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August 29, 2015

Six bad things about four good shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 3rd 2008 1:01PM
1. Heroes.
The show has problems, which have been analyzed to death in the past several weeks, but it's still an entertaining hour of television. Great cast, and it's a fun ride. But a few things about the show bother me. One is the number of characters. Well, not the amount, per se, but how the show is structured with all of the characters. I'd rather see several characters sit out an episode than have ten characters all fighting for screen time in one episode. It's just too much. I also hate that there doesn't seem to be any real danger on the show, no real risk. I mean, if Hiro can go back in time, where's the real danger? If something can be done where a character can come back to life even after he is killed, where's the real risk? The show has to do something to change that in the next chapter.

2. 30 Rock. I think the show has handled the onslaught of guest stars rather well. They don't seem like stunt casting, not yet anyway, because these people seem to fit into the 30 Rock universe. But at the same time I think the guest stars are pushing the supporting characters (besides Kenneth) into the background. How about some more episodes featuring Josh and Frank and Pete and Toofer?

3. The Mentalist. This is my favorite of all of the procedurals on the air, but it's in danger of becoming too much of a formula show. Sometimes with these shows it's as if there's an outline, the same outline, tacked up on the wall of the writers room, and they just plug in a different character name or locale or murder weapon into the outline. I hope they get away from that (and creator Bruno Heller says that the show isn't quite where he wants it to be right now, and that's good to hear). Still, the show is massively entertaining and even a formula can be overlooked when you have a star and a supporting cast like this show has.

4. Design on a Dime. Oh, come on, all that work is done for $1000? Yeah, right. The materials cost that much, but the labor they put in would make doing those makeovers too expensive for most people. And I'm certainly not going to operate a table saw or nail gun.

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I agree about Design on a Dime, all it shows is that most interior designers are ripping us off on the labor costs!

December 09 2008 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

For the record, I listed three things about Heroes (too many characters and the structure, no risk, and no danger). One each for the other entries, so that's six.

December 04 2008 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bob Sassone's comment

eh, I saw danger and risk as essentially the same thing, but thanks for clarifying.

I'm hopeful Heroes will turn around soon with Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica) joining and Bryan Fuller returning to the team.

December 04 2008 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Special Guest Star" episodes should be limited to one per year.

December 04 2008 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You forgot one big thing about The Mentalist--it's Psych without any personality.

December 03 2008 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The major problem with Heroes, at this point, is the writing. Not the dialogue (although that can get bad too) so much as the plotting. Too often characters seem to behave in accordance with where the plot is going, as opposed to the plot being dictated by the character's actions. Character motivations change seemingly on the fly with no real explanation and we have no real sense of who these characters really ARE anymore.

December 03 2008 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Matt's comment

Agreed. It's totally the writing, and the producing, that are the problem with Heroes. All the actors have ranged from competent to excellent.

The problem is that series creator and lead producer Tim Kring is just not that into his own show -- he doesn't seem to be that interested in running a superhero genre show.

December 03 2008 at 9:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, Heroes = too many characters (1) + no danger (2), 30 Rock = ignoring supporting characters (3), The Mentalist = formulaic (4), Design on a Dime = ignoring labor costs (5). Did I miss the 6th thing?

About the Heroes complaint 1, I agree. We were just re-watching Season 1, and really admired "Company Man" that just focused on Bennett's history, with the framing sequence with Parkman and Ted, Bennett's family (including Claire), Eric Roberts and the Haitian, and flashbacks including Claude, Mr. Nakamura, and young Hiro. No Petrellis, Nikki/DL/Micah, Isaac, Mohinder, Sylar, etc. A nice breath of fresh air. We don't have to see everyone every week.

December 03 2008 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think Heroes can be fixed at this point. The two part Eclipse episode proved that in my mind. It contributed nothing to the storyline and didn't change the story arc at all. TPTB keep promising something better but they never deliver. So sad, Heroes was so good that first season.

December 03 2008 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Mentalist is better, hands down. It's also not on the verge of cancellation.

December 03 2008 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I assume you don't consider Life a procedural, because there is no way you could possibly think the Mentalist is better. Come on!

December 03 2008 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

He's not listing the six bad things; he's listing the four good shows, then discussing the bad things about them. A couple of them have more than one bad thing, hence the title.

December 03 2008 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel Keller's comment

Nevertheless, the title is confusing and thus bad writing!

December 04 2008 at 4:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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