So much this... I almost gave up at the show by the end of this. That farm shait was unbearably boring. Not only no zombies, but flat, boring story development. It all woke up at the end there, though.


That seasons first half can be summed up in this simple conversation.

Dale "I know you killed that man Shane."
Shane "Yeah?  Are you gonna do anything about it?"
Dale "No."
 
2013-03-04 03:46:04 PM
Parks & Rec recovered nicely from season 1 being lame.
 
2013-03-04 03:52:01 PM

RickN99: Martstar: Tarl3k: Came for Lost season 2, leaving satisfied.  FYI, even if you didn't like how Lost ended, you HAVE to admit that it was a fantastic journey.  The story that they were telling with the amazing characters that show had was well worth the 6 years I spent watching it.  Remember, it is about the journey, not the destination...

I had no major problems with season 2, but that could be because I didn't start watching until midway through season 3 already airing, so I marathoned the first 2.5 seasons rather than have to wait week to week for new episodes.  I also was able to breeze through the Others island subplot that made the show Jack/Kate/Sawyer centric for the first six episodes of season 3, so that didn't bother me as much as it apparently did those who went through it in "real time."

And yes, fantastic journey and all, but season 6 still kinda unraveled until the finale was just a major disappointment.  I think too many characters got short-changed in favor of making Jack the ultimate hero of the story, when by that point there were at least a half dozen or more interesting characters that got glossed over or brushed aside.

I went through that in real time and when they had the huge break after S3 Ep 6, I never went back.  I just assumed it'd be more "Jack's been captured and he means so much, I have to rescue him...Oh, no she's been captured now and she means so much, I have to rescue her...dammit, he's been captured and he means so much..."

Screw all that.  If I want to watch a bunch of idiots implementing stupid plans on an island then Mary Ann damn well be there somewhere.


Which is a shame, because it means you missed almost all of the great episodes of Lost. "The Constant" in season four is not just the best episode of Lost, it's one of the bests hours of television in the ever. Then again, every episode of Lost from mid-season 3 through to the season 5 finale are pretty fantastic.
 
2013-03-04 04:00:50 PM

Flappyhead: That seasons first half can be summed up in this simple conversation.

Dale "I know you killed that man Shane."
Shane "Yeah?  Are you gonna do anything about it?"
Dale "No."


Of course I lost the final 3 episodes from last fall, haven't gotten caught up yet, and now I'm afraid that I'm hopelessly behind(Now that shiat is actually happening in the show).
 
2013-03-04 04:03:41 PM
I'm watching The West Wing on Netflix, and Season Five is out-and-out bad, hamstrung exactly by what the article says regarding the writers trying to write like Aaron Sorkin. That show was amazing for the first three seasons before petering out with the Zoey Bartlett kidnapping, and to be honest, the election storylines through the last two seasons didn't do much for me either. We'll see if it changes for me when I re-watch them.
 
2013-03-04 04:06:23 PM
ER was on for 15 years!?

/kind of miss Law and Order
//it was my go to 'sick series' when I wanted to watch something and fall asleep without paying attention
 
2013-03-04 04:15:27 PM
I completely disagree with their assessment of 24. That show kept getting better each season until season 6, then it went slowly downhill. 3 and 4 were two of my favorite seasons.
 
2013-03-04 04:17:32 PM
Surprised that TNG wasn't mentioned due to Season 1. DS9 should be mentioned for somewhat the same reason though ALL of season 1 for that wasn't bad, especially once they started moving away from the whole "This is TNG2.0"
I completely agree with those who say Buffy should have made the list due to season 4, though I disagree that 'Hush' was the only good episode that season.
Babylon 5 also comes to mind, what with Season 1 being really, really, REALLY hit and miss, then the INCREDIBLE seasons 2 and 3. Admittedly 4 and 5 were on the downslope again, but not nearly as bad as 1 was.
 
2013-03-04 04:20:08 PM

TheManofPA: Anyone remember the 24 threads and the badges?


I didn't post in those because THERE WASN'T ENOUGH TIME!
 
2013-03-04 04:31:38 PM
heh, I remember being so pissed of that they made Carter a drug addict on ER
 
2013-03-04 04:34:13 PM

Aezetyr: 3) The Dracula ep was as contrived as it could be, because that is *what it was meant to be*. No qualms about being super campy.


...bater.
 
2013-03-04 04:34:58 PM

Smelly McUgly: I'm watching The West Wing on Netflix, and Season Five is out-and-out bad, hamstrung exactly by what the article says regarding the writers trying to write like Aaron Sorkin. That show was amazing for the first three seasons before petering out with the Zoey Bartlett kidnapping, and to be honest, the election storylines through the last two seasons didn't do much for me either. We'll see if it changes for me when I re-watch them.


To be fair, what Sorkin had planned to do with the kidnapping when he set it up sounded interesting (Christian fundamentalists trying to ignite war in the ME to start the end of days).  Sadly, the people who took the baton from him backed away from that idea like it was radioactive.
 
2013-03-04 04:35:53 PM

Jim from Saint Paul: [upload.wikimedia.org image 250x323]

Despite having "Hush", season 4 was awful. AWFUL.


Was that the Riley season?
Yah, that was bad
 
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