Monday, 16 September 2013

So many of the best or most popular television shows are dead, or dying...


In the wake of True Blood announcing its final season next summer, have you noticed how many TV shows have recently finished, or are also approaching their ends? Being Human, The Borgias, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Fringe, Luther, Mad Men, Merlin, Misfits, Spartacus... I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that spring to mind. By this time next year, none of those will be broadcasting new episodes. Quite a few will be all tapped out by October. Some are already dead.

So what's left to entertain us? Well, there's American Horror Story (an acquired taste), The Americans (less compelling than hoped), Banshee (not for me), Bates Motel (well...), Boardwalk Empire (do people care?), The Bridge (anyone watching?), Da Vinci's Demons (snigger), Doctor Who (regeneration due in both senses of the word?), Game of Thrones (just awesome), The Good Wife (very good), Hannibal (truly excellent), Homeland (increasingly past its freshman prime?), House of Cards (overrated?), The Newsroom (divisive), Justified (overlooked greatness), Orange is the New Black (over-hyped?), Orphan Black (ditto?), Ray Donovan (uh, right?), Ripper Street (anyone watching?), Sherlock (brilliant but too irregular), The Walking Dead (fun but shallow) and Under the Dome (I'm joking!) Some of those still have quite a few seasons left in them, if they're lucky enough to maintain an audience and/or critical acclaim.

Lots of shows are debuting between now and spring 2014 that may fill gaps in my TV viewing, of course. There's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Atlantis, Believe, The Blacklist, Black Sails, Crossbones, Dracula, Intelligence, The Leftovers, Masters of Sex, Musketeers, Penny Dreadful, Sleepy Hollow, The Tomorrow People, and many more. But there isn't anything on the horizon I'm certain will replace my key favourites. Where's the next Breaking Bad and Mad Men coming from? Will we have to wait for Vince Gilligan and Matthew Weiner to move on and create other shows in 2014/15?

It's all subjective, of course. You may not watch most of the shows I'm mourning already, or preparing to grieve, and only care about ones I'm not even watching—like The Following, you deluded fools. But for me, and I hope many other readers of similar taste, it feels like a boom era's been winding down since 2012. Certainly many of the big shows that started around the same time DMD was created are now calling time.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. You need to fell old, gnarled trees so the sun-starved saplings have a chance to grow tall and strong. I don't think many people are outraged things like Misfits and True Blood are ending, either. It feels time, or long overdue, for those shows to wind things up. Maybe we should have been given an extra season of Breaking Bad and Luther would run for a few more years if Idris Elba wasn't hot Hollywood property, but I'm simultaneously glad those shows won't wilt on the vine like, say, Dexter and Being Human.

What are your thoughts on so much coming to an end just lately? Are you optimistic everything that's coming to an end will be replaced by something equally good?
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