Any series you once really liked , but then they did something that was so off putting it makes you unable to forgive them and dislike everything retroactively?
I’m more of a drifter, I think. As in, I tend to find that shows only lose my attention gradually.
The single most off-putting thing for me – and this is perhaps a legacy of having The X-Files as the first television I watched in an adult way – is the sense that a show is accumulating a mythology or narrative weight that it has no intention or capacity to resolve. That’s what put me off Lost, Twin Peaks, and even Orphan Black (there were just…too many different factions to keep track of).
Gossip Girl lost me forever when they put Blair back with Chuck at the end of the fifth season. Aside from all the unpleasant overtones of intimate partner abuse that the show had continually leaned into with them (and that’s not something I was able to set aside), it also signaled that the show was completely unwilling to ever let the characters GROW in any meaningful sense. No matter what they would always end up back in the same holding pattern – which is one thing in a Beckett play, but certainly doesn’t make for a satisfying narrative. I gave up on Dexter after the fourth season, probably for similar reasons – it became very clear that the character was trapped in a cul-de-sac that the writers would never allow him to escape.
I remember drifting away from Buffy and The West Wing during their weaker seasons (7 and 5, respectively), but both of them sucked me back in in the end. The OC actually brought me BACK to the show when they killed off Marisa, because if ever a character was a dead weight.
I will also always contend that there were NO Sex and the City films, because there is no way on this earth Steve would ever have cheated on Miranda.
I also stopped watching The Fall in its second season, though not so much for a specific thing they did as a shift in overall tone. They’d had the same director for the first season, and the changeover became very obvious early on – it’s hard to describe exactly, but while the first season depicted sexual violence and the objectification of the female body, it framed those things in a way that felt…not quite documentary, but something close to it. It’s a tricky line to straddle, and I thought the second season felt into straight up titillation at times, which I really did not like.
I also really enjoyed the first seasons of True Blood, as I felt there was a very female sensuality being expressed in it – part gothic romance, part absurdity – but I think they lost control of why that was interesting well before the end of the show. And one of the ways that really comes across is the loss of a sense of place – the first year or two felt very grounded in a specific conception of the American South (and had a lot of fun with the political implications of that), but that fell away quite sharply as the show went on. (But I will always love True Blood for introducing me to Dennis O’Hare, who is a delight).
But as a general rule, I try to give shows the benefit of the doubt, and see how they intend to play out an apparently boneheaded decision. So there needs to be a kind of…critical mass of bad choices before I’ll give up entirely.