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Oh the Humanity! When Promising Shows Crash and Burn


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#31

radicalpetey188

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Posted May 8, 2006 @ 4:24 PM

There was this show called Wasteland on ABC back in the late 90's. I don't remember exactly if it was good press or bad press but there was quite a bit of press attention placed on it, i.e., the dramatic counterpart of 'Friends,' 90210-ish in NYC, etc. Also, one of the lead actors looked almost exactly like Brad Pitt (Brad Rowe). That show crashed and burned pretty badly.
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#32

cewo

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 7:16 PM

Okay, I have a couple I'd like to add. I don't know how "promising" these were but I was really enjoying them. First, "Freaks and Geeks"; I was really disappointed when this was canned; I thought it was never given a fair chance from the onset. Second, "Miracles" starring Skeet Ulricht (sp), it's demise occurred after only a few airings. I think we can blame the ABC scheduling geniuses for that one; they kept pre-empting it (it was running during the first stages of the overseas conflicts) so it was always hit and miss (more often miss) as to when it would be on. It too, should have gotten another chance!
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#33

JakeyIsSusan

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Posted May 10, 2006 @ 7:47 PM

There was this show called Wasteland on ABC back in the late 90's. I don't remember exactly if it was good press or bad press but there was quite a bit of press attention placed on it, i.e., the dramatic counterpart of 'Friends,' 90210-ish in NYC, etc. Also, one of the lead actors looked almost exactly like Brad Pitt (Brad Rowe). That show crashed and burned pretty badly.


It got a lot of buzz because a) it was the show that Kevin Williamson left Dawson's Creek to work on (and he was still red hot from Scream), and b) the main character was a 30-year-old virgin. IIRC, the pilot got horrible reviews and it never recovered.

And whatever DID happen to Brad Rowe?
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#34

nicepebbles

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Posted May 14, 2006 @ 12:02 PM

What do we mean by promising shows? Like critics lauded them but the audience doesn't? Or the critics love it and so does the audience for like a few episodes then ratings drop off? Or everything was rigth except TPTB fuck it all up by moving the show around?

I ask b/c there are shows listed here that had a good run, like several seasons, and just naturally die off IMO. Naturally means that the show has run it's course and should end. They didn't burn like in a fiery plane crash type of thing. I think of crashing and burning like shortlived shows. Maybe that's just me.
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#35

Rinaldo

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Posted May 15, 2006 @ 11:52 AM

There was a sitcom called Hearts Afire with John Ritter, Markie Post and Billy Bob Thornton,set in Washington politics. The whole thing seemed to be a set up for the "mis-matched couple/sexual tension" thing, which everyone knows only works until the couple finally sleeps together. John and Markie slept together at the end of the first episode! Instant shark-jump.

Or, as I saw it, a clear indication that they weren't going for the "mismatched couple / sexual tension" thing at all, since they never tried for any of that tension. One of their smarter moves, in fact. The series really went astray in the second season, when the 3 characters moved out of Washington DC to run a small town paper, cast was dropped, cast was added, and it became essentially a new show.

What happened to Murder One is similar to what happened to Homicide. The network insisted they replace all the fat, old cops with sexy young fashion models. The writing was still top-notch, but the show was never as real.

The history of the series doesn't bear this out, though. The one regular cop in the first season was played by Dylan Baker, a young good-looking actor. As the central lawyer figure, Daniel Benzali was replaced by Anthony LaPaglia, who is younger and more personable, I guess, but hardly a sexy young fashion model. Mary McCormack and Michael Hayden, presumably the main eye-candy factor, were on hand throughout the run of the show, and the one marquee-name young stud, Jason Gedrick, was featured in season 1, not 2.

My own nominee for this topic would be EZ Streets. Fascinating, unique premise, good actors (Jason Gedrick again!), carefully plotted development -- and cancellation mid-arc. I'm glad it's coming on DVD, but that'll probably be frustrating all over again in its own way, as it stops midstream.

Edited by Rinaldo, May 15, 2006 @ 12:58 PM.

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#36

jmproctor1

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Posted May 15, 2006 @ 12:53 PM

I'll delurk to mention Twin Peaks, which I'm surprised hasn't been brought up yet. It started off as an engaging mystery with huge buzz in the short first season. The show was a big hit on Thursday nights, and it seemed everyone was trying to figure out who killed Laura Palmer. Then, for the second season ABC inexplicably decides to move it to the dead zone of Saturday nights, and people stop watching. Creatively, the show seemed to lose any coherent plot after the Palmer mystery was solved, while too much supernatural weirdness changed the show from being merely offbeat to downright confusing.
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#37

alocin

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Posted May 15, 2006 @ 7:49 PM

Yeah, 'Twin Peaks,' I totally agree.

It should have been a mini-series and a mini-series only. 12 hours, 13 tops.

It was smart and interesting that they had these subplots about the various inhabitants of the town that all somehow hinted towards one incredible whole, but the execution never quite paid off on the premise. The pay-off was totally crap because like, hey, Killer Bob? Whatever.

Wouldn't it have made more sense in a crazy-ass show for the denouement to actually be cold hearted and mundane? Would that not have been the coolest twist that despite the weirdness of this little town complete with its cooky police station people, its wife-beaters, its trouble down the timber mills and its bed-hopping teen seductresses (has Sherilynn Fenn even been close to matching how good she was as Audrey Horne in that show? She showed so much promise in that role - forget Scully, this is the woman girl crushes were made for,) the solution to the murder of this troubled, f**ked up teen Laura Palmer was actually something really ordinary?

I loved the twist that it was her Dad (does anybody seriously not know now?), but honestly, Killer Bob? Total cop-out.

And why did they feel the need to go on for a second season? Beyond sheer and unadulterated greed?
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#38

jmproctor1

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Posted May 15, 2006 @ 11:05 PM

Everyone should know who killed Laura Palmer by now, but there could be a teenager who's just watching the show on DVD (and will soon be pissed off to fiind that the second season is still only available on VHS.)

The revelation of the murderer was well-done, but the possession by Bob seemed like a total copout. I did like the retcon from Fire walk with me, which said that [that character] killed her because he knew Bob would torture her.

Of course, after the revelation, the show went completely off the rails. It became all about the lives of Twin Peak's residents, but Windham Earle's chess obsession proved a much less compelling central mystery that Laura's murder.

(has Sherilynn Fenn even been close to matching how good she was as Audrey Horne in that show? She showed so much promise in that role - forget Scully, this is the woman girl crushes were made for,)


It's too bad that Boyle has become another Hollywood skeleton. In the early days of TP, her, Lee, Fenn and Amick were all incredibly attractive; but since, the others have slipped into obscurity, while Boyle became anorexic.
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#39

ConnieVandelay

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Posted Aug 15, 2006 @ 8:25 PM

I think this topic has been discussed before, but I'm going to say The Critic. Yes, it got another chance on Fox after ABC cancelled it, but Fox just let it crash and burn just like ABC did. I wish Fox had renewed it for another season just to take a chance. Could you imagine all the things Jay Sherman could mock now?
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#40

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Posted Aug 15, 2006 @ 8:44 PM

I think this topic has been discussed before, but I'm going to say The Critic. Yes, it got another chance on Fox after ABC cancelled it, but Fox just let it crash and burn just like ABC did. I wish Fox had renewed it for another season just to take a chance. Could you imagine all the things Jay Sherman could mock now?


Ah yes! "Hee Haw: The Next Generation."

Just the very idea of that makes me break out in hysterics! The Critic was brilliant.
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#41

minneapple

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Posted Aug 15, 2006 @ 11:52 PM

One Tree Hill.

No, seriously. The show was a good cheesy guilty pleasure for much of its first season. Then all of a sudden you had high school kids acting like twentysomethings, outrageous plotlines that made no sense and character regression instead of character development (I couldn't watch anymore when Haley started lying to Nathan about hanging out with that guitar player/singer jackass). It was no longer a guilty pleasure, it became a disaster. No wonder the ratings dropped; I can't believe CW renewed this show, and I really can't imagine it lasting more than one more season. I wouldn't be surprised if CW has to cancel it midseason.

To me, "crash and burn" implies that a once-promising show all of a sudden started sucking. I can't apply that term to "My So-Called Life" and "Freaks and Geeks." Those were shows that died before their time.
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#42

BlueOwl

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 1:40 AM

I read all three pages of this thread, and all along I was thinking of this show that fit the topic *perfectly*, which no one else mentioned, But dammit, my brain is stuck and I just can't come up with the title of the show!

(ETA: I got it! It was "Boomtown". ...I think.)

It was from a few years ago, it was on NBC, and it was a real "cutting edge" and "innovative" show that all the critics were buzzing about. it was a Cops & Lawyers drama set in L.A., and L.A. was in fact advertised as something of a central "character" of the show. It had a big sprawling cast who often didn't directly know each other but whose lives were entwined with each other in surprising, unpredictable ways. An ambitious District Attorney was having an affair with a reporter who knew someone who knew the cop who busted the D.A.'s son or something, ect. The big gimmick was that the stories were told in the style of Pulp Fiction: out of chronological order, the same event being shown multiple times through the eyes of different characters, and the like, with the unexpected connections between the characters being revealed, and the surprising reasons & motivations leading up to what we saw at the beginning of the episode gradually being revealed as well.

The premier episode got great reviews & huge ratings and I personally found it very impressive, but very quickly it became apparent that you just cannot sustain this sort of convoluted storytelling on a weekly basis, and no matter how huge your cast is, you just cannot keep coming up with new "shocking" connections & relationships between them (are you listening, Lost?) Very soon, what had been a ground breaking narrative style for one episode became a tired, restrictive formula, and after not many more episodes I lost interest, along with the critics & the rest of the audience. I believe by the time it got cancelled it was much more of a conventional Cops & Lawyers soap opera, but by then no one cared and it was pretty much completely forgotten by the time it finally flickered out after no more than a season (and possibly well short of that).

Edited by BlueOwl, Aug 16, 2006 @ 1:41 AM.

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#43

EmmaFinn

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 2:05 PM

Tru Calling...

That show had a lot of potential, but turned out to be crap. It had that Quantum Leap, striving to put right what once went wrong, vibe. But, it just didn't work.
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#44

kafski

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 2:07 PM

Several years ago NBC had a show called "Stark Raving Mad" on Thursday nights. It starred Doogie Howser and Monk and it was HILARIOUS. It takes a lot to make me laugh, and I laughed out loud every week.

After several weeks, *poof*, the show was gone. Never to be heard from again.
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#45

Eegah

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 2:11 PM

The Nickelodeon adaptation of Animorphs was a big one for me. I was a huge fan of K.A. Applegate's book series, and to see such an intelligent, thought-provoking, yet still largely kid-friendly piece of work turned into...that, was incredibly depressing.
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#46

Danie84

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 3:21 PM

Boston Public.

Great first 3 seasons or so. Then, cast turnover gets too much to bear, and the final season is aired in the Friday Night Death Slot, (and for good reason. The final season SUCKED).

It was once my favorite show.


I'll second that. That show was awesome.


I'll third that. Season 1 was fantastic. Season 2 was just as good, but the hook storyline was a bit ridiculous. Season 3, didn't know when it came on, and when I found it, the new cast didn't do it for me.
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#47

musetta

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Posted Aug 16, 2006 @ 4:37 PM

There was this show called Wasteland on ABC back in the late 90's

Check out the Permanent Hiatus archives, TWoP recapped it back in the day....
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#48

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Posted Aug 17, 2006 @ 9:12 PM

Count me in on those that liked Boston Public the first couple of seasons. I thought it started to go downhill with Michael Rappaport and Jeri Ryan joining the cast. Neither did anything to improve the show in my opinion and I don't like Rappaport as an actor anyhow, so that was a big strike.

I didn't mind the hook lady storyline though. I like Kathy Baker and I thought the storyline had a macabre sense of humor that I liked.

What really began to annoy me though was the singing every week. Seemed like every week someone had to sing for some reason. I swear they had more singing competitions and talent shows at that school than any other. That's when I started to lose interest. Then I think it moved to Friday nights and I never saw it again, but didn't feel I was missing out since I was already tiring of all the singing.
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#49

SweetGerald

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Posted Aug 17, 2006 @ 11:33 PM

I want to add "Andy Richter Controls the Universe", but I never thought that show was bad. It was just treated badly by FOX.
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#50

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Posted Aug 18, 2006 @ 7:57 AM

Why, hello, Desperate Housewives! The first season was quirky, funny, and full of Dynasty-level camp goodness. The second season? Crap on a stick. They introduce a new family (the Applewhites) and then virtually ignore them only to try to shoehorn a relationship between Betty Applewhite and Bree (who, by this season, becomes a drunk and is somewhat cured in an episode? yeah) that makes no sense. Susan gets whinier and stupider by the second, and in the meantime, my celebrity nemesis Eva Longoria just won't. shut. up. about ANYTHING. Now, I hate DH.
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#51

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Posted Aug 20, 2006 @ 1:50 AM

I'll third the JoA nomination. There's little I could add to the description of where it went back except to note the multiple false starts and plotlines that were dropped left and right i.e. crisis of faith, grieving over Judith, etc. Oh, and Joan's ridiculous possessiveness and the interloper parade; Roger, Stevie, and finally Bonnie. If you really want to know more, hit up the JoA board, where a group of die-hards have managed to keep the discussion going strong for over a year now.
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#52

El Robzter

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 6:51 PM

If reality shows qualify for this, I have to say The Apprentice. When I think of Season One, it's like thinking of a dead friend. They cast a lot of people you would actually want to have work for or with you in a professional environment, and there was a freshness to the show that made it different from its reality contemporaries. Even Donald Trump was bearable.

Since then, the show seems to seek out only the most obnoxious contestants to compete, most of whom you'd never want to have to sit in an actual boardroom meeting or have a telephone conversation with for 30 seconds. The experienced Carolyn and George have been replaced with Trump's own kids. The show became an unapologetic hourlong product placement showcase. And while Donald Trump probably wasn't really a whole lot less obnoxious a few years ago, he's done himself no favors through the Martha Stewart and now Rosie O'Donnell feuds.

I watched the first episode of the LA season out of habit and curiosity since I live here. And now I'm completely done.
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#53

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 6:58 PM

I think this topic has been discussed before, but I'm going to say The Critic.


God, I freakin' LOVED the Critic. The jokes were totally out of left field, but so funny. It was a shame the way FOX treated it. I didn't even know it had moved to ABC. I totally would have continued watching.
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#54

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 7:03 PM

Chiming in for MSCL. Definitely one of my favorite shows.

This may earn me poison darts and rotten tomatoes, but I'm nominating Everwood. I can quite honestly say that the first season was one of the best I've ever seen (for that reason alone it's on my best shows of all time list), but the show really started going downhill once they introduced Madison. It totally ruined it for me.
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#55

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 8:21 PM

If reality shows qualify for this, I have to say The Apprentice. When I think of Season One, it's like thinking of a dead friend. They cast a lot of people you would actually want to have work for or with you in a professional environment, and there was a freshness to the show that made it different from its reality contemporaries. Even Donald Trump was bearable.


I agree that this show has crashed and burned like nobody's business. Donald Trump was actually decent in Seasson One, acting like an actual mentor, and treating the applicants with respect. From Season Two on, he started calling them stupid, losers, and generally treating them like dirt. The show became less and less about business, and more about humiliating the contestants. Some of the things Trump did and said in the boardroom don't even bear repeating.

Since then, the show seems to seek out only the most obnoxious contestants to compete, most of whom you'd never want to have to sit in an actual boardroom meeting or have a telephone conversation with for 30 seconds.


I have to disagree with this, a bit. Season One had some really good contestants, but it had its share of cannon fooder, too. I think there have been some good candidates over the last few seasons, but the problem is Trump's disrepect and inconsistent judging, along with uninspiring tasks. Now they have the losing team sleeping outdoors in tents! I stopped watching regularly last season, but tuned in briefly for this season's opener out of curioisty, and this show is almost unrecognizable, it's so bad.

I've read that the show is really faltering in the ratings, and I think Trump is finally getting his comeuppance. Good. No one deserves it more than him. But at the same time, it's a shame that a once really promising show with an interesting premise had to be ruined by his bullshit.

Edited by carmelized, Jan 22, 2007 @ 8:22 PM.

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#56

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 9:08 PM

I'm going to have to go with Sliders. The idea of seeing all these alternate Earths was so cool. Then they started giving everyone doubles, changing the cast, introducing new species, and adding a fantasy element to the alternate Earths. It just sucked so bad.
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#57

El Robzter

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 10:52 PM

I have to disagree with this, a bit. Season One had some really good contestants, but it had its share of cannon fooder, too. I think there have been some good candidates over the last few seasons, but the problem is Trump's disrepect and inconsistent judging, along with uninspiring tasks.


That's true. Most of the actual winners since then and several others have been okay, and I remember really liking the runner-up on crutches who didn't get to be an apprenti. And of course Season One had some a few freaks and an all-time classic reality villain in Omarosa. It does seem like the Omarosa types (crazy, unprofessional, loud = good, etc) have been way overrepresented since then and frequently stick around while less dramatic but probably more talented folks get fired for not being good TV. But since none of the episodes anymore seem to be "good TV" it feels like a moot point to me now. :)

Another show that I think qualifies for this category is Nip/Tuck. Seasons 1 and 2 are incredible television: groundbreaking, clever, shocking, well-acted...a real roller-coaster ride. Season 3 got really hit-and-miss, with people starting to act completely out of character, and too many episodes where major plot points from previous episodes appeared to have been erased from everyone's minds. Season 4, which just ended up in December, was like Season 3 on crack. To me, the warmth and wit of the show has evaporated, with everyone seemingly just going through the motions, and I felt like I was watching out of loyalty to what the show once was. Maybe the move to LA in Season 5 will recharge the series, but I'm not holding my breath.

Edited by El Robzter, Jan 22, 2007 @ 11:05 PM.

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#58

loseresque

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Posted Jan 22, 2007 @ 11:06 PM

Season One had some really good contestants, but it had its share of cannon fooder, too.


I agree but the difference was in season one, the cannon fodder, for me, didn't overtake the good contestants. I mostly only remember Boyfriend Bill, Kwame and his speech about his grandfather signing his name with an X because he was an ex-slave, and Troy who only graduated high school but managed to make it to the top 5. The level of respect these three had for each other, despite being competition to each other, was amazing. Subsequent contestants were good, but in my eyes no one quite measured up and I was more easily distracted by the hijinks and drama.

Edited by loseresque, Jan 22, 2007 @ 11:07 PM.

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#59

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Posted Jan 24, 2007 @ 10:29 AM

I do agree that Troy, Kwame, & Bill were outstanding, and showed great sportsmanship. Even Amy, though disappointing in some ways, was an astute businesswoman. But if they were cast now, I don't think they'd fare as well, because no matter how good or bad the candidates are, Trump is acting like such a gigantic ass in comparison to how he bahved in the first season.

I agree that there has probably been more cannon fodder as the seasons progressed, and they clearly started casting for characters more than ability. But even if they went out and got the most accomplished businesspeople available, I don't think it would matter at this point. Trump has turned the show into a sideshow. Tent City is just the latest blow to the credibility of the show. Throughout the seasons, Trump has inappropriately asked people about their sex lives in the boardroom. He fired Stacie J. in the second season after the witchhunt tactics of her teammates, and branded her as crazy on national TV when she was probably only a bit eccentric. He has allowed screaming matches, and encouraged people to fight like caged tigers for the position.

He's impatient, rude, dismissive, and unprofessional. The list of his indiscretions and errors on the show is long and varied. He exaggerates the greatness of everything he does (or is associated with) to a ludicrous degree. For the most part, he was just the opposite of those things in the first season which I believe is one of the main reasons the show was such a big hit. I initially didn't expect much from Trump, but he pleasantly surprised me in Season One. Either he was putting on a really good act then, or the huge success of the show went to his head, and brought all his worst tendencies to the forefront. Either way, I don't think even the best candidates or the most interesting tasks could save this show now.

If the head of the show isn't a figure of authority and respect, everything else is is kind of beside the point. Trump's public feuds and his childish way of talking about enemies haven't helped matters. This show had one great season, and has been going downhill ever since. I lay most of the blame squarely at Trump's feet.

Edited by carmelized, Jan 24, 2007 @ 10:38 AM.

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#60

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Posted Jan 24, 2007 @ 10:58 AM

I loved the promos for Surface, and it started out very well. Now, it seems to have disappeared. Is it cancelled?


I shamefully thought that Surface could be good based on the promos as well. The first episode was pretty good and then the second one was as well, but the acting was HORRIFIC. The writing was much worse. The show was put out of it's misery and canceled for good.

One show that crashed and burned that surprised me was the Dead Zone. I loved the promos for it and all of the first two seasons, but there after I can't ever find it, no one seems to know what season they are on (6 I think) and or when it or the reruns are on. The acting was pretty steady and the storylines were pretty belivable as well, but even USA never tells you when it is on or what the next show is about and I thought it was their show. I don't hear anything about it anymore.
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