Over the last few years, I’ve invested a lot of time in shows that, for one reason or another, just don’t work out. They get cancelled, they get so unimaginably stupid that even I stop watching, whatever.
But I haven’t read quite as good a takedown on both the mechanics of a bad show playing out the string and the mechanics of Internet Lovefest Guy commentary as the following magnificent paragraph from Todd VanDerWerff at The Onion AV Club, in his review of the penultimate episode of FlashForward:
FlashForward has been canceled. It is a dead show walking, playing out the string in hopes that it can pull enough of itself together that there will be that one guy in every comment thread on the Internet about great shows canceled too soon who will say, “HEY, YOU GUYS REMEMBER FLASHFORWARD? THAT WAS A GREAT SHOW, AND THE NETWORK TREATED IT SO BADLY, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT.” And, eventually, the number of people who are capable of successfully arguing with this guy that, no, FlashForward wasn’t all that great, and it received a gigantic marketing push from a network that gave it one of its best timeslots, and it debuted to an audience of some 12 million who mostly left because it WASN’T VERY GOOD, even with a mostly enjoyable pilot, will dwindle to nothing, but that ONE GUY, that ONE VOICE OF PASSION and LACK OF REASON, will be able to convince some poor souls that it IS worth checking out, and they’ll head on down to the Best Buy (or the post-apocalyptic variant thereof) and go all the way to the back of the TV on DVD section and find a DVD set on the bottom shelf of the last stand, covered in dust, and they’ll take it home, and they’ll pop it in the DVD player, and they’ll realize that guy was a fucking idiot.
Really, if you’re among the few people who’s been suffering along with me watching this stupidity, you should read VanDerWerff’s recap. FlashForward is a terrible show that could be criticized from a thousand angles, but it’s a rare treat to see someone take such a wide target and pinpoint with such surgical precision exactly what went wrong.