Another Year of Ditching Shows
Shows and Movies I Couldn't Get Into: 2021 Edition for Hulu
We're back another year with a look at the shows I just couldn't finish. Some of these were shows I started and dropped after just a couple of episodes. Others were shows that I actually managed to watch for a few seasons but then lost interest so hard that even narrative momentum couldn't carry me. In all instances, these are shows that I know I'm never going to get back to no matter how hard I try. They had their chance, I had to move on.
We're going to break this article up into chunks this year, organized by streaming platform, and first up on the docket is Hulu. I am including shows that didn't originate on Hulu but are now part of their streaming platform (due to licensing or whatever Hollywood witchcraft the studios have done). If it's on Hulu and I dropped it like a cold, slimy potato, we're covering it here.
I want to be up front about this: season one of The Terror is excellent. It tells a well crafted, well acted tale of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition to the Arctic in 1845–1848. It's an absolutely brilliant show about tragedy, despair, and never finding your way home as, spoilers for a 150 year-plus historic event, the entire crew of the expedition, all 100-plus men, all die without ever getting home, trapped in the arctic. This is an absolutely depressing show that tells its story so very well.
But that's just the thing, though: in one season the show told the whole story of this failed expedition, start to finish. All the crew are dead by the end of the season so there's no more story to tell. The next season of the show, in fact, had a different story (about Japanese internment in American during World War II) and a completely different behind-the-scenes staff working on the show. It's a second season in name only, in fact, and could have been anything else other than "The Terror" and I doubt anyone would have noticed or cared. I actually found myself struggling to start the second season just because it was basically a new show all over again.
Plus, frankly, I'd already been depressed for one season. As good as that first season was, The Terror is a real down-beat story. Having to sit through another depressing series of unfortunate events just didn't appeal to me. The second season could be phenomenal (and I hear it is), I just don't have it in me to try.
Speaking of AMC shows that now live on Hulu, we come to Preacher and this is depressing for a completely different reason: this is a show that started off so well and then, after a fantastic first season, sputtered and floundered until everything I liked about it was gone. By the time I bailed, Preacher was mired in family drama in the Deep South with a bunch of characters I neither knew nor cared about and all I wanted to do was stop watching... which I did, after about three episodes. I don't even know what happens in the fourth season, nor do I care to find out.
Thing is, this show started off so well. It has a charismatic Dominic Cooper as the title character, Preacher Jesse Custer, a man of God he barely believes who suddenly gets the Voice of God (more or less) and can command anyone to do anything. This is a power that could be abused, and watching Jesse try to navigate when to use it and when to not, all while battling literal angels who are trying to get the power back was, frankly, a real treat. It was bizarre but fun and I wanted more after an explosive (literally) conclusion to the first season.
After that, though, the show just lost its way. I know its based on a comic series but I never read it so I don't know if the comics similarly lost their footing. Whatever the case, the show stumbled hard in the second season, nearly lost me by the end of it, and when the third season got even worse I jumped ship and never looked back. It's a gut punch to see a show fail like this but sometimes it does happen.
I know I'm going to get yelled at by fans of this show but, I gotta tell, you, this one just didn't hook me at all. It's created by the team behind Rick and Morty, a show I really like, and it does have the same weirdo sense of adventure and humor. But where these ideas work on Rick and Morty I found myself utterly bored by them on Solar Opposites, and I think it's all based on how the different shows ground themselves.
On Rick and Morty we have a couple of mortal humans going on these wild adventures. Yes, as the shows has evolved the adventures have gotten wilder, the characters a little less mortal, and the whole of the universe has gotten surprisingly fucked up. It works, though, because the show put the groundwork in early to get us to care about the characters when they were still very mortal (Morty especially) so while the show can do really bizarre things now, I'm hooked by the characters and their dynamics.
Contrast that with Solar Opposites where the main cast are all aliens sent to Earth to conquer it. They're all evil aliens that aren't here to merge with society so much as just bear it for a time. We don't really understand what the limits are for the aliens (if they have any) nor do we get a sense of just how powerful their tech is; Rick may have a lot of tech but the show never lets the power creep get too bad whereas the aliens here start with their powers and tech already cranked to 11 and it only gets more ridiculous from there. The grounding of the characters is lacking.
I did find the first episode amusing, I will admit, while the second was... less so. By the third episode I got bored halfway and turned it off. It's been sitting in my Hulu "must watch" pile for a few months now and I have to admit I'm never getting back to it. I don't care about the aliens or their plans for Earth. They can have the planet: watching them try to conquer it isn't worth my time.
Here's a show I actually forgot existed until I went into my old episode queue and saw it was still sitting there, waiting for me. Crossing Swords is a medieval adventure show about a squire trying to become a knight and find glory and honor in his kingdom. It's also a raunchy, sex-filled, stop-motion show starring little Playschool toys. I get the appeal of it -- hell, I even watched five episodes of it -- but the novelty of the idea just didn't hold up over the course of the series.
Raunchy comedy can work, and this show had plenty of that to spare. The issue with any show is that you have to develop the characters and start to evolve the story. After five episodes it didn't seem like Crossing Swords had any interest in evolving. The first episode found it funny to show naked little toys fucking and cursing and, after five episodes, that was still as far as the writers could think to take the series. After all that I knew I'd seen all I needed to see and dropped it. Some shows are hard to move away from because you can tell there's promise there if the show could just focus, but I had absolutely no issue walking away from Crossing Swords; this was a one-trick pony that fucked the pony and only knew how to go back and do it again. No thank you.
And finally, and honorable mention that really doesn't count for this Hulu-based list: the NBC series Debris. The concept of this show is that there's a busted alien ship floating in space and the Earth has crossed into its trail of debris, raining space junk onto the planet. This space junk, notably, causes all kinds of weird effects to the areas it crashes into, things like "Fringe Science" that has to be investigated and cataloged. In essence this is another play for the same genre as The X Files and Fringe, but those shows were engaging and this show is a slog.
I liked the idea of the show, I just wish that the writers on it could have found any zest. The characters are dull and emotionless, the plot is overly twisty even in the first couple of episodes, and the tech itself is basically alien magic without any explanation. Nothing about this show really worked from the few episodes I watched, and once I had other things to focus on I ditched it for greener pastures. I wanted to like you, Debris, but you were just so much refuse.