When I watch a television series, I’m usually open to whatever it throws at me. I try to enjoy it for what it is. More often than not, when a series hooks me, I’m along for the train ride. But sometimes, the train goes off the rails. That’s when I jump off and abandon the show. Last television season was particularly disappointing for a few television series. I’ve already posted about the shows that you should be watching. Now let’s take a look at the series that committed an “epic fail.” I’ve decided that the following shows are no longer worth my time.

30 Rock
Why it used to be great:
30 Rock started out as a brilliant but weird satire, balancing zaniness with more straightforward comic moments. It relied on a colourful cast of characters, taking the time to explore all their relationships. Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy was a comic tour de force, stealing nearly every scene. Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon was a fun heroine for whom viewers could cheer. Most importantly, the show was funny from top to bottom.
Why this past season sucked: The satire was no longer as sharp or witty, completely abandoning subtlety. The characters were turned into caricatures. Jenna’s narcissism was almost unbearable, and Liz was transformed into a gross buffoon, incapable of having a proper love life. Jack spent a large portion of the season stuck in a terrible love triangle storyline where he was “in love” with two women, making it hard to sympathize with him. Instead of focusing on regular jokes, the zaniness was pushed to an extreme, giving the impression that every episode was trying too hard; “Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” was not only the worst episode of the series, but may also be one of the worst half-hours of comedy ever produced. The show was no longer funny, relying too much on inelegant pop culture references instead of developing jokes internally.
Final verdict: The last few episodes of the season almost redeemed the season for me. Almost. But I don’t trust this show to entertain me anymore; I’m done with it.

Modern Family
Why it started out strong: It had a talented cast. The humour was subtle but not obtuse. It had a great sense of heart. The mockumentary format, while not unique, allowed the show to expand its storytelling possibilities.
Why it got boring: Honestly, I just got tired of it. With no ongoing storylines, I had no investment in the show. The characters stopped being interesting because they never actually developed or grew; they learned “life lessons” at the end of every episode that were promptly forgotten by the next. It began bothering me that the show relied too much on clichés: stereotypes about gay people, nagging moms, clueless dads, and angsty teenagers.
Final verdict: Meh.

Why it used to be great: It had compelling cases and characters, underpinned by believable drama. It also had a light comic touch, turning the show into a nice mix of genres. Though it didn’t rely heavily on storylines, the characters seemed to grow and learn as the series progressed. Brennan had a very interesting backstory that was thoroughly explored throughout the show’s second season. Recurring nemeses such as Howard Epps and Gormogon added an element of suspense and danger. Booth and Brennan’s partnership was slowly blossoming into something more, and it was a real treat to watch the emotionally-guarded Brennan open up to others.
Why this past season sucked: Bones actually had a slow disintegration, starting in season 4. Angela and Hodgins broke up. Since Zach had been revealed as Gormogon’s apprentice, he was replaced by a series of one-dimensional “squinterns.” The cases started dropping in quality. But the show was still good enough to maintain my interest. However, in season 5, things got worse, and new problems were introduced. Season 5 made the mistake of concentrating on Booth and Brennan’s non-romance, specifically focusing on Booth and losing sight of the fact that the series was originally supposed to be mainly about Brennan. Watching Booth constantly pining for Brennan got old fast. The season finished with the dissolution of their partnership, ending the lackluster season on a depressing note.
Final verdict: It’s weird that I still sort of care about the characters. That’s a testament to how well-crafted they were. But it’s hard to root for a procedural drama with uninteresting cases. Moreover, I usually don’t mind will-they/won’t-they drama, but Brennan and Booth have gotten ridiculous. They should have done the deed at least a season and a half ago. On the whole, I wouldn’t be angry if forced to watch this show every once in a while, but it’s no longer worth any deeper investment.

How I Met Your Mother
Why it used to be great: For its first four seasons, How I Met Your Mother was the wittiest, most inventive multi-camera sitcom on television. It had a great cast of characters who grew and matured over time. The writing was sharp and often topical. It used unique storytelling devices such as skewed perspectives and flashbacks within flashbacks. It had interesting storylines with a fun underlying mythology. It was often referred to as the Lost of sitcoms.
Why this past season sucked: Season 5 was a disaster. The season started off by concentrating way too much on Barney and Robin’s new relationship, only to end it a few episodes later. (In all fairness, the relationship was pretty boring and poorly-written, so I was kind of glad to see it end.) Ted was pushed into the background of his own show. There were not only structural flaws, but also problems with the characters. Barney was turned into an absolute caricature; instead of being “awesome,” he became a filthy manwhore. Robin became a plot device and was robbed of her personality. Marshall’s immaturity was emphasized at the expense of his kindheartedness. Ted was written as more mature and world-weary for the first half of the season, which I welcomed, but he then degenerated into a selfish, pedantic asshole. Only Lily was tolerable for most of the season. Furthermore, there were problems with the plot (or lack thereof). The season had very little in the way of underlying story arcs, making each episode a standalone. It became difficult to invest in characters that didn’t seem to be doing anything or going anywhere.
Final verdict: Now, I should give the showrunners credit where it’s due. They acknowledged in an interview at CBS’s press tour what they did wrong this season and want to use next season to expiate their mistakes. However, it’s too late for me. I’m no longer watching. Monday nights are going to get a lot less busy.

So, there you have it: shows that sucked and will likely continue to suck. When I think about them, I’m incredibly grateful for the shows I watch that haven’t crapped all over themselves. I don’t want to jinx it, but I expect awesome things from Chuck, Cougar Town, 18 to Life, and Community in the upcoming season. I also expect White Collar to continue to deliver quality entertainment. At the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for: entertainment.