Monday, July 13, 2009

Back From The Edge

Entourage last night made me think about shows that have been right on the precipice of shark-jumping, but have somehow found their way back. I've touched on this before, but only in passing. I can think of a number, including some of my favorite shows. Here's my quick list, where I think they went wrong, and what saved them. Any others?
  • Lost:
    • Where It Went Wrong: The mini-season at the beginning of season three, when Jack, Kate, and Sawyer -- the people on Jacob's list -- were kept at the Hydra station and we only followed them and the Others.
    • What Saved It: "Flashes Before Your Eyes", the episode where we learned that turning the fail-safe key gave Desmond the ability to see the future. We were introduced to Eloise Hawking, Charles Widmore, and Penny, and the show went down the path to get us where we are now.
  • Entourage:
    • Where It Went Wrong: Nothing ever went wrong, that was the problem. Everything just got better and better for Vince and company. The show lost whatever intrigue it may have ever had.
    • What Saved It: Martin Landau. Sure, the plot part of it turned around when Medellin sucked, but it finally stopped being boring in the Martin Landau episode and all of the trouble started thereafter. If I were to tell you that a show you were just about ready to stop watching would have a character so funny that you'd immediately change your mind, is that something you might be interested in?
  • 24:
    • Where It Went Wrong: Graeme Bauer. Ugh.
    • What Saved It: A total reboot of the series. A change of scenery. The addition of Renee Walker. We'll see if they can keep it up next year.
  • Heroes:
    • Where It Went Wrong: They couldn't follow up the first season. Lack of new ideas, too many characters with too much power.
    • What Saved It: The end of the "Villains" season going into "Fugitives"? I think it's better than it was. Probably because Peter's power lessened and Hiro lost his for a time.
  • Grey's Anatomy:
    • Where It Went Wrong: Everyone got even whinier than usual, including Derek and Alex. A ferry crashed and Meredith died and came back to life, seeing ghosts in the meantime.
    • What Saved It: They got back to basics and relied more heavily on Derek and Sloan to balance out the whining. Until...
    • Where It Went Wrong: Izzy started having sex with the ghost of her dead fiancee who she barely even knew anyway.
    • What Saved It: Izzy almost died -- unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's going to take -- and they ended the season with the great "007" twist.
  • Weeds:
    • Where It Went Wrong: The show was about the suburbs, so they burned down the suburbs and completely changed the scope of the show. Good idea.
    • What Saved It: Not saved yet, but it's been looking upwards after the last few episodes. If that's the case, it will be because they just let Andy carry the show.

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