11 TV Shows We Stopped Watching This Year
Sometimes, it's not so hard to say goodbye.
For months, all I looked forward to was Daredevil Season 2 dropping on Netflix; the first season had been so good. But when that day finally arrived, I was disappointed, spending most of the time texting friends, "So...Daredevil. It's been pretty boring so far, right?"
I wanted to like Season 2. Really, I did. It had Elodie Yung as Elektra, and you know I'm always here for more Asians onscreen. And Jon Bernthal looked great as the Punisher, but he wasn't nearly as interesting as the terrifying but at times completely vulnerable Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio). Apparently, Fisk returns in the latter half of Season 2, but I wouldn't know because I didn't make it that far. From the looks of my Netflix account, I got to the beginning of Episode 4 before I quit and put on Jessica Jones instead.
I'm a sucker for good triumphing over evil. So when our hero Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), an altruistic lawyer-turned-well-meaning vigilante, began sabotaging his life — ruining his friendship with Foggy (Elden Henson) and any chance of a relationship with Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) — I lost interest. If I wanted to watch someone make bad decisions, I'd just look at my own life. Also, fuck Karen. —Susan Cheng
Sometime last fall, when Lucious (Terrence Howard) was in prison for the first few episodes, I began to tire of Empire. But I felt I should stick with it. More episodes in, as the story continuously revolved around who was in charge of Empire the company, I realized there are few things I care less about than the music industry. I still watched for a bit, enjoying Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) like I do, but then a few episodes piled up on my DVR, and I thought, Why should I watch them when there's so much TV out there? That was the end of that. I hear that Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) died, and Mariah Carey was a guest star, but I am at peace with this decision. —Kate Aurthur
3. The Flash
I very deliberately quit Empire; I did not mean to quit The Flash. I fell victim to the too-much-TV thing with this show, and because of its link to Arrow and Supergirl (and the godforsaken DC's Legends of Tomorrow), I basically panicked and slacked on all of them. I'm slowly catching up (though not with Legends of Tomorrow), starting with Supergirl. I will eventually get to The Flash, but for now, I cannot say in good conscience that I watched this show that I once loved! —K.A.
4. How to Get Away With Murder
I never missed an episode of How to Get Away With Murder in its first season. It was one of the only shows I sat down to watch religiously on the same night, at the same time, every single week without fail. Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) was a complete badass, her students were all interesting characters with their own backstories, and I constantly found myself wanting to find out what happened next. Plus, who can resist watching a classic Viola Davis crying scene?
And then, after two seasons, I became exhausted by all of the drama. I grew emotionally attached to characters who were dying left and right, the twists and turns at the end of every episode made me weary, and it all just became too much. When Season 3 premiered, I didn't tune in. That's not to say I couldn't be convinced into bingeing a bunch of HTGAWM episodes I've missed, but for now, I'm not sitting on my couch to watch Annalise Keating and her law students on Thursday nights. —Krystie Lee Yandoli
5. Modern Family
Modern Family has always been my “popcorn” show — a lighthearted alternative to the cerebral series in my DVR queue, guaranteeing a few laughs and a heartwarming ending. But this year I stopped laughing.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but suddenly I realized the characters had become spiteful instead of quirkily thoughtless. My joy over LGBT characters being major players on a network sitcom dissolved as Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) became screeching caricatures of a gay couple. I wondered why black people seem to only appear on standalone episodes — and wished Kevin Hart had stuck around as Phil’s (Ty Burrell) neighbor. And good god, how many more times could Gloria’s (Sofía Vergara) ethnicity be the butt of a joke? Modern Family definitely is not “modern” in the way its ABC siblings Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat are — and you know what? They make me laugh. —Drusilla Moorhouse
6. Pretty Little Liars
There was a time when I felt like I needed to watch every TV show featuring a queer female character, and there was a time when that felt manageable, considering how few there were. That was the world in which Pretty Little Liars first premiered in 2010. I watched Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) come out to her military father, I watched her first girlfriend die because bury your gays, and I watched a lot of really fucking ridiculous shit: Texts cannot be sent anonymously, one cannot evade murder just because there's a commercial break, and I cannot with the hashtags in support of a presumed statutory-rape-filled relationship between a student and teacher. But I stuck around for a while — five very long seasons, to be exact — for a queer young woman of color on television. Now, however, there are queer women all over my television screen, and the absolutely absurd and often inappropriate drama of Pretty Little Liars doesn't feel like it's worth my DVR space or time. (Especially not with another trans character with murderous intentions.) I may have bowed out with only two seasons to go, but I know whatever resolution this show tries to offer will be unsatisfying at best and offensive at worst. So...see ya later, bitches. —Jaimie Etkin
I love time travel, historical dramas, period costumes, and men in kilts, especially when one of those men is Sam Heughan. And in the beginning, I found Outlander enchanting. Claire Randall (the luminous Caitriona Balfe), a smart, independent former World War II combat nurse, was as empowering as a female character could be in that era. She didn’t lose her inherent strength when she was transported back to the 18th century, but I was much less interested in seeing my protagonist as a saucy lass in a bodice-ripper romance. And then things got really rapey.
Still, I stuck with Outlander. A woman on her own must have been especially vulnerable to sexual predators, right? But the sadistic, unrelenting torture and rape of her husband was one of the most upsetting episodes of television I’ve ever seen. I was steadfast until the end of the first season when Claire and Jamie set sail for France in the finale. I fully expected that after a break, I'd be able to tune in for the premiere of the sophomore season.
But when Outlander did return for Season 2, I couldn’t bring myself to watch Claire continue to play the damsel in distress — and even more rape scenes. That ship had sailed for me, literally. —D.M.
For a while, Quantico was the perfect silly show — the kind that always seems to have a lot going on and yet never seems to demand your full attention, and which also stars television’s No. 1 provider of hair inspo of all time, Priyanka Chopra. But Quantico’s convoluted structure of present-day disaster investigation and flashbacks to training started to wear on me, especially when the show doubled back multiple times on various romantic entanglements and personal betrayals. I couldn’t, for the life of me, keep track of who was on the outs with whom at various moments in time; 22 episodes is just too long a stretch to sustain something so strenuously twisty. I surrendered before the end of Season 1, and when I checked back in at the start of Season 2 and saw that it was repeating the same template, this time with the CIA, I said goodbye to Quantico for good. —Alison Willmore
9. Saturday Night Live
I’m a completist, so I can never really commit to quitting a show — it’s been two years and I still promise I’ll catch up on you, Suits, Pretty Little Liars, and Teen Wolf. I swear! There's a lot on my DVR, and my Netflix queue, and my Hulu watchlist, and my Amazon watchlist, but Saturday Night Live is the one program that I am least prone to hit play on.
I watched this season up until Dave Chappelle hosted, skipping maybe one or two episodes prior to that. In fact, I have been watching almost every episode of Saturday Night Live since the existence of Hulu. I think there are a lot of amazing cast members, like Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Kenan Thompson, and I am really rooting for new head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider after successes like “Wishin’ Boot” and Kelly’s film Other People.
But my grievances start with how the show handled the election. It seemed unethical to have Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate, host in the heat of his campaign (even though many have done it before). And it seemed unnecessary to let Jay Pharoah go, as if Barack Obama is not still relevant enough to be a part of sketches. The show bet too big on Hillary Clinton, and now it's been over a month since she lost the election, and they are still trying to drag her into sketches just because Kate McKinnon call sell an impression. Can you imagine how annoying it would be if we still had to see full Mitt Romney sketches over a month after the 2012 election?
Somehow, “Weekend Update” hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che continue to be the only cast members doing press, and they continue to make ignorant comments. Also, if SNL is going to have white host after white host after white host, can they at least include people who are interesting and charismatic, and not an alleged sexual harasser?
At this point, the only thing I feel like I'm missing out on are the musical performances, because the show's choices of innovative artists like Solange, Chance the Rapper, and Maren Morris have been the only impressive thing about this season. —Marcus Jones
Unreal, you broke my heart this year. In Season 1, you were television’s most wonderful surprise, a blisteringly smart, bleak AF drama with the seemingly lighthearted setting of a reality dating show, tucked away on, of all places, Lifetime. I loved Shiri Appleby’s Rachel, adored and winced at the way she always rationalized away her ideals because she was addicted to her terrible job. I liked her relationship with her boss, Quinn (Constance Zimmer), a toxic funhouse mirror of supportive sisterhood. But in Season 2, Unreal quickly went off the rails, shifting focus away from the dysfunctional work relationships that made the first season so good, amping up the twists, and seriously mishandling the casting of the first black suitor on Everlasting, which seemed like a development with great promise when it was announced. I bailed before the end of the season in favor of a mourning period for what was, last year, one of my favorite shows. —A.W.
11. The Walking Dead
To be honest, I tried to quit this show for years — basically every time yet another group of inexplicably evil survivors arrived to ruin everything. The annoying "Glenn's dead" fakeout last fall took away my last shred of interest in the show, but it's easy to get sucked back in when your roommate puts it on every week. So I continued idly hate-watching right up until the Season 6 finale, when Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) appeared and I walked out because I would rather clean the kitchen for an hour than watch another glorified villain terrorize the characters I'd grown to love.
The characters are what kept me watching all this time, through all the surprise cannibals and random progress-destroying sadists. I rooted for Daryl (Norman Reedus) as he went from volatile misfit to devoted protector of the group. I loved seeing Carol (Melissa McBride) transform into the show's most badass hero, especially when she feigned defenselessness to deceive outsiders. And I teared up when good-hearted Glenn (Steven Yeun) did the right thing every damn time.
So ultimately, I stopped watching for them. Since I won't have to see my favorite characters die, they still live on in my imagination, and I wouldn't have it any other way. —Sarah Willson