This was a show I never felt very invested in, and yet it managed to do so many things that pissed me off. It's also a really good cautionary tale on both the danger of writing yourself into a rut and trying to do something super-dramatic to break out of it.
Hubby loves "fish out of water" shows, so this was his discovery. Most of the stuff on what was then the Sci-Fi Channel was totally flying under the radar. (As an old-school three major networks, two locals and PBS kind of gal, I'm still not sure how I feel about the proliferation of networks leading to shows I've never heard of on channels that I don't know exist.)
He must have lucked into an episode or a half season marathon during the 2nd season and immediately went out and bought the first season on DVD. For him it kind of hit all the right buttons to remind him of Northern Exposure what with the Nice Guy outsider and all the Quirky Townspeople.
I'll honestly admit to not really being focused on a lot of it, but what definitely came through for me were the annoyances, such as the repetitiveness of the plots and the fact that a show that seemed to celebrate weirdness and intelligence, always came down to the day being saved by the "normal" and "Not so intelligent" Jack Carter.
Well OK. Slightly annoying, but ok. And most of the plots and technobabble were amusing. EXCEPT then there was the personal stories and the more I was supposed to care about the actual people, the less I did. Except Henry. I loved Henry, who became the show's iron-clad Woobie, thereby totally pissing me off. (It's OK Henry, you'll always be
I knew I was supposed to love Jack and hate Nathan Stark, but Ed Quinn had such amazing charisma and magnificent bastardy charm in that role, that it was completely skewed the wrong way. I hate-sex shipped Jack and Nathan and I really learned to hate Alison for her completely condescending attitude toward Jack. (However when they finally did get together, the last season made me hate him even more.)
The minor characters were fun---in minor doses. Yay Taggart. Leave me alone Fargo.
Unfortunately the annoying characters really piled on and so very many of them were women. I don't know what was in the minds of the writers on that show, and I'm not saying female characters can't be villains, or be written as annoying, but if you stack up the female characters over the course of the series, it's hard to find one truly likeable one. Maybe Grace, but she was woefully underwritten.
Eva Thorne is the closest, although she had to play Uber-bitch almost until the end of her run. I did like the resolution of her arc, and I feel Frances Fisher did some great acting. I still think in the end she was put on a bus, rather than give her a real story with Henry.
In the meantime we had characters like Tess, Lexi, Beverly and even Zoe who worked my last good gay nerve almost every minute they were on screen. I usually liked Jo, BUT they also did a seriously crappy job with her and made her swing from BITCH to WOOBIE a few too many times. I never bought the thing with her and Zane, and either wanted her to get back with Taggart or maybe do the het bromance thing with Jack. Her "happy" ending was a major eye-roller for me.
Then came Season 4. I agree they had to break out of the rut, and at first I kind of dug the re-set, including Dr. Old Spice (who I didn't even know was really a British actor, since I'd never seen the new Battlestar Galactica.) However, then Alison continued to be a conscending bitch and let Jack and Trevor have the EXACT SAME PISSING MATCH that she enjoyed so much when it was Jack and Nathan. Clearly this woman LOVES being that position and did as little as possible to alleviate it until absolutely necessary.
Since I'm not a parent or a member of the disabled community, I'm not sure exactly how offensive the Kevin storyline was to those who might be in a genuine position to be offended. I know it didn't sit particularly well with me. I understand WHY it was done for Doylist purposes, but I wish they'd found a way to not handwave the whole thing quite so quickly. I know that's what fanfic is for because it was never something that would be explored on screen, but it just bugged me. As did the Henry/Grace thing. She was right and the whole thing was just used an excuse to make Henry miserable. AGAIN!
P.S. I'm know it's considered sacrilege to say bad things about Felicia Day, but sorry, she was on the super-annoying list as well.
OK....Season 5....HOLY SHIT. A DOUBLE RESET. A show that had always been mostly fluff going to dark and darker and darkest places including pretty much out and out Nazi analogies. I still don't honestly know if I loved or hated it more, but I will say it took balls. Big, massive, clanking balls. Also, I gotta say, EEEVIL DEPUTY ANDY---HOT!!!!
And then of course they had wrap it back up in a big, fluffy, happy ending ball, leaving me with a bunch of "couples" who I felt were completely wrong for each other. And putting most of blame for the bad things on those EEEEEVIL WOMEN!
I don't necessarily mean for this to be a bitch fest. It was a clever premise. There were fun bits, and it was nice to see a show where the geeks and nerds were in charge...EXCEPT that they had to undermine it every single time.
Maybe I just have to finish up by giving it an award for MOST SCHIZOPHRENIC SHOW EVER!