The downward spiral of this show surprised me, as I thought that after the Pam and Jim phenomenon, the show could use the new blood brought in by James Spader. But it just isn’t happening. The Office has lost the glue that held it together in Carell, and I don’t see anyone working that hard to fix it. Further, we have spent a lot of time with the Dunder-Mifflin crew, and it might just be time to say goodbye. The writing hasn’t markedly fallen off, but the show just feels tired.
Ugh. This show has gone from bad to worse over the past two seasons. It’s been trending downward since its first few seasons, but bad writing and bad acting have generally been saved by Michael C. Hall and the odd featured actor (Lithgow and Carradine). The past season was completely awful, as the writers took huge logical leaps without any explanation (Dexter stabbing himself in the neck with a tranquilizer, then not falling asleep for some reason), and insulted the audience with painfully obvious explanations via voiceover.
Dexter’s doing as well as it ever has from a ratings standpoint, but that’s probably just a happy result of the show getting dumber. Sunday nights are such a crowded space that there isn’t room to hold on to a show that has been so reliably bad, no matter how much I once liked it.
Showtime has a knack for hanging on to its original programming like grim death (see above). Weeds is another such example. The show hasn’t really had a point for the past four seasons or so, but people keep tuning in as a force of habit. Also, like Dexter, the writers seem to pursue the inexplicably absurd rather than take pains to craft a realistic arc. Nancy Botwin should be dead or at least in jail by now. There’s no way around it. The Botwin kids are all like 40 years old now, so the whole family dynamic has changed. I wanted to say “evolved,” but didn’t want the positive connotation.
What’s most frustrating about the resilience of Weeds and Dexter is the opportunity cost. As long as these two shows are on the air, that means two other prospective shows are not.