'The Killing' Is Bad, Apparently

As a writer/broadcaster, I have limited time to take on watching new TV properties, so I have to choose wisely. Awhile back, I asked my Twitter followers whether I should begin watching HBO's Game of Thrones or AMC's The Killing. Overwhelmingly, people insisted I check out Game of Thrones. While many said The Killing was good, everyone insisted that Game of Thrones was incredible. Thus, I've been watching Game of Thrones religiously and it has rekindled my love of television and shot to the top of my list of favorite TV shows of all time.

Both shows had their season finales last night. And based on the reviews of TV critics, it looks like I made the right choice. Here's Maureen Ryan:

'The Killing,' in the last two months or so, has been a waste of time. This week, it turned into a giant insult. This wasn't a swing and a miss. Those are forgivable and expected on networks that take chances with their material. This hour was, in my opinion, the worst season finale of all time, because it was a terrible execution of a set of colossally stupid, misguided and condescending ideas. And clearly, people at the network have known about what would be in the finale for some time. They should have stopped it. All of it.

Alan Sepinwall agrees:

[T]his will be the last review I write of "The Killing," because this will be the last time I watch "The Killing." Because I have no interest in going forward with a show that treats its audience this way.

It is unusual for me to post reviews of shows/films I haven't watched, but this criticism is so brutal and withering that it is fun to read even if you don't follow The Killing (Just know that spoilers are included).

Also: the disparity between these shows reinforces my inclination that when dealing with serialized shows that have season-long arcs, sometimes it is best to wait until the end and see whether the showrunners did right by the audience before investing 10 hours of your life into what may be a pointless waste of time.

10 comments :: 'The Killing' Is Bad, Apparently

  1. I remember you and Devindra discussing this just a week or so ago on the /filmcast. Curious to hear his opinions on the season as whole now that its finished. Wanted to check this show out, but like yourself heard a lot of bad word of mouth...

  2. Speaking of Sepinwall, have you read his recent interview with the showrunner? It's damning, to say the least.

  3. "Also: the disparity between these shows reinforces my inclination that when dealing with serialized shows that have season-long arcs, sometimes it is best to wait until the end and see whether the showrunners did right by the audience before investing 10 hours of your life into what may be a pointless waste of time. "

    And then some very promising shows get cancelled after 2 episodes.

  4. Great Simmons column - holding NOTHING back:

    http://espn.go.com/espn/grantland/story/_/id/6680958/hackery-first-degree

  5. "Thus, I've been watching Game of Thrones religiously and it has rekindled my love of television and shot to the top of my list of favorite TV shows of all time. "

    Pretty much sums my sentiments exactly

    I'm willing to say that pound for pound, this first season of Game of Thrones could be the best season of television ever.I've rewatched episodes 9-10 about 5 times now jesus its great

  6. @Sacha: Name some?

  7. Shows I liked that got cancelled - that were promising IMHO:

    1. Black Donnelly's
    2. Lone Star

  8. @David:

    Another one...Smith (2006)- 7 eps

    Solid. Cancellation announced after maybe 3 or 4? I remember: (i) enjoying it; and (ii) it airing around 10pm-ish (which I thought was way too late).

    Finally, the "name it" challenge...kind of a cheat no? I mean, seriously - how is it possible to name shows that got cancelled prematurely? It takes a LOT to remember - I only knew Donnelly's because I got the complete series as a gift; Lone star was recent; and Smith because it had the woman from 24/House of Sand and Fog/Mass Effect

  9. Ive been watching The Killing all season and I have to say I agree 100%. This show is terrible.

    I started hating this show halfway through the season after getting sick of the parade of red herrings. I only kept with it to see the resolution, which obviously was a mistake.

    Since nobody in their right mind should go back and watch the show now, here's a couple spoilery examples illustrating why this show is so bad. At one point (early on) there is a cell phone video of the murdered girl the night she disappeared being raped at the blood splattered crime scene in the school (which was discovered earlier). The boys in the video are brought in for questioning. They keep saying 'We didn't kill her! Its not what it looks like!', and other vague denials. That's where the episode ends, with the boys looking VERY guilty. The next episode you find out it was not Rosie, but just some other girl that put on Rosie's outfit and had a bloody nose. Im not kidding. Imagine an entire TV show comprised entirely of BS scenarios like that, over and over and over again.

    Later we follow the investigation as it leads to another suspect, who remains the number one suspect for the bulk of the show. He looks VERY VERY guilty. Lots of lying, suspicious activity. Turns out he was guilty of something unrelated, which was far less serious than murder. Rule number one, if admitting to a lesser crime gets you off of MURDER, you come clean!

    This show made me mad. It was just a parade of stupid people doing stupid things (slowly).

    I couldn't agree more with both reviews posted above. I am seriously baffled as to why people like this show (especially people whose opinion I respect like Devindra and Dan Trachtenberg). I was into it for the first 2 or 3 episodes because of the production. It had great atmosphere and the cinematography and acting were very good. But those positive aspects eventually got buried under the avalanche of bullshit from the terrible plotting, abundant stupidity, and a black hole of a main character.

  10. "sometimes it is best to wait until the end and see whether the showrunners did right by the audience before investing 10 hours of your life into what may be a pointless waste of time."

    It's about the Journey! Good/Bad, Good-then-Bad, the only real way to find out is to watch it first hand. Even if it disappoints. And, of course, if you don't like it, you can just stop watching.

    The argument above seems to me to be effectively saying you'd rather read the last page of a book to see if the end is to your liking, rather than discovering that on your own. Sure, reviews and buzz are a handy way to figure out what to watch in the first place, but they're hardly foolproof. Who knows, maybe you'd have completely the opposite reaction to Maureen or Alan.

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