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
- 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.