Sure, this summer has offered us some quality TV - including the second season of True Blood, just about everything new on USA Network and of course, the return of Mad Men. Check out Kendra's full list of Favorite Summer TV Events here. But, this doesn't mean that the summer was without its let-downs and straight up failures . Without further ado, here's my list of Summer's 10 Biggest TV Disappointments:
1. Foreign Imports - They were supposed to be cheap, easy and the saving grace of Summer TV. Which series am I talking about? Merlin (from England), The Listener (from Canada) and Defying Gravity (contains some American cast members, but is also Canadian produced) are the chief contenders here. These shows are not necessarily all bad (I didn't watch Merlin, which has received some positive feedback), but ratings-wise, they have all turned out to be flops. And while Merlin might be passable - both The Listener and Defying Gravity turned out to be snorefests.
2. TNT's new series - New series HawthoRNe and Dark Blue are neither terrible nor ratings failures; in fact, HawthoRNe has already been renewed for a 2010 return, and Dark Blue very well may receive a renewal too. But, both of these shows - in my humble opinion - were exercises in mediocrity. There was nothing particularly new, exciting or special about either of them...and with names like Jada Pinkett Smith and Dylan McDermott as leads, I was kind of expecting more from both.
3. So You Think You Can Dance - Don't get me wrong - I adore SYTYCD, watched every single episode of it this summer, and will begrudgingly tune into every new episode this Fall. I say begrudgingly because I'm currently disappointed with SYTYCD for 2 reasons. The first is that I think this summer was the weakest cycle of the series to date. While there was undeniable talent per usual, I found both the competitors and the dances themselves to be far less memorable than I've become accustomed to. Secondly, I'm disappointed that the series has decided to run a Fall season. I think it diminishes the glory of the summer victor (I mean seriously, the crown will last for about...2 months) and simultaneously risks overexposure for the series. SYTYCD was the perfect summer diversion; immediately segueing into another season seems excessive.
4. Hung - Here's another series that by the numbers alone, is actually quite the success. Hung has been performing well for HBO and has already been renewed for a second season. But personally, I found the show to be quite a disappointment. My main complaint is that for a program that has been marketed as a comedy, I just didn't find Hung to be funny...at all. In fact, if anything, I've found the show to be depressing. Furthermore, you might think that a series about a man who decides to "sell his tool" has a pretty unique premise, but when watching Hung, the show ended up feeling fairly cliched. Burnt out dude struggling with his career, an ex-wife and children who hate him...gee...we've never seen that before...
5. Mental - Perhaps the problem with a series that was more or less pitched as "House with a fraction of the budget" is that the series would end up being just that...a poor man's version of House. Yes, it's nice to have new scripted TV during the summer, but perhaps FOX would have been better off just sticking with the source and showing House reruns, because they probably would have been more entertaining and gotten better numbers than Mental, which averaged under 5 million viewers for its summer run.
6. Shows that made me cry for humanity (the most) - I could have devoted this entire list to all of the reality abominations that managed to find their way onto the airwaves this summer. Instead, I'll devote just this single item to the 5 reality series that literally did make me cry for the state of humanity: Miami Social, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Hitched or Ditched, More to Love and Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. I will not speak of these shows again.
7. The failure to launch of... - ...Kings and Virtuality. These 2 were disappointments not because they were bad, but because they were oh so good - and we likely never see or hear from them again. By the time they landed on the summer TV schedule, both shows were pretty much DOA; NBC was merely burning off the remaining episodes of Kings on Saturday nights and Fox had never even given Virtuality a chance, but seeming to know it had great potential, opted to air its 2 hour pilot as a "Summer Movie Event". Cry with me for what could have been...
8. NBC's Survival Sundays - NBC aired a string of 2 part made-for-TV disaster movies on Sunday evenings that I swear, all seemed like they came straight out of 1995. And gee, who would have thought that movies with titles as exciting as Meteor and The Storm would turn out to be lame?
9. Entourage Season 6 - I won't be so foolish as to contend that Entourage has been bad; I'd take this season of the series over any reality show (except perhaps Top Chef or Project Runway) any day. But...I will go so far as to say that Season 6 has been somewhat of a slump for Vince and his boys. But mainly Vince. My biggest complaint with Entourage - which I have stressed in multiple reviews - is that the show seems to be completely clueless as to what to do with Entourage's main character! Vince has been appearing fairly sporadically this season, and when he does, he has experienced zero real character or plot development.
10. Ruby & the Rockits - ABC Family released a trio of new series this summer: Make It or Break It, 10 Things I Hate About You (TV) and Ruby & the Rockits. I guess a success rate of 2 out of 3 isn't half bad; both MIOBI and 10 Things turned to be far better than expected. That leaves us with Ruby & the Rockits, which was so poorly written and so cheesy that it was just painful to watch; I made it through about 10 minutes of the pilot.
Have other disappointments of Summer TV that you'd like to share? Disagree with mine? Sound off in comments!