Quotes: Seasonal Rot

Variety is the spice of life and status quo is the starch. The star that shines brightest is all the more glorious for its brevity. Or, to bring the metaphor down to a broader cultural level, The Simpsons has been running for 21 seasons and hasn't been good since the fifth!

Should it continue to air, the show will rapidly degenerate into a frightful, shambling corpse — a mocking funhouse mirror reflection of what it once was, existing to ghoulishly maintain the careers/merchandising empire of its sinister creators. The characters are almost unrecognizable from their original incarnations, now merely grotesque, unthinking husks — their personalities long since removed for easier manipulation. Each season beyond the 7th cancels out the earlier good seasons in terms of the show's overall quality — 14 seasons or more rendering a essentially show undead.

I should also, I suppose, briefly disclaim regarding the Colin Baker era, given that it is possibly the most contentious era of Doctor Who there is, save possibly the Sylvester Mccoy era. Actually, it's not even particularly contentious — almost everybody finds massive fault with it. It's more that there's an elaborate blame game, with all of the primary sources having massive axes to grind with the other primary sources and generally suggesting that the era would have been great if it weren't for X. (Generally X is either John Nathan-Turner or Eric Saward.) I tend to agree with the assessment that the Colin Baker years are deeply, deeply flawed. I think the problems are far, far deeper than what can be laid at the feet of one or even two particular creative forces.
Phil Sandifer on Doctor Who, "The Two Doctors"

Timelash is on the short list of serials broadly agreed to be 'the worst Doctor Who stories ever.' Given how prone science-fiction fans are to bickering about absolutely everything, and how impossible it is to find consensus, thatís really saying something. More than that, it ranks with quite a few Colin Baker stories among that list. I canít help but wonder if part of the problem with Bakerís tenure isnít a lack of classic episodes (Revelation of the Daleks and Vengeance on Varos surely count), but the batting average skewed by so many truly terrible stories... Whatís really weird about Bakerís terrible episodes is the fact that they all seem to suffer from the same problems. Thereís no attempt to learn from past mistakes or to rectify those problems.
Darren Mooney on Doctor Who, "Timelash"

Promoters have rarely been able to bring themselves to replace their bread-and-butter before it's too late. They see him making extraordinary amounts of money for the company, and they cannot fathom tinkering with the formula in any way. Wrestling promoters are notoriously shortsighted...They don't have the long-term vision to see that unless things stay fresh, the decline in fortunes can be just as swift, and sometimes even faster, than the ascent.

There is an old saying, popularized by Bret Hart in Paul Jay's excellent documentary Wrestling with Shadows, that promoters ride a wrestler like a horse until he can't go any more; then they put a bullet in his head. Inevitably, they ride that horse until he's long past the point of drawing big money, and then, when things start to decline, they panic. The panic breeds inept and hotshot booking, the decline speeds up, and it finally gets to the point where the company is so cold that, in the eyes of the fans, it can do nothing right.
R. D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez, The Death of WCW

Isnít this the season where Brannon Braga took a backseat so he could start planning Enterprise? I never thought I would say this but bring him back! Seasons five and six under his supervision might have had more bad episodes than you can shake a stick at but at least there were some good episodes tossed in just to make a change. Season seven to this point has literally been one underwritten nightmare after another and should give the audience a warning 'Abandon hope all ye that enter hereÖ'
Doc Oho on Star Trek: Voyager, "Inside Man"

Okay, here's a prime example of what I'm talking about. This is a quote from a Herocomplex/LA Times interview with Tom Welling:

"I think the dilemma and the challenge this year is waiting until the end of the show," said Welling. "At this point you're like, 'Why doesn't he just put on the suit?' I mean, come on - he's doing the same stuff now, so why not? That's the challenge — to make that last until the end."


When the creative team is struggling to think of ways to cram the genie back into the bottle (where Genie=Super-Suit and Bottle=Time-Machine-We-Need-To-Build-To-Erase-Plot-Thread-We-Had-No-Intention-Of-Following-Through-On) does anyone really think the result is going to be great? Story telling should be organic; if your characters and plot arcs take you to a place where the next logical step is to put on the suit, then you put on the suit. You don't just fling monkey turds around and hope that no one notices that it makes no sense.
Julian Finn on Smallville, "Lazarus"

They were taking something which had run well, and driving it without oil until the head blew. Now the car is just stopped, and we're waiting for the mechanic. Earlier this season, some kindly dude named Geoff stopped by, pushed the car ten or fifteen feet with the help of a few friends, but now here we are, sitting by the side of the road in the female 18-25 demographic.
Neal Bailey on Smallville

Itís becoming clearer to me that Mad Men probably should have ended with the final episode of last season, with Don Draper fired and, at long last, willing to live permanently with the truth. At the end of that episode, Draper was ready to stop living as an image of a man, and to begin living as Dick Whitman, an actual human being.

But instead, the show threw away that endgame and, at least for the first three hours of this season, weíve seen Don Draper do the shit Don Draper always does. I spent an hour last week watching him argue with Megan and wondering to myself, ďWait, didnít they already have this fight? Wasnít this marriage over already? Why am I watching this shit again?Ē Thereís been a whole lot of again this season. Peggy feeling underappreciated, again. Don smoothly pulling off a shrewd boardroom maneuver, again. Pete being a cock, again. Betty being a shitty mom and feeling kinda bad about it, again. Megan crying, again.
Drew Magary, "Jesus, Mad Men, Pull yourself Together"

What can Chuck do at this point? Take his shirt off? Add a lovably irritating adopted 8-year-old to the cast? Wake up to find Sarah in his shower and the entire second season a dream? Or maybe Chuck should start wearing Sunglasses at Night and make semi-clever wisecracks about corpses he examines... Or maybe not.

One season of how to make a successful comic book-style television show, followed by three seasons of monstrous fuck ups.

They can't just cancel a show like Alphas. They have to help the viewers let go. Firefly did a movie to wrap things up, Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued on as a comic book, Heroes gradually lowered the quality season by season, 'til we were grateful it ended.

"In Broadchurch One, the mystery was 'Whoís the murderer?' In Broadchurch Two, it's 'Whatís the point?'."
Philomena Cunk, Weekly Wipe