SideReel's 10 Biggest Disappointments of Summer TV - Featured

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!

Comments

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Aug 19, 2009 10:11PM EDT

top ten summer disappointments10.all reality tv9.virtuality wasnt made into a series it was great with excellent potential8.entourage season 67.kings getting canceled6.psychs season premiere5.eurekas space craft storyline -cylon rehash4.weeds-esteban is still alive and the first half of the season except shane andy and doug3.the cleaner second season2.sons of tucson pilot1.warehouse 13- mulder and scully 2.0 without good writing

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Aug 20, 2009 3:37AM EDT

merlin never a fan of any thing like this it seems the bbc can only produce period drama's
the listener never got me
defying gravity think it will be kicked off my listing
hawthorne pretty good will have to see what they do with season2
dark blue too early to tell yet
so you think you can dance hate all reality tv shows
hung might get better
mental i enjoyed this show shame the network did not
king never watched it
virtuality shame they should have made more of these
10,things i hate about you suprised me thought i would not like it been a teen thing but its growing on me
warehouse 13 get rid of artie and the show would be so much better

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Aug 20, 2009 8:03AM EDT

I just have to add the really disappointingly bad The Philanthropist, preachy, every episode the same crap about "helping" in underdeveloped countries and surviving on your own by your "wit". God, really really bad TV even though I was really excited that Neve Campbell would be back I couldn't stand the show from the first episode and that didn't change!
Also Make It Or Break It is not exactly my kind of show, but I think that is because here in Europe gymnastics is not exactly that big a deal (by which I mean borinig ;) ).
Hung disappointed me as well, same reasons as already said= I expected a comedy and couldn't really find it in all the depressing drama.

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Aug 20, 2009 11:13AM EDT

Mental, saving grace and dark blue are the biggest summer disappointments

and the best summers show are The Closer & Royal Pains
Warehouse 13 would be better than artie and a bit better writing, for example they are suppose to be running a government warehouse to store supernatural artifacts but they only have a handful of employees working their ... some things with this shows don't make sense and it has so much potential

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Aug 20, 2009 11:37AM EDT

I actually really enjoyed mental and the listener. My husband and I also got into defying gravity and are watching it religiously. I guess we just have different tastes in TV shows. And it was nice to see some canadian TV!

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Aug 20, 2009 12:13PM EDT

I thought that The Listener was actually quite good and the season finale put a great spin on a second season. Although it would be like a Canadian version of Hiro and Ando from Heroes i still thought it was an enjoyable show.

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Aug 20, 2009 1:00PM EDT

i have not watched alot of the shows listed but i did stumble on to the listener. i was very impressed with it and thought it was a very interesting show.
i have watched every entourage episode and it has to be my favorite show on TV i understand why you might feel the way you do with Vince being all over the place but for Vince that is character development. i think the writers are trying to show how all over the place he is and maybe in the next season try and reel him in.

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Aug 20, 2009 3:03PM EDT

Are you kidding? Virtuality was so diappointing it actually hurt. I sooo wanted to like this one, which made it all the more painful to watch. Actors from some of my favorite shows, sci-fi, space. It could have been great. It wasn't.
I like the premise though. If they got some better writers together and came up with an entirely new plot and storyline, but keeping the actors and the spaceship set it could be good.

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Aug 20, 2009 3:23PM EDT

i don't watch any of the shows you mentioned besides entourage. and i have to disagree with your assesment of season 6. i have found the first episodes very entertaining. i love the whole thing with Andrew and Ari, i love love LOVE the drama chase at work scenes...but really the best part for me is the reason you don't like it! I am happy that Vince isn't in the spotlight right now. He is the worst character on the show, the most boring, and in my opinion the worst actor - even when he's playing an actor acting on set he's bad!! the show is called entourage, not vinny chase, so i'm happy that the storylines are following the other guys :)
i do agree with totvornottotv that the Psych season premiere was less than amazing though, but it's still a good show.

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Aug 20, 2009 5:43PM EDT

I was pretty hooked to the listener. thought the show had the mystery it needed to be exciting. the tension between characters that was never over dramatic. really enjoyed it

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Aug 20, 2009 8:17PM EDT

For Entourage - I feel like Vince isn't the main character and never has been. In addition to the fact that the show is called 'Entourage', the show really does focus on Vince's friends. I have to say that season 6 has been exactly what I've been waiting for with this story.

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Aug 20, 2009 9:03PM EDT

I actually like Merlin and The Listener. I didn't like Defying Gravity at all, it was really boring for me.
Not a big fan of HawthoRN, I tried it but never got interesting for me. I am loving Dark Blue though, so I am hoping we get another season that gets even better.
I don't watch reality shows, but SYTYCD. It's one of my favorites! You do have a point though about season 5 not being up to par with past seasons. Let's hope season 6 is better.
I have never seen Hung.
I don't watch any of those reality shows.
I loved, loved, loved Virtuality!!! Fox made a huge mistake not making this into a series!! I liked Kings as well, but I am not surprised it was cancelled.
I didn't get to see Meteor, but did try to watch The Storm. Man, was that horrible. I couldn't get through the first part. Horrible acting and story line, sorry!
Didn't watch Entourage.
I am loving 10 Things I Hate About You, I am not a teenager but this show is actually pretty entertaining.

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Aug 21, 2009 4:48AM EDT

I agree with almost everybody that reality tv is totally useless...I did like very much Mental. It isn't like House, although I like it too. The lead character is very peculiar, as maybe the rest of the team could prove to be, and the diagnose and treatment of psychiatric patients gives the stories a very interesting approach. It must have pissed off most of the "school" psychologists because he is so syncretic and unorthodox in his methods, but that's just another reason why i liked it so much.
And I liked The Listener too. Well, i only have watched a couple of episodes, i don't have very much time, but i intend to. People are curious about the never fully understood power of the brain, they like to explore its possibilities, and this two shows give them a chance to do that.

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Aug 21, 2009 6:59AM EDT

Reality TV really does need to just go away. It irritates me so much to see those shows constantly getting renewed when quality shows get cancelled. Ridiculous.

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Aug 21, 2009 9:12AM EDT

Loved Merlin!!!Wharehouse 13 is okay.The Listener was okay.

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Aug 21, 2009 10:00AM EDT

at first i thought i would hate it, but man am i hooked on Defying Gravity. such a good show, in my opinion

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Aug 21, 2009 11:40AM EDT

HawthoRNe is aweful, painfully bad. The title character is such a Mary-Sue I HATE her and the show. Even when she is "wrong" or "flawed" it turns out everything she does is actually for the best. BS.
Kings was wonderful and I am upset it is done.

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Aug 21, 2009 11:45AM EDT

I agree with quite a bit here but I would like to add aspects of two shows to the list. The two shows are Burn Notice and Royal Pains.
Burn Notice is a great show but I am always annoyed when some shows come with that built in break in the middle of the season. I have been known to give up on a show when this happens because it really kills any excitement you have about the direction of a show.
Royal Pains has its good points but quite frankly I would have stopped watching this show if not for my wife's desire to stick it out. Evan, Divya, Boris, and some of the smaller supporting cast members almost make this a good show but the writing during the flirting between Jill and Hank is so bad that it turns me off of the show. Hank's character is well written when he is not near Jill. Evan always has good dialogue and Paulo (the Actor) plays him perfectly. If the dialogue between Hank and Jill can improve I would say this is a worthwhile watch.

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Aug 21, 2009 4:06PM EDT

Listener is a really good show, it may be hard to understand sometimes, but the plot is nice! I also like Defying Gravity, its a new story that I have never heard off, and it seems pretty interesting!

But every other show on that list wasn't that great.

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Aug 21, 2009 7:17PM EDT

Canceling Kings was my biggest disappointment. It was my favorite new show, better produce and more complex in depth story plot than my other two new favorites Fringe and Dollhouse. Although Fringe individually had some better episodes, over all Kings was better produced, written, shot, and had acting if you ignored Allison Miller's weak to pathetic acting for Michelle Benjamin.
I also agree 10 things I hate about you is pretty good, you have to ignore the fact it is almost nothing like the movie, then it is actually a good series. Second teen drama on ABC Family I am surprised I like.
I disagree on SYTYCD, ignore the set-up/drama and judging which has gotten lamer with each season and look at the dancers and choreographing, it was the best yet. Best group of Female dancers the show has ever had.I fast forward everything but the dances (including the brief prep for the dances reels), the results, and the judging of them. Everything else is just filler almost all of which is lame. Still it is my fav reality show, really the only reality show I think other than amazing race that is even worth showing on TV.

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Aug 21, 2009 9:32PM EDT

Poor Mental. I had hoped that it would improve over the course of the season, but I was wrong...oh so horribly wrong. Oh well, not really that much of a loss.

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Aug 21, 2009 11:22PM EDT

Ruby & The Rockits may be cheesy but for some reason I like it. I agree with the rest.

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Aug 22, 2009 12:42AM EDT

Wow.. Mental, Listener, Merlin, and Defying Gravity have all proved to be among my favorites! I do agree with it sucking that Kings got canceled which was another favorite of mine. UGH!
I think the reasons I like Listener and Merlin is because I relate to them (as pagan and as gifted of sorts). Kings I just thought was genius and good acting. I just think that ppl didn't understand why it was well written and didn't understand the allegory of it all.. oh well..
I do agree that Dark Blue hasnt been as good as I had hoped... and the others I don't think I truly paid attention to, except for So you think you can Dance & for some reason I was too busy to get up with it as much as I had liked.

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Aug 22, 2009 12:44AM EDT

mental is awesome house is too but he doesn't deal with mental patients

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Aug 22, 2009 8:24PM EDT

I completely agree when it comes to Hung, the show lacks the energy needed to keep people interested. I was actually quite interested when I heard about the show and was somewhat excited about seeing it but, it turned out to be a complete disappointment. The characters lack depth and the plot lacks energy.

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Aug 23, 2009 12:17AM EDT

Kings definitely seemed like a cool show, and it was so slow paced and not as interesting as I had hoped it would be. I gave it five episodes before giving up on it. It was a hopeless cause, really.

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Aug 23, 2009 7:56AM EDT

I loved Kings. Too bad they canceled it. ><

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Aug 23, 2009 10:05AM EDT

THREE WORDS...
MORE...TO...LOVE. FAIL

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Aug 28, 2009 3:37AM EDT

Biggest fails of Summer TV :1. The ending of King of the Hill2. The Goode Family3. Octomom having a show4. Dark Blue5. HawthoRNe - I like the show and I watch it time to time but seriously enough of the doctor shows!

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Sep 9, 2009 12:11AM EDT

I disagree. I thought The Listener was really good. I think they have a few kinks to work out but overall I thought the concept of the show was very entertaining. I really liked the lead character and really connected with him. Also, I liked that the show was based around a paramedic and not a doctor. I liked that it took place in the streets and not in some hospital or something.

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