Another Round of Failures

Shows I’m Not Finishing, 2024 Edition

Having gone through recently and updating my top list of movies, I realized there’s a flip side of that list that I haven’t touched in a little while. Sure, there are bad movies that I’ve watched and will never sit through again (and the same can be said for video games, too, as I glare angrily at Acclaim), but the true flip side to the list is over on television. I’m speaking specifically about shows that I’ve started and just couldn’t, for the life of me, care enough to finish them. I only have so many hours in the day, so many in my life, and certain shows just couldn’t hold my attention enough to make me spend my time on them.

Let’s be clear, we aren’t talking about shows that I knew I was never going to watch at all. I don’t need to bother with Squid Game: The Challenge or Tiger King. I knew just by looking at the shows that I wasn’t going to watch a single episode. What we’re talking about here are shows that had potential, that could have hooked me if they had more style, more narrative thrust, more going on to justify my time. These guys lacked the spark to keep my interest up and, as such, I tuned out and never went back. These are shows that, if I could have gotten through them I would have reviewed them for the site… but I didn’t. This is the true refuse that failed to garner my attention. And now they never will:

The Wheel of Time: Season 2

I actually watched all of the first season of The Wheel of Time and, well, it was fine. Not just fine, really; it was aggressively fine. A kind of fine that makes you go, “yep, that was a show I watched,” without retaining any of it in your brain after the fact. I saw that entire first season but if you asked me what the show was about, or what happened in any episode or even in any single scene (just once scene out of ten episodes) I really couldn’t tell you. I watched it, I reviewed it, and then I apparently deleted it entirely from my brain. I know The Wheel of Time season one exists, but my brain has done everything it can to remove all traces of it from my memory.

And now there’s a second season that’s out. It’s supposed to continue this “epic” adventure of lady magic users taking on a coming dark one who wants to do… something. Seriously, I can’t remember what happened in the show short of it feeling like a low-rent, off-brand Witcher or Lord of the Rings (and we’ll get to that one in just a second). Amazon has spent a lot of time and money on their fantasy shows only for them to turn out feeling very generic and very bland. I see The Wheel of Time season two just waiting for me and… man… I just can’t. My cursor hovers over it and then I have to go, watch anything else. This just isn’t happening and I’m just going to admit that now.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Season 1

Speaking of bland and boring, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. This one has to really hurt for Amazon as they spent a Billion, guaranteed, to get and make this whole series and they’re committed to making something on the order of five seasons on this show and viewers were already bored with the show after the first season. Hell, most of the audience that tuned in for the show didn’t even bother finishing the first season. Tolkein fans are rabid and when only thirty percent of those guys could finish this first season you know something has gone terribly wrong.

This issue with The Rings of Power is that everyone, every character, on the show is as boring and generic as they come. People go from place to place, declaring what they want, and then the plot lets it happen. No one has deeper emotions, or strong beliefs that they fight for in a way that makes you care. Everything is very pretty, and looks quite nice, but there’s no real adversity, character dynamics, or character growth to speak of. We just watch all of these people go from point A to point B for reasons, and then the episodes end. I got two episodes in, had no desire to see any of these boring people accomplish anything, and I tuned out. Whatever Amazon was hoping for with this series, they failed.

Bosch: Legacy: Season 2

Look, Bosch is not a good show. It’s a trashy cop procedural that managed to get by on the general charisma of its cast and stories that were just good enough that you could turn it on and pay attention with half an ear while you did something else. I got through all seven seasons of the show (68 total episodes) simply because it was there and I thought it was just good enough that I wasn’t compelled to turn it off while binging. That’s not a ringing endorsement for the show, and even my review of it said, “this show is fine.” But it was just decent enough that I (and likely many others) finished the whole run.

And then they did a sequel series over on Amazon Freevee. I’m not sure how great it looks for a show to get its continuation shunted off to a free-to-watch, shitty streaming service but that’s what happened for Bosch: Legacy, and, well, Freevee is exactly the home this series deserves. This show has really started to suck. It does manage to reinvent the series, taking lead character Bosch (Titus Welliever) and transitioning him from a cop to a private detective. We get appearances from characters we know, but Bosch has to work outside the law when, for years, he’s been a cop through and through. The first season was decent enough, giving us just enough of the same basic “good enough” enjoyment we got from the original series.

But this second season is trash. Picking up from the events of the previous season, it finds Bosch trying to track down the man that kidnapped his daughter, who is subsequently buried alive out in the middle of nowhere in the desert. So Bosch goes off and becomes the kind of “bad cop” private eye he never would have been in the original show. It takes all the decent work it had done before and throws it away and for what? A plotline we’ve seen plenty of times before in other shows and movies, just done so much worse here. The first couple of episodes were predictable, with bad writing, bad acting, and bad police work abounding all over the place. After those two episodes I couldn’t even bring myself to let the series autoplay to the third. The series went off a cliff (and into a pit in the desert) and I have no desire to follow it.

Halo: Season 1

This one I’ll be quick about because, man, this show was bad. I don’t know how much Paramount spent to make this series but it’s a bad show. It looks bad, it’s not well acted, and the writing is as blunt as it comes. Plus, it doesn’t really feel like a Halo show. Hell, in the first episode Master Chief takes off his helmet and, while I don’t know a ton about Halo lore (having only played through the first couple of games), I know this is something Master Chief doesn’t do. I don’t know who this series is for but I can tell you that Halo fans, general audiences, and anyone with taste won’t care about this series… even if Paramount is putting out a second season. No thanks.

The Brothers Sun: Season 1

Netflix will always have a spot on these lists since they’re the biggest purveyor of crap, shoveled out TV shows. This list could be nothing but shows I’ve started on Netflix and only watched fifteen minutes and we’d be here all day. But I wanted to highlight a couple of shows that I really wanted to like but that just didn’t work for me. And the first is The Brothers Sun, a show featuring Michelle Yeoh that I really was hoping would be good.

The basic idea of this show is that one of the two brothers, Charles Sun (Justin Chien), is a high up member of the family’s Yakuza clan while the younger brother, Bruce Sun (Sam Song Li), was raised outside of the crime family life and doesn’t know what the rest of the family actually does. Bruce lives with his mother, Eileen (Yeoh) works as a nurse while taking care of Bruce, but she’s also (deep down) a stone-cold killer just waiting for her time to unleash. And then, when the father of the clan is hit in an attempted assassination, Charles has to go to American to protect Eileen and Bruce and ensure the family’s operations continue running smoothly.

I like the idea of this show, a mashing of two different lifestyles with one brother playing the fish-out-of-water as he suddenly learns the rest of the family are criminals. There’s potential for humor there, along with the great performance from Yeoh making her character hilarious. And yet the humor was lacking in the pilot episode and I just found it hard to care about either of the titular brothers. I tried, and I sat through this whole first episode, but once the credits rolled my thumb went to the stop button and I haven’t been back to the show since. It was a good try, Netflix, but you once again failed to nail it.


And speaking of shows that they should have been able to nail, let’s talk about the mini-series Bodies. This one is based on a comic published by DC and, well, it has all the ingredients for a story I’d love (I have the comic, in fact, so I know I’d love it if done right). It’s a show about a single dead body, found over multiple time periods in the same spot on a London street, over and over again. It’s like a time-displaced murder mystery, with the air of a David Fincher thriller, except none of that energy of drive that would make the series interesting to watch is there.

Even knowing where the series would be going, and what the story had in store, I still couldn’t get through the show. I watched the first two episodes, following along with the characters as they started into this weird case and all the narrative twists and turns it would take. Then I paused the binge for the night so I could get some sleep… and found myself unable to care or commit to the show again at any point after. The drive to find out how the show played out was missing. I was a prime target for the show and I just couldn’t get into it. And this, despite rave reviews online and a fanbase built up for the show. It just didn’t hit for me and that felt bad. Still, this is what happens with Netflix shows and, hell, they produce so much I’m sure something else will come along that I can ignore in short order.