Are You Still Watching?

Ah, yes, that sad, judgmental reminder from Netflix that you’ve been on your ass too long. (Damn straight, I’m still watching!) It also happens to be the phrase I keep thinking as I look at my DVR and see several unwatched shows staring back at me.

Now that we live in a binge age, is it really possible to stay interested in traditional, 22-ish episode, network shows? Taking a cue from the British, I feel like we hit a turning point a few years ago by making shorter seasons (10-13 episodes), which are much easier to catch up on and stay invested in for the long haul. Something shifted, and I find my attention span for any one show doesn’t last much longer than that now. That’s why I love shows like Younger, The Americans, and American Crime Story–I feel like the writing is sharper because there aren’t any unnecessary filler episodes.

My current pet peeve, however, is shows taking extra long breaks and following no sort of pattern of when they air. (This is really a network problem, not a show issue, but still.) It’s no surprise that NBC just lost me with Blindspot, since it was on hiatus from the end of November to February 29th! And I’m having just as much trouble with Quantico, which did the same thing from mid-December to March 6th. Lots of shows take a winter break, but I feel like that’s just too long to stay invested in the story in one season. Ironically, both were shows I was the most excited about for the fall TV season. Other shows, like Limitless, are off two weeks, then almost a month, then two weeks again, etc. between episodes, making for these weird mini-breaks. Just when you start getting back into it, you have to wait AGAIN. No wonder more and more people give up cable all together and just wait for a full season to hit a streaming service. I feel like I’m part of a dying breed that still watches things live, or even slightly delayed, for that matter.

I suppose it’s a lack of patience, because I’ve definitely given up shows too early in the past, only to find out they “got really good” or “finally found their footing”. But there are only so many hours in the day, and I’m holding out for the good stuff. (See The Americans.)

Before even more shows hit next week, here’s my scorecard of what I’m still watching and what’s getting turned off.

Blindspot- I was already losing interest from about the second episode in, but I stuck with it and came back to it with the Feb 29th episode. Sadly, even new knowledge of Jane’s tattoos didn’t hold my interest, though, and I’m out.

Jane the Virgin- This season has been rough, with the love triangle pulling focus in almost every episode, but I’m hanging in there because I still like the show overall.

The Magicians- This is still fun, and it’s a short season, so I’m staying put.

Limitless- I love the character of Brian Finch, and as procedurals go, this one is very clever, but I just don’t care enough of about the “case of the week” stuff to stick with it.

The Flash  & iZombie – Both are consistently great, so I’m here ’till the end.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson- I don’t know about next season’s story, but this is some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. Incredibly well-done and I’m hooked.

Arrow- I have basically started fast-forwarding through anything on the island, so I know it’s the beginning of the end for me. I’m notorious for giving up CW shows about halfway through their run, because what starts out as amazing (Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries) quickly dies when storylines get recycled ad nauseam.

How to Get Away With Murder- I have despised this second season, but Viola always brings me back. The last few episodes finally brought some payoff as to why these characters are who they are, so I’m planning to tune in to next week’s finale.

The Blacklist- This season has been terrible from the start. Loved having more Tom, but Liz’s character has completely faded to the background. Unfortunately, even James Spader’s fantastic dialogue delivery can’t keep me interested. I’m out.

Life in Pieces- Some episodes knock it out of the park, others fall flat, but I’ll finish up this season. Great cast, just struggling with consistency.

The Vampire Diaries- The last few seasons have been up and down, but this really is the final season for me. I didn’t realize how much Nina Dobrev brought to this show until she was absent. Without her, the endless Salvatore brothers dynamic is tiresome, despite being characters I really enjoy.

Quantico- I’ll give it to the end of the season…maybe.

Pretty Little Liars- Not really the first thing I watch anymore, but still a great “turn your brain off” show. It’s like having candy for dinner, and it’s too much of a guilty pleasure to give up.

Younger- Another great guilty pleasure. Sutton Foster makes this show, but really, everyone is gorgeous and entertaining. It’s filling my Sex and the City void nicely.

The Family- Good thriller so far, and again, a short time commitment with fewer episodes. I’m in.

11.22.63- The best episode so far was the one that felt more Stephen King horror, with Josh Duhamel, and had less to do with Kennedy. I’ll stick around for the full miniseries, but it does have some flaws.

What already hit the graveyard:

The Grinder – Even the addition of Timothy Olyphant couldn’t make me stick around after the New Year.

Shadowhunters- What seemed like “good, winter fun” with the pilot, turned to “what was I thinking? by episode 2 and 3. My bad, y’all.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow- Pilot and done.

Mercy Street- Turns out I did have enough of the Civil War, growing up in VA. Pilot and done.

If you’re on the fence about your shows, I say do some chopping. Life’s too short to watch bad TV. (Now, “so bad it’s good” TV is an entirely different thing.) 😉

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