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Television Review: HBO’s Thrones And Other Shows That Lose My Game

by Couch Sessions

I was scheduled to do a piece on HBO’s new, wildly successful Game of Thrones this week. I have to be honest: I put off watching it because it didn’t look very appealing to me. I am not a fan of the fantasy genre and watching historical dramas are certainly not my favored pastime. However, I did tell my friends at The Couch Sessions that I would discuss Game of Thrones this week, so I sat down, pulled up my HBO OnDemand and pressed play on the first episode. Three minutes later I was asleep. I tried a second time the next night. I might have made it five minutes this time before I found a ball of yarn that seemed more interesting…

Unfortunately, the article about Game of Thrones is not meant to be, but what it did do was make me think about shows that everyone else loves… and I find mind-numbingly dull. It’s a good list, so I decided to share:

Unfortunately, the article about Game of Thrones is not meant to be, but what it did do was make me think about shows that everyone else loves… and I find mind-numbingly dull. It’s a good list, so I decided to share:

Modern Family: I know, I know. Quite literally, all of my friends love this show. I have tried out several episodes only to find myself not only not laughing, but also allowing my mind to meander: what do I need to pick up when I run to Duane Reade later? How many different religions are there in the world? Would NeNe and I get along if we met? I love her. See? Mind = everywhere. Truth be told, I cannot quite put my finger on my reasons for disliking the show other than its complete lack of humor. I get that everyone else finds it funny, so it must be me, but… I would prefer to watch slugs mate than spend 30 minutes watching this Emmy-winning comedy.

Mad Men: Another Emmy winner that I dislike. My friend Kateria and I have extremely similar taste in TV, but she loves this 1960s-set advertising drama. It seems like a show I should watch and love. I had every intention of liking it when I first tried it, but…once again… snoozefest.

Castle: Now this show simply irritates me. I cannot understand why it has risen in the ratings. I cannot understand why an actor I used to appreciate – Nathan Fillion – plays his role as one of the most annoying characters on TV (even more so than True Blood’s Sookie – “Bill! Where’s Bill?!”). The character speaks like a bad writer has written his lines. It is a preposterously inane show that wastes a timeslot a good show could be occupying.

Boardwalk Empire: Emmy bait from HBO… this show screamed my name prior to coming on. And, the pilot, so lavishly directed by Martin Scorsese, was a gorgeous, brilliant piece. The subsequent episodes left me wanting more each time until I finally gave up and decided it wasn’t that serious. I tried; I pushed myself each week to watch, but every time I would eventually get up and start washing dishes or something equally as exciting because the show was boring me to tears.

And obviously

Game of Thrones: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………………..

On the flip side, there some shows I love, but no one else seems to care at all:

SouthLAnd: Originally slotted as the replacement for ER, this show was a bit too esoteric for network television and luckily, after being cancelled by NBC, found its way to TNT. And while it has found a footing large enough to generate another season on the air, no one – and I do mean no one – ever admits to watching it besides me. Am I the one keeping it alive?

Fringe: With a pedigree that includes JJ Abrams and a slew of love from critics, the show has finally found its footing with its tiny – yet fiercely loyal – audience. Why isn’t this show pulling LOST numbers?

Parenthood: Based on a movie other people loved that came out almost 2 decades ago, this didn’t sound like something I wanted to see either. But then, I started watching and have not missed an episode since. It is vividly written and the acting is absolutely sublime (especially from the talented-beyond-her-years Mae Whitman).

Treme: Just like Boardwalk Empire, this one came on with high expectations and enough shine to almost guarantee a seat at the Emmys. The post-Katrina setting should have moved audiences ready to see the story told. In truth, however, one of the best shows on television feels like homework to millions of would-be viewers. I, on the other hand, adore the slow-burn resonance and quiet subtlety of the ensemble.

The New Adventures of Old Christine: With 278 different time slots over the course of its run, it is no wonder that very few tuned in for this show. The sad truth is that it was the funniest show airing on television in seasons 4 and 5. Actually, let’s make that the whole time it was on: it was the funniest show airing on television from 2006 – 2010.

What about you? Do you love the shows I hate? Hate the shows I love? Love the shows I love? Spend your time sleeping through Game of Thrones? Talk to me. Leave a comment. Let’s start a dialogue.

twitter: @josephrileyland, @kitchensofa


  • http://www.williambrucewest.com Will

    What DO you like? I hope you counter this article with one where you discuss shows that you DO enjoy. I could’ve let you off with GoT, as I don’t like fantasy, either. However, you pretty much named every buzzworthy show of the past few years. Maybe television just isn’t your thing…

  • http://www.williambrucewest.com Will

    I reread your post (never read extended things on your phone!), and noticed you DID counter, so I apologize for the e-dickishness. I guess you point out the beauty of TV: there’s enough stuff for everyone. I tend to avoid shows with hype, so a lot of buzzworthy stuff gets by me. I just watch what I like, and sometimes it turns out others like it, too. New Christine was good, but pretty formulaic, as well. It was just one of the last relics of the multi-camera sitcom world. Modern Family is just another in the new crop of single-camera shows. Basically, if you don’t like The Office, you won’t like many of those “fake camera crew” shows. It seems that America got used to having a studio audience/laugh track to let us know what’s funny. When that’s taken away, some people miss the jokes. I know it took me a while to come around.

  • joseph riley land

    Will – I appreciate the re-read… I actually am a big fan of the medium of television; I feel it provides an excellent forum for character development and growth. The concept of the article really was to discuss how I somehow do not care for some shows that are huge audience favorites and love some shows that no one watches. Realistically, I know others are in similar situations and I found it an interesting exercise. As far as a laugh track goes, I’m a pretty intelligent guy and can determine if something is funny or not, but I do get what you’re saying. I, personally, am not a huge fan of The Office, either. I didn’t include it on the list because its ratings aren’t that phenomenal, so it didn’t exactly fit my parameters. As far as buzz goes, I listen to it, but try to determine what I like and don’t like by actually watching it. If I fall asleep or let my mind wander, etc., then I know this isn’t necessarily the best show for me. While New Christine might have been a bit formulaic, it was a funny show and since that’s what I want from my sitcoms, I was cool with it. Whereas Modern Family I find insufferable.
    In any event, thanks for commenting. I appreciate a dialogue.

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