Until the End, or Not

At what point do you stop watching a show? My policy is to give a new show at least two episodes to hook me.

There are several reasons for dropping a show, and usually it’s a combination of factors that result in my permanently dropping something. Here are the main reasons why I drop a show:

  • Willful denial
  • Bad writing
  • Doesn’t live up to expectations or promised plot/genre
  • Characters that drive me insane
  • Boring
  • Time constraints
  • Lack of emotional or intellectual engagement
  • Genre burn-out
  • Lack of subs

Willful denial is probably the least frequent reason why I stop midway though a show, but the most common reason for why I don’t watch the last one or two episodes. Sometimes I stop watching because I’m happy with where the show is and I don’t want to watch the ending that will ruin it. For example, when I saw Prince’s First Love (Korea 2004) I really liked Yo Bin with the second lead Seung-hyun, so when they got together and were happy I stopped watching. I didn’t like the lead Gun-hee and I don’t think they’ll be good together, so if I don’t watch it I can pretend it all worked out the way I wanted.

The other side of this mentality is refusing to watch the finale because then I can pretend it ends in a less aggravating way. Examples: Prime Minister and I was awesome up until his wife came back from the dead. I was so mad at the way things were heading I decided to read the recap before watching the finale, and then never watched the finale because in my head canon she didn’t leave the Prime Minister and they got married for real and were happy. Hyde, Jekyll and I had a similar issue where I waited to read the finale recap first and then refused to watch because I don’t want that wedding as part of my head canon.

I will never forget Fall in Love with Me (Taiwan 2014). I was so excited about the premise of a guy competing with himself for the love of a woman and I really enjoyed the beginning of the show, but once Tia found out about Lu Tian’s dual identity it all went downhill. The show got taken over by Huan Huan and her evil, selfish family.There came a point when the only people I still liked were Lu Tian and his butler; everyone else I either hated or felt blasé towards. So I stopped watching. This was one case where the writing was the main problem, but the acting and directing weren’t good enough to overcome the flaws in the writing.

Another where the writing let the show down was High Society. The writing just drove me nuts. The character motivations changed in odd ways and the writer kept deflating crises by changing the goals of the characters instead of actually resolving issues. They set so many things up and then didn’t follow through on anything other than the romances. The only reason I even made it half way though the show was because I adored Ji Yi and Chang Soo.

Sometimes I miss a week or two of a show because real life interferes. When that happens I’m frequently behind on several shows so I have to choose which ones I catch up on. Several factors go into deciding which shows to pick back up. Did I think about it in the intervening time? Am I emotionally invested in the show? Does it fill a tonal gap in the shows I’m watching? While I was watching Joseon Gunman I had to stop for a couple weeks around episode 16 or so for an interstate move. I didn’t end up picking it back up because the show had become incredibly political and I was already watching several serious and/or political shows, and our OTP had reunited already so I didn’t have a lot of emotional investment left. Something similar happened with Shine or Go Crazy.

Another aspect is the hype factor. If people are talking positively about it I’m much more likely to pick a show back up, though hype is not enough. For example, I missed a week of Oh My Ghostess due to real life and then realized even though I was eight episodes in I wasn’t really invested and didn’t start watching again. Now that it’s over and the hype has been really good I’ve been debating picking it back up and finishing it. However, if it wasn’t for the fact that I am working on a post about ghosts for this blog I would definitely just read the recaps. I’ll give it a couple more episodes and then decide whether to watch the rest or read the recaps.

I think the saddest reason to drop a show is when the subs aren’t getting done. Sometimes I just don’t care enough to go back and check, but other times I really do care and want to finish the show, but it’s just not happening.

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20 thoughts on “Until the End, or Not

  1. I drop for the encompassing reason of “emotional disconnect” which could be caused by any of the other reasons you listed 😅 I also watched Ghostess for a while, but found that I don’t actually miss it after skipping a week. I’ve gone on such a long drama drought I’m desperate to have an awesome show right now.

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    • I’m really wanting something to keep me anxiously engaged until the end. I still have hope for Yong Pal, but while I am enjoying the other shows I’m watching they’re missing that urgency factor. I have hopes for some of the shows starting in the near future, so we shall see.

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      • I don’t know if you watch Chinese shows, but this is the only one that I look forward to:

        The cinematography looks gorgeous. I just hope they don’t drag it out. I sometimes think I enjoy trailers more coz they’re condensed and thus feel more action-packed compared to the real thing haha.

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      • Trailers are great because all of the time people act like complete idiots are skipped 🙂 I do watch Chinese shows, and that one looks pretty good. Sadly as I do not speak Chinese (or any language other than English) I am limited by which shows get subbed. Plus I made a decision years ago to only watch shows that have been properly licensed, and I don’t want to check many different sites to find shows, so if it’s not on DramaFever, Hulu or Viki I generally don’t watch it. Viki does have a fan channel for that show, but no subs for it yet. I did put in a request for them to get a license, so maybe I’ll get lucky.

        Did you watch Cruel Romance? I really enjoyed all but a few episodes of it. I’m working on a compare contrast of that and Sanctuary (China 2011) that will be posted once I go back and rewatch some of Sanctuary to make sure I remembered things correctly.

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      • I would’ve watched Cruel Romance if HXM wasn’t in it 😣 for some reason I just don’t do HXM. And I heard CQE’s character is annoying. I love Joe so I don’t want to watch her being annoying and ruin my love haha. I did watch some eps of Lady and the Liar, but it was corny on top of being cliché, and there was no chemistry bwt the OTP. How can a girl fail to have chem with Hawick I dun even know.

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      • HXM’s weaknesses as an actor actually work for him in this role, and CQE’s character being a complete and utter idiot (rather than just a normal dense idiot which lasts for for the first third of the show, but didn’t aggravate me b/c it was the idiocy of a naive girl and consistently in character) lasts about 4-6 episodes near the end (I really wanted to throw things at her and yelled at my computer several times to stop making assumptions and talk to HXM plainly instead of riddles and innuendo) so it might be worth giving a try. I found it a compelling show with some really interesting supporting characters.

        I wanted to watch Lady and the Liar but by the time there were subs I had seen so many blah reviews that I decided it wasn’t worth my time. I love historical shows when they’re done right, but they’re so hard to find when I don’t know the language. I have better luck finding the good Korean historical shows since they’re more readily available.

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      • I didn’t want to comment about something completely unrelated on your blog, so I hope you see this here. How are you liking Nirvana in Fire? I have watched through ep 17 (which how far the subs on Viki have gotten so far) and I am completely obsessed now. I hope they can keep up the quality. I rewatched the trailer watching the first ten episodes or so, which is always an interesting experience now that I know who the characters are and have a feel for their characteristics and goals. Is it living up to the trailer for you?

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      • Lol I’m the queen of off-topics so no worries. I’m on the latest ep. I love it. I think I’m at a point in the story now where little suspense is left though. But I’m at 45/54 so that’s to be expected. I can’t even remember what happened in 17 so now I can’t say anything lest I spoil you 😅 I do have to say, and I think this isn’t central-plot spoilery, they should’ve kept Nihuang in the dark regarding Lin Shu too. I just don’t buy the ‘woman’s intuition’ explanation, esp when Prince Jing is his bff and forever cries over him but never got past his hunches. But explanation aside, since NH was going off screen for bouts of time, the whole emotional recognition feels like it had belonged to a dif drama altogether 😔

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      • I’m at the point right after the fireworks factory exploded and Su had the party to celebrate the completion of the renovations with a treasure hunt in his home. The handling of NH’s knowledge of his real identity is the one thing I’m a bit worried about right now. If she knows I want it to have more of an impact. So far the only impact it has had is she showed up during the lantern festival and got really mad at Prince Jing when he suspected blowing up the fireworks factory was Su’s idea. If she was so hung up on the guy for so long I think she would have a harder time keeping her emotions in check when she found him again.

        I think the reason she figured out his identity and the prince didn’t is less due to her woman’s intuition and more to how they handled Lin Shu’s death. Prince Jing accepted and mourned his death while NH never accepted it and was always yearning and hoping for him, which is why the idea of his real identity occurred to her but not the prince.

        I don’t expect their to be a lot of plot suspense, especially considering how much was revealed in the trailer, but as long as the execution continues to come off well I will be happy.

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      • Hee I’ve just watched today’s eps and I guess there are still surprises left, coz I’m now waiting fot tmrrw’s eps.

        When NH is around, it makes sense, but when they sends her off for 10 episodes, that’s when it gets anticlimatic. And I guess I say it’s intuition coz if they were both told “he doesn’t look like it, but this is Lin Shu,” then their view on his death might have played a role in whether they accept the truth or not, but we’re not even there. We’re at a point where she doesn’t even have an ounce of evidence. Even if she doesn’t believe he is dead, there is no reason to believe this specific stranger, as supposed to any other man, is him. To me that is intuition. One other person will also find out but this one has a few hints to go off of and was more believable. Actually, in the novel NH has moved on and doesn’t know, so I think the scriptwriter just kinda made stuff up which is why it’s illogical haha.

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      • Ooo, this is based off a novel? Is there an English translation floating around I can read?

        I’m happy to hear there are surprises even at the end. I am getting anxious waiting for Jingrui’s birthday party. I know someone is going down then (Su will probably take down the Marquis at that point), but I really don’t want Jingrui to go down with his fathers. It’s funny, bc at this point you know several people are going to be destroyed and/or die tragically and the only question is who, but the only two people I would truly be upset to see die are Jingrui and his buddy whose name I am completely blanking on at the moment.

        I will probably comment again after the birthday party since it’s much more fun to talk to one person about the show than a bunch of random people in the comments at Viki 🙂

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      • Am sitting in the guest lounge at the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced and was flailing around and biting my lip to keep from yelling out loud. Dang. Yuxin’s dad was awesome here. I feel so bad for the Zhous. I wonder what the aftermath will be. Poor Jinrui. The only reason I didn’t cry when he was talking to Ma and Pa Zhou once all the fighting stopped is I’m sitting public right now and have already gotten enough strange looks. I will be more coherent later. Right now I am still mentally flailing.

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      • Ahh sorry for the late reply, I was trying to get over that ending! -_- it all kinda happened so fast and I knew it was coming, but… what? I have no sense of closure now.
        I wish you the best for the rest of the drama lol.
        I did feel bad for them, and sometimes I wished Jingrui’s mom would grow a spine, and she sorta did at the end of the drama, but seriously… she lets so many shitty things happen to herself and others by clamming up.

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      • No worries. Are you feeling bereft because the show is over, or is the ending really ambiguous and open ended? I love this show so much that I want it to have a strong ending!

        It seems like most of the women of that generation are passive. Things will change in the palace once she and Consort Jing start being more proactive.

        I just watched the episode where Jingrui left for Southern Chu. I totally cried while he was saying his farewells to Yujin and Su. I hope he’s not gone for as many episodes as Nihuang. Her departure does seem as odd as you pointed out. They have made a point of Mu Qing being told to listen to Su, so I wonder what situation will come up that necessitates the implementation of that advice.

        Prince Jing is going to give the travelogue with Su’s notes to his mother. I bet she makes the connection with the avoidance of Su’s mother’s name. The question is whether she will immediately connect Su with Lin Shu. When she does make the connection I wonder whether she will confront Su or ask Prince Jing questions.

        Plus now Banrou is trying to get a spy into Su’s house. I don’t think the girl is going to succeed in turning the vegetable delivery guy. I think either he will rebuff her completely or turn her to their side.

        I’m at episode 26 now, which is about half way through the show. The Crown Prince must lose his position soon. I wonder close his fall and that of Prince Yu will be.

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      • Oh no, it’s not ambiguous, you know for sure what happens even if they don’t explicitly show it. And my brother has long spoiled me with the ending anyway since he has read the book. None of that makes it feel any better though -_-

        But a fellow watcher just told me today that they have an alternate ending that got cut from the aired version and was only posted online o_O she linked me to it and eee!!! they should’ve just included the cut coz it would’ve saved us all some heartaches.

        Oh, Mu Qing won’t get into trouble. That kid’s happy as a clam where he is. Jingrui won’t be back til the very end, so don’t miss him too much, but you’ll enjoy his sidekick Yuxin’s rise to the spotlight 😉

        Consort Jing knows. And she even actively keeps the truth from Prince Jing coz she knows Lin Shu must have his reasons for keeping it a secret.

        Prince Yu still has a while to go, but honestly he’s already lost it at this point too. They’re really all blindsided by the rise of Prince Jing haha.

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      • I had seen another comment about the alternate ending, so I will definitely will have to track it down when I get to that point.

        While I’m sad Jingrui will be gone for a long time I also really like Yuxin, so him rising in importance works for me.

        Now I’m really curious to see how Consort Jing helps Su keep his secret and when/if he discovers her assistance.

        I am currently getting a kick out of Prince Yu getting mad at everyone else for not seeing Prince Jing as a threat. He knows and yet he doesn’t 🙂

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