Several brand new shows were heavily hyped for 2015 – Kurt Sutter, of Sons of Anarchy fame, launched the promotion of his new show, The Bastard Executioner. Bruce Campbell was everywhere promoting Ash vs. Evil Dead. Everyone was excited about Heroes Reborn. Of course fan favorites were returning – Castle, Sleepy Hollow, Vampire Diaries and Reign. American Horror Story – Hotel was giving us Lady Gaga. However, not every show made the cut, or the grade, or consistently rode out the hype.
Disclaimer: These are MY views and not the views of everyone on the site.
Here are ten shows that were highly overrated this fall:
1. The Bastard Executioner (FX) – Kurt Sutter put his name on the map during the incredible seven-year run and success of Sons of Anarchy. Hype started midsummer for TBX, and the stills that were released were beautiful and intriguing. However, the show became mishmash very early on, with its mix of fantasy, religion, and history, and nary did the plotlines ever meet. In Episode one, it appears the Dark Mute killed Wilkin’s wife but that is never mentioned again until the last episode, when Wilkin FINALLY notices his wife’s cross around another man’s neck. The Dark Mute is neither dark nor mute, but apparently a Templar partially burned at the stake. And maybe Wilkin’s father. Katey Sagal as Annora was some kind of mystic, of who knows what religion, and her accent was cringeworthy. Certainly the rest of the cast did their best, particularly Stephen Moyer as Milus Corbett, although poor Lee Jones just wandered through, not sure what to be. He had to be the softest hearted executioner I’ve ever heard of. Sutter announced there’d be no season two, making it seem like his decision and not FX.
2. Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz) – He’s back, he’s killing deadites and the blood is going everywhere. Gallons of it. This is simply a PWP (plot what plot) gorefest that tries to be funny, but misses the mark almost every time. Ash’s ego is so huge, it overshadows the other characters – Ray Santiago, Jill Marie Jones, and Dana DeLorenzo are far more interesting. This one is here to stay for a while, though, with Sam Raimi at the helm and Bruce Campbell’s draw.
3. American Horror Story – Hotel (FX) –The hype was all Lady Gaga, and she has been the saving grace of this mashed up mess. She’s beautiful, elegant, lovable, hate-able, and deadly. The rest is a whole lot of eyebrow raising and ‘huh’. You see there’s children vampires, a doctor who becomes a vampire to be with her son (like her daughter and husband don’t count), said doctor saving a kid with measles by giving him her now tainted blood – which leads to the horrifically and unintentionally funny classroom slaughter. We have a traumatized police detective hunting down the “Ten Commandments Killer” — then lo and behold; he IS the Ten Commandments killer. I watched that episode twice and was like, “wow, they sure pulled that out of left field.” There’s one more episode left, and I just can’t see how they are going to end this sorry, gory mess.
4. Sleepy Hollow (Fox) – Ichabod still looks pretty good in whatever togs he comes out wearing, but the plots are going nowhere, there’s so little character development, and after three years you’d expect Ichabod to be over the gosh-wow-look-at-this-technology. The show is getting the Friday night Kiss of Death, so it seems not long before this show runs its course.
5. The Vampire Diaries (CW) – This show has pretty much run its course, floundering along since they’ve outrun their original source material. Folks seem pretty much over vampires in general, but with two-dimensional villains, the loss of several initial protagonists and characters are just getting their feet wet, the 7th season of this series has been a let down.
6. Castle (ABC) – Last year’s season finale seemed a great place to leave our intrepid heroes, but instead new showrunners were brought in, and with them the tired old plot of lovers separated. Bluntly, it was the dumbest break up ever – she wants to protect him from people out to get her, but duh, by now everyone and their grandmother knows they are a couple (the writers seemed to forget that Rick Castle is an internationally recognized bestselling author, so yeah, literally everybody and their grandmother knows they’re a couple). It shows that writers want the money rolling in, but can’t think of anything original to do with the characters. In its defense, there have been some great moments: Castle having a bag of spiders put on his head, Ryan shooting Esposito in the bum, Alexis’s transformation into a formidable woman, and the addition of Hayley, played by Toks Olagundoye. The midseason finale offered us a glimmer of hope, though the sharks are still circling those waters.
7. Scream Queens (FOX) – This started out with so much promise, delicious black comedy, great zinging one-liners, and a few good plot twists. And then…it took a left turn, then a right turn and ended up in ‘say what’? Three Devil Killers, or maybe four, two babies not one (I’m sorry, that was just a cheap gimmick. The reason no one saw it coming is because it was never established in the first place. If the girl had had two babies, what did the girl holding the one baby do with the other baby?) The ending was so unsatisfying I was glad it was a limited series and over.
8. Bones (Fox) – it’s hard to believe Bones has been on air for over a decade, and while for the most part undistinguishable from its rival show Castle, there’s at least been some character growth. The Halloween episode with Brennan pulling a great practical joke on Booth was priceless. This year’s midseason closer was a shocker, a game changer; an episode that I’m sure upset a whole lot of people. It’s scary to think where they might go with that storyline, but for now, it’s keeping those sharks at bay!
9. The Muppet Show (ABC) –Wait a minute, that’s not Kermit, that’s a pod Muppet Kermit. He and Miss Piggy are breaking up, and pod Muppet Kermit is now dating Denise, another swine? When Kermit says his life is a “bacon wrapped hell on earth” I nearly fell over. This isn’t the old Muppet Show, where the adult jokes were funny and subtle, over the kiddie audience’s heads. I certainly don’t want to hear a 7-year-old repeat that quote (call me fuddy duddy), but more importantly it wasn’t even funny. I think I’ll go to Netflix and watch the original series, and pretend this debacle never happened.
10. Doctor Who (BBCA) –Stephen Moffat is out of control. This past season has had some real clunker moments, like the Doctor speaking and understanding baby talk. Missy the Master is like Mary Poppins on crack. Don’t get me started on Clara. With no disrespect to the actress, Clara is the most annoying companion since Adric. Except they killed Adric off; Clara just refuses to stay dead. And now she has a TARDIS of her own, in the form of a diner. Clara is the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues and while Capaldi has had his moments, it’s not enough to save this train wreck of a season.
I don’t watch reality TV as a general rule, so I didn’t include any series in my list (it would end up being twice as long). The list is a mix of old favorites winding down, and new shows that didn’t live up to their early promise. I also kept the list to shows that are for the most part basic cable, recognizing that not everyone has Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Vimeo. I do foresee their impact on television, in that people will be custom designing their own TV viewing, and will be less tolerant of shows that don’t deliver. Here’s to hoping January brings us better fare.