If you don’t like a show, stop watching it.

One of the most valuable things I learned last year was that if I’m not enjoying a television show, I just need to stop watching it. This seems like a lesson I should have learned a couple of years ago, but I had more time to watch television in 2014 than I’ve had for a very long time. Also, sometimes really good shows have rough patches and then get better – though this hasn’t happened very often. So I have some examples!

  • Friday Night Lights: The first season of this show about a Texas high school football team (if you know me at all, you’d be surprised that I even recommend a show that has sports in it, but it’s just that good that it doesn’t matter) was critically beloved. Then the writers took it to a place in the second season that was pretty awful, and not just for the thing that happened at the end of the season premiere. The season was cut short due to the writers strike, which ended up being beneficial for everyone involved, because the third season of FNL is one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen.
  • The Good Wife: Most fans of this show (my favourite show currently airing right now) try to forget the first half of season 4. It’s not funny bad, like season 2 of FNL, it’s just bad, despite one interesting storyline. Then the writers came up with the fabulous “Red Team, Blue Team” in the second half of the season, which set up all the narrative changes that have occurred in the fourth and fifth season. The writers started taking risks with characters and storylines and its paid off.
  • Big Love: Opinions are divided on whether this show got better after its awful fourth season in which there was bird smuggling in Mexico, Bill’s son to his first wife kissed his third wife, Bill ran for office and then outed his family’s polygamy during his victory speech and also Sissy Spacek. Big Love was always a prime time soap, but it was good enough in its first three seasons that it wasn’t particularly obvious. During the fourth season however, it seemed to get soapier and there was less focus on the relationships between the characters. The fifth and final season recaptured what made the first three special, but it never managed to return to the quality of those early seasons.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are four shows that I gave up on in 2014, and I wrote about three of them at various points through last year: those shows are House of CardsSecrets and Lies, and Doctor Who (click on the tags to find the posts, I’m currently having internet issues that’s preventing me from linking to them). I gave up on both House of Cards and Secrets and Lies after two episodes. I watched all of the first season of House of Cards, but that was slightly easier because showcase was airing two episodes a week. When the decision was made to broadcast the show just one episode a week, it seemed like too much of a time commitment. Secrets and Lies just was so bad that I couldn’t watch past episode 2 of a 6 episode miniseries (watch Broadchurch, it’s better). I wrote about why I gave up on Doctor Who, but I might start watching it again if Steven Moffat retires as showrunner. I also gave up on The Newsroom after the first two episodes of its final season, partly because I found a job and I had to cut some television from my schedule, but also because Jane the Virgin was on at the same time.

I highly recommend giving up television shows if you don’t like them, it makes you a much happier person. Also you can spend that time watching better shows, or maybe reading a book or going outside. It’s up to you.