There’s plenty of garbage on television and while new shows hardly need our help being fed into the maw of the Cancellation Monster, we sure do wish a few more would disappear from the airwaves. We tried – we really did try – to give these programs a fair shake, but watching them is a bit like letting a ghost pass through you, a chilling feeling that there’s not much left before their icy demise. Which ones are they? Well, you can watch an episode, but that’s just too painful. Instead, just read our notes after the break!
Terra Nova (FOX)
Steven Spielberg announced this series roughly 65 million years ago
(haha, geddit? it’s because and somehow they ended up spending far too much time and money developing a bad idea. The pilot was okay, but the show never got better. Rather than embracing a serialized story arc that built toward something (a la Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica), the show fell into the trope-sy woodlands of Star Trek’s rejected storylines. Speaking of which: it doesn’t help that Brannon Braga was brought on to run the show. He, along with cohort Rick Berman, spent fifteen years running that once-mighty franchise into the ground.
We were supposed to care about the show’s prehistoric setting when they barely show dinosaurs. The villains are hardly villainous, the heroes are hardly heroic. Stephen Lang acts tough, but wouldn’t murder a gang of Sixers in cold blood given the chance – they just pumped too much Picard-ian sludge into his character (and Picard is a hero amongst men). I have no doubt that Fox was bound to the series when they realized that tearing everything down after the pilot and rebuilding would’ve cost so much more money. They should’ve just given up while they were behind.
Up All Night (NBC)
I honestly couldn’t even make it through half an episode. I really want Will Arnett to succeed. I really want Maya Rudolph to succeed. However hot Christina Applegate is, she’s made a career of launching TV shows that are destined for the wood chipper, so this is par for the course. Can you watch a show in which a couple has just had a child? And have to deal with it? By staying up all night? How tolerable are you for a comedy with few laughs? Up All Night was ten minutes of my life I simply can’t get back.
Pan Am (ABC)
It doesn’t seem wrong in the slightest that ABC, a division of Disney, would be up for producing a whimsically light-hearted drama about the crew of a Pan Am clipper during the early sixties. Where the series went wrong was in sowing slightly interesting characters into a myriad of early Cold War milestones, using the plane and its international flights as their shoehorn. The pilot is suave and green, spending far too many episodes chasing a British girlfriend who isn’t coming back. The hot stewardess (you know who I’m talking about) moonlights as an American spy in the show’s right-on-the-nose, hand-firmly-held message that THIS IS THE COLD WAR, DAMMIT. There’s a French stewardess who hates Germans (I guess that makes sense) and for whatever reason, Cristina Ricci is here, failing to be anything more than snooty and rebellious. I thought the pilot was okay if you had a cheek to firmly plant your tongue against, but the show doesn’t really have much of a point aside from being dull commentary about a turning point in recent world history.
New Girl (FOX)
Is it possible to have too much Zooey Deschanel? Is it possible to consume too much sugar? To drive too fast? (The answer is yes.) Instead of a charming show in which the fine men of intellgentsia can mentally fanoodle her, she is the ultra-twee centerpiece of a once-again-resurrected sitcom format. Yes, girl gets to be roommates with a few gruff, personality-free guys. Yes, this is #winning! Add Justin Long, whose freshness expired when Apple was done with him, and you have what amounts to forced-cute overload on slow burn. Zooey’s persistent on-screen mental vacancy was well documented by Johnny, who gave the show a pass. Yes, I do suppose there is such a thing as too much of Miss Deschanel. Sadly.