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The Best Shows that are Overrated

Naming shows that are overrated including the bad ones would be too easy; calling out CSI, American Idol, and other mainstream garbage could go on forever, which is why we’re sticking to shows that are actually entertaining, well crafted, and aren’t junk food… well, at least not too much so. The three shows named below are good, but due to a mixture of underserved awards, crazy fanfare, and perhaps a little bit of the “emperor’s new clothes” syndrome going on, these entertaining shows have turned highly overrated.

Modern Family

Is Modern Family funny? Yes, very much so. However, is it original, complex, or smart? No and not every TV show, especially a comedy, needs to be those things, but for a series that sweeps award shows and has many people acting like it’s the second coming, it should have those qualities. While the show is good and very funny, it certainly has its problems. Most characters are simple caricatures; the flamboyant gay guy, the stern aging father, the goofy dad, the uptight housewife, the dumb teenage daughter who can’t live without her phone, etc. Of course, there is an argument that someone could simplify any character from any TV show like that, but that works for Modern Family, not shows of a higher caliber. If someone said Kenny Powers is only a racist baseball player or House is mainly a grouchy doctor then those simplifications wouldn’t be correct. Is Cameron anything more than a flamboyant gay man? Is Gloria anything more than a hottie with a funny accent? The answer to these can vary depending on person, but I think it’s fair to say no.

The name of a TV show doesn’t have to fully reflect its content, but calling the show "Modern Family" then having situations always be blue skies to almost Disney proportions is a noticeable contradiction. In a time where people are struggling to find work and survive, these characters biggest problems include creating a good answering machine message, learning to ride a bike, and everyone wearing white for their family portrait, yes, very modern indeed. Not to mention, both the adult women are housewives, which is one of the toughest jobs around, but this show feels like it was created by people who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, not the 80’s or later, which hurts the modern theme. If we were going through a comedy drought, then sure, Modern Family deserves to sweep award shows, but with much better written and acted comedies out there such as Community, Eastbound & Down, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and several others. This delightfully funny, but still very simple and almost cardboard show doesn’t deserve to be the seemingly king of comedies right now.

True Blood

Speaking of shows that don’t deserve awards. While Modern Family is most likely getting awards because it is very “Middle America” and safe, True Blood seems to be using the “HBO prestige” card. The vampire craze we’re going through probably helps a lot too. True Blood is fun to watch and the cliffhanger endings for just about every episode makes it so serialized that it feels addicting, but let’s be real here for a second. This show is very popcorn, silly, and just dumb fun. Once again, there is nothing wrong with a show not taking itself very serious or going outside the box, but when it’s getting awards or even nominations, especially over more deserving shows, then it’s becoming overrated.

It’s almost painful to know that True Blood consistently get nominated for best drama, cast, and somehow the actors win acting awards, but the last seasons of The Wire, The Shield, and Battlestar Galactica couldn’t even get nominations when looking at the more prestigious TV awards. It is nice to see a fantasy show getting respect… even if it doesn’t deserve so much of it. However, it’s still a shame that sci-fi is treated like its deformed younger brother. I actually don’t have any major complaints about the show itself. It’s a fantasy soap opera with a dubious amount of sex and violence thrown in… what’s not to like about that? Similar to Avatar, both are simple and straightforward, it’s the public’s reaction to them that is off-putting and makes them overrated.

The Walking Dead

It's still pretty shocking how fast The Walking Dead came running out of the gate… only to fall straight onto its face. The pilot for the show is one of the best ever; it was wonderfully crafted, acted, and the production feels like a movie. The tragic and gloomy atmosphere was oozing off the screen. It seemed like we were going to start an epic and dangerous journey about a man looking for his family… then the second episode aired. Perhaps it was the isolation that helped make the first episode so great, but the atmosphere, writing, and acting took a nose-dive throughout the first season, more so for episodes two and three. The camp took away a lot of that atmosphere and the writing seemed so bad because of their bad choices and being one-dimensional. Okay, so there are zombies running around that want to eat us? I have a great idea; let’s sleep in tents… not inside and/or on top of the RV where they can’t get us or you know, inside a building. I am pretty sure this will turnout well, sigh. We also have the caricature problem here. Shane is the only complex character; he’s part good guy, bad guy, and crazy, while Rick is purely a boy scout so far and everyone else is boring.

While it is okay for True Blood to be somewhat of a soap opera, The Walking Dead doesn’t have that luxury. The world has ended, Darwinism with humans is fully back, and there are zombies out there who can somehow beat a tank in a fight, but where does the show spend most of its time? On a freaking love triangle. While it is an interesting one in comparison to most other shows, mainly because of how twisted it is, survival should be the focal point of the show, not that. There are also major pacing problems. Rick found his family too quickly and too much time was spent on Merle, which didn’t even lead anywhere in the first season. The show did somewhat rebound towards the end. Amy turning into a zombie in her sister’s arms was a powerful scene and the first time the show had any heart since the pilot. This show is on this list because it’s good, but it’s not living anywhere near its full potential at all. That coupled with so many people, websites, magazines, and award panels heralding it as the best new show of 2010 is also why it’s on this list. Perhaps if Terriers, Justified, and Boardwalk Empire didn’t premiere last year then it would have been the best new series, but that’s not the case for this underachiever of a show.

As always, feel free to share your opinions, criticism, and of course insults below in the comments.


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